Zone Alarm Firewall - Any views ?

After my recent problems, I’ve become a little more aware of net security so I’m about to download Zone Alarm.

Everyone I speak to says it’s a great personal firewall – just wondered if anyone here has experiences (good or bad) with it ?

(I also run SETI@Home and am about to start running search engine submission programme’s - if that’s at all relevant)

I use Zone Alarm, and have for about two months now. I believe Anthracite does as well.

The education I’ve received has been notable - I didn’t realize how often I was getting snooped (several times a day on a dial-up). I can’t speak to the completeness of ZA’s protection, but it beats the crap out of runnin’ bare.

A good companion to ZA would be

You’ll have to take what I say with a grain of salt, because I don’t know very much about firewalls. When I first got my cable modem, I downloaded Zone Alarm, mostly to see what it was all about. It seemed to be working fine during that Internet session.

However, the next time I tried to get on the internet, I was completely barred from doing so. The firewall wouldn’t let me, for some reason. It acted like it didn’t like my home page, which was (and is) the main SDMB page. My computer froze, so I couldn’t even go to the Zone Alarm website to get the e-mail address to get help. I had to restart and uninstall Zone Alarm before I could get anywhere. When I did e-mail the Zone Alarm people, they never responded, so I never re-installed it.

I think it’s great that they offer this service for free, and I wish I had been able to make it work. Maybe somebody here can give me some tips. Just my $0.02.

I just started using it about 2 months ago also. Since then, it has reported (I’d guess) about 100 attempted snoops. Man was I amazed at how often this was happening. I am running on a cable modem, and was prompted to try out a firewall on the suspicion that my hard drive was being accessed very frequently. Sometimes (out of the blue) my hard drive would just go nuts. It would run and run and run and run… even when I wasn’t doing anything. Since I’ve installed ZA (2 months ago), my hard drive has not behaved strangely once (it used to happen at least three times per day). I heartily recommend it. I’m not saying it will stop everyone, but it will definitely stop the casual snoop (which covers the vast majority of the rascals).

If you are just connecting to the net through a modem you do not need a firewall at all. Just unbind the TCP/IP protocol as explained here. That’s what I do.

D Marie

Since I’ve been running very smoothly “right out of the box”, I haven’t dug into ZA very much, but here’s what I can suggest. If these were obvious to you, and you’ve already tried them, I appologize.

  1. You have to give each program specific permission to access the internet (this includes you web browser). When I first tried to access the internet, I was automagically prompted to give my browser permission to access the internet. If you were not automatically prompted for this permission giving, perhaps there is a setting that you can change.
  2. Make sure that the giant lock icon at the top of ZA is unlocked. This lock is toggled via the “stop sign” icon at the top center of the ZA window. When the lock is in the locked position, no programs can access the internet regardless of permission.
    Hope those help.

That’s an excellent link Sailor provided. Gibson will demonstrate for you how easy it is to access information from your computer through TCP/IP and explains everything in very simple terms (which I think I understood at the time, but have since washed away from my loose mind). He gives detailed explanations for how to make your computer as secure as it should have been if Microsoft hadn’t left the barn door open to save themselves some tech support calls.

OK, thanks everyone - it’s installed and running so I think that’s the start of security. Guess it’s the anti-virus stuff next.

D Marie On the experience of just installing and going on/off line three times on a dial up modem, I’d tend to agree with steve-o. That big padlock thng at the top should be saying “unlocked” - I haven’t had any problems in the first few hours.

I have ben running Zone Alarm on my computers for about 4 months on both dial-up and a cable modem.
I am such a believer in it that last weekend when I installed Windows 98 SE on the machine for the first time, Zone Alarm was the first program installed after Windows itself.
Only bad thing about it that I know of is that it tends to lock up and shut down all traffic in or out of your machine while showing itself to be unlocked on the control console/taskbar.
This tends to show up after the machine has ben left on for several days and or the program has recieved several hundred probes,pings,scans and connection attempts.
The best way I have found to cure it is to reboot the machine.
Zone Labs website has a lot of information about how to configure Zone Alarm’s control console program window to allow the traffic you want while blocking the stuff you don’t want.
Good Luck

Thanks for all your suggestions. To be honest, it’s been six months or so since I tried to use Zone Alarm and I don’t really remember what all I tried to fix it when I had the problems. I’m going to give it another shot here.

Here’s your answer :slight_smile: Ready? No matter how many different layers of software you may be running, you MUST tell ALL software to allow Internet Security to be set at “Medium”. THIS is why you all of a sudden could not access the Internet. Let me explain.

I use TCP/IP sometimes, sometimes I dial in directly to AOL ( save the AOL slams, ok? The problem AND solution do not lie with AOL, but with Zone Alarm). So, Under AOL, there is My AOL-Preferences-WWW. Click on the WWW Icon, click on the Tab for Security. You MUST set the settings for Medium. Make SURE You click " Apply " before clicking OK.

Next, go to Zone Alarm itself. Make sure you find THOSE settings, under Zone Alarm Control Center- Click on Security- then set them both to Medium. Also, Apply. If every single software that offers a Security option is NOT set to Medium, the software will block access to the Internet.

Overall, I find it apallingly educational, that so many people want to get INTO my computer. This is brilliant software, I have NEVER had it crash, and it works consistently, once you do the Medium Security settings all around. Have fun.


I read some computer tech’s say that whenyou uninstall it, that it still has some files on your HD that can be used by hackers later to access your computer. So I haven’t tried it.

Norton Personal Firewall is out, I might give that one a shot.

I’ve been using Norton Internet Security now for a few weeks. The bulk of people trying to get into my computer are using trojan horse clients, like Sub7, NetBus and Back Orifice and are just sweeping my ISP subnet, looking for machines that have the server installed. (i.e., you downloaded an infected file from the internet or someone sent it to you via e-mail or ICQ in hopes of getting into your system.) An updated virus scanner should have no problems finding these, and if your computer is clean, the client simply won’t be able to connect regardless if you have a firewall. Of course there are other ways people could look around in your system, if you have file sharing enabled, but in order for a person to use that method, it requires a little more knowledge than just downloading a trojan horse client, plugging in a ISP subnet and waiting for victims to pop up and is somewhat rare.

I’ve been using ZoneAlarm for about 5 months now and I have to say I’ve had no problems with it at all. It’s very easy to configure, and until I get my Linux firewall up and running, it’s on the machines at home that are on the network.

The only problem I’ve found with it are using it in conjunction with some of the online gaming services, like I have to shut down ZA before those will work, no matter what settings I give the program.

Ah well. For free, who can argue? It does a really good job of securing your system.

I’ve been using ZoneAlarm about 4 months now, and I haven’t had any problems, either. And I don’t normally respond to any kind of computer software/hardware questions because I’m a moron.