ZoneAlarm Extreme Security

ZoneAlarm Extreme Security
Developed by: Checkpoint
Ranked: 10th
Overall rating:
Best price: $39.95
Purchase:

Stephen
Qualtrough

Reviewer

Technology should make our lives easier

 
Review

Review summary

Good points ZoneAlarm Extreme Security review good points

• New interface is attractive; Complete hard-drive protection

• Anti-virus scan is preinstalled; Virtualization for the browser

• Firewall is very powerful; Credit monitoring feature

• Download manager; Parental controls

• Phishing protection is accurate; Registry tune-up

Bad points ZoneAlarm Extreme Security review bad points

• Malware detection spotty

• Antivirus and download manager contracts each other occasionally

• Accuracy for anti-spam not as good a 2016 version

• Malware blocking not effective

Our verdict

The anti-virus and anti-spam do not work as well as the last version of ZoneAlarm, the ZoneAlarm Extreme Security offers excellent firewall capabilities, top-notch parental controls, encryption for the entire hard-drive and advanced browser virtualizaion.




Full review

This new release of ZoneAlarm will immediately let you know that it is different than its previous version. The redesigned interface for the user in the ZoneAlarm Extreme Security has three big panels the user can operate from. The data, Internet, identity and computer all have their own status indicator, which can also be used to give more detailed information when you click on them.

Setup

According to the company, in order for ZoneAlarm to install on Windows 7 or Vista to be able to run the ZoneAlarm Extreme 2015, it needs a 32 or 64 bit, 2 GB RAM, 2 Ghz or faster processor and at least 250MB of hard-disk space. ZoneAlarm Extreme can also be installed on Windows XP if the system has 32 bit, 2 GB RAM, 1 Ghz or faster processor and at least 250MB of hard-disk space.

The systems we used exceeded the system requirements so we did not expect any problems with installing the ZoneAlarm Extreme. The install-time scanner on the new ZoneAlarm Extreme did fix most to the problems on half of the systems we used that were infested with malware, which made installing the software quick and easy. However, three of the identical test systems we used had malware on the systems that immediately killed the installation of the ZoneAlarm Extreme. We had to clean these systems up with another software to get the ZoneAlarm to install.

Security

Anti-virus – During testing of the effectiveness of the anti-virus ZoneAlarm did only a little better than its competition. Its detection rate was much lower than expected, but it did clean up more threats found. When testing it for malware detection, it did much worse. Approximately 20 percent of the malware detected was able to install and run executable files. ZoneAlarm did block 86 percent of the threats it detected.

Firewall – The firewall on the ZoneAlarm did detect and block everything we threw at it without interrupting us with query popups. The OSFirewall feature has been modified in the new ZoneAlarm so the popup showing problem behaviors provided a simpler report. All direct attacks were blocked by this firewall, with the exception of Web-based exploits. The download manager allowed six different exploiting files into the system and labeled them as safe. However, the anti-virus did catch two of the exploits and flag them. This was good, but not as good as its competitors tested.

Parental controls – ZoneAlarm did not attempt to build a parental controls system from scratch, it partnered with another software company and got them to provide a ZoneAlarm brand of the Net Nanny. The controls allows the parents to block video clips and games by their ratings, during instant messaging it will block vulgar language and social networking log-ins can be captured.

Backup

The back up files feature on the ZoneAlarm is fairly easy to use. Most of the work is done by the default settings, which creates copies of the folders and files generally backed up. It was also easy to specify which files we wanted to back up and to set the time each file needed to be backed up.

Identity theft

ZoneAlarm comes with a complimentary subscription to Identity Guard for one year. Identity Guard will monitor your credit and identity, as well as provide you a toll-free number to call if there are any theft problems. The program required us to provide confirmation before we transmitted specified personal data over the Internet or through email. ZoneAlarm also comes with DataLock, a product that will encrypt the whole hard drive.

PC Tuneup

The ZoneAlarm Extreme's PC tune-up feature installs during first use and cleans up any useless registry files and a wizard will walk you through the steps. The system also allows you to review a report that identified the useless registry items it identified and remove them or add them back onto the system.

Overall

The ZoneAlarm Extreme Security did improve over its last version and added in some special features, such as hard-drive encryption. The parental controls, phishing protection and firewall were all exceptional. However, the anti-virus and anti-spamming were disappointing. The user-friendly interface and other features made up for this disappointment.



Add your review

Rating
Review
Name
Word verification

Looking for total security software reviews?
See our side-by-side comparisons and in-depth reviews


Ratings breakdown

Overall
 received a rating of 5 for Overall
Setup
 received a rating of 5 for Setup
Protection
 received a rating of 4 for Protection
Effectiveness
 received a rating of 4 for Effectiveness
Performance
 received a rating of 3 for Performance
Backup
 received a rating of 4 for Backup
Identity theft
 received a rating of 5 for Identity theft
PC Tune-up
 received a rating of 4 for PC Tune-up
Features
 received a rating of 5 for Features
Ease of use
 received a rating of 5 for Ease of use
Help & support
 received a rating of 4 for Help & support