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ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite 7.1 review

Verdict

A small footprint and price, but the results don't make it good value.

Review Date: 6 Dec 2007

Reviewed By: Darien Graham-Smith

Price when reviewed: per year for 3 PCs

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

When we reviewed ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite 7.1 a few issues ago (web ID: 125307), we were disappointed. Having raised our expectations and won a place on our A List with the XP-only edition of the suite, Check Point followed with this supposedly Vista-compatible version that in fact offered only a subset of the program's features when run on Vista.

As we noted then, it's still a respectable package at heart. ZoneAlarm's particular strength in our tests was protection from website-based threats: it intercepted the attempted downloads from every one of the bad sites we visited. This is a good area to be strong in, too, as browser exploits are now one of the most common sources of infection.

When it came to more traditional malware, though, ZoneAlarm struggled to keep up, coming joint-ninth in a field of 12. A detection rate of 89% isn't the end of the world, but most other packages did better.

The firewall didn't impress us, either: in our false-positives test, it complained no fewer than 17 times, and during the penetration test we were bombarded with far more requesters than necessary. Worse, we still managed to get in to the system through eight different points of vulnerability, including one used by the old Netsphere remote-access backdoor.

ZoneAlarm can claim a small memory footprint and a minimal impact on startup time, and its triple pack of annual licences for just £30 undercuts all its competitors on price. Sad to say, though, our experiences suggest that choosing this version of the suite would be a false economy.

Author: Darien Graham-Smith

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