Protecting your computer connected to the Internet is standard procedure as trojans and worms are floating around. ZoneAlarm is a free firewall (in its basic version) for home users that’s been around a while. It features basic firewall functionality and a stealth capability, which means that your computer is invisible to others on the Internet.
ZoneAlarm has five different tabs; Overview, Firewall, Program Control, Anti-virus monitoring and Alerts & Logs. In the overview tab you will see the total of”intrusion attempts” direct towards your computer, it also shows the number of programs secured for outbound protection. If you view the firewall tab you can set the Internet Zone Security to high, medium and low. In high-mode ZoneAlarm goes in to stealth mode, in medium your computer becomes visible. It’s also possible to set the security level within your own network or trusted zone.
The program can be quite irritating to setup the first time. Every application has to be given rights to the Internet, for example if you start Internet Explorer ZoneAlarm will pop-up and ask you if you want to give IE access. In the later versions of ZoneAlarm the program tries to auto-detect certain programs such as web-browsers and give them access. It doesn’t work for every application though.
ZoneAlarm is also one of the more secure and effective firewalls out there (when this is written). One drawback however is that it isn’t as light-weight as it used to be, it does take up more system resources than previous versions. ZoneAlarm is a neat free firewall, it has all the features that a home user needs and it works great with Windows Vista.