Zone Labs ZoneAlarm Internet Security 5.5: Test and Review

ZoneAlarm Internet Security 5.5 is one of the best security applications all-in-one that we have discussed. Its interface is much simpler to understand and use than its competitors. As for its feature set – including a vault for personal data encryption and instant messages – it relegates software Norton Internet Security 2005 and McAfee Internet Security 2005 second place. This new version implements antispam MailFrontier Desktop software technology that enhances the ability of the product to block spam (spam) without slowing down the PC.

In the field of security and confidentiality, ZoneAlarm Internet Security arises as a result to equal or even exceed, either for home or desktop PC, or whether it is a laptop used in trips.

Installation and interface

The ZoneAlarm Internet Security 5.5 is available on CD boxed, or via download (11 MB). During installation, the program raises a number of questions: method of internet connection (dial-up, DSL, cable, etc.), computer type (single-user, home, laptop, workstation) , environment (network or not), presence (or not) of a virus. This information allows the establishment of an initial configuration, subsequently adjustable if necessary.

After restarting the system, ZoneAlarm displays the “Control Center”, its main interface. Elegant and concise, it has the configuration options in the form of ten tabs distributed intuitively. You can, for example, from this interface to customize the blocking function by allowing the display of banners while eliminating pop-ups or moving.

Generally, the ZoneAlarm Internet Security configuration can be as simple or complex as you like. For example, you can allow the passage of all cookies, block all or systematically admitting for the duration of a session. You may also want finer control by accepting each cookie used for a limited time you set. If you want to implement these options in Norton and McAfee, where they also exist, you need to find, explore several levels of the menu tree. They are not, as here, directly accessible.

ZoneAlarm alerts you first access a web program gives you a number of tips but lets you make the final decision.

Given the possibilities, this suite reasonably requires little memory resources – of the order of 9 MB Informal tests showed that the firewall hardly induced performance degradation when accessing the web. This is not the case of Norton and McAfee that slow down somewhat the system. The only inconvenience is ZoneAlarm to ask you after installation to allow access to the internet or not your (or your) browser (s) and all programs that interact with the web. But this preliminary phase completed, the firewall becomes transparent.


The richness and scope of the opportunities offered by ZoneAlarm impressed us. Besides its ability to deter potential pirates thanks to its excellent firewall and to repress the virus through its strong antivirus software, ZoneAlarm encrypts IM service ICQ, AOL, MSN and Yahoo and protects against spam. It also filters the scripts of web mail, does not respond to TCP / IP requests to unused ports (to better conceal from outside your PC). It monitors all inbound and outbound contacts, notifying you of unauthorized access. But these are also the protections provided by McAfee and Norton.

However, the control exercised by the ZoneAlarm personal data is unique and remarkable. It can store personal information in a “vault” encrypted. So if you happen thereafter to enter any one of these data on a website – credit card number, for example – ZoneAlarm will ask if you want to add the recipient to the list of sites you your trust. If you answer no, the transmission will be blocked. This monitoring function also stops keyloggers keyboard as well as other tools used by identity stealers. Note that currently no software McAfee or Norton do not include those of such protections.

In content and ease of use, the main interface of ZoneAlarm won all the votes.

However, everything is not perfect. There are still in ZoneAlarm, room for some improvement. So, when spam control, subsequently does not proceed by heuristic analysis, it simply uses a list of authorized senders. Or heuristics would be interesting because it could block spam based on specific features of messages, not just the name and address of the shipper. Also, what’s worse, the list referred to by ZoneAlarm is not supported by your computer but not Zone Labs, publishing by authorized contacts an online business rather than a single executable task offline.

Service and support

The price of ZoneAlarm Internet Security includes one year of software updates as well as email support, consultation keyword to a knowledge base and access to a well organized forum.

ZoneAlarm Internet Security 5.5 comes without printed or electronic documentation. The tutorial has more than informative commercial purposes which is a real inconvenience for a product of this complexity. The product Help is however excellent, thorough, detailed and clear strong.

The Help system integrated with ZoneAlarm is excellent, it greatly facilitates the location of the desired information.