CheckPoint ZoneAlarm Extreme Security  

Thursday, May 6, 2010

CheckPoint ZoneAlarm Extreme Security

ZoneAlarm Extreme Security | 75 Mb

For a year or so, Check Point Software has maintained two very different computer security solutions. ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite 2009 offers standard protection highlighted by top-tier firewall and antispam components. ZoneAlarm ForceField specifically protects against browser-based threats using virtualization, Web-site analysis, keylogger jamming, and other advanced techniques. The two technologies are finally combined in ZoneAlarm Extreme Security. The new product adds hosted online backup and PC tune-up, making it a very complete suite indeed. In fact, it's the biggest challenger Norton Internet Security has seen in a couple of years.
As with ZoneAlarm 2009, the main window has two great big panels showing the status of firewall security and antivirus/antispyware security. This new product adds another panel for browser security (which, in this case, means ForceField). If there's a problem with the product's configuration in any of the three main security areas, the panel turns red and offers a "Fix it" button to set things right. It also adds buttons for the backup and tune-up components in the Additional Services panel. ZoneAlarm 2009 users will find it looks very familiar.

ForceField's Protective Bubble

ForceField puts the "extreme" in ZoneAlarm Extreme Security. It starts by establishing a bubble of protection around your browsing activities in Internet Explorer or Firefox. A visible halo surrounding the browser window provides visual confirmation of its protection. With ForceField active, any browser-initiated changes to the file system or Registry are virtualized so they have no permanent effect. If a drive-by download or other browser-based malware gets past the many other layers of protection in ZoneAlarm Extreme, you can wipe out its changes by clearing ForceField's virtual data.

ForceField doesn't virtualize downloads you initiate yourself. If it did, clearing the virtual data might discard valuable programs. However, it does take over the download process. On completion, it reports either the publisher's name from the file's digital signature or that the file is unsigned (and hence less trustworthy). The standalone version of ForceField also checks the file's signature against Check Point's SmartDefense Advisor database, but the suite's built-in anti-malware makes that check unnecessary.

You can kick protection up a notch by clicking the Private Browser button in ForceField's toolbar. Doing so opens a new instance of your browser with a banner saying "Nothing from this session recorded." Sites you visit aren't added to history, cookies aren't saved, nothing stays in the cache, data entered in Web forms isn't retained. When you close the private browser window, all traces of your surfing vanish.

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