Zone Alarm Takes Cyber-Security Into Non-Cyber World
Add Real-World Identity Protection While Protecting Your PC
by Daniel P. Dern (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Vendor: Zone Labs LLC (part of Check Point Software Technologies) Product Name: Zone Alarm Internet Security Suite v6.5 Price (MSRP): single user $69.95; 3-user family pack $99.95, Availability: Now Product URL: www.zonealarm.com
Tech Requirements: Windows 2000 or later
ZoneLab's ZoneAlarm has long been my choice and recommendation for
a free firewall, despite its occasionally ornery user interface. Over the past several years, they've continued to add other security features -- stateful packet inspection, "stealth mode" to shield against port scans, anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-spam, and more -- making it their Internet
Security Suite my recommendation for a done-in-one desktop suite.
But information/identify security problems don't stop at the computer case. According to ZoneLabs' presentation at the recent Ziff-Davis Digital Life Expo (www.digitallife.com) in New York City, "pre approved credit card lists are source of 90% of identity theft."
Version 6.5 of the suite now includes
o Identity Theft Protection Service that also deal with the non-virtual
world (through partnering deals, including first-year-free with
Identity Guard (http://www.identityguard.com/fp.asp), and other free/fee services. (Annoyingly, the click-tab to get there from within ZoneAlarm may not work, depending what other browser(s) you've got, and how things are configured.)
E.g. credit-card offer opt-out, lost/stolen wallet resolutions services, to cancel credit cards, and credit card theft detection checking
online and card-issuer lists of stolen cards, and live phone help to recover from credit card theft. Users receive an alert if their credit card number appears on the Internet's black market or other black lists (assuming you're willing to give this information to ZoneLabs)
o Spyware site blocking blocks users from visiting known spyware sites, blocks "drive-by downloads," and blocks outbound traffic from spyware that managed to sneak on.
o IDLock, keeps credit card, Social Security and other ID numbers/data from being sent from your PC without permission.
o Game Mode, which suppresses firewall alerts, postpones antispyware/virus scans, to avoid disruption during a game
And there's also the option to sign up for real-world services (for additional fees) like regular credit monitoring, and ID theft insurance.
Even if you don't use all the free extra, or spring for the paid add-ons, you should consider a suite like ZoneAlarm.