Internet Connection Security for Windows Users
by Steve Gibson, Gibson Research Corporation

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ZoneAlarm 2.x.x:

ZoneAlarm earns a "Four & A Half Moes" rating!
(out of a maximum possible of Five Moes)
Despite a somewhat rocky start, the current, completely free, release of ZoneAlarm is helping hundreds of thousands of people to secure and protect their Internet connections . . .


We now recommend ZoneAlarm WITHOUT reservation!

ZoneAlarm lost "half a Moe" due to their essentially non-existent technical support . . . also known as the eMail Black Hole!  Normally, no important product lacking technical support could possibly score more than two and a half Moes, but since ZoneAlarm is COMPLETELY FREE, and so very excellent and necessary, we only knocked off half a Moe.

ZoneAlarm 2.0 was released by ZoneLabs on January 26th, 2000.

Nearly six months later — I am writing this on July 12th, 2000 — this remarkable, and completely free (for personal use), firewall product has become quite stable and is absolutely useful.

I can, and do, now recommend, without hesitation, that you give it a try.

This is NOT to say that I guarantee that you will want to, or be able to, continue using it (who knows? it might have some minor conflicts with strange things you do or something odd in your system), nor can I promise that ZoneLabs will ever reply to any eMail questions you may send them (people complain to us all the time that ZoneLabs never replies). Neither it is my intention that I or my company will pick up the technical support burden that ZoneLabs has not.

No . . . What I am saying is that, in my carefully considered opinion, ZoneAlarm 2 is, without question the best firewall product available the for IBM Personal Computers for ANY PRICE . . . it's FREE . . . and it's really worth trying to see if you like it and determine whether it works for you.

If it works in your system, with your applications, (and you don't mind its horrible orange color), I think you'd be crazy not to use it. If it doesn't work for you and you can not determine why; if posting a question about it in our ShieldsUp discussion newsgroup (at news:// doesn't bring you any relief, then at least you'll know that you gave the best firewall a try. It uninstalls cleanly and leaves no debris in your system. What do you have to lose?

Privacy Concerns

Is there such a thing as a free lunch?
Many people have been concerned that ZoneAlarm is free, and have wondered whether it might not, itself, be very cleverly marketed advanced spyware. Then, on January 11th, gasoline was thrown on the fires of these concerns when ZoneLabs announced that their "TrueVector" technology had been licensed to Media Metrix, a company that provides "consumer profiling" services to major Internet media users. This caused an uproar as people wondered whether the "TrueVector" technology that also forms the foundation of ZoneAlarm might not be spying on them. In other words, "Who's watching the watchers?" !!

Since these are valid questions, which also initially concerned me greatly, I'll tell you what I know and now believe:

I'm absolutely certain that the ZoneLabs guys are good guys.
ZoneAlarm is the first application of their TrueVector technology. In the future they will probably be offering a non-free "pro" version which will offer more advanced features for people wanting detailed event logs, operation on NAT machines, more "granular" control over the ZA firewall, and so forth. But their main focus is upon the licensing of their underlying TrueVector technology (as they have with Media Metrix) and also upon the development of commercial "corporate scale" products.

I've read their TrueVector US patent cover-to-cover, so I know how much more their technology can do. In the future they will be offering a suite of powerful solutions to the corporate Internet user who needs to maintain security controls over their entire enterprise's operation.

So I ask you: How better to nail down every last nuance of their core technology's behavior and operation than to give it ultra-high volume exposure in the form of a technologically advanced free firewall for the masses? It is what I would do, and what I WILL do in the future, with my own work.

What about the evil Media Metrix?
Educate yourself as I did: Go take a look at the Media Metrix website.

What you'll see is that Media Metrix is to web surfing as the Nielsen rating system is to television viewing. Just as a "Nielsen Family" gets paid to have a special "set top box" continually monitoring their viewing habits, Media Metrix pays 50,000 web users to have special monitoring software installed in their computers so that their surfing habits and behavior can be monitored. The technology Media Metrix had been using was limited and troublesome. So, they turned to ZoneLabs' TrueVector technology to provide a mature solution for their knowingly monitored user's needs.

I see nothing wrong, nor the least bit evil or underhanded, in Media Metrix's use of the superior TrueVector technology, nor anything wrong with ZoneLabs making their core technology available to an above-board company like Media Metrix. It is specifically because of the financial support of the Media Metrix license that ZoneLabs can afford to make ZoneAlarm free to all of us, and specifically because of the data collected by Media Metrix (with the FULL KNOWLEDGE AND PAID PERMISSION of their sample user-base) that so many other free, advertiser-supported services are available to all of us on the web.

I recommend that you give it a spin! . . .

Several hundreds of thousands of people are using ZoneAlarm 2 to protect their systems from external attack and guard against the arrival of hidden spyware within their systems trying to phone home.

So, if you'd like to begin experimenting with ZoneAlarm 2 to see what it's like, grab a copy and put it to work today!

ZoneLabs website is right where you'd expect it:

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Last Edit: May 04, 2013 at 18:21 (1,180.63 days ago)Viewed 4 times per day