The ZoneAlarm Security Suite is a lot more than just a personal firewall. But at first look, we weren’t too impressed. ZoneAlarm has lost the friendly look most people are used to. Instead, a fairly bland colour scheme with equally tasteless icons and indicators make up the interface.
The firewall and anti-virus form a comparatively smaller portion of the features. There’s a spyware scanner to accompany the anti-virus engine. Other than that, the e-mail protection can be set to scan all incoming and outgoing mails. The junk mail feature is pretty advanced, we think: it features a large number of parameters.
Then there’s the parental control feature: parents can now choose from a long list of categories to be blocked. A very useful feature is Game Mode, which ensures you aren’t interrupted in between gaming sessions by alert pop-ups. The Privacy component takes care of all ads and cookie blocking.
IM Security is another feature that ensures security isn’t compromised through instant messengers—AOL, ICQ, MSN, and Yahoo!. Conversations can be encrypted, but both users need to install the suite.
There are slider bars in each of the suite’s components; these help in easily switching strictness levels. Similarly, most of the features have an Advanced view, which lets you make precise changes to the rules. In addition, you can use the Backup and Restore Security Settings feature to save and load settings.
The suite ran well in our test, without creating any problems on our Athlon 64 3800 with 1 GB of RAM. Memory consumption was around 45 MB most of the time, but the CPU utilisation shot all the way up to 90% while scanning for viruses.
It’s pretty rare to find a suite such as this with as many features and functionality. At $49.95 (Rs 2,000), ZoneAlarm Security Suite is a wee bit overpriced.
It’s interesting to note that ZoneAlarm’s image as the friendly, casual-user’s firewall has now been replaced by one of the no-nonsense system protector. RATINGS Performance : 4
Features : 3.5
Ease of Use : 4
Value for Money : 2
Overall : 3
Web site: www.zonealarm.com
Price: $49.95 (~Rs 2,000)