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Developer(s) CheckPoint Software Technologies LTD.
Initial release 16 February 2000; 14 years ago (2000-02-16) (2.0.26)
Stable release[1] (May 30, 2014; 3 months ago (2014-05-30)) [±]
Preview release None [±]
Operating system Microsoft Windows
Type Personal firewall, antivirus software
License ZoneAlarm Free: Nagware
Other editions: Shareware
Zone Alarm Free Downloads

ZoneAlarm is a personal firewall software application originally developed by Zone Labs, which was acquired in March 2004 by Check Point.[2] It includes an inbound intrusion detection system, as well as the ability to control which programs can create outbound connections. As of November 2012, the newest release is ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2013.[3]


In ZoneAlarm, program access is controlled by way of "zones", into which all network connections are divided. The "trusted zone" generally includes the user's local area network and can share resources such as files and printers, while the "Internet zone" includes everything not in the trusted zone. The user can specify which "permissions" (trusted zone client, trusted zone server, Internet zone client, Internet zone server) to give to a program before it attempts to access the Internet (e.g. before running it for the first time) or, alternatively, ZoneAlarm will ask the user to give the program permission on its first access attempt.[4]

True Vector Internet Monitor[edit]

"True Vector Internet Monitor", also known as "TrueVector Security Engine", is the core of ZoneAlarm. It is a Windows service which runs as "vsmon.exe" in the processes list. This monitors internet traffic and generates alerts for disallowed access.

Operating System Firewall[edit]

Operating System Firewall, OSFirewall for short, is a feature in paid ZoneAlarm versions only. This monitors programs and generates alerts when they perform suspicious behaviors. The OSFirewall is useful in preventing rootkits and other spyware.

SmartDefense Advisor[edit]

SmartDefense Advisor, a service that is also available in the free version of ZoneAlarm, helps the user with certain types of alerts. This utilizes a large database of trusted program signatures in order to provide the user with further advice upon requests from the program in regards to allowing or denying access to the Internet.


  • ZoneAlarm Free Firewall: A freeware version that includes a web and local network personal firewall with outbound program control and port stealthing. It is distributed through[5]
  • ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall: A freeware version that includes a Two-Way Firewall, Advanced Firewall, Advanced Download Protection, and Identity Protection, and antivirus protection provided by Kaspersky Lab.
  • ZoneAlarm Pro Firewall: This offers an OS Firewall identity protection, pop-up blocker, adware detection, cookie blocker. It does not have Antivirus features.
  • ZoneAlarm Pro Antivirus + Firewall: Includes ZoneAlarm firewall, Advanced Download Protection, and antivirus protection provided by Kaspersky Lab.
  • ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite: Includes all the features of every product with additional IM security and an anti-spam filter engine provided by MailFrontier and a parental control. It is the most expensive ZoneAlarm product.[6] It is now given out freely with TrialPay.[7]
  • ZoneAlarm Extreme Security: A comprehensive version that includes all the features of all other versions plus ForceField and computer optimization and data backup tools.

Scareware virus alert popup[edit]

In September 2010, the free version of ZoneAlarm started showing a "Global Virus Alert" popup as a scareware tactic to get users to switch to their paid security suite.[8]

The popup was turned off by ZoneAlarm marketing team after an uproar from disgruntled users, many of whom uninstalled the software.[9][10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Check Point acquires Zone Labs". 2004-03-29. Archived from the original on 2011-06-30. 
  3. ^ "ZoneAlarm® Extreme Security Release History". Retrieved 2012-12-21. 
  4. ^ Check Point press releast Disk encryption
  5. ^ "ZoneAlarm Free Firewall - Reviews and free ZoneAlarm Free Firewall downloads at". 2010-05-21. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  6. ^ "ZoneAlarm product comparison". Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  7. ^ ZoneAlarm Free download page Retrieved 2010-09-21.
  8. ^ Leyden, John (2010-09-20). "ZoneAlarm slammed for scarewarey marketing". Retrieved 2010-11-09. 
  9. ^ Protalinski, Emil (2010-09-22). "ZoneAlarm caught using fake antivirus scare tactics". Retrieved 2010-11-09. 
  10. ^ Pegoraro, Rob. "ZoneAlarm gives people a new reason to hate security software". Retrieved 2010-11-09. 

External links[edit]