More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
CheckPoint Releases ZoneAlarm Suite 7
Neil J. Rubenking, PC Magazine
Tue Jan 16, 2007

CheckPoint software today released version 7 of the popular ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite. The biggest change from earlier versions is that the antivirus protection is now licensed from Kaspersky Labs where previous versions have relied on Computer Associates. It retains and enhances the identity-theft protection features introduced last year in version 6.5. In addition to a number of other security enhancements, the product's user interface has been updated and modified to reflect CheckPoint's retiring the "Zone Labs" name.

Besides switching to Kaspersky for virus protection, ZAISS7 will offer automatic hourly updates when needed. The download size for the updates has been reduced to "several tens of kilobytes," according to Checkpoint. CheckPoint's documentation says "A single powerful unified scan covers both antivirus and anti-malware all-in-one." However, it looks like the scans for viruses and for spyware still run sequentially?so it's not quite all-in-one. In addition to finding known viruses based on their signatures, ZAISS7 also employs heuristic algorithms to "scan files for virus-like behavior."

Two new features work to reduce the number of firewall pop-up queries. First, on installation the suite can pre-scan all files on the system and assign permissions for all those found in the SmartDefense Advisor database. The number of known good and bad programs in this database runs to many tens of thousand. In addition, for a while after installation it can run in "Learning Mode" to further reduce popups.

ZAISS 6.5 users with a current subscription will receive the update free. A new installation costs $69.95, reduced to $49.95 during an initial promotional period. The promotion's duration hasn't been spelled out as yet. This includes a year of updates, support and services?renewal costs $34.95/year. I'm still working on a full evaluation of ZAISS7, and I'll let you know how well the new features work as soon as I can.

Get PC Magazine's full reviews of security suite software in their Security Suite Product Guide.
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