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ZoneAlarm Security Suite

One of the hazards of writing deadline-driven reviews is that with longer experience, a product sometimes surpasses — or falls short — of the conclusions drawn in the heat of the moment. Occasionally after months of real-world use of products, dialog with vendors, and your feedback, a product needs a second look. In that spirit, this is an update to my September review of ZoneAlarm Security Suite 6.0.

I continue to have a high regard for ZoneAlarm, enough so that I still rely on it for a computer I use to visit some of the nastier, malware-infected destinations on the Internet. At the same time, a couple of weaknesses of ZoneAlarm still need to be better addressed by the software publisher.

My biggest concern is that downloading antispyware files has been unreliable, even though downloading antivirus updates has worked well. A ZoneAlarm representative suggested that I download a free upgrade that addressed this issue. I did so. Unfortunately, while one antispyware update succeeded after the upgrade, five did not. On the plus side, the successful antispyware download found two spyware programs. My instinct was that I had spyware on my system, but finding it on my own had been elusive.

The user interface for the ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite is clean, but it can be hard to find some information.

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A secondary but significant concern involves the somewhat confusing user interface. For example, the Overview page of the program accurately said that several email attachments had been quarantined. I could find some details about these attachments on the Alerts & Logs page. But while that page is helpful, it contains much other information that’s a challenge to wade through. It continues to frustrate me that the Quarantine tab on the Anti-virus/Anti-spyware page gives no clue about quarantined email attachments.

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