ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2010

ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2010

Download Editors' Rating:
3
Good
Average User Rating:
3.6
out of 118 votes

Quick Specs

  • Version:
    9.3.014
  • Total Downloads:
    87,780
  • Date Added:
    Sep. 22, 2010
  • Price:
    Free to try (30-day trial); $39.95 to buy (Buy it now)
  • File Size:
    3.25MB
  • Downloads Last Week:
    45
  • Platform:
    Windows

Editors' Review

+

Best known for its ZoneAlarm firewall, Check Point Software also publishes two full-featured security suites. ZoneAlarm Internet Security 2010 gives users a robust firewall, antivirus and antispyware, and parental control package for $49.95, while ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2010 adds Web browsing protection, system tune-up tools, backup options, and antiphishing technology for three computers, which will set you back $69.95. The suite is effective, although not necessarily the best all around.

ZoneAlarm's well-known firewall is included, and after spending half a day with it on a Windows 7 computer we didn't notice any of the usability problems that have notoriously plagued it. That doesn't mean they don't exist, of course, but they weren't experienced on the latest version during a short period of testing.

ZoneAlarm is claiming faster performance in its antivirus and antispyware scans because it has unified them this year, something that most of its competitors did awhile back. The company says that users should expect scans to be 80 to 90 percent faster than in previous versions. In our tests, detailed below, we found that Extreme Security generally held its own against the current competition, but occasionally did worse.

Installation
ZoneAlarm is one of the most polite programs we've installed in a while, not only giving users choices, but explaining what happens if they opt for the automated steps. ZoneAlarm lets you toggle the antivirus component of its program, recognizing that some people may only want the firewall, browser, and system tools. ZoneAlarm's firewall keeps programs honest by making sure that they only do what you want them to during installation.

You can opt out of installing a desktop icon, and also opt out of contributing to ZoneAlarm's behavioral analysis engine, and like most of the high-end security suites that offers such detection, opting out of contributing the anonymous data does not stop the engine from protecting you. Behavioral detection looks beyond virus definitions, and focuses on whether a program is behaving badly or unusually.


The installation requires a reboot, which is annoying, and currently the program will warn users if they're installing on a Windows 7 release candidate operating system that the program hasn't been perfected for Windows 7. Check Point says that this won't occur by the time consumers get their final versions of Windows 7 during the third week of October 2009. However, it doesn't demand that you uninstall any previously installed antivirus solutions--not that we recommend running more than one at a time.

Interface and features
Even from a quick glance, Extreme Security's interface struggles to present all that the program offers in an orderly and comprehensible design. The center of the main window contains icons and links to Firewall Security, Anti-virus/Anti-spyware, and Browser Security. These will appear green if they are up-to-date, and red if there are problems that need to be addressed.

However, clicking on one only opens up a pop-up window with detection counters and links to adjust settings. To get direct access to options and settings, you have to use the text links on left nav. When you click on the Firewall link, for example, the main window will show the basic firewall controls, and then beneath the left-nav text link will appear links to more firewall-controlling options. It's hardly a simple design, let alone elegant.

The main window also hides one of the key features of a security suite--the scan. You can initiate a scan from the main window, but it's secreted at the bottom left corner of the window, not an easy place to find it. Other features that are hidden in the bottom left corner include gaming mode, which deactivates pop-ups and queries when gaming or watching videos, checking for updates, and entering in your license key. It's an incongruous collection of features, and they're hard to see because they only appear as text links--they look to be about 10-point.


There's a right nav as well, which contains links to ancillary features. Four options are available here: encrypted online backup, system tools, identity theft protections, and hard-drive encryption. It's odd that these are more prominent core features such as scanning and a nonintrusive gaming mode, and we have to question whether it suits users' needs best.

The layout makes it harder than it should to access them, but ZoneAlarm Extreme Security sports a robust selection of features. The firewall is highly customizable, including toggling incoming and outgoing DHCP, IGMP, and UDP ports, among others. There's an antivirus scan scheduler and four levels of scans including Quick, Normal, Deep, and Ultra Deep--Deep won't scan archives by default, but Ultra Deep will.

It also contains multiple features that its slimmer sibling ZoneAlarm Internet Security 2010 lacks, including access to a free add-on for laptop hard-drive encryption, keylogger protection, browser-based safeguards, and more antiphishing options. Other sweeteners used to make Extreme Security more attractive include an identity protection module to encrypt personal information and alert you when it leaves your computer--as well as helping you set up an eBay fraud report, if you're an eBay user. These all appeared to work well enough, but suffered from the same interface design that plague the major features. There's also an outbound e-mail alert in case your account gets hacked, parental controls, and a browser toolbar for Firefox and Internet Explorer.

Unfortunately, the browser protections only work in those two browsers. The toolbar comes with a private browsing option, but it's not entirely clear how it's different from the ones that already come with the host browser. ZoneAlarm's trial period is shorter by half than its competitors, but if you're looking for brand-name protection, ZoneAlarm isn't a bad place to start.

Boot time (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Note: Standard computer scores are from tests performed on systems before the software package is installed to provide a comparison for test results.

Shutdown time (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Note: Standard computer scores are from tests performed on systems before the software package is installed to provide a comparison for test results.

Scan time (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
One test  

Office performance (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Average  
Note: Standard computer scores are from tests performed on systems before the software package is installed to provide a comparison for test results.

iTunes decoding (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Average  
Note: Standard computer scores are from tests performed on systems before the software package is installed to provide a comparison for test results.

Media multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Note: Standard computer scores are from tests performed on systems before the software package is installed to provide a comparison for test results.

Cinebench
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Note: Standard computer scores are from tests performed on systems before the software package is installed to provide a comparison for test results.

Performance
ZoneAlarm's publisher, CheckPoint, sources its virus detection engine from Kaspersky, but adds its own antispyware detection. In terms of threat detection and removal efficacy, independent data isn't available yet for the 2010 version. According to virus and malware detection results at AV-Test.org, ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2009 scored better than average but not in the upper percentiles on malware detection, removal, response times, and only average on false positives.

In my empirical testing of scan times, I noticed that the quick scan was extremely fast--it took less than 30 seconds. The full scan was fairly quick, too, taking about 20 minutes. The two deep scans that are available scan all data on the computer including archives, and appropriately they both took upward of 90 minutes.

CNET Labs' benchmarks revealed that ZoneAlarm lags behind many of its competitors in most of our tests. ZoneAlarm Security Suite 2010 added more than 14 seconds to the boot time of the test computer, while ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2010 added more than 19 seconds. The impact of the programs on shutdown times was less dramatic in both cases, with the Security Suite adding just over four seconds and Extreme Security adding just over two seconds.

In our basic scan test, Security Suite was only 20 seconds slower than the fastest engine we tested, Kaspersky Internet Security 2010. Extreme Security clocked in at 1,261 seconds--481 seconds slower than KIS. Security Suite notched 555 seconds on the Microsoft Office test and Extreme Security hit 576 seconds, compared to the baseline of 483 seconds. The iTunes decoding test showcased a small range of scores, between 194 and 197 seconds compared to the baseline of 187. Security Suite 2010 scored 195 seconds, and Extreme Security finished in 196 seconds, but Extreme Security was 34 seconds faster than Security Suite in the media multitasking test. Our Cinebench test, where higher scores are better, showed Security Suite at 4180 and Extreme Security at 4184, compared to the baseline of 4217.

Support
The poor design problems that plague the features of ZoneAlarm also befall its support access. Clicking the Help link in the bottom-left corner of the program window only opens a locally based help system. If you go through the Product Info link below the Overview nav option, there's a link under Support and Update Information that should take you to the Check Point Web site, but the link wasn't working in our version.


From the Web site, you can access Live Chat technical support during daytime hours, the support center knowledge base, user forums, and FAQ. A premium support service costs an additional $49.95 that allows a technician to remotely fix your PC.

Conclusion
There's a lot that people can get out of ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2010, from its competent antivirus and firewall systems to ancillary system tools to an installation that is quite user-friendly. However, usability flaws create an unnecessarily steep learning curve, the program has a lot of room to improve on its performance, and average users will probably find the support system frustrating to access. Give ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2010 a pass unless you're a ZoneAlarm fan.

 
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Publisher's Description

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User Reviews
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  • Current Version

    2.1

    out of 9 votes

    • 5 star 2
    • 4 star 0
    • 3 star 0
    • 2 star 2
    • 1 star 5
  • All Versions

    3.6

    out of 118 votes

    • 5 star 62
    • 4 star 11
    • 3 star 6
    • 2 star 12
    • 1 star 27
  • My rating

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1–9 of 9

5 stars

"ZoneAlarm Extreme is one of the best!"

May 02, 2011  |  By wildcat569

 |  Version: ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2010 9.3.014

Pros

Fast, not resource intensive and combined with Windows 7, it does the job flawlessly! I love the browser add-on and use it in both I.E. 8 and Firefox!

Cons

None that I can think of!

Summary

For the money, I would not trade it for anything else! It does the job superbly and I should know being in the IT field myself!

Updated on May 3, 2011

For those who are having issues, the only response that I can offer is that you are inexperienced and don't really have a clue what you are doing. I have been using ZoneAlarm products since they first appeared and I have seen nothing but improvements year after year as I continue my upgrades with them.

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1 stars

"Absolute nightmare-had to wipe HD and reload everything"

March 12, 2011  |  By MacTavish176

 |  Version: ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2010 9.3.014

Pros

I trusted CNET Tracker when it said there was an update. I was using free version which this is not. After installing with default settings I couldn't get on internet no matter how I tweaked settings. Uninstalled & still couldn't get on.

Cons

Wouldn't allow me to connect to Internet.

Summary

I wouldn't pay to own this nightmare - Went back to free version after wiping HD and reloading XP and no problems.

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1 stars

"Prepare for PC panic!!"

March 10, 2011  |  By seth379

 |  Version: ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2010 9.3.014

Pros

Never got to find out.

Cons

An absolute nightmare on Windows 7, made start up completion impossible. After about 7 force restarts to try to fix the start-up problem, I just removed the program in "safe mode". I'm not sure if it's left any junk behind on my PC yet, hope not.

Summary

Don't disregard the reviews, this program is indeed "a virus in itself".

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2 stars

"i like it..."

February 26, 2011  |  By amjad1956

 |  Version: ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2010 9.3.014

Pros

i like it but i prefer old version

Cons

i like it but i prefer old version

Summary

i like it but i prefer old version

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1 stars

"Nightmare to uninstall"

December 14, 2010  |  By beercow

 |  Version: ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2010 9.3.014

Pros

Don't know. Uninstalled right away. Cnet tech tracker said there was a update for Zonealarm. I was using ZA free. When I seen it was a trial version I tried to uninstall it.

Cons

When I went to uninstall it it messed up my computer. I couldn't connect to the internet and my sound driver crashed. The only way I got it out of my system was to do a system restore.

Summary

I don't know if the program is good or not. The only thing I know it didn't uninstall correctly and made a mess of my system. Use caution when downloading this program.

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2 stars

"Good but if you need support run away from Zone Alarm"

December 05, 2010  |  By Neils64

 |  Version: ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2010 9.3.014

Pros

I was running ZA Internet Security 9.3. Full system scans are much faster than Norton 360 4.0. I think the interface is better than Norton's too but that might be due to the fact that I have been using ZA for years.

Cons

Every new major ver had bugs requiring to go back to older ver. Got infected 3x using ZA Does not work with older hardware & drivers - HP Laserjet 3330. Rudest & worst support. No manager will ever call back. Forum posts are deleted if negative.

Summary

I was a ZA customer for 5 + years and wanted to continue to use their product as I like the interface and their firewall is supposed to be the best. But every new major version (all of version 8, 9.0, 9.1) was plagued with bugs requiring you to go back to an older, more stable version. If you need further proof, go to their forum and read the threads.
I had problems with compatibility using anything newer than ZA 7.3 with my HP LaserJet 3330's All in One Printer driver and HP software. Anything newer than 7.3 didn't work. ZA's answer was to buy a new printer. They didn't review any of logs and data they requested as their was no change in trouble ticket status for 3 + years. ZA has the rudest and most incompetent support that I have encountered. Most of the techs find creative ways not to help you. There is no way to escalate the issue as no supervisor or software engineer ever called me back in the 3 + years on this ongoing issue. You can use ZA's forum for help and George is a great resource but if you post anything negative about ZA, their product or support, your posts and/or threads are deleted.
Again, I was forced to run 7.3 for so long I got various virus infections even though all of my antivirus and antispam definitions were up to date. ZA tech support claimed that the 7.x antivirus engine was obsolete even though they distributed regular updates as and when they did for their current release. Go figure????
Now why did I stay with ZA for long if I was having problems? Because all of the major players - Norton, McAfee were reported to be resource hogs. Panda, Comodo and Trend Micro and all of the free solution always had me worried about getting infected. So although I briefly tried or researched other solutions, I figure it was better to be in bed with the devil you know vs. the one you don't.
After my last support chat, I vowed to really try another product. I am currently trying Norton 360 V4.0. !st, I got it to work with my HP LaserJet 3330 and it's software and rivers with only a few modifications. Norton's Antivirus and AntiSpam found some stuff that ZA had not. I have 3 larger harddrives in this machine and Norton's full scan is much, much slower than ZA. With Norton's it makes my SCSI drives sound like chainsaws as it scan them. I hate the Norton Interface as I find it non informative and cumbersome. This maybe a learning curve as I am new to it but I like the interface on ZA, Comodo, etc. much better. Every now and then I find a browser delay that I must attribute to Norton. Long story short, I am going to stay with Norton because I feel my PC is secure and manageable
For all of you who read this review and are still considering ZA, if you are they type to ever need support, run away from ZA. If you are the type that has up to date equipment and drivers and like to tweak things, try Kaspersky. That is who I am trying if Norton doesn't work out.

The support staff is rude, incompetent and finds creative ways/reasons to not help you. No escalation procedure so no supervisor ever calls you back. If you are the type that ever needs support, run away from this product. In fact, just buy something else regardless.

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1 stars

"STAY AWAY FROM THIS CRAP! IT IS VIRUS ITSELF!"

November 28, 2010  |  By beaubilly

 |  Version: ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2010 9.3.014

Pros

NONE AT ALL!

Cons

Slows down PC. Does not automatically update. Unreliable. Cannot be terminated. If you do so, your PC collapses. Even if you uninstall it, PC collapses. It is virus itself.
If your PC is precious to you, STAY AWAY from this junk!

Summary

ZoneAlarm used to be very good 2-3 years ago. I had a high opinion about it. Whenever I tried the trial version of it, I had to re-install my PC. Once out of a sudden, I could not open up my PC with no reason. I had to reinstall the PC many times. Without this piece of crap, your PC will be even safer! ZoneAlarm (or CheckPoint) produces out-of-date junks and will be swept of the market soon, I think. Do not WASTE your hard-earned bucks.

Updated on Nov 28, 2010

ZoneAlarm (or CheckPoint) produces out-of-date junks and will be swept out of the market soon, I think.

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5 stars

"good product"

November 22, 2010  |  By outsidaz

 |  Version: ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2010 9.3.014

Pros

overall good protection so far great no leaks in test

Cons

slow computer down a little

Summary

good product better protection then mcafee and better options

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1 stars

"Latest is 9.3.037 - this is out-of-date"

September 22, 2010  |  By DesertJerry

 |  Version: ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2010 9.3.014

Pros

out-of-date

Cons

out-of-date

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Full Specifications

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General
Publisher ZoneAlarm
Publisher web site http://www.zonealarm.com/
Release Date September 22, 2010
Date Added September 22, 2010
Version 9.3.014
Category
Category Security Software
Subcategory Anti-Spyware
Operating Systems
Operating Systems Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows, Windows Vista, Windows 7
Additional Requirements None
Download Information
File Size 3.25MB
File Name ZASPSetupWeb_133_052_000.exe
Popularity
Total Downloads 87,780
Downloads Last Week 45
Pricing
License Model Free to try
Limitations 30-day trial
Price $39.95

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