ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2010

ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2010

Editors' Rating:
3
Good
Average User Rating:
3.6
out of 118 votes
See all user reviews

Quick Specs

Version:
9.3.014
File Size:
302.6MB
Date Added:
September 22, 2010
Price:
Free to try (30-day trial); $39.95 to buy (Buy it now)
Operating Systems:
Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7
Total Downloads:
87,564
Downloads Last Week:
54
Additional Requirements:
Not available

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.

Publisher's Description

More Products to Consider

All User Reviews
  • All Versions:

    3.6

    out of 118 votes

    • 5 star: 62
    • 4 star: 11
    • 3 star: 6
    • 2 star: 12
    • 1 star: 27
  • Current Version:

    2.1

    out of 9 votes

    • 5 star: 2
    • 4 star: 0
    • 3 star: 0
    • 2 star: 2
    • 1 star: 5
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

    Results 1-10 of 12

  • 5 stars

    "Why doesn't EVERYONE use ZoneAlarm?"

    April 14, 2014   |   By 51Perky

    Version: ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 120.104

    Pros

    I'm not the most literate computer user; but since installing the free ZoneAlarm years ago and later purchasing Extreme Security, I've NEVER experienced the issues I hear from virtually everyone else. I don't know why it isn't the security EVERYBODY uses. I don't ever want to be without it.

    Cons

    The only issue I ever had was downloading ZoneAlarm prior to DSL becoming available in 2013 in my rural area.

    Summary

    Just get it; you won't be sorry.

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

  • 5 stars

    "Long Time Partner"

    April 14, 2014   |   By chiefan

    Version: ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 120.104

    Pros

    have used Zone Alarm since the first time it became available as a firewall and have never left. I feel it is the best available and has not let me down yet. I have recommended it to everyone who uses a computer online. I added the virus protection when that was started as well and every new product that Check Point has offered since. I will not go online without it. The company has kept me up to date without my needing to check with them. I will continue to trust my computer to Zone Alarm to protect.

    Cons

    I do not have any negative comments, but do remember when it was free.

    Summary

    I will continue to trust my computer to Zone Alarm. Hasn't failed me yet!

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

  • 5 stars

    "The best software I've ever purchased."

    April 14, 2014   |   By Mikel1x

    Version: ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 120.104

    Pros

    Worry free protection

    Cons

    None, None at all.

    Summary

    There was a time when I would have weekly problems with just being on the internet. Extreme slowness, browser lockup and crashes galore. It finally got to the point where I could not get on the internet. I was using the protection provided by my cable company. Witch was a big name brand. Everyone I called said the same thing, I would have to wipe the drive and reinstall my operating system. But I had enough. I've done that in the past and each time I loose a little more. So I researched and found zone alarm. There where a many programs out there to protect your computer, but Zone alarm promised to do things the others didn't even mention. I had never heard of it, and quite frankly I thought that it sounded to good to be true. I took the chance and purchased Zone alarm. I installed it and watched it do it's thing, find 6 viruses, treat them and then tell me " your computer is protected ". After that I got right online. I was amazed! I have had Zone alarm for almost 5 years now and I have had 0 problems with any browsing, e-mail or crashing. I was shocked that day to learn of the hundreds if not thousands of attempts made each day to access my computer. Zone alarm was stopping them all and telling me who they where as well. It also controls and /or gives me control over the programs on my PC and their access to the internet. I have watch zone alarm get better with upgrades over the years and I look forward to the future because it gets better every time. Many things don't live up to the expectations created by the advertisers, Zone alarm exceeds them.

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

  • 5 stars

    "Stand & Deliver"

    April 14, 2014   |   By JJLJF

    Version: ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 120.104

    Pros

    Efficient & Reliable every time

    Cons

    Non that I can think of

    Summary

    When only the best will do, you simply cannot go past ZoneAlarm Extreme Security. When the rest hold you to ransom, ZoneAlarm just keeps getting better! After eighteen years using their products, never once has my computer system been compromised & made to stand & deliver. Thank you ZoneAlarm, great work.

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

  • 5 stars

    "The BEST there is on the Internet."

    April 13, 2014   |   By Diana935

    Version: ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 120.104

    Pros

    Does what it says it does.

    Cons

    Can't think of any.

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

  • 5 stars

    "Safe and secure, peace of mind."

    April 13, 2014   |   By keithmckernan

    Version: ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 120.104

    Pros

    I have used ZoneAlarm for many years. I have never had a serious virus infection or intrusion. Minor viruses, etc are detected rapidly and neutralized. It is easy to use. I am confident that my computers are protected and safe. I don't have to spend time worrying about the security of my systems.

    Cons

    Occasionally, ZoneAlarm will block all internet traffic for a brief period.

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

  • 5 stars

    "Short and Sweet"

    April 13, 2014   |   By EdwardRodman

    Version: ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 120.104

    Pros

    ZoneAlarm Extreme Security stops about 3-4 serious security breach attempts a month.

    Cons

    None found.

    Summary

    I'll keep this short and sweet.
    The free version is amazing. The top of the line, Extreme Security, is worth every every penny.
    I built my first computer in 1982. I have never had a virus, Trojan, or other malware and I don't intend to start now. There is no way I would be on the internet without this on all my computers.

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

  • 5 stars

    "Best Computer Security on the Planet!"

    April 12, 2014   |   By ozarkwild

    Version: ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 120.104

    Pros

    I have been a ZoneAlarm customer for about 15 years and have found the Extreme Security suite to be the finest computer security on the planet. I have never had any problems with ZoneAlarm products. Keep up the great work in developing future products!

    Cons

    No problems!!

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

  • 5 stars

    "Treated with respect"

    April 12, 2014   |   By geoffi45

    Version: ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 120.104

    Pros

    The company is very respectful of its customers and the products are constantly updated against the changing threats

    Cons

    Nothing really on current issue

    Summary

    I had bad experiences with both of the biggest companies in security software, (the ones pre-installed inside new computers, that it's very hard to get rid of).
    I wanted a company big enough to keep abreast of the fast-changing threats, and yet small enough to treat me as a human being. Zone Alarms was that company, and I have been a happy customer of theirs for well over a decade.

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

  • 5 stars

    "Fire It Up..."

    March 15, 2014   |   By Lacoonazz

    Version: ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 120.104

    Pros

    Zone Alarm is the best of the best... It kicks azz when it comes to protecting your computer... I have had the paid version now for about 6 months and it surpasses all others... I would suggest you try the free version then up grade it... I know you will love it as much as I do... Don't just protect it (ZONE ALARM) it...

    Cons

    Just make sure that you set it up... Follow the instructions...

    Summary

    Zone Alarm is truly the best on the market...

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

  • Results 1-10 of 12

Add Your Review

Quickly sign in with: or Login or create an account to post a review.
You are logged in as . Please submit your review for ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2010
Add Your Review

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited.
Click here to review our site terms of use.

Update your review

Since you've already submitted a review for this product, this submission will be added as an update to your original review.
Submit

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited.
Click here to review our site terms of use.

Previous Versions:

Close[x]

Submit a problem report for ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2010

Please describe the problem you have with this software. This information will be sent to our editors for review.

Problem:

The Download.com Installer isn't working as expected

The download link does not work

The software has a newer version

The product contains malicious software

Other

Description:

Please select a feedback type.

Please enter a description.

Submit Problem Report

Close[x]

Problem Report submitted

Thank you for submitting a problem report! The Download team is committed to providing you with accurate software information.

OK