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Recommendations for a replacement to ZoneAlarm?



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36 replies to this topic

#1 dbminter

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 12:28 AM

Does anyone have any firewall recommendations to replace ZoneAlarm? I've been playing with ZA 10's releases for the past several months and they just get worse and worse. ZoneAlarm 9 was the last working version, but, it's kind of old now and a firewall is a kind of application you'd want to keep up to date. So, any suggestions? Basically, I'm just looking for a 2 way firewall that will ask me if I want to allow an application's request to access the Internet, allow global denial or access, etc. Basically, just like ZoneAlarm does. :) Thanks!

#2 scuzzy

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 01:29 AM

Does anyone have any firewall recommendations to replace ZoneAlarm?


Sorry - I don't have any recommendations for a replacement. I've tried several of the free alternatives over the years (Kerio/Sunbelt, Emu/Online-Armor, Commodo, Core-Force), and at the moment I'm just living with Microsoft's own bundled firewall. I don't like any of the 3rd-party ones enough.

I liked Kerio back when it was Tiny Personal Firewall and I used Windows NT, but when it metamorphosed into Sunbelt and became way overblown for my liking I stopped. And Tiny PF doesn't seem to work properly on modern Windows variants.

One comment though: I take issue with this :

a firewall is a kind of application you'd want to keep up to date.

I don't think that's true - a firewall doesn't need anything like "updated signatures" unless you're depending on some embedded IDS feature, whereby the firewall is trying to watch for known attack traffic patterns.

So long as all you want is what you said :

I'm just looking for a 2 way firewall that will ask me if I want to allow an application's request to access the Internet, allow global denial or access, etc.

(in other words, just a basic packet-filtering firewall, maybe with proxies for some protocols, and with a nice user interface) ... then your existing firewall will do fine and there is no need to upgrade to new versions - always allowing that there are no security holes discovered in the programming logic of the damn thing of course :)

Tiny Personal Firewall did exactly what you ask, and did it very well, with a nice user interface, but that's not an option any more.

Oh well .. good luck. Let us know if you find one.

#3 dbminter

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 01:32 AM

I primary said what I did about wanting to keep an up to date firewall is from my experience with ZoneAlarm. Depending on the ages of the version of ZA and Windows, you may get a firewall with Windows that at best doesn't work and at worst causes Windows not to boot. For instance, though it was only a beta, Windows 8 did not boot with ZA 9 installed.

#4 scuzzy

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 01:36 AM

For instance, though it was only a beta, Windows 8 did not boot with ZA 9 installed.

Ugh .. worst-case scenario. That's what Tiny PF (Kerio) did to me when I tried it on Windows 2000. Now I understand why you're looking for a new one.

#5 laserfan

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 01:35 PM

I ditched ZoneAlarm for the free Comodo Internet Security Premium (free!) and it is an order of magnitude better than ZA. I say that having spent serious $$ on ZA.

#6 dbminter

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 03:38 PM

I tried the Comodo Firewall but I wasn't entirely sure I could trust it. I have some applications that I desire them not having access to the Internet. I opened some of these with Comodo running and didn't get a prompt asking me if I wanted them to access the net or not. So, I'll stick with ZA 9 until I can sticks no more. :)

#7 Mexxi

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 06:46 PM

You might want to take a look here:

http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-firewall.htm

I recently stumbled across an exhausting firewall test and Zonealarm was ranked at the bottom, since it barely withstood half of the attacks thrown at it. Personally, I use Agnitum Outpost Firewall for which there's also a free version. This one ranked also pretty high up, managing to withstand around 98% of all attacks. Just my 2 ct.

#8 dbminter

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 12:47 AM

I came across Agnitum in my Google for the search terms free firewall. I'll give it a throw whenever. :)

#9 eSkRo

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 01:21 AM

I tried the Comodo Firewall but I wasn't entirely sure I could trust it. I have some applications that I desire them not having access to the Internet. I opened some of these with Comodo running and didn't get a prompt asking me if I wanted them to access the net or not


thats because you need to set COMODO's FIREWALL SECURITY LEVEL to --> CUSTOM POLICY

once you do that, each app that tries to access the internet
will make COMODO popup a message saying ALLOW or DENY...

i'Ve been using COMODO for all my life and never had an issue
with it not asking me for an app to access or not the internet...

i always see the message pop up...

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you can now enjoy comodo :)

Edited by eSkRo, 14 February 2012 - 01:22 AM.

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#10 dbminter

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 01:33 AM

I did see that Custom Policy when I was testing it out, but, I didn't think it would do as you said it would. :) I may give Comodo a 2nd throw and see.

#11 eSkRo

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 01:44 AM

you should as i confirm you thats what it does,
it ensures to ask the user if an app should access the INTERNET or not...

its flawless

Edited by eSkRo, 14 February 2012 - 01:45 AM.

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#12 dbminter

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 02:08 AM

Have you tried their Internet Security application? I'm also looking to replace my antivirus since I'd be dumping ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite.

#13 eSkRo

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 02:27 AM

yes, thats exactly what i use, works mint for me
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#14 dbminter

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 02:37 AM

In a way, I kind of wonder why I'm bothering about future Windows versions. I doubt I'll be getting and using Windows 8. It's made up too much like a tablet, too much with touchscreens in mind, and they're taking out the Start button. How else are apps going to be executed in Windows 8 without a centralized location for shortcuts? Plus, Windows 8 would be following the Star Trek movie curse, where every alternate versions stinks. Vista stank. Windows 7 was great. So, Windows 8? It's already starting out on bad footing and I doubt it will get anywhere near a usable Windows.

#15 eSkRo

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 03:35 AM

yeah, im afraid too,,,

but everything goes tablet these days...

its an inconvenient reality,,

Edited by eSkRo, 14 February 2012 - 03:35 AM.

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#16 eSkRo

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 01:20 AM

so, all good now?
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#17 dbminter

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 01:25 AM

I still want to try out Comodo Internet Security Suite. I haven't yet because I got side tracked by another project that demanded my attention for some time. As part of my instructions for a new computer, I take periodic disk images of the Windows drive so I restore at different points to test things or if I need to restore back that far. I hadn't backed up those backups to DVD's yet. It's been about 7 months and I let it linger too long. One of the backups that had verified back around 07-11-2011 no longer verified anymore, so, it was useless and not backed up. Thankfully, it looks like I'll only lost the one backup near the beginning. Not as bad a loss as I experienced with True Image v11 and defragging the drive. When defragged, the image files from that software would become useless. They would not complete verifies anymore like they had and were probably useless to try and restore from, though I never tested. I had the backups on DVD's, though, so, I just copied them back over from the DVD's to the USB HD.

#18 dbminter

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 05:59 PM

Sorry, but, I still don't trust Comodo. I installed the Internet Security Suite and even with the Defense level set at Custom Policy, the firewall never once asked me if it should block connections trying to access the Internet. I tested 3 applications that I know try to access the Internet, 2 that I normally allow and 1 I don't. All 3 went through without ever prompting me to ask if they should. They may be applications on a trusted list, but, I don't want trusted lists pre-installed by any firewall software. I want to set my own settings. ZoneAlarm 9 does ask me if these connections should be allowed. That's what I want and like. I'm not that interested in its ability to block incoming connections. Mostly, I'm concerned with blocking some applications that I don't want accessing the Internet.

#19 dbminter

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 10:15 PM

Discovered a couple more reasons not to use Comodo. You can't just install an AV software. You have to install the suite which includes a firewall. It can be installed along side of ZoneAlarm, but, you CAN'T uninstall ZA if you need to with Comodo installed. Plus, with Comodo installed, Alcohol 52% stops working. It won't load the drivers necessary for virtual drive emulation. Now, ZA 10 does the same thing, which can be fixed by disabling the ZoneAlarm Service. So, I'd guess you can do something similar with Comodo, but, I don't know what service that would be to disable.

#20 eSkRo

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 09:45 PM

i never use alcohol 52%...
i dont like the SPTD driver it installs on PC's..
i use Virtual Clone drive!!
http://forums.comodo.com/defense-sandbox-help-cis/defense-ca...745.0.html;msg443849#msg443849

and its not about defense + dbminter!
i said, set COMODO's FIREWALL SECURITY LEVEL to --> CUSTOM POLICY

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not DEFENSE+'s policy....
and actually, i even disable DEFENSE+ completely..
too much windows pop up when its on :P

ive been using COMODO for like ALL my life,
it never bugged on me and it always asked which apps can or can not access the web.

lets try this, send me the app that comodo failed to block it from accessing the web.

Edited by eSkRo, 18 February 2012 - 10:05 PM.

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