Free Anti-virus Programs
Fortunately, the good guys on the side of cybersecurity are getting smarter too and, as of 2021, there are hundreds of antivirus programs available.
ZoneAlarm is one of the most popular of these, with somewhere around 100 million users today. It has a few different versions offering different features.
In this post, though, we want to focus on the version everyone can - in theory - appreciate, and that's the free version!
So, is ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus any good?
With our review, we're going to take a look at the software's ins-and-outs in an effort to answer just that.
Read on to learn whether or not ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus provides the robust safety your computer needs in 2021 and beyond.
ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus is developed by Zone Labs, a company that has been in the cybersecurity field for a couple of decades at this point and has been owned by American-Israeli firm Check Point since 2004.
This program operates on Windows 10, 8, and 7, and utilizes the famous, award-winning Kaspersky antivirus software.The main features available in the free version are:
Once you open this executable the software will download, and then you'll go through a standard installation process. If you have a bit of a spotty Internet connection, you may have to restart it several times.
During installation, the program will download virus signatures so that it knows what to look out for.
Upon opening the program, the first thing you might notice about ZoneAlarm is that it looks a bit old, seeming more like something you'd use on your computer back in the mid-2000s, not in 2021. That being said, ZoneAlarm's user interface is intuitive and easy to navigate, which is the most important thing.
On the default window, you'll see three sections: Antivirus, Firewall, and Identity and Data.
You can then click "More Details" under each section to see what's going on.
Overall, it's very simple to use. You can scan at any time, though scans run automatically, too. Of course, you can modify how often regular scans are performed, and enabling "game mode" will keep these from showing up while you're playing a game.
The free version of ZoneAlarm consists of two things: antivirus software and a firewall.
It's simple. People might describe that as "barebones" but, at the end of the day, an antivirus to block malware and a firewall to protect your local network are the main pillars of computer security.
As the saying goes," If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
Of course, you also get that Google Chrome extension which promises to protect you from phishing attempts.
As already mentioned, ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus comes with a "game mode," too. You can activate this while playing games - basically, you won't get annoying popups notifications that could put a damper on your fun time.
As far as free antivirus programs go, ZoneAlarm is fairly "middle of the road." It does lack some features you may find in other pieces of free-to-use software.
For instance, it doesn't come with a password manager or file shredder, nor does it offer real-time cloud-based protection. ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus also lacks e-mail monitoring - if an e-mail has a malicious attachment, it should still block it when you open this file, however.
One thing that seems like a glaring oversight is that there is no custom scan option. In other words, every time you press "Scan" the entire computer is scanned, not just the area you think may have a problem. This is a good thing for people who don't have a great understanding of their system, but potentially irritating for people who do.
Furthermore, ZoneAlarm doesn't include its own VPN.
Unfortunately, ZoneAlarm has itself not been lab-tested. However, Kaspersky's antivirus software - which is what you're getting - has.
So, how does Kaspersky stack up against the competition?
For years, Kaspersky been consistently rated a top-quality antivirus product.
At least four separate tests from prominent, independent test labs such as AV-Test and AV-Comparatives have shown it has over a 99% success rate at intercepting various forms of malware.
Additionally, AV-Comparatives showed that Kaspersky didn't raise any false alarms, which makes that 99% detection rate even more impressive.
We hope that, in the future, a large testing lab will do a thorough evaluation of ZoneAlarm's effectiveness.
Before we announce our final verdict, let's sum ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus up with some pros and cons.
1. It's free to use
2. Uses Kaspersky antivirus, which has been shown to be incredibly effective
3. Includes a firewall, which isn't the case with all free antivirus software
4. Great zero-day threat protection
5. Puts emphasis on identity protection, offering a free year of credit monitoring through parent company Case Point
6. Gamer mode is nice to avoid irritating notifications every so often
1. Although Kaspersky has been tested, an independent testing lab really needs to give ZoneAlarm a try so we can have a clearer picture of its effectiveness
2. Fairly average as far as free antivirus programs go - there are programs that have more features
3. UI - while easy to navigate - is a bit outdated and could use some touching up
4. Only available on recent iterations of Windows
ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus is a good program that will provide your computer with a reasonable degree of protection. As far as free antivirus software goes, ZoneAlarm is a good choice with a lot of different features, though it does seem to be lacking some important ones.
In our opinion, its main selling point (a bit of an oxymoron since it's free, but you get the gist) is that it uses Kaspersky antivirus, which has a very high rate of detecting and removing malware. Therefore, you can rest assured that you're getting solid protection and we would certainly recommend it to give you some peace of mind.
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