ZoneAlarm is a very well respected security company, and for the longest time it was my primary choice for firewall protection. They’ve remained pretty strong in that area, but lately I’ve seen people converting to other security apps, such as the free Comodo firewall.
ZoneAlarm is trying to recapture the focus by launching a new app that could very well be their most security-aware offering yet. It’s called ZoneAlarm ForceField and among other things it is used to place your browser in a sandbox. While in the Beta stage it is free for testers, but it will cost $29.95 when released.
What’s all this talk about virtual surfing? From the sounds of it there isn’t much of a difference between this and other free alternatives that we’ve previously mentioned: BufferZone, LivePC, and Sandboxie. It creates a virtual space on your hard drive where your downloads are stored and executed from. When run from that location programs have access to a virtual Registry and virtual system files, and therefore cannot access anything on your PC. Downloading a virus onto your computer would therefor have very limited consequences to your system, and could easily be removed.
Here are some of the other features it offers:
- Bank & Shop security – Multiple layers of protection safeguard the information you enter online.
- Private Browser – Surf anywhere and type anything without leaving a single trace on your computer.
- Dangerous download detector – Frisks every file you download so you don’t get anything nasty on your computer.
- Advanced anti-phishing, anti-keylogger and anti-screengrabber technology – Flags fraudulent Web sites and blocks spyware trying to steal your identity.
ZoneAlarm ForceField will install a toolbar in your browser so that it can actively notify you of the current site’s security. One of my favorite features, however, are the detailed notifications that you receive (pictured above, click to enlarge them). They provide information such as when the site was registered, where it is located, and whether it is a known phishing or spyware distributor. The registration date can serve a vital purpose when identifying a phishing site, because a bank that’s been around for dozens of years will probably have a website that was created more than a few months ago. :)
Right now ZoneAlarm ForceField works on 32-bit Windows XP SP2 or Vista, and is only compatible with IE 6/7 and Firefox 2. There are currently several known bugs and third-party software compatibility issues that you should be aware of before installing the free ZoneAlarm ForceField Beta.
Head over to PC World if you want to see more than a dozen screenshots of ZoneAlarm ForceField.
Thanks for the heads up “s”!