All About Cookies is an independent, advertising-supported website. Some of the offers that appear on this site are from third-party advertisers from which All About Cookies receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear).
All About Cookies does not include all financial or credit offers that might be available to consumers nor do we include all companies or all available products. Information is accurate as of the publishing date and has not been provided or endorsed by the advertiser.
The All About Cookies editorial team strives to provide accurate, in-depth information and reviews to help you, our reader, make online privacy decisions with confidence. Here's what you can expect from us:
- All About Cookies makes money when you click the links on our site to some of the products and offers that we mention. These partnerships do not influence our opinions or recommendations. Read more about how we make money.
- Partners are not able to review or request changes to our content except for compliance reasons.
- We aim to make sure everything on our site is up-to-date and accurate as of the publishing date, but we cannot guarantee we haven't missed something. It's your responsibility to double-check all information before making any decision. If you spot something that looks wrong, please let us know.
In an era when malware, computer viruses, and cyber threats lurk in every digital corner, a robust antivirus is not just a luxury; it's a necessity. ZoneAlarm Antivirus claims its spot in the crowded cybersecurity market by offering an impressive firewall at competitive prices.
However, if your priorities lie with phishing and malware protection, be sure to read on, as we highlight some of ZoneAlarm’s significant downfalls in this area.
Who is ZoneAlarm best for?
ZoneAlarm test results
Our ZoneAlarm experience
ZoneAlarm customer support
Bottom line: Is ZoneAlarm good?
ZoneAlarm review at a glance
|# of devices protected||1-50|
|Malware scans||Manual and scheduled|
|Learn more||Get ZoneAlarm|
Who is ZoneAlarm best for?
- Recommended for individuals and small business owners that need a strong firewall for their PC.
ZoneAlarm is best suited to individuals and small to medium-sized businesses seeking a comprehensive and cost-effective security solution. It’s a superb choice for those who want more than just antivirus protection. It comes with a variety of additional features like phishing protection and a robust firewall.
ZoneAlarm offers flexible pricing based on your specific needs and the number of covered devices. This makes it attractive for growing businesses or tech-savvy households with multiple devices requiring protection. With the ability to cover anywhere from a single device to up to 50, you're not boxed into a one-size-fits-all solution.
ZoneAlarm pros and cons
- Affordable pricing options
- Robust phishing protection
- Versatile firewall settings
- No parental controls
- Limited device compatibility
When it comes to protecting your digital fortress, ZoneAlarm offers some decent features catering to a range of cybersecurity needs. Due to its robust firewall, it's more than just your average antivirus. While it checks off many essential boxes, ZoneAlarm falls short in areas like phishing and malware protection, parental controls, and device optimization features.
Malware and antivirus scan
ZoneAlarm offers a comprehensive suite of scanning options, ranging from manual to scheduled scans. This feature set lets you decide when and how to secure your device. The user interface is well-designed, ensuring easy navigation, whether running quick scans or full, in-depth analyses.
During our testing, the antivirus software consistently indicated when scans were underway and when they concluded, eliminating any guesswork. The moment it identifies a suspicious or potentially harmful file, the software autonomously relocates it to a secure quarantine zone. This ensures not just the safety of your device but also delivers a truly seamless and worry-free user experience.
While this sounds good, in practice, the software could not detect the harmful file we downloaded. However, it was able to block a “drive-by malware” download. Due to this, we cannot recommend ZoneAlarm as a reliable malware prevention and removal software.
ZoneAlarm’s anti-phishing protection capabilities are automatically enabled upon installation, leaving no extra steps on your part. Despite this, it was not able to prevent a harmful page in our testing, and we could not get it to flag anything despite numerous attempts.
The software does offer a straightforward way to whitelist websites you regularly visit. This is available under the Exceptions tab in the antivirus settings, adding another layer of customization and security.
ZoneAlarm’s firewall protection is robust, intuitive, and packs a punch in efficacy. Our tests found that the firewall was particularly vigilant in monitoring network-related activities. It issued timely alerts that allowed us the autonomy to either permit or block specific actions.
The alerting mechanism is lucid and provides clear-cut options, leaving no room for ambiguity. This makes it easier for both tech-savvy users and novices to make informed decisions about network activities and permissions.
When it comes to real-time protection, ZoneAlarm has you covered across a multitude of fronts, be it web browsing, email filtering, or downloads. Although it does not offer an ad-blocker or specialized browser extension to flag unsafe search engine outcomes, its web protection features are automatically switched on. This active state is vividly indicated with a green icon, giving you immediate and ongoing assurance that you are browsing under the umbrella of robust real-time protection.
ZoneAlarm offers industry-standard ransomware protection that operates discreetly in the background. During our rigorous testing period, the software demonstrated adeptness at identifying files that could be potential ransomware threats. Although we didn't encounter any specific ransomware attacks, the software's proactive nature assures it is ever-ready to tackle such threats head-on.
ZoneAlarm also caters to anti-fraud protection. Features like Anti-Keylogger and Identity Protection are designed to ward off an array of cyber threats like identity theft and fraudulent transactions. With an interface that's tailored for accessibility, you don't need to be a tech guru to activate and manage this layer of digital security.
Bonus features reimagined
While ZoneAlarm may not dazzle with bells and whistles like device optimization or a file shredder, it compensates by delivering a focused, no-nonsense cybersecurity suite at a wallet-friendly price point.
Enhanced Threat Emulation
Integrated within the Web Secure extension for Chrome, Edge, and Firefox, this feature scrutinizes every download and email attachment in a secure, virtual sandbox in the cloud, providing an added layer of defense against elusive zero-day attacks.
Advanced Threat Extraction
Also included in the Web Secure extension for Chrome, Edge, and Firefox, Threat Extraction eliminates potential hazards from email attachments and web downloads, offering you a cleaner, safer digital experience.
Agile real-time security updates
ZoneAlarm stays ever-vigilant against emerging threats by delivering timely security updates, courtesy of its real-time DefenseNet, ensuring your digital realm is always under the watchful eye of updated security protocols.
ZoneAlarm test results
When it comes to antivirus software, the proof is always in the pudding—or, in this case, the EICAR tests. EICAR stands for the European Institute for Computer Antivirus Research. EICAR provides users with downloadable standardized test files, allowing them to evaluate how well antivirus software works. Let's dive into how ZoneAlarm fared in the EICAR tests and other third-party evaluations to give you a comprehensive idea of its capabilities.
ZoneAlarm had a mixed performance in our EICAR tests. It excelled at detecting potentially unwanted applications but fell short in malware and phishing detection. While it's commendable that ZoneAlarm effectively blocks unwanted apps, the failure to detect some key security threats like malware and phishing sites is a concern.
ZoneAlarm EICAR test results
|Potentially unwanted apps (PUAs) detection||Pass|
ZoneAlarm third-party test results
To supplement our testing, we also examined third-party evaluations, specifically from AV-TEST, a highly respected antivirus testing organization. The following data pertains to the ZoneAlarm consumer version tests, not business or enterprise versions.
ZoneAlarm AV-TEST results
ZoneAlarm scored well in protection and usability but lagged a bit in performance. There were no false positives noted in the third-party testing. It's worth mentioning that these scores might be a bit dated, given that the last test was in 2019.
Based on our own testing and third-party evaluations, it appears that ZoneAlarm performs well in potentially unwanted apps (PUAs) detection. However, there are some concerns with its phishing detection capabilities, malware detection, and overall performance. Despite its strong PUA detection, firewall protection, and usability, we would be hesitant to recommend using ZoneAlarm. If you were to use it, it's important to be aware of its limitations in detecting phishing attempts and potential malware threats. Overall, while not perfect, ZoneAlarm remains a reliable option for protecting your system from some online threats.
Our ZoneAlarm experience
We tested ZoneAlarm on a Windows computer, and the experience was a mixed bag. Installation took around 10 minutes and was relatively hassle-free, requiring no keycode or intricate setup. The user interface is clean and straightforward, making it easy to navigate through essential features like virus scanning, firewall, and quarantine. Web protection is enabled by default, and the software provides a clear signal when scans are running or complete.
Despite its user-friendly interface, ZoneAlarm's performance left room for improvement. Scans were efficient, but the software failed to detect any malware on our test machine. It also failed to flag any phishing attempts during our review. This, coupled with its inconsistent performance in EICAR and third-party tests, raises questions about its reliability.
ZoneAlarm primarily focuses on Windows platforms, supporting Windows 11, 10, and 7. For those looking for mobile protection, the company offers a specialized solution—ZoneAlarm Extreme Security NextGen—that extends its security features to Android and iOS phones. However, Mac users will have to look elsewhere, as ZoneAlarm does not offer macOS compatibility. There is also a Web Secure extension available for added web security.
ZoneAlarm customer support
ZoneAlarm has a fairly straightforward approach to customer service. The brand offers online tutorials and guides, which are well-written and easy to follow. If you need more personalized assistance, you can reach out to their customer service via live chat, email, or a web form.
While some antivirus services require a premium subscription for enhanced customer support, ZoneAlarm doesn't appear to have such limitations; all users seem to have equal access to support options. Unfortunately, we could not find any phone support. This may be a drawback for users who prefer to speak with another person directly. Based on our experience, the customer service team was efficient, providing helpful and easy-to-understand answers in a timely manner.
ZoneAlarm's pricing is reasonable compared to other antivirus programs, especially considering the number of devices you can protect with the Pro and Extreme Security NextGen plans. However, unlike some other options, ZoneAlarm does not offer VPN services or parental controls, which may detract from value, depending on your needs. While not the cheapest option, the feature set, particularly real-time and ransomware protection, could make the higher tiers worth the investment for some users.
We would highly recommend the higher tier plans for business owners or professionals with many devices who want maximum protection against cyberthreats. With ZoneAlarm's advanced Extreme Security NextGen plan, you can protect up to 50 devices and access additional features such as threat emulation and online backup. This comprehensive level of protection is crucial for businesses to prevent data breaches and ensure business continuity.
Additionally, individuals who frequently work with sensitive information or handle financial transactions online may also benefit from the higher plans. With real-time protection, your personal and financial data are safeguarded from cyber attacks that could lead to identity theft or financial loss.
Even for those who may not necessarily require the advanced features of the higher plans, it is always better to have an extra layer of protection when cyber threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated.
ZoneAlarm plans and prices
|ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus||ZoneAlarm Pro Antivirus + Firewall||ZoneAlarm Extreme Security NextGen|
|Price for first year||Free||$24.95-$259.95/yr||$35.95-$357.95/yr|
|# devices supported||1||1-50||1-50|
|Compatible with||Windows||Windows||Windows, Android, iOS|
|Manual and auto scan|
|Performance optimization tools|
|Details||View Plan||View Plan||View Plan|
If you find that ZoneAlarm doesn't quite meet your needs, there are several other antivirus solutions on the market that offer a variety of features and price points. Here are a few alternatives worth considering:
- Bitdefender: Bitdefender is known for its top-notch malware detection and various features like VPN, parental controls, and password management. Bitdefender offers a comprehensive security package well-suited for individual and multi-device use.
Get Bitdefender | Read Bitdefender Review
- McAfee: A veteran in the antivirus space, McAfee offers robust real-time protection and additional features like a personal firewall and identity theft protection. Its multi-device plans make it a good option for families or small businesses.
Get McAfee | Read McAfee Review
- Norton 360: Offering a wide range of security features, including a VPN, cloud backup, and dark web monitoring, Norton 360 provides a well-rounded security solution. Its reputation for minimal system impact makes it a favorite among users who don’t want their antivirus to slow them down.
Get Norton | Read Norton Review
Does ZoneAlarm protect against malware?
Yes, ZoneAlarm provides real-time protection against a variety of malware types, including viruses, spyware, and ransomware.
However, it's worth noting that in our EICAR tests, ZoneAlarm failed in the malware detection category. For this reason, while it offers malware protection, its effectiveness may not be as robust as other antivirus solutions.
Why is ZoneAlarm using so much CPU?
If you find ZoneAlarm consuming a significant amount of CPU resources, there are several potential causes. Firstly, it might be running a full scan, which is resource-intensive by nature.
Secondly, if you have other security software running simultaneously, they could conflict and cause high CPU usage. Finally, outdated software could also contribute to performance issues. Updating ZoneAlarm to the latest version might resolve this issue.
Is ZoneAlarm better than Windows Firewall?
ZoneAlarm offers a proprietary firewall with additional features not found in the built-in Windows Firewall, such as advanced application control and the ability to customize rules for inbound and outbound traffic.
While Windows Firewall is generally sufficient for basic needs, ZoneAlarm aims to provide a more comprehensive and customizable experience for those looking for enhanced security features. However, your choice between the two will largely depend on your specific needs and how much control you want over your network security settings.
Bottom line: Is ZoneAlarm good?
ZoneAlarm provides a commendable array of features, such as real-time protection and an advanced firewall, all packaged in user-friendly software. The antivirus also offers various subscription plans that suit different needs, making it a flexible choice for those who want more than just a basic antivirus product. However, its most significant downside is its lackluster performance in specific security tests—most notably in malware and phishing detection.
Given the results, ZoneAlarm would best serve users who place high value on customizable firewall settings and a straightforward user interface and are willing to supplement it with other security measures for a comprehensive protective suite.
For individuals or businesses that prioritize ironclad malware and phishing protection, exploring the best antivirus software that excels in these areas might be advisable.