What's wrong with using ZA Free 4.5.594?

Discussion in 'other firewalls' started by duke1959, Mar 14, 2007.

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  1. duke1959

    duke1959 Very Frequent Poster

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    I think for simple outbound protection, Zone Alarm 4.5.594 is fine. It has excellent logging and alerts with plenty of information about what they are. It's also very low on memory usage compared to many of todays Firewalls, plus there are no System or Internet slowdowns. I realize Comodo Pro, which I like very much, passes all the leak tests, but for my needs ZA Free is a nice replacement for my AVG FW. This version was one of the most stable ones of all, and runs well with Spyware terminator and AVG Antivirus. So I'll ask again. What's wrong with using ZA Free 4.5.594?
     
  2. itsmej

    itsmej Registered Member

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    nothing its very good - i run 5.5.062 one up from it on all my systems bar 2
    where i still use 4.5 regersted version..never updated ether one
     
  3. dave88

    dave88 Registered Member

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    The only thing "Wrong" with it is if you bittorrent and leave your computer on for days vsmon.exe starts using more and more memory. 100mb+ even :eek:

    Other than that it is an excellent firewall that I have used on many peoples PC's connected directly to the internet with no problems whatsoever.

    It's my favorite version of ZoneAlarm. :thumb:
     
  4. ThunderZ

    ThunderZ Registered Member

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    In total agreement with Itsmej and Dave88. I use it on my resource deprived laptop. Use 5.x on my personal tower. Both do the job nicely for out bound protrction, inbound is covered primarily by a NAT router. Also when I go wireless at home with my laptop I feel reasonably comfortable setting behind it and WPA for protection in both directions.
     
  5. asyland

    asyland Registered Member

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    It's not THE best in terms of leaktests, but it does give great, basic outbound protection, and one other thing I will say about ZA firewalls, Pro and Free, they ARE rock solid and incredibly hard to take down. So ...no ...no hatred for ZA here.
     
  6. duke1959

    duke1959 Very Frequent Poster

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    I ask this not with malice. I just phrased the question the way I did kind of jokingly,so I hope no one took it the wrong way. This version doesn't have the Antivirus Monitor, and isn't recognized by the Security Center, but that doesn't bother me. Thanks to everyone for what I was really looking for, and that was the reassurance of using this FW. I hope to see more responses as well. One question though. I have seen the Zone Alarm Release History, but is there any reason I don't know about to move up to version 5.5.062?
     
  7. ccsito

    ccsito Registered Member

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    Version 5.5 appears to address a few program compatibility issues and also included system stability and routine maintenance updates. There was also a CHECKDISK fix of some kind.

    I use version 6.1.744 since March 2006 and haven't had any problems whatsoever. I know the earlier versions were probably smaller in size and don't have any of the later updates. The earlier versions probably use less machine resources, but since I don't plan to do any more updates for this program to the PC, I will continue to use this version until it doesn't run anymore. Since the later versions recognize the Windows Security Center, I may install it on a XP laptop.
     
  8. duke1959

    duke1959 Very Frequent Poster

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    Hey ccisito how are you? Have you ever used Comodo Firewall? I like ZA Free 4.5.594, and have also liked and used 6.1.744.001.
     
  9. ccsito

    ccsito Registered Member

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    Hi Duke1959,
    Doing OK here, so far no new malware on my system as of yet. ;)
    No I haven't tried Comodo. It looks pretty easy to set up, but I am sort of trying to use the same programs on all of my PCs whatever the OS so Comodo will not work on my Windows 98 machine. I don't like the huge download trend for ZA version 7. I think that you should be given the option of deciding what you want to try out first rather than dumping it all on your lap to sort out. ZA has changed since I first used in back in the late 1990's. I guess you have to decide what you feel comfortable with when you use a particular version. Just about none of the current security software will work on the old Windows 3.11/DOS 6.22 machine.:D
     
  10. pcalvert

    pcalvert Registered Member

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    I installed ZA 6.1.744 on a few computers, and noticed a significant drop in responsiveness on two of them right after I did. One machine had 128 MB of RAM, and the other had 384 MB of RAM. After a few weeks, I had the user of the 128 MB PC remove ZA 6.1.744 and install ZA 4.5.594. Afterward, she reported that her computer seems faster. It should, since ZA 6.1.744 uses a heck of a lot more RAM than ZA 4.5.594.

    Phil
     
  11. Graystoke

    Graystoke Registered Member

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    As far as security goes, is the firewall in the older versions of ZA, in this example 4.5.594, and 6.1.744, out dated compared to the new 7.xxx version? Are there any substantial advancements to the firewall itself, in the newer versions, that make it a necessity to upgrade?

    I've used ZA in the past, and liked it, but these newer versions have just slowed my PC down especially at startup. I wasn't sure if going backwards, using older versions, was a good idea.
     
  12. PcBorg

    PcBorg Registered Member

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    Peace,

    An article worth looking at regarding zonealarm...

    This article appeared freely on the Internet on March 9, 2006 http://www.a1-electronics.net/General_Interest/2005/Security_Nov.shtml

    Possible Security Hole or "Door" in ZoneAlarm?
    Internet, Web, E-mail security update.

    Regular readers will know that we take Internet, web and e-mail security seriously and have always used ZoneAlarm, Norton Anti-virus and AdSubtract. This way in the past we have been able to stop our computers from being attacked and infected. BUT.

    Things change.

    The other day we were going over one of our computers and found in the Windows Internet Logs folder a file that we had never seen before and was growing at an alarming rate. We used all our skills and knowledge to delete it and stop it from working. We eventually tracked this growing file down to belonging to ZoneAlarm. If you use ZoneAlarm then look at the 'IAMDB.RDB' and there is even a back up for it there as well. Wonderful we say.

    After browsing the web to see if anybody else knew anything about this file we found this:

    "It seems that ZA comes with two spy dlls that according to the their manufacturer "utilizes its patented metering methodology to measure actual Internet and digital media audience user behaviour in real-time - click-by-click, page-by-page, second-by-second."

    I found these two:

    C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\VSMONAPI.DLL
    C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\VSUTIL.DLL

    Had been left on my system after uninstalling ZA. It seems that your system configuration and maybe the activity is logged to the file Iamdb.rbd, then transmitted. This discussion also implicates Steve Gibson of Grc/ShieldsUp/Opout in this as well."

    These were new to us but we knew that some program or other was continually accessing the web while our computers were on but as ZoneAlarm did not say it was anything suspicious and we just assumed it was one of our security programs checking for a new version or whatever we did not worry much, as one would.

    But it did annoy us that it seemed to be going on continually and should not. Thus we started searching to find out what was happening and why which is why we found the IAMDB.RDB file and that it was growing at an alarming rate. There always was a ZoneAlarm file in the past that grew but that was easy to replace every-so-often with a blank file. But not this.

    Bear in mind that we use the paid for Pro version and not the free version that one might expect some checking which would be reasonable, but not if you have been a loyal paying customer for years.

    Thus we have e-mailed ZoneAlarm twice now and eventually got an automated reply back saying they will get in touch with us in a couple of days. We have told them in no uncertain words that we will publish our findings as this policy of ZoneAlarm spying on peoples computers is totally unacceptable.

    We have now tried using another firewall software called Sygate Personal Firewall which is free. There is a paid for version but as you can appreciate at first we are trying the free version to see what we think of it and to see if it works.

    Well. Now we have a free firewall blocking the spying activities of a paid for firewall. Can you believe that. We can also say that the Sygate Firewall is working and stopping ZoneAlarm from phoning home all the time with our private and confidential computer use data.

    Here is the web site link for Sygate which is part of Symantec.

    We are just very pleased that we are now blocking ZoneAlarm but it makes our blood boil.
    We hope you find our compact review helpful to you along with all our independent reviews of computer hardware.

    U.S. Government Investigates Check Point-Sourcefire Deal
    By Paul F. Roberts
    March 2, 2006
     
  13. acr1965

    acr1965 Registered Member

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  14. fax

    fax Registered Member

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    Yes, indeed... this is an old story... OSfirewall, Smartdefence, AV/AS updates, Program control (white/black listing in ZA central database), product updates check, needs to communicate to ZA servers. In version 6.0 and 6.1 there was a bug... a workaround to stop communication in these versions is also posted in the press release.

    Blocking communication with the ZA servers will undermine product functionality and decrease the overall secuirty for the user.

    IMO, better to choose another product that you trust than running half or less of it.o_O

    Fax
     
  15. noway

    noway Registered Member

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    It's a very good free personal firewall. Some bugs I've noticed (FYI: Bugs below are for browser used WITH a local proxy):

    1. P2P memory use bug mentioned already.
    2. Sometimes logs alerts as belonging to a certain application when the application that was using the port had been closed long before the intrusion attempt.
    3. If you are going to shut down/restart Zonealarm for any reason, it is best to first shut down your browser. Otherwise there are cases where you could have temporary connectivity problems with the browser after restarting Zonealarm. This bug is due to a problem in the way it handles "Connection: Keep-Alive" headers.

    These bugs may not bother you one bit, since many of the alternatives are even buggier. Would recommend 4.5.594 Plus or Pro over the Free version however, and also like 6.1.744.001 (which I haven't seen any of the bugs above while using, but I don't use P2P much either)

    Couple other bugs noticed with both 4.5 and/or 6.1 (and greater?) versions:

    1. A couple non-internet accessing apps may need to be allowed permission to communicate to Trusted Zone, otherwise are logged as alerts (with no info listed other than time and app name)
    2. Bugs with permissions (luckily the bugs default to non-connect state)...example noticed was: open Internet Explorer and leave it open/ block Internet Explorer/change permission to allow Internet Explorer/try Internet Explorer: no connectivity even though permission=allow.
    3. ZA Pro will allow importing settings from partially-compatible versions which may corrupt the current version's permissions and allow connectivity when permission has been denied in the GUI. This bug is more serious so would recommend trying all your programs (to make sure the permissions are still correct) after an import if you are importing settings from an older version.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2007
  16. acr1965

    acr1965 Registered Member

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    But does ZA even support the 4.5+ and 6.+ firewalls anymore? If not, and you shut off all communication with their servers what are you really losing?
     
  17. fax

    fax Registered Member

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    Yes, you are perfectly right. :D

    In any case, going back to the original subject matter, 4.5 has very limited communication with ZA servers (product updates). The 'problems' started with version 5 onwards.

    Fax
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2007
  18. Metal425

    Metal425 Registered Member

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    Nothing, I use it and it suites me and Kaspersky anti-virus very well.;)
     
  19. luciddream

    luciddream Registered Member

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    I know a few people that aren't really fans of software based firewalling that will ONLY use ZA free FW for the added security of controlling outbound. Afterall if you are behind a good H/W firewall/router already, you don't really need a bulky (resource consuming) software firewall.

    Nothing wrong with using it at all, in fact I'd recommend it to people that otherwise have no use for software based firewalling other than to control their outbound... which in fact is many, since most rely on H/W based firewalling to stop intrusions.

    One of the best freeware products ever IMO
     
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