You may have seen this article about a new paid-for ZoneAlarm with a virus scanner. Well, the free version of ZoneAlarm was also updated, and brings with it a couple of interesting new features:
ZoneAlarm will now monitor your anti-virus program for you, to make sure it is running and is up-to-date. Presumably it can then pop up warnings if the definitions are too out of date. I guess it’s a nice feature (which is enabled by default but can be turned off), but Windows XP SP2 includes this natively anyway through the Security Center, so it’s just a bit of unnecessary duplication. It’s also an opportunity for Zone Labs to sell you their anti-virus product if you don’t have one already, but I do, so ha.
Outbound email monitoring
This isn’t the same as outbound email protection offered by anti-virus protection. It means that if an application tries to send an email, you are asked for permission. It makes sense – if you don’t recognise what program is sending email then it may mean you have some mass mailing trojan on your machine.
The client is slightly more XP-ish (in that dialogs use the new style controls), and the icons on the main page are different. The log viewer now uses a smaller font so it’s a bit less chunky.
When I installed ZA, it didn’t give me the option of restarting my system later – the only button I could click on was ‘Restart’. Personally, I’d prefer to restart at my convinience.
The constant reminders during install about upgrading to ZA Pro are also a bit annoying, although I suppose Zone Labs has to make its money somehow, and at least it doesn’t nag after install.
Generally, I’d say the upgrade is worthwhile. I haven’t had much chance to try the competition though.