A New Coat of Armor for Your Private Computer Files
Several months ago, I criticized ZoneAlarm for tricking users into downloading what they claimed was version 7.0 of the program free, but what was actually trial version for a paid program, ZoneAlarm Security Suite.
Since then, I've been searching for a replacement for ZoneAlarm. I've finally found one which I like even better: The Comodo free firewall (http://www.comodo.com/).
Comodo has a look and feel quite similar to ZoneAlarm Pro, the paid version of the free ZoneAlarm firewall. It alerts you whenever your PC tries to make a connection to the Internet, and permits you to accept or deny the connection.
Crucially, and unlike the free version of ZoneAlarm, Comodo also alerts you when a program you've approved to connect to the Internet appears to be connecting on behalf of another process.
Since Trojan Horse programs that take over your PC often hijack other applications to connect to the Internet, this is an important function. It also resists being terminated by viruses or other malware that try to turn off your firewall so they can connect to the Internet without detection.
Comodo was easy for me to set up - I was up and running in about 10 minutes. The only function that it lacks that ZoneAlarm has is the ability to shut down all connections to the Internet. If I want to do that, I now have to unplug my modem...so it's not that much of a sacrifice. Comodo also doesn't run on Windows Vista, although a Vista version will be released in the next few weeks.
Comodo free firewall offers excellent protection, on a par with ZoneAlarm Pro. I highly recommend this if you don't already have firewall protection installed, or if you're relying on the inadequate firewall built into Windows XP.