We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Security software Reviews
15,609 Reviews

CheckPoint ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 8.0 review

£43 inc VAT (3 PCs for 1 year)

Manufacturer: Check Point

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

CheckPoint ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 8.0 (one-year three-user licence: £43) provides solid firewall protection along with a host of other security functions.

CheckPoint ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 8.0 (one-year three-user licence: £43) provides solid firewall protection along with a host of other security functions.

If anything, ZoneAlarm Extreme may be guilty of having too many pieces: it bundles together the basic security suite with the unique features of ID theft mitigation and recovery service, online data storage, and the optional PC utility. This premium suite gives a lot of bang for the money, including one year of free identity fraud monitoring.

ZoneAlarm licenses its antivirus protection from Kaspersky, and in AV-Test.org's extensive malware-detection tests, ZoneAlarm Extreme did a decent job in both the on demand and on access detection of 2,735 malware files and scripts, scoring 100 percent against each, although it only caught 81 percent of the macro viruses.

ZoneAlarm Extreme did well against the zoo Trojan horses, worms, password-stealers, and other nasties thrown at it, identifying on average 94 percent of the 722,372 collected samples.

ZoneAlarm Extreme scored very strong numbers when it came to detecting and removing rootkits - stealth malware used to hide infections from PC users and security software alike. It successfully detected and removed nine out of nine active rootkits.

In proactively identifying unknown malware for which it doesn't yet have a signature, ZoneAlarm Extreme scored above average. In tests with two-week-old signature files, it identified 42 percent of samples. And with four-week-old signature files it identified 38 percent of samples.

According to AV-Test, ZoneAlarm Extreme responds very quickly to new widespread malware attacks, typically in 4 to 6 hours. Not surprisingly ZoneAlarm issued many updates per month, issuing 636 in January 2009, 732 in February 2009, and 723 in March 2009, averaging an amazing 23 updates per day.

AV-Test displayed long on-demand scan times of up to 179 seconds on a 741 MB file and on access times of 103 seconds compared with only 41 seconds to copy the same file on a system without antivirus installed.

ZoneAlarm Extreme doesn't scan incoming mail nor IM messages; instead, it scans the files associated on access. Many of its security features rely on software apps from other vendors.

For example, ZoneAlarm Extreme uses SonicWall for antispam protection, MailFrontier for email filtering of phishing attacks, and Netcraft for web antiphishing protection. Web surfing protection, a new feature, comes from ZoneAlarm ForceField (a utility also sold separately). On Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers, ForceField blocks drive-by downloads of malicious code.

ZoneAlarm Extreme is perhaps a bit too cautious with the web. For example, ZoneAlarm doesn't actively warn you about a particular site; instead, you simply can't access that site. ZoneAlarm does allow you to change the setting for individual blocked sites to allow access, but it would be helpful to see in advance what other sites it doesn't allow.

The ZoneAlarm interface uses a lefthand navigation pane to open configuration options that are straightforward and easy to use. Within the right window pane, ZoneAlarm includes Parental Controls from Blue Coat, provides 2GB online backup from iDrive, and identity fraud protection and recovery service from Intersections and an optional PC diagnostics tool from Large Software.

The latter is new this year, and on our system it detected several mangled Registry listings and fixed them, improving system performance.

NEXT PAGE: our expert verdict

ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 8.0 Expert Verdict »
Microsoft Vista SP1/XP SP2/SP3: 2GHz 32-bit or 64-bit processor (1GHz 32-bit processor or higher for XP)
2GB (32-bit) and 4GB (64-bit) RAM (768MB for XP)
250MB of available hard disk space
internet access
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

Overall, ZoneAlarm Extreme Security offers the most complete set of security features of any suite we've tested - from online backup and ID fraud protection to solid antivirus and firewall tools. Where it counts, ZoneAlarm did well in blocking traditional and zoo malware and removing rootkits. It could do better on behaviour-based protection, however.

There are currently no price comparisons for this product.
  • Checkpoint ZoneAlarm Internet Security 2010 review

    Checkpoint ZoneAlarm Internet Security 2010

    Checkpoint ZoneAlarm Internet Security 2010 contains all the basic web security features - antivirus, antispam, firewall, antiphishing, and internet security features - and some useful extras such as one year of credit bureau monitoring for ID theft.

  • ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite

    ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite

    Unlike most other security suites (whose origins tend to be in the antivirus market), CheckPoint’s ZoneAlarm started out as a firewall and expanded from there. And it shows.

  • ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite 6.0

    ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite 6.0

    Zone Labs' ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite 6.0 adds antispyware capabilities to an already bursting all-in-one package. In addition to tools for blocking and removing spy- and adware, the suite includes a firewall, antivirus protection, privacy controls and instant-messaging security.

  • AVG Internet Security 8.5 review

    AVG Internet Security 8.5

    AVG Internet Security Version 8.5, has been steadily building a solid following for its protection products.

  • Check Point ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2012 review

    Check Point ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2012

    While Check Point's ZoneAlarm security suite is a reasonably solid protector, it may drag down your PC’s operations.


IDG UK Sites

45 Best Android games: top Android games for your smartphone or tablet in 2014 (24 are free!)

IDG UK Sites

How Apple, Adobe, Microsoft and others have let us down over UltraHD and hiDPI screens

IDG UK Sites

Do you have the X-Factor too? Mix Off app puts fans in the frame

IDG UK Sites

iPad Pro release date, rumours and leaked images - 12.9 screen 'coming in 2015'