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.
Unlike other security packages, ZoneAlarm builds its spyware prevention around the firewall, attempting to stop malware before the applications can install themselves on your PC. However, this relies for its effectiveness on the user's ability to make the right decision - fine for the security savvy, but less so for novices.
Zone Labs has countered this weakness with its SmartDefense Advisor, which can automatically respond to alerts on behalf of the user. SmartDefense alerted us when a program tried to inject itself into Internet Explorer and again when an application tried to modify sensitive areas of our Registry.
But occasionally it struggled. For example, when confronted with svchost.exe, a critical Windows service that routinely accesses the web, SmartDefense informed us that “advice is not yet available for this program”. Zone Labs says the SmartDefense feature will improve as the firm collects data from users.
To gauge ZoneAlarm's ability when scanning for existing spyware, we compared it with the free versions of Lavasoft Ad-Aware SE Personal and Spybot Search & Destroy 1.4. ZoneAlarm removed an impressive 80 percent of active malware components, easily beating Ad-Aware's 63 and Spybot's 59.