I’m sure you know that a “firewall” was originally the metal barrier separating you from the engine of your car. Now it’s used in relation to computers as well.
A computer firewall serves a similar purpose to the one inside cars. It blocks dangerous or untrustworthy information packets from getting into your network.
You should always, always have a good firewall running. Without it, hackers can infiltrate your system, spy on you, upload viruses or steal your data. Usually this takes a matter of minutes.
Windows comes with a decent firewall installed, but many people like using a third-party solution. ZoneAlarm is a free, downloadable firewall and antivirus that is highly configurable and effective against many kinds of cyberattacks.
There are three versions of ZoneAlarm. The basic one is free and comes with the full antivirus and firewall combination. If you choose to pay to upgrade to a premium version, you’ll get 24/7 customer support, parental controls and PC tuneup services.
Before you download ZoneAlarm, you need to know that you can only have one firewall and one antivirus running at a time. You can’t use Windows Firewall and ZoneAlarm simultaneously, for example.
Another thing you need to know about ZoneAlarm is that it will try to install its own toolbar, homepage and search service in your default browser. If you decide to do a custom install, you can skip all offers and just download ZoneAlarm.
Upon install, ZoneAlarm will automatically do a preliminary virus scan and activate itself as the default antivirus and firewall on your computer. If you have an antivirus and firewall already active, ZoneAlarm will be unable to do this until you disable each one. This means that you don’t need to have an antiviral software running in addition to ZoneAlarm.
You can set ZoneAlarm to automatically scan your computer and receive daily virus definition updates to stay protected against recent threats.