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ZoneAlarm virtualizes the desktop Internet browser

ZoneAlarm ForceField creates a virtualized sandbox to prevent malicious software from landing on your hard drive without your knowledge.

Recent attacks on legitimate Web sites may have left some end users vulnerable. But on Monday, Check Point Software Technologies released ZoneAlarm ForceField, which might provide some with the safe surfing protection they need.

ZoneAlarm ForceField sells for $29.95 (for a single user license) or $49.95 (for a three-user license) and currently works only with Internet Explorer 7, Firefox 2, and the Firebox 3 beta. In tests at CNET, ZoneAlarm ForceField did not work with Apple Safari for Windows or Opera 9. Installation doesn't require a reboot. When you open your Internet browser, the edges will be fuzzy, like a halo or a forcefield, around the edges to remind you your browsing sessions are safe.

The key feature in ZoneAlarm ForceField is its two-way virtualization technology. This is designed to stop drive-by downloads. However, the idea of vitalizing your Internet browser can be annoying at first. Any file downloaded while ZoneAlarm ForceField is active lives only within the virtual state; when you close the browser, the file vanishes from your hard drive. We had a few instances where we forgot ZoneAlarm ForceField was active and lost the resulting downloads. There is a way to open a non-protected browser, but at this point that workaround seems clunky. Perhaps future downloads could be flagged--trusted or not--and then dealt with accordingly.

Also included within ZoneAlarm ForceField is the same award-winning antiphishing and spyware site-blocking technologies found within ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite. Additional features within ZoneAlarm ForceField include site rating, scanning to prevent dangerous downloads, and keylogger and screen grabber jamming. There's also a private browser mode which prevents a user's personal information from escaping on Web forms.