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ZoneAlarm announces its Vista-compatible firewall

ZoneAlarm 7.1 offers true two-way firewall protection for Windows Vista users.

Checkpoint has released an updated ZoneAlarm 7.1 that's designed to work with Windows Vista's architecture. This is the first true two-way firewall for the Windows Vista environment. Windows Vista includes the Windows Firewall, however, it blocks only inbound traffic, allowing all "except where excepted" outbound traffic. This may seem like a fine distinction, but it can be huge. If you acquire a remote-access Trojan on your Windows Vista machine, Microsoft may not flag the outbound traffic.

Checkpoint explained its delay in releasing this product in an e-mail. "Rather than rush to market with a patchwork solution when only a small fraction of our users were actually using Vista," the company said, "we decided to invest in the long-term." This includes building the product on Microsoft's Windows Filtering Platform API, rather than continuing to use the soon-to-be outdated TDI API. Not only does this provide ZoneAlarm with more stability under Windows Vista, but it means Checkpoint won't have to rewrite its code when TDI does expire.

ZoneAlarm continues to provide a free version in addition to its paid versions. Its continues to use best-of-breed third-party products such as the Kaspersky antivirus engine and MailFrontier antispam filters.