We also like ZoneAlarm's automatic update process; some of the other products we tested asked that we remember to update the product, or displayed notices that the signature files were out of date. ZoneAlarm updates include new signature-file definitions and additions to its spy site blocking lists. The latter means ZoneAlarm will prevent your browser from accidentally visiting sites known to host spyware, further limiting your chances of exposure.
For antispyware protection, ZoneAlarm Pro 7 fell from the top in our spring 2007 test to the middle in our current CNET antispyware tests. CNET labs conducts three separate tests using spyware found to be bundled within free applications rejected by CNET Download.com (as part of its software policies, Download.com does not host applications containing known spyware). In the first test, active detection, ZoneAlarm Pro 7 detected a favorable 90 percent of the spyware; however, in the second, on demand test, ZoneAlarm Pro 7 detected 30 percent of the spyware; and in the final, removal test, ZoneAlarm Pro 7 removed all traces for only 30 percent of the spyware in our test, which lowered the product's overall score.
Included within the setup for ZoneAlarm Anti-Spyware is a Flash-based tutorial, something that none of the other antispyware apps provided. The built-in Help file is also excellent, thorough, and very specific, effectively balancing detail and clarity. And the ZoneAlarm online forums are active. Unfortunately, support by phone from Check Point is only available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST, Monday through Friday (excluding major holidays), and costs a hefty $2.95 per minute--about the same as what McAfee and Symantec charge for their phone support.
At $20, ZoneAlarm Anti-Spyware is one of the least expensive of the paid antispyware applications we tested. ZoneAlarm Anti-Spyware includes an award-winning personal firewall that makes up for its lack of antivirus protection. But in terms of antispyware removal, you can do better.