ZoneAlarm 6.0. Let’s break something that worked fine.

ZoneAlarm still gets top ratings as a security suite. And things were fine until they released version 6.0.

WARNING, it shrieks, popping up an obnoxious red box, this application is showing DANGEROUS BEHAVIOR. This happens way too often in the new version, generally when an application is using Internet Explorer to access the Net. Well, lots of apps use IE to access the Net, and for good reason too, and ZoneAlarm 6.0 appears incapable of determining what’s a legit app and what isn’t.

I’ve gotten The Shriek from ZoneAlarm warning me about such sinister programs as the Counterspy antispyware program, Adobe PhotoShop Elements, Windows Update (yes, it is so muddle-headed it said Windows Update might be dangerous), and most brain-dead of all, it actually warned that ZoneAlarm was showing dangerous behavior. That’s right, it reported on itself. Erroneously, one assumes.

For geeks and coders, well, we know ZoneAlarm is acting stupid. Read the message, of course. Determine that it is reporting on a harmless app and then ignore it. But what about the less tech-oriented who will read the message, panic, mark the app as dangerous, and then soon wonder why programs that used to work no longer do. It’ll be because ZoneAlarm is blocking them from acting, that’s why, and Windows Update is definitely something you want functioning and not disabled by a clueless program.

Also, the excelllent WindowsSecrets reports ZoneAlarm 6.0 has serious install problems.

The latest version of ZoneAlarm products is beset with reports of incompatibilities and other problems.

Zone Labs’ user forum has been humming with complaints from users that version 6 of the company’s software has disabled other applications, interferes with POP3 e-mail downloads, and has other issues.

Still, they advise, hang it there, it’s still the best security suite, and they’ll fix the bugs.

I hope so, else ZoneAlarm will go the way of Norton Security Suite, a once great program that is now so bloated and buggy it’s barely worth using.