Check Point appears to be on a mission to prove you don't need to pay for full-fledged PC security, a motto that sits well with Maximum PC readers and enthusiasts in general. Starting today, you can download Check Point's ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall 2013, purportedly "the most complete free Internet security solution for consumers," at absolutely no charge. You can't beat the price, but can you beat the security?
Can you remember the last time you installed a third-party firewall? It was almost a necessity back when Windows XP was the latest and greatest consumer OS from Redmond, and as far as Check Point is concerned, there are still some big time benefits to be had from standalone firewalls like the new ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 2012 the company just released.
With a sample size of just 224 IT and security admins, we have to take Check Point's latest survey results with a grain of salt, but the results are still a little surprising, if not somewhat off-putting. According to Check Point, only 27 percent of the survey's respondents said their companies employ hard disk encryption to protect sensitive data on corporate endpoints, Net-Security.org reports.
It gets even worse when it comes to removable drives. Only 9 percent of businesses surveyed said they use encryption for these devices, including USB thumb sticks.
"With less than 30 percent of businesses saying they use data encryption, the majority of corporations are left dangerously exposed to the risk of a serious data breach," said Juliette Sultan, head of global marketing at Check Point. "Fortunately, the survey data also shows enterprises recognize the need to address the issue, particularly with a growing mobile workforce."
That might change the next time Check Point pings IT admins. The survey also found that some 47 percent of respondents plan to purchase an endpoint security solution with disk encryption within the next year.
Given the widespread availability of free solutions, we know how power users hate to pay for security software. If you fall into this category, your options will become slightly more robust this Tuesday, November 18.
According to a spattering of reports, a company spokeswoman for Check Point said the company plans to celebrate its 15th anniversary by giving away a 1-year subscription to its ZoneAlarm Pro software security suite. For those not familiar with the program, ZoneAlarm Pro expands on the company's popular firewall solution by throwing in a spyware remover, protection against rootkits, ID theft protection, and other security odds and ends. The full program typically sells for $40/year.
If the reports hold true, you can download your copy from this link beginning at 6:00 AM PDT Tuesday morning. Procrastinators be warned, the link will only stay active for 24 hours.
Bad news for ZoneAlarm users running Windows XP: the MS08-037 security update for DNS (aka 951748) released Tuesday breaks ZoneAlarm and knocks XP users off the Internet. If you're running recent versions of ZoneAlarm on Windows XP, you should avoid the KB951748 update for now. Grab a list of workarounds (and now, solutions)here.
For what went wrong, and how to fix it if you've already been bitten, catch us after the break.