UPDATE 11.15.12: ZoneAlarm products are now Windows 8 compatible. Go to the Free Downloads page on the ZoneAlarm website for the latest version.
The long awaited Windows 8, which Microsoft expects to make available on October 26, will offer a few major enhancements – one of them being a new look and feel. The new default Tiles (what used to be called Metro) interface will show and perform like a mobile application. This might be a welcome change for Tablet PC users and good news for apps that are built for them – but not so much for more traditional computer users. Thankfully, laptop and PC users out there who find that they’re missing the old Start Menu will also be able to access the de-facto Windows desktop.
Another big change is that Windows 8 includes beefed-up free Internet security. The new version of the Windows Operating System will come bundled with an enhanced version of Windows Defender, which is basically Microsoft Security Essentials — the same free security suite featuring free antivirus and firewall protection that Windows 7 users could download and install. It’s just now re-branded as Windows Defender, offering more than the Windows 7 version of the software by the same name, which was only an antispyware/antimalware solution.
With the new Windows Defender, Windows 8 is definitely a step up when it comes to strengthening the security of the Windows operating system. But does it really offer enough protection to counter all sorts of attacks across the web? Many security experts say not quite.
While the security features bundled in Windows 8 include an active inbound firewall that is on by default, the Operating System’s outbound firewall is turned off by default. Windows 8 users can enable this outbound firewall protection – only to be overwhelmed with constant alerts. For these reasons, it’s just not as powerful or easy-to-use as inbound and outbound firewall technologies that work silently and synergistically together. Minimum security requires antivirus and a two-way firewall that combines inbound and outbound protection – one that works silently in the background to both stop Internet attacks at the front door and catch thieves on the way out.
Another issue to consider is whether or not relying on the same software vendor for all PC functions — including security — is really the safest route. Our experts advocate a multi-tiered approach – one that includes antivirus and firewall from a third-party software vendor who specifically has a history of driving security innovation. This will ensure that you are protected against all the latest threats and hackers that might find vulnerabilities in your system. In fact, the Independent IT-Security Institute, AV-Test.org, found that some third-party solutions were much stronger than Microsoft’s security features when it came to protection against 0-day malware, including web and email attacks.
Finally, the good news is that ZoneAlarm will be offering Windows 8 compatible versions of all its security products, including ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall. You’ll want to disable Windows Defender before installing any ZoneAlarm or other third-party products — otherwise conflicts may occur.
Be sure to stay tuned-in to our blog for more information about ZoneAlarm for Windows 8. You can also follow us on Facebook to get the latest and greatest information about ZoneAlarm products and Internet threats & attacks.