The other morning I got on my computer to do some internet research for a project. I have broadband, and usually keep it on. I was met with an error msg that said a serious problem had occurred with Zone Alarm and did I want to notify MS. I did, and also noticed the security icon in the notification area was red. When I passed the cursor over it, it said the firewall wasn't working. I clicked on the icon to turn it on, and as I was under a deadline, went on with my research. Later that day, after turning the project in, I started thinking over the glitch. I have no idea when the "serious problem" occurred, and how long I may have been without a firewall - or even whether I did or didn't have a functioning firewall. With all the hoopla about it only taking a few minutes for an attacker to get into someone's unprotected computer, I'm pretty much sure that if there was no functioning firewall, I have a compromised computer. However, I have seen no evidence of someone else being there (no slowdowns, pop-ups, etc). However, I am not computer savvy, and don't know all the places to look or what I should be looking for. I did check the ZA logs, and there is a gap where the log entries end about 6pm the night before and then pick up again when I jumped on the computer the next AM. I'd appreciate an assessment of whether the firewall was down and I was open to the internet, and if I was, what I can do to check on the presence of someone else on my computer.
Operating System:Windows XP Home Edition
Product Name:ZoneAlarm Antivirus