At last there is the great
eureka moment when everything makes sense and the problem gets resolved.
For whatever reason, exploring the HOSTS file and observing additional and
unsolicited entries resolves the update issue. I was not expecting to see anything in this file other than a default 127.0.0.1 localhost.
Instead, I encountered a dozen ZoneAlarm related entries. I am not sure if these are malicious. I highly suspect my cable provider as I can recall a time long, long, ago when I allowed Time Warner to install their kludged free
security suite. It was a combination of old release Computer Associates entities including the older free ZoneAlarm firewall and PestPatrol anti-spyware offerings.
In any case, these additional IP mappings were present in my HOSTS file:
look-ups show addresses above assigned to the following:Zone LabsTime Warner CableLimeLight Networks, Inc.Global Crossing
As I said, I have no obvious answer at this time as to malicious activity
or simply a series of unfortunate events. I do know that as soon as I deleted all of the HOSTS entries above, ZASS 7.0.462 is working fine. The system updater successfully checked the ZA server and stated everything is current. The anti-virus updater pulled in the latest AV updates. The anti-spyware updater identified a newer engine and DAT file and brought both of these in. When complete, ZA prompted for the necessary reboot to install the new engine and updates.
Upon reboot, a virus scan and anti-spyware scan revealed no computer issues so I do not believe the events of the past several weeks are direct attacks. Instead, I simply suspect some old remnants of the past that a clean install simply will not detect and resolve. I believe my older ZASS
7.0.337 version ignored the
unable to connect
problem. The recently installed 7.0.462 detected and complained about the failure to connect to the update sites.
To anyone struggling with updates, please take a second to follow the advice and link Fax provided in the prior response to this thread. Check the HOSTS file as my problem had nothing to do with ZoneAlarm and everything to do with Windows.