I have Zone Alarm Pro 8.0.298.running on WIN XP PRO SP2, Internet Explorer 7.0 .

I have started receiving pop ups “Internet Explorer wants to connect to the Internet” and then lists an IP address. I click “deny” and then the same popup with a different IP address appears. I select “deny” again and a new message with a different IP address. This continues for what seems like about 20 different IP addresses. In about five minutes the same process repeats. I do have IE7 installed but not open. In fact I very seldom use IE7 as a browser, except when a web site will only work with IE7.
These pop ups are associated with the ZA icon appearing in the system tray and a ZA process running as reported by Windows Task Manager.

I have scanned for virus, malware etc. with ZA and Spy sweeper, both report no infections.

What is happening and why would Internet Explorer want to connect to the internet?