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Thread: Program permissions questions

  1. #1
    parisology Guest

    Default Program permissions questions

    ZA Pro 9.1.008:

    I just installed Office 2007, and then was able to activate it without a peep out of ZA. I checked the program list in ZA, and Word is there with access permission to the internet. I've never run Word on the system before. I run ZA to prevent these types of program 'phone homes' without my permission. What exactly is going on here? Are these programs registering themselves with ZA automatically?

    And where is internet explorer in the ZA program list? I don't see it, but it also seems to have no problem with internet access.

  2. #2
    garywa Guest

    Default Re: Program permissions questions

    Yes, this is normal. Just about all Microsoft products are given access by default. On my system, Internet Explorer is in the list as "Internet Explorer" without the name Microsoft in front of it.



    ZoneAlarm Security Suite version:9.1.008.000
    TrueVector version:9.1.008.000
    Driver version:9.1.008.000
    Anti-virus engine version:8.0.2.42
    Anti-virus signature DAT file version:999239200
    AntiSpam version:6.0.0.2383

  3. #3
    critterjoe Guest

    Default Re: Program permissions questions

    Quote Originally Posted by parisology View Post
    ZA Pro 9.1.008:

    I just installed Office 2007, and then was able to activate it without a peep out of ZA. I checked the program list in ZA, and Word is there with access permission to the internet.

    .
    There is a new feature in the 9 series, that in the default setting allows permissions for most Microsoft approved programs. If you elect do so, you can turn this off by going to Program Control|Main|Custom, and remove the checkmark from "Enable Microsoft Catalog Utilization." For better security, Program Control should be set to HIGH in Pro (or MAX in ZAES) since medium will also give permission for some default programs. Some products have an Auto-Learn for a few days, which more freely grants permission than MAX or HIGH. I only use Auto-Learn for couple days (instead of 21) until I've used the programs I normally use, since it is a lower security setting. Even during that 1-2 days of "learning", I'm constantly checking the Program Permissions to see if I agree or not, and usually removing some server or internet access permissions.

    It also depends on how you have the setting for SmartDefense Advisor. If you have the slider set to AUTO, ZA makes the decisions which programs to allow access, unless you customize the permissions. Customizing them changes them from the Auto control. If you want to set your own permissions in the future, then turn off the "Enable Microsoft Catalog Utilization" and set your SmartDefense to "Manual." You can set the permissions however you like and still contact Defense Advisor online if you have a question. You can also leave the slider set to AUTO and still customize individual programs. Those programs will no longer respond to the AUTO suggestions, while other programs and new programs will be configured automatically.
    Last edited by critterjoe; December 15th, 2009 at 03:16 PM. Reason: Clarification

  4. #4
    critterjoe Guest

    Default Re: Program permissions questions

    Quote Originally Posted by garywa View Post
    Yes, this is normal. Just about all Microsoft products are given access by default. On my system, Internet Explorer is in the list as "Internet Explorer" without the name Microsoft in front of it.
    Garywa:
    I looked at the image you posted. This is just my opinion, but I don't know of any reasons for those Microsoft programs to have any SERVER rights at all--either trusted or internet-- and certainly no email rights (other than your email programs of course). I think ZA is too lenient sometimes in automatically configuring these. I don't have any program on my computer that requires server rights. I leave mine as blue ? marks. That way I can be alerted if one asks for access. Just in the image you posted, I suspect there are 6 programs that don't need any server rights; but that decision is up to you to make since you know the ins-and-outs and intricacies of your own system better than I.

    I realize that there may be a small number of people who have a program that requires server rights for some reason--perhaps some kind of game or if they are hosting a server, etc. In any case, the vast majority of people will probably not require any server rights for any programs. The one exception might be trusted server rights for "Generic Host Process", but my system doesn't even require that. By default, ZA places a checkmark for TRUSTED server, but I get by fine without it. Others may find they need that checkmark for some reason.

    The ZA help section even says: "Exercise caution when granting permission for programs to act as a server, as Trojan horses and other types of malware often need server rights in order to do mischief. Permission to act as a server should be reserved for programs you know and trust, and that need server permission to operate properly. (emphasis added). I don't have any that fall into that category. This is just my opinion, and other's mileage may vary.

  5. #5
    CB75 Guest

    Default Re: Program permissions questions

    Quote Originally Posted by critterjoe View Post
    There is a new feature in the 9 series, that in the default setting allows permissions for most Microsoft approved programs. If you elect do so, you can turn this off by going to Program Control|Main|Custom, and remove the checkmark from "Enable Microsoft Catalog Utilization." For better security, Program Control should be set to HIGH in Pro (or MAX in ZAES) since medium will also give permission for some default programs. Some products have an Auto-Learn for a few days, which more freely grants permission than MAX or HIGH. I only use Auto-Learn for couple days (instead of 21) until I've used the programs I normally use, since it is a lower security setting. Even during that 1-2 days of "learning", I'm constantly checking the Program Permissions to see if I agree or not, and usually removing some server or internet access permissions.

    It also depends on how you have the setting for SmartDefense Advisor. If you have the slider set to AUTO, ZA makes the decisions which programs to allow access, unless you customize the permissions. Customizing them changes them from the Auto control. If you want to set your own permissions in the future, then turn off the "Enable Microsoft Catalog Utilization" and set your SmartDefense to "Manual." You can set the permissions however you like and still contact Defense Advisor online if you have a question. You can also leave the slider set to AUTO and still customize individual programs. Those programs will no longer respond to the AUTO suggestions, while other programs and new programs will be configured automatically.
    Is there any way to disable Microsoft Catalog Utilization in ZoneAlarm Free edition? I have nothing under my Program Control->Custom except for Auto-Lock options.

    ZoneAlarm version:9.1.007.002
    TrueVector version:9.1.007.002
    Driver version:9.1.007.002

    Firefox is my primary browser, and I don't like IE having unfettered access to the internet, but I occasionally use IE so I don't want to block it entirely. If I leave it set to "Ask" it can still access the Internet without permission.

  6. #6
    garywa Guest

    Default Re: Program permissions questions

    Quote Originally Posted by CB75 View Post
    Is there any way to disable Microsoft Catalog Utilization in ZoneAlarm Free edition? I have nothing under my Program Control->Custom except for Auto-Lock options.

    ZoneAlarm version:9.1.007.002
    TrueVector version:9.1.007.002
    Driver version:9.1.007.002

    Firefox is my primary browser, and I don't like IE having unfettered access to the internet, but I occasionally use IE so I don't want to block it entirely. If I leave it set to "Ask" it can still access the Internet without permission.
    Sorry, I haven't used the current free version, but I do know from reading other posts that the free version does not have all of the options that the paid versions have. This may be one of them.

    I would expect that someone who uses the free version will be able to give you a definite answer.

  7. #7
    CB75 Guest

    Default Re: Program permissions questions

    Quote Originally Posted by garywa View Post
    Sorry, I haven't used the current free version, but I do know from reading other posts that the free version does not have all of the options that the paid versions have. This may be one of them.

    I would expect that someone who uses the free version will be able to give you a definite answer.
    I've read similar posts as well. Hopefully a fellow ZAFree user can confirm and hopefully either provide an answer or a workaround, outside of blocking programs outright.

    I've used ZoneAlarm Free for years and have never experienced a program bypassing permissions unfettered until now. ZAFree has always been an amazing program and it would truly be a shame if a newly introduced lack of outbound control became the price paid for using the free version. It would definitely prompt me to give ZA the heave-ho and seek another firewall option. I hope it's something that can be fixed in a future update.

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