ZoneAlarm Firewall - Your PC may be in Danger popups have been turned off
The free version of the ZoneAlarm Firewall recently implemented some new popup warning messages, which stated “Global virus alert. Your PC may be in danger!” and then sharing an example from the advanced Zeus trojan family.
While Zone Alarm has an excellent leakproof and award winning bi-directional Firewall for several years, this advertising approach was not well received. In fact, the message even resembles some of the Rogue and FakeAV scareware tactics (which uses the fear factor to motivate users).
The vendor quickly retracted this popup alert, as sometimes marketing ideas will not go as well as planned. They will most likely never use this form of advertising to upsell users again to the paid version. Still, it's better to market security products based on the quality of protection.
CheckPoint: ZoneAlarm Is No Rogue
QUOTE: Users of ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 9.2 PCMag's Editors' Choice for free firewall, were treated to a similar message this morning. Some of my colleagues feel this alert goes too far; Check Point says they were only trying to help.
As you can see, it doesn't actually say that your PC is infested with ZeuS.Zbot.aoaq, just that it "may be in danger". If you click the link to "See Threat Details" you come to a page of statistics purporting to show that only ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite can protect you - not Norton, not Trend Micro, not any of several free antivirus solutions. Problem is, the source of those statistics repudiates their use here, saying "virustotal is NOT meant for AV comparatives".
Check Point responded: "The popup message in ZoneAlarm Free Firewall was intended as an alert to a virus our technology discovered. We wanted to proactively let our users know that ZoneAlarm Free Firewall and other AV products do not fully protect from this virus. It was never our intent to lead customers to believe they have a virus on their computer. This was purely an informative message about a legitimate and serious virus that also included information about the differences in protection of various products, and how to get protection against it. ZoneAlarm is committed to providing our customers with the best protection and considers it our job to proactively alert users whenever a potential risk is looming rather than wait for the damage to be done."
I'm afraid I don't buy it. The popup message is a clear and simple attempt to scare users of the free ZoneAlarm Firewall into purchasing a paid ZoneAlarm product. While it's not as pushy as the actual rogue products, I do see it as misleading. The fact that it links to misleading statistics is another nail in the coffin. CheckPoint may have inspired a few users to buy an upgraded product, but I'm sure many others are left with a lasting bad impression. The net effect of this initiative is decidedly negative.