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ZoneAlarm Antivirus Review (2024 Update): The Pros & Cons

By Tibor Moes / Updated: November 2023 / Rating: 3 of 5

ZoneAlarm Antivirus Review 2024

ZoneAlarm Antivirus 2024: Review Summary

ZoneAlarm is ranked #23 of the 28 best antivirus of 2024.

ZoneAlarm offers solid antivirus protection with its cybersecurity suite. Its malware scanner performs well, while its advanced firewall offers robust protection and customization. The software also provides anti-phishing, anti-keylogging, and anti-ransomware features.

However, it falls short of competitors like Norton and Bitdefender due to a lack of essential tools like VPN, password manager, and parental controls.

Crucially, ZoneAlarm does not participate in the independent tests by AV-Test, which is not a good sign. Without these tests, we have no benchmark to compare it against. We would stick to one of the proven winners, like Norton 360 Deluxe.

If you want the best protection, we recommend Norton.

Ranking  #23 of 28
Password Manager
Unlimited VPN
Operating systems Windows, iOS, Android

Click the links to read the reviews of the best antivirus of 2024:

🥇 Norton 360 Deluxe – The #1 in 2024
🥈 Bitdefender Total Security
🥉 TotalAV Antivirus

Or read our complete comparison of the best antivirus for Windows 11.

ZoneAlarm Antivirus 2024: Full Review

We put ZoneAlarm through its paces and can confirm it’s a solid choice for antivirus protection. It guards well against malware, offers real-time security, and includes extra layers like anti-phishing and anti-ransomware. The software is user-friendly, featuring an easy-to-navigate scanner and an effective firewall.

ZoneAlarm provides three options: a free plan and two premium ones. The premium packages, Pro Antivirus + Firewall and Extreme Security NextGen, differ mainly in features. We found that Extreme Security NextGen gives you more bang for your buck, even if it costs more.

Both premium plans can protect up to 50 devices, but the cost ramps up if you go that route. Overall, ZoneAlarm is a robust antivirus solution worth considering.

Security Features

We thoroughly tested ZoneAlarm’s security features and were generally impressed. Its scanner caught all hidden malware samples, outperforming Microsoft Defender. ZoneAlarm uses behavioral scanning and hourly database updates, completing a full scan in just 53 minutes.

The built-in firewall is strong, guarding your network against unauthorized access and making your PC invisible to hackers. While it’s not the best on the market, it’s one of ZoneAlarm’s stronger aspects.

We also put the anti-ransomware features to the test. ZoneAlarm uses AI to thwart ransomware attacks and was successful in blocking all our simulated attacks. It even restores encrypted data, a plus in our books.

Web Secure is another highlight, offering robust browsing protection. It successfully blocked our attempts to access known phishing sites. Additionally, ZoneAlarm’s Threat Emulation lets you examine suspicious files in a safe sandbox, helping against zero-day threats.

The anti-keylogger feature also performed well, effectively blocking attempts to record keystrokes and steal personal information.

However, ZoneAlarm lacks some tools like a VPN, parental controls, and a password manager, which competitors like Norton and Bitdefender offer. But considering its solid core features and reasonable pricing, this isn’t a dealbreaker. Overall, ZoneAlarm is a well-rounded antivirus solution, although adding a few extras would make it even better.

Customer support

We interacted with ZoneAlarm’s customer support through live chat, email, and their community forum, and found them highly responsive and helpful. Live chat is available almost around the clock and responds within seconds. Email support got back to us in just 30 minutes, providing clear and detailed answers. Both these channels offer support in multiple languages.

The support team went the extra mile to resolve our issues, even sending transcripts of live chats for future reference. Although the community forum exists, it’s not very active, so we recommend sticking with live chat or email for quicker solutions.

ZoneAlarm’s online resources are a treasure trove of information. The comprehensive knowledge base covers topics from installation to troubleshooting and is easy to navigate.

When it came to testing the refund policy, ZoneAlarm acted swiftly. We received approval within an hour and got our money back in a few days, no questions asked. Overall, we found their customer support to be excellent.

Plans and pricing

We looked into ZoneAlarm’s plans and pricing. They offer a free plan with basic features like malware scanning and Wi-Fi protection, but it lacks key tools like advanced web protection and is only available for Windows.

The paid plans are Pro Antivirus + Firewall and Extreme Security NextGen, both available as yearly subscriptions. The Pro plan starts at $24.95/year, offering real-time protection and anti-phishing. However, it lacks ransomware protection and is limited to Windows, making it a bit less valuable for the price.

Extreme Security NextGen, priced at $34.95/year, is more feature-rich, adding anti-keylogging and anti-ransomware. It supports multiple platforms like Windows, Android, and iOS, making it a great choice for multi-device users. However, it doesn’t include extras like a VPN or password manager.

Compared to competitors like Norton and Bitdefender, ZoneAlarm is more affordable but less comprehensive. They also offer a 30-day free trial and a money-back guarantee, letting you test their service risk-free. Overall, the plans are cost-effective but could benefit from additional features.

Click the links to read the reviews of the best antivirus of 2024:

🥇 Norton 360 Standard – The #1 in 2024
🥈 Bitdefender Internet Security
🥉 TotalAV Antivirus

Or read our complete comparison of the best antivirus for Mac.

Test score comparison

Next to our own anti-malware tests, we analyze those by AV-Test. We’ve compared the results of the 10 most recent tests for Windows 10. The tests were performed by AV-Test, the German anti-malware test lab. They use three factors:

  • Protection (1-6): Antivirus protection against malware attacks.
  • Performance (1-6): System slowdown caused by the antivirus.
  • Usability (1-6): Frequency of false alarms and disruptions.

We used their results, and this formula, to calculate the final score:

Final Score = 60% Protection + 20% Performance + 20% Usability.

Brands not listed in the table haven’t participated in the analysis by AV-Test. This is usually not a good sign. Because most reputable brands, except Panda, ESET, and Sophos, partake in the test.

Source: AV-Test.

Final Score

Click the links to read the reviews of the best antivirus of 2024:

🥇 Norton Antivirus Plus – The #1 in 2024
🥈 Bitdefender Antivirus Plus
🥉 TotalAV Antivirus

Or read our complete comparison of the best antivirus for Android.

Price comparison

We’ve compared the prices of the top antivirus products for Windows. To make it a fair comparison, we looked at what it would cost us, to protect a  single Windows PC with the most essential features:

  • Anti-malware
  • Anti-phishing (web protection)
  • Firewall
  • Password manager
  • Unlimited VPN (no data limit)

A few notes:

  • Some brands are missing features, lowering their value for money.
  • Prices are second-year prices in the USA, without first-year discounts.
  • Prices are rounded up for readability (e.g., $99.99 becomes $100).

Brands have different prices outside the USA. See those on their website.

Total price
Missing features
$ 50
No firewall, password manager, and VPN
$ 80
No firewall and password manager
$ 90
No firewall
$ 130
No password manager
$ 180
No firewall

Click the links to read the reviews of the best antivirus of 2024:

🥇 Norton 360 Advanced – The #1 in 2024
🥈 Bitdefender Premium Security
🥉 TotalAV Antivirus

Or read our complete comparison of the best antivirus for iOS.

User reviews

We’ve compared the user reviews of all antivirus brands. We’ve used the scores and review count of TrustPilot, a leading user review platform. However, take these results with a grain of salt, as some brands actively attempt to increase their ratings.

Personally, we are wary of exceptionally high scores. Especially those by brands such as TotalAV, known for aggressive marketing and sales tactics.

We consider scores between 4.0 and 4.5 good and realistic. Higher scores are dubious, and lower scores indicate that the brand might have a poor product or customer service. McAfee’s scores, for instance, are worrying.

Source: TrustPilot.

Review score
Review count

Click the links to read the reviews of the best antivirus of 2024:

🥇 Norton 360 for Gamers – The #1 in 2024
🥈 Bitdefender Total Security
🥉 TotalAV Antivirus

Or read our complete comparison of the best VPN of 2024.

How we test antivirus software

Below we describe how we run our tests. For even more details, visit our blog posts on how we test antivirus software.

Anti-malware protection test

We analyze antivirus software’s capability to detect and eliminate known and unknown malware, using heuristic analysis for behavior monitoring.

We conduct in-house tests and analyze those from labs like AV-Test, SE Labs, and AV-Comparatives to determine the best malware protection.

Malware includes adware, keyloggers, ransomware, rootkits, spyware, trojans, viruses, worms, and more. Other cyber threats, usually not classified as malware, are (zero-day) exploits, hacks, identity theft, phishing attacks, scams, and social engineering.

False positives test

False positives occur when antivirus software misidentifies legitimate software, files, or websites as malicious. We rely on AV-Test’s large-scale analysis of false positives in its usability test to guide our evaluations.

System performance test

We measure the CPU load during antivirus software system scans and consider AV-Test’s performance results on the slowdown caused by antivirus software when opening websites and handling software.

Firewall test

We evaluate two-way firewalls that filter incoming and outgoing data and allow users to set rules to regulate data streams. We use the ShieldsUP! test to determine if the antivirus software blocks all ports.

Password manager test

We assess password managers’ ability to create, store, and autofill secure passwords, as well as additional features like two-factor authentication and biometric login.

Virtual Private Network (VPN) test

We evaluate built-in VPNs on their security, privacy, speed, compatibility with streaming services, unlimited data access, and support for peer-to-peer networks and torrent clients.

Parental control test

We examine parental control features, such as screen time rules, website/app blocking, and real-world location tracking. We test these features on a device and attempt to circumvent them, checking if the activity is accurately reported in the parental control admin.

Anti-phishing protection test

We evaluate antivirus browser extensions that block phishing sites by installing them and attempting to visit dangerous URLs.

Ransomware protection test

We assess security suites’ ability to prevent data encryption through exploit prevention and behavioral detection during ransomware attacks.

Bonus features test

We test any additional cybersecurity tools such as:

  • Ad Blocker
  • Anti-theft
  • Dark web monitoring (identity protection)
  • Email protection
  • File encryption
  • File shredder
  • Gaming mode
  • Microphone protection
  • PC maintenance features
  • Secure browser (hardened browser to protect your online banking)
  • Secure cloud storage (cloud backup)
  • Spam filter
  • Startup optimizer
  • Tune up tools
  • Virtual keyboard
  • Webcam protection

Ownership and reputation test

We analyze the trustworthiness of antivirus companies, especially concerning customer data. We read press releases, news articles, and privacy policies to determine their reputation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the most frequently asked questions.

Is ZoneAlarm a good antivirus program?

ZoneAlarm is ranked #23 of 28 antivirus programs. The ranking is based on its protection, performance, price, and features. Find the best protection in our comparison of the best antivirus of 2024.

How do we test antivirus software?

We analyze the protection from malware, the performance impact on a PC, and the number of false positives. On top of that, we test various security features such as the firewall, password manager, VPN, and more.

Author: Tibor Moes

Author: Tibor Moes

Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab

Tibor has tested 39 antivirus programs and 30 VPN services, and holds a Cybersecurity Graduate Certificate from Stanford University.

He uses Norton to protect his devices, CyberGhost for his privacy, and Dashlane for his passwords.

You can find him on LinkedIn or contact him here.