A firewall review: ZoneAlarm vs TinyWall Comparison

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tinywall vs zonealarm graphic

 

ZoneAlarm vs TinyWall

As your first line of defense against cyberattacks, your firewall plays a significant part in keeping your computer safe and secure. Since, there are so many firewalls, out there, each with a different set of features and functionality, you may find it difficult to decide which one is the best fit for your security needs. In this piece, we are going to compare ZoneAlarm vs TinyWall, two of the most well-known popular free firewalls, out there.

A firewall is a piece of software or hardware that watches all the incoming and outgoing network traffic and blocks any malicious content or threatening communications to keep your system safe and secure.  Most existing firewalls would probably seem to work fine on your computer, but knowing your firewall and choosing a product suited to the type of tasks that you perform can boost your security and make your work easier.

To that end, We have compared some other third-party firewalls such as Comodo firewall  , GlassWire , PeerBlock , AVS firewall , and NetDefender  in our previous posts. Now, it’s time to confront compare ZoneAlarm vs TinyWall and see if any of them are worth a try.

ZoneAlarm history

ZoneAlarm was created by a San Francisco-based company called Zone Labs in 2000. Then in 2004, Check Point that is an Israeli computer security company acquired Zone Labs. Check Point has been creating IT security products for network security, endpoint security, cloud security, mobile security, data security, and security management, since 1993.

ZoneAlarm continued to grow better under Check Point and now, two decades after its initial release it’s still going strong and regularly gets updates and bug fixes. Currently, the latest stable version of the ZoneAlarm firewall is ZoneAlarm 15.8, which was released in 2020.

TinyWall history

TinyWall is a personal firewall that was created by Károly Pados, a computer engineer from Budapest, Hungary, in 2011. The latest version of the free firewall, TinyWall 3.07, was released in 2020, and it was a major step forward for the software.

 zonealarm and tinywall firewall

 

Price and license

TinyWall is 100% free and does not have any paid version. The latest version can always be downloaded from its creator’s official website.

Likewise, ZoneAlarm has a free edition, which includes a free antivirus, a free firewall, and a free Chrome extension called ZoneAlarm Web Secure Free. Still, the options and features it offers are much more limited than the paid editions, like ZoneAlarm Pro Firewall and ZoneAlarm Extreme Security.

 

 

ZoneAlarm

TinyWall

License

Proprietary

Freeware

Price range (for one device per year )

29.95€ - 59.95€

It is completely free

Multi-devices

Yes

?

Free trial

Yes

 It is completely free

Money-back guarantee

30 days

 It is completely free

 

 

Platform compatibility

Neither TinyWall, nor ZoneAlarm supports earlier versions of Windows. TinyWall could run on Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2016, and Windows Server 2012 R2. The ZoneAlarm firewall supports Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10.

For mobile phones, ZoneAlarm has a paid application for iOS and Android devices. Also, ZoneAlarm’s highest-paid tier that is called ZoneAlarm Extreme Security offers mobile protection. TinyWall does not have any mobile app.

 

ZoneAlarm

TinyWall

Pc

·         32/64bit  versions of Windows 7, 8.1, 10

·         does not support any server

·         64-bit versions of Windows 7 / 8 / 8.1 / 10

·         Windows Server 2019 / 2016 / 2012 R2

Mobile

·         Android

·         iOS

-

 

ZoneAlarm firewall review

ZoneAlarm is a third-party personal firewall with a few interesting features and options for better protection. Though ZoneAlarm has a free antivirus and a free firewall, the more sophisticated and advanced features such as Threat Extraction, Real-Time Cloud Security, Anti-Ransomware, Mobile Security, Threat Emulation, Anti-Keylogger, Web Monitor, and Anti-Phishing are only available in paid versions.

zonelarm virus scan

For example, Real-Time Cloud Security, Threat Emulation, and Threat Extraction, which can help bring Zero-day protection to ZoneAlarm are only available to users with a paid license. Threat Emulation sends the suspicious files which are not yet known as malicious, to a virtual sandbox to prevent them from attacking your system and inspect them in the cloud to determine if they are indeed dangerous. After thoroughly examining the unknown files, ZoneAlarm will warn you if the file is categorized as harmful. Threat Emulation is only available for users who purchase the highest tier.

Another feature that is only available in ZoneAlarm Extreme Security Package is the Anti-Ransomware tool that is an effort to automatically detect, block, and remove ransomware infections.  Anti-Keylogger only exists in the paid edition, as well.

Features that you do get in a free ZoneAlarm PC product include antivirus and anti-spyware, advanced firewall, Identity Protection, and Game Mode.

Is ZoneAlarm secure?

ZoneAlarm antivirus uses the powerful Kaspersky engine and it certainly is a plus for the ZoneAlarm package. However, sometimes it looks like ZoneAlarm has not integrated the Kaspersky engine with its user interface very well. For example, occasionally when ZoneAlarm antivirus detects and stops a threat, it fails to alert the user about it or show it in the logs. So, some might argue that it is better to use Kaspersky free antivirus that has more features and a better interface, along with the ZoneAlarm firewall.

As for the firewall component, it provides you with a strong and reliable first line of defense. Therefore, even though you do not get many features and options with the free versions, you can trust ZoneAlarm antivirus and firewall to do their main job.

TinyWall review

TinyWall was initially created as an indeed tiny and simple utility to provide users with better and more advanced options to control the Windows’ default firewall. So TinyWall was not a standalone firewall at first. But the new version of TinyWall which was released in 2020, successfully improved its firewall engine. As a result, since TinyWall 3.0, TinyWall does not need to piggyback on the Windows’ built-firewall anymore. Instead, it acts as an independent firewall that can directly talk to the network layers in the Windows kernel. However, TinyWall can still be used side-by-side by Windows Firewall, without any performance issues.

But even as a standalone firewall, TinyWall is still a pure firewall and does not offer additional non-firewall modules such as HIPS, anti-malware or anti-virus.

tinywall connections tab

Is TinyWall secure?

Immediately after installation, TinyWall blocks all Internet connections for all programs, except a handful of browsers and other very well-known programs. But other than that, it blocks almost everything else. Then, the user should go ahead and unblock anything he/she considers necessary and safe, one by one. Of course, you need to unblock every program only once, but it still can be irritating that you need to manually unblock some quite trusted applications. Although, in some cases, TinyWall may detect that a trusted program depends on some other processes and offers to unblock them, too.

A noteworthy behavior that makes it easier for you to trust TinyWall is that it does not send out any information from your computer to the outside world or its servers. For example, TinyWall does not send out or otherwise collect telemetry, crash reports, information about your computer, operating system or other software, user habits, or IP address. The only exception is checking the current version of TinyWall running on your computer when it tries to check for updates. But you can opt-out of automatic updates, so this little exception goes away, too. Of course, the problem with this policy is that it prevents TinyWall from enjoying sophisticated features like Real-Time Cloud Security in ZoneAlarm.

 

 

Firewalls features and options comparison

Now, let’s compare some of the specifications and features of the two firewalls.

  • ZoneAlarm firewall and TinyWall are both two-way firewalls, as they both enable you to control every inbound and outbound connection that is being established with your system.
  • ZoneAlarm and TinyWall both have the ability to hide your system from the hackers, by preventing your computer from responding to probing requests. This is called Stealth Mode.
  • TinyWall does not have an antivirus, so, you need to have a separate antivirus set up on your system, along with TinyWall. ZoneAlarm does have an antivirus product, unless you download the firewall only edition. Both ZoneAlarm and TinyWall are compatible with Windows Defender.
  • When using ZoneAlarm, you have four options in the Application Control section, including Max, Auto, Min, and off. By choosing the right option, you can have better control over your firewall’s behavior towards your system’s applications. It also lets you decide how many alerts you are willing to get from ZoneAlarm. If you choose “Auto”, it enables the auto-learning mode in which ZoneAlarm auto-learns the programs that you use the most, and later grants permissions to them without alert interruptions. This mode that is enabled by default reduces the number of alerts, but it is not the safest mode. TinyWall has an auto-learning mode, as well.
  • TinyWall is a rather simple and very lightweight firewall (less than 2 MB). ZoneAlarm, on the other hand, has many features and components that make it larger.
  • An interesting policy used by TinyWall is its "no pop-up" rule. TinyWall is a very silent tool and it never shows any pop-up when blocking or allowing any applications. Therefore, even if an important application is blocked, you will only find out when you find it unable to access the Internet. ZoneAlarm does not follow a similar policy, but it offers an alert-free option called Game Mode in which all the operations that could disturb a user’s gaming experience such as alerts, virus database updates, or scheduled scans can be suppressed temporarily.

 

 

ZoneAlarm

TinyWall

Supported Languages

English

English

Basic Firewall

Yes

Yes

Advanced Firewall

Yes

Yes

Including Antivirus

Yes

Yes

Identity Protection

Yes

Yes

Lock down mode

No

Yes

Internet Security

Yes

Yes

Early Boot Protection

Yes

Yes

zonealarm has a better design than tinywall

Conclusion

In this firewall comparison, we compared ZoneAlarm vs TinyWall, in terms of price, platforms, efficiency, and features.

TinyWall is a simple and light-weight firewall, that is deliberately designed to be just a firewall, and nothing more. So, it does not include any non-firewall features or components like antivirus. In contrast, ZoneAlarm is a feature-packed firewall and antivirus, although its more advanced features are mostly only available in its non-free packages. TinyWall does not have any paid version and is completely free.

Published by Blogger at 2020 April 22