A firewall review: ZoneAlarm vs Glasswire Comparison

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Zonealarm VS Glasswire graphic

 

ZoneAlarm vs GlassWire – firewall comparison

Having a proper firewall up and running on your computer, is one of the most important steps for covering your bases with Internet security. But there are so many firewalls, out there, each with a different set of features and functionality, that may confuse you when trying to find the best software. Today, we are going to compare ZoneAlarm vs GlassWire, which are currently among the most popular software firewalls in the market.

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 software firewalls such as Comodo firewall, ZoneAlarm , PeerBlock , TinyWall, AVS firewall, and NetDefender in our previous posts. Now, it’s time to confront compare ZoneAlarm vs GlassWire and see if any of them can fulfill your needs.

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 15.8.125.18466, which was released in 2020.

GlassWire history

Have you heard the saying about necessity being the mother of invention? Well, that seems to be true about GlassWire. American software developers, John Hundley and Anton Bondar started working on GlassWire when Hundley’s computer got hacked and his efforts to find an elegant tool to monitor the behind the scene of his system’s network traffic was to no avail. A year later in 2014, the initial version of GlassWire was released online as freeware.

Despite being born out of necessity, GlassWire didn’t stop there and soon, it developed into a remarkable Internet security tool used and admired by many experts and users around the world. GlassWire is now owned by an Austin-based company called SecureMix LLC.

The GlassWire team provides users with support and constant updates. As of today, the latest stable version of GlassWire is GlassWire 2.2.210 which was released in 2020.

Price

As freemium products, both ZoneAlarm and GlassWire offer free, but limited, edition of their application. With either software, you need to purchase a license, only if you want to have access to the complete software package with all the features and options.

  

ZoneAlarm

GlassWire

License

Proprietary

Proprietary

Price range

29.95- 59.95€

39- 99 $

Multi-devices

Yes

No

Free trial

Yes

Yes

Money-back guarantee

30 days

No

With GlassWire’s free edition, there’s an important catch, though. GlassWire’s free version has no firewall functionality, and includes none of the security features. Still, it gives you a powerful network monitoring tool, which enables you to see your current and past network activities in detail.  GlassWire's free edition also allows you to monitor one PC remotely and lets you set Data Alerts to stay under your data limits. ZoneAlarm offers free antivirus, free firewall, and a free Chrome extension called ZoneAlarm Web Secure Free. However, the paid edition is much more feature-rich.

Platform compatibility

GlassWire firewall supports Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10. It also runs on a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2011, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2012 R2. The ZoneAlarm firewall only 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.

GlassWire has a free Android application that can be used to monitor your mobile data usage and Wi-Fi Internet activity, so you can detect and block malicious actors.

 

ZoneAlarm

GlassWire

Pc

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

·         does not support any server

·         32/64bit  version of Windows 7, 8, 10

·         32/64bit  version of Windows Server 2008 R2, 2011, 2012, 2012 R2

Mobile

·         Android

·         iOS

·         Android

 

 

What is ZoneAlarm?

ZoneAlarm is a third-party personal firewall that offers several features and options to make its protection more effective.

zonealarm interface

For example, Threat Emulation is a ZoneAlarm feature that helps adding Zero-day protection to ZoneAlarm. To do so, 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.

zone alarm scan

One of the features that is also offered to free users is the Anti-Phishing functionality. It is a part of the Web Secure Chrome Extension and helps to shield your private information against phishing attacks, by scanning URLs and stopping you from entering your personal information on malicious websites.

Another feature is Wireless PC Protection that aims to prevent hackers, identity thieves, and other online threats from attacking you when you connect to an unsecured network.

 

What is GlassWire?

Unlike ZoneAlarm, GlassWire is not your typical third-party firewall. Rather, GlassWire is a network monitor and security tool with a built-in firewall. GlassWire was one of the first and most successful firewalls to offer a clean, flexible, and stylish view of your network traffic in the form of graphs, charts and other visuals to help you easily and quickly understand what is happening in the background of your network connections.

glasswire graphs

If for any reason you decide to block any application from connecting to the network, you can count on GlassWire to make it easy for you. In fact, all you need to do is one click.

It’s worth mentioning that in some cases, the human eye and power of inference can be more successful in detecting malicious activities in the network traffic than sophisticated automatic algorithms used by firewalls. This, of course, requires a basic knowledge of computer networks, so if you are tech-savvy enough, you may find a visual firewall like GlassWire handy.

Now, imagine after you carefully examined your network traffic, you think a file or program may be causing problems in your network. Then, it is time to use VirusTotal, a service that checks submitted apps against over 70 antivirus scanners and reports if the file is malicious according to any of them.

glasswire firewall ui

GlassWire also has a WiFi Evil Twin Detection feature that warns you when it detects a new WiFi hardware around you which has the same network name as yours. It also notifies you if your WiFi network suddenly loses its password.

Another cool thing GlassWire does for you, is making a list of all Internet of Things devices on your network, with some helpful details.

Firewalls features and options comparison

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

    • ZoneAlarm firewall and GlassWire are both two-way firewalls, as they both enable you to control every inbound and outbound connection that is being established with your system.
    • An important difference between ZoneAlarm and GlassWire is that GlassWire actually uses Windows Firewall API as the base of its firewall functionality. That means, instead of disabling the Windows built-in firewall and replacing it with their own technology, they built GlassWire on top of it, so GlassWire gives Windows users more features and better firewall interface. This is not the case with ZoneAlarm and several other well-known firewalls.

glasswire has a more modern feel to it’s design than zonealarm

  • GlassWire does not have a built-in antivirus, but it is compatible with most other antivirus programs. So you can use some other antivirus software you have, such as Windows Defender, along with GlassWire. ZoneAlarm does have an antivirus product, unless you download the firewall only edition. Moreover, ZoneAlarm is also compatible with Windows Defender. But it is not compatible with any other anti-malware software.
  • 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. GlassWire does not have an auto-learning option.
  • Unlike ZoneAlarm, GlassWire has a Lock down mode, in which all your network connectivity is blocked when you're leaving your computer for a while.
  • And last but not least, is the type of users that most enjoy each firewall. ZoneAlarm can be used by both novices and experts, and each group can benefit from the firewall and antivirus, one way or another. In contrast, it looks like what attracts most people to GlassWire is its visual monitoring tools, and not its firewall functionality. Therefore, the network savvy people are more likely to enjoy GlassWire and its beautiful graphs.

 

 

 

ZoneAlarm

GlassWire

Supported Languages

English

English

Firewall

Yes

Yes

Including Antivirus

Yes

No

Identity Protection

Yes

No

Lock down mode

No

Yes

Internet Security

Yes

Yes

Early Boot Protection

Yes

No

 

Conclusion

In this ZoneAlarm vs GlassWire comparison, we reviewed some of the main features of each firewall. GlassWire is a nice network monitoring tool that adds some handy options and features to the Windows built-in firewall. It can especially be a useful application for people interested in computer networks, who enjoy observing their network traffic and could use a good tool to find the hidden issues.

ZoneAlarm, on the other hand, is a well-tried firewall and antivirus that offers many features and options usually needed by ordinary users.

Just remember, that both ZoneAlarm and GlassWire keep their most interesting features for their paid users, and their free editions are rather simple.

Published by Blogger at 2020 April 29