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ZoneAlarm Firewall: Programs altering it!!!

Discussion in 'General Security' started by Hirnsausen, Jan 26, 2011.

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  1. Hirnsausen

    Hirnsausen Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2008
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    293
    Hi,

    I am using the free ZoneAlarm Firewall on my PC, and was happy for quite a while. Until recently, when I routinely checked the permissions of programs inside ZoneAlarm. I found, that a number of programs I previously denied Internet access, had now full Internet access!

    I changed back their permission to no access. And a week later, I saw they again had full access. This frightening experience repeated several times, since then.

    I suspect two things:
    - ZoneAlarm published information how to alter its Firewall for installing software
    - a new type of Trojan Horse or Virus

    Exact version of ZA used:
    9.2.058.000

    Settings in ZA program control:
    Program Settings: Medium, Smart Defense: Auto

    OS used:
    Windows XP Home, SP3

    Antimalware used:
    Ad Aware v.8.3.6

    Antivirus used:
    AVG AntiVirus, v.9.0.872

    Is it possible for Software to alter ZoneAlarm's settings? Are here persons who made the same experience?
     
  2. dvk01

    dvk01 Moderator Malware Specialist

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    First Name:
    Derek
    As far as I am aware ZA smart defense connects to ZA servers & then configures the firewall according to settings supplied by ZA & not according to what you set
    It regularly checks home & sets accordingly. So if you allow a program & it thinks it should be blocked it will block & vice-versa
     
  3. Hirnsausen

    Hirnsausen Thread Starter

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    I found out that some programs use a good amount of the bandwidth of my Internet connection regularly, so I really want to block them. But it is bad, if they get unblocked each time again. Since my Internet speed is not high, they really disturb my Internet quality and speed a lot.

    That means, I never can make my own decisions, to block those programs from Internet access?
     
  4. dvk01

    dvk01 Moderator Malware Specialist

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    First Name:
    Derek
    You can but you need to turn off the auto setting on smart defence & eithe rset it to manual so you can make the choices or turn smart defence off completely
     
  5. Hirnsausen

    Hirnsausen Thread Starter

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    I have done so. Thanks. I am going to observe now the behavior of the programs, for some weeks. Thanks to everyone.
     
  6. hewee

    hewee

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  7. Ent

    Ent Trusted Advisor

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    Josiah
    I agree with hewee there, and would point out that adblock plus is another fine add on that works for Firefox and Google Chrome which is good for reducing bandwidth usage. However that will only matter if your browser were sucking the bandwidth, and as you won't block that with your firewall I am inclined to suppose it isn't. So it's good advice in general but doesn't have any bearing on your the original question.
     
  8. Hirnsausen

    Hirnsausen Thread Starter

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    Yes, that is my feeling, too. But still, I thank Hewee very much for his advise.
     
  9. hewee

    hewee

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2001
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    57,791
    You're welcome.

    Now it will take a little time to get used to NoScript and the best way is to do go to all the sites you always go to and setup the rights you need to get the sites to work.
    Then go to the NoScript options and export the white list and save it. That way if you ever redo your PC or want to do the same on another PC you can just import the list and save a lot of time.
    You can export and import your adblock plus settings also.
    Then with Noscript if you can just use a temp setting for a site and that site does not get added to the list and only works till you close Firefox.
    On the hosts file if you can not get to a site because it is blocked but you really want to you can disable the hosts file or just disable that one site. Note: a site may be listed with the www in front so a site can be listed twice with ans without the www. But once changes are made to the hosts file you need to close your browser and open it again to see the changes take effect. A hosts file will work on all browsers and the whole computer. I say whole computer because if you added sites that MS update or your Antivirus, Firewalls, and other security come from you will not be able to get the updates. But you would have to add them because they are not listed. So a hosts file also help protect your PC and really are a security also.
    A hosts file will speed up some sites a little and others a whole lot because your stop that site from going out to all the ad and tracking sites and along with Noscript and adblock plus you can see a whole lot faster page loads.
    Then your wonder why you never knew this before because your so happy that things works better and faster online now.

    You can take control of Firefox cookies also. See this thread and links I made.
    http://forums.techguy.org/web-email/885770-solved-question-about-cookies.html
     
  10. Phantom010

    Phantom010 Trusted Advisor

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    34,796
    I would recommend the free SpywareBlaster as an alternative to modifying your HOSTS file.

    SpywareBlaster will block just about the same items and more. The current SpywareBlaster database contains 14098 items! Furthermore, this database is updated weekly. It will block quite a lot of annoying ads on the Internet.

    One of the biggest advantages of SpywareBlaster over MVPS is that it doesn't slow down your browser in any way. Like MVPS, SpywareBlaster is passive protection. It plugs the holes that spyware and other potentially unwanted software use to get into your system. As such, there is no running process - and no CPU and memory usage either.

    Sorry, hewee. I know how you love MVPS... :D
     
  11. Hirnsausen

    Hirnsausen Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    Thanks you all here. Many suggestions and recommendations made, and I have to check 'em out now. Thanks to you all!
     
  12. hewee

    hewee

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    Messages:
    57,791
    Phantom010, I use SpywareBlaster but I disable the the Firefox part because of the way I control my cookies it is not needed.
    I also use the SpywareBlaster-Custom Blocking and block out another 9949 sites.

    I do not know how a hosts file slows things down because I have not seen any slow down and I use HostsMan and have it so I use 6 or 7 hosts counting my own small one and block out 136,622 site as of today.

    I started using a hosts file back on a old 95 PC and a 28 K modem back when I was told to get here. http://accs-net.com/hosts/what_is_hosts.html
    I used eDexter for years.

    Then to make ZoneAlarm safer you need the Pro version because the free version is low on the ratings list now days where it used to be as good as the free version.
    Plus with the pro version to can do more to the setting.
    I used these setting that you can only do in the pro version unless the free version has changed.

    I started with ZA Pro 3.0 and got up to 4.5.538.00 and never paid to get updates after my year was up. I used it till I moved and got a new PC in Aug. 2008 so went a little over 4 years with no upgrade and I also went about 3 years with no Anti-Virus or Anti-Malware program.
    No wait I had SpywareGuard back then and used it but after having WinPatrol Plus a couple years I stopped using it.

    A router can help out a lot to help protecting you also.

    Run the ShieldsUP! test. https://www.grc.com/x/ne.dll?bh0bkyd2
     
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