Feeds

ZoneAlarm slammed for scarewarey marketing

Warning! Er, buy this anti-virus

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

ZoneAlarm has run into criticism from its customers for using scary pop-up warnings as a marketing tactic designed to persuade users to purchase the paid-for version of its personal firewall.

Users of the free version of the ZoneAlarm firewall are confronted with a "Global Virus Alert" about "ZeuS.Zbot.aoaq" containing a link to buy the paid-for security suite, which contains an anti-virus scanner component developed by Kaspersky Labs.

Users confronted by the warning might easily think their system is infected, although Check Point maintains otherwise.

Some users have criticised Check Point, which markets ZoneAlarm, of copying the tactics of scareware scammers via the campaign, which has prompted a minority of users to uninstall the product. Users have taken to ZoneAlarm support forums to criticise Check Point over its "pushy" marketing tactics.

Moderators (gurus) on the support forum have said the pop-up is simply supplying information about a new virus. "There is no indication that your system is infected," they say. Users confronted with a "Global Virus Alert" and "Your PC may be in danger" message could be forgiven for thinking otherwise, we'd suggest.

Rival security vendors are also peeved at the tactic because Check Point links to a graphic suggesting that its security suite protects users from a banking Trojan that isn't blocked by alternatives, including security packages from Norton and Trend as well as freebie scanners from AVG, Avira and Avast, as a graphic from avinashtech.com illustrates.

It seems this data was culled from VirusTotal, without the permission of Spanish penetration testing firm Hispasec Sistemas, which online malware scanning service. In any case, the information is now likely to be dated.

We asked Check Point to comment on the ethics of its marketing tactics, a query that's been passed over to its US team. We'll update this story as and when we hear more. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
JLaw, Kate Upton EXPOSED in celeb nude pics hack
100 women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.