Feeds

ZoneAlarm slammed for scarewarey marketing

Warning! Er, buy this anti-virus

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

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. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.