ZoneAlarm scares users with "virus alert"
From last weekend, users of the free version of the ZoneAlarm firewall have been presented with a pop-up notification that looks like a virus warning and a prompt to buy the Internet Security Suite, which incorporates a virus scanner. The notification is actually about the "ZeuS.Zbot.aoaq", a trojan for which ZoneAlarm has allegedly just issued a "global virus alert". The notification entices users to "get protection" by buying the full version of ZoneAlarm.
Check Point appears to have done itself no favours with this marketing campaign: in the ZoneAlarm forums, numerous users have complained about what they perceive as aggressive marketing which, they say, is misleading and gives an immediate impression that there is an infection. Some users have compared the recent behaviour of ZoneAlarm with the practices employed by scareware distributors and have said that they intend to avoid ZoneAlarm products altogether from now on. Previously, a notice about the full version of the firewall only popped up in the free version, once a day.
Meanwhile, the forum moderators are trying to play down the issue, saying that the dialogue only notifies users that they need an additional scanner. They say those who have an additional scanner can ignore the warning.