Understanding Application Control
Your outbound protection is called Application Control. Everything you do on the Internet—from browsing Web pages to downloading audio files—is managed by specific programs on your computer. Hackers exploit this fact by planting "malware"—malicious software—on your computer.
Malware can masquerade as harmless e-mail attachments or as updates to legitimate applications. Once on your computer, however, the malware can hijack trusted applications and carry out malicious activities under the guise of legitimacy.
ZoneAlarm security software protects your computer from hackers and malicious attacks by assigning policies to programs that indicate their level of trustworthiness and specify the actions they are allowed to perform.
Some versions of ZoneAlarm security software include OSFirewall protection, which detects when programs try to use your operating system to perform suspicious actions on your computer.
The minimum you need to know about program control
- By default, a program’s permission to access the Internet is automatically determined by SmartDefense Advisor.
- Alerts appear if SmartDefense Advisor is unfamiliar with a program. (When the unknown program wants access the Internet for the first time, a New Program alert asks if you want to grant the access.)
- If a program is trying to act as a server, a Server Program alert asks you if you want to grant server permission. A program "acts as a server" when it is open to receive connection requests from other computers. Though some applications, such as e-mail programs, may need to act as servers to operate, hacker programs act as servers to receive instructions from their creators. Be careful to give server permission only to programs that you trust and that need server permission to operate.
- You can control the Internet and server permissions for specific programs by using the Program Control panel or by allowing program control to ask you about each program as it is activated.