June 10, 2005 4:39 PM PDT

Faulty update crashes ZoneAlarm firewall

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December 15, 2003
A bug in a Zone Labs update caused firewall crashes late Thursday for about 50,000 users of the popular ZoneAlarm Pro and ZoneAlarm Security Suite products.

The crashes happened after people downloaded the daily Program Advisor update, said Gregor Freund, general manager of Zone Labs, which is part of Check Point Software. Thursday's update contained a bug that had slipped by Zone Labs' quality checks.

"There was somewhat of a process breakdown," Freund said on Friday.

The Program Advisor update is a list of trusted programs that tells the firewall which applications should be allowed to connect to the Internet without user interaction. A new version of the list is produced daily. By default, ZoneAlarm products check on start-up for a new version and download and install it, Freund said.

Most customers who experienced the crashes were in Asia, because it was morning there when the update was first made available and users were starting up their PCs, Freund said. About 50,000 users experienced crashes, he added. About 3 million people use ZoneAlarm Pro and ZoneAlarm Security Suite worldwide, according to ZoneLabs's figures.

The faulty update was made available around 4 p.m. Pacific Time on Thursday. Zone Labs discovered the issue after customers began reporting crashes. The problem was replicated in the software maker's security lab and resolved within five hours, according to a posting on Zone Labs' Web site.

The company late Thursday posted a corrected Program Advisor update. Customers who rebooted their PCs automatically received that new version, Freund said.

The issue affected only the commercial ZoneAlarm Pro and ZoneAlarm Security Suite, he added. The free ZoneAlarm firewall does not include the Program Advisor feature and was thus not affected, he said.

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3 days later - new ZoneAlarm Pro installer crashes
Zone Labs: you need to work a little more on this one.

I downloaded the latest ZoneAlarm Pro installer today (10/9/2005) and attempted to install.

* The first time I tried to install, I performed an upgrade. When the installer was almost complete, I received an error from the ZoneAlarm installer stating that I need to be an Administrator to perform the installation. Seeing as I was logged in as the Administrator, this error message was bogus, but the install did not complete because of this.

* The next time I tried to install, I removed ZoneAlarm completely from my system and performed a clean install. Before the installer could even get going, it crashed. I couldn't even install it.

* I ending up reinstalling the previous version of ZoneAlarm Pro using the zaSetup_60_631_003.exe installer. The install went perfect without a hitch.

Zone Labs, customers don't like hearing "There was somewhat of a process breakdown" from a paid security vendor. You guys have done an awesome job of providing a really good product for many years now. Don't let your processes and/or quality slip now. You have a lot of loyal users/customers that depend and rely on your product because it has done a consistently great job in the past. But this recent version just doesn't cut the mustard. Reanalyze your processes and get back to business as usual - providing quality software to your customers. Don't try to pull a Norton.
Posted by Leon (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
3 days later - new ZoneAlarm Pro installer crashes
Zone Labs: you need to work a little more on this one.

I downloaded the latest ZoneAlarm Pro installer today (10/9/2005) and attempted to install.

* The first time I tried to install, I performed an upgrade. When the installer was almost complete, I received an error from the ZoneAlarm installer stating that I need to be an Administrator to perform the installation. Seeing as I was logged in as the Administrator, this error message was bogus, but the install did not complete because of this.

* The next time I tried to install, I removed ZoneAlarm completely from my system and performed a clean install. Before the installer could even get going, it crashed. I couldn't even install it.

* I ending up reinstalling the previous version of ZoneAlarm Pro using the zaSetup_60_631_003.exe installer. The install went perfect without a hitch.

Zone Labs, customers don't like hearing "There was somewhat of a process breakdown" from a paid security vendor. You guys have done an awesome job of providing a really good product for many years now. Don't let your processes and/or quality slip now. You have a lot of loyal users/customers that depend and rely on your product because it has done a consistently great job in the past. But this recent version just doesn't cut the mustard. Reanalyze your processes and get back to business as usual - providing quality software to your customers. Don't try to pull a Norton.
Posted by Leon (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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