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Checkpoint Looks To Better Secure Vista

Vista may be, as Microsoft promotes it, the software giant's "most secure operating system" to date, but that doesn't mean it's not vulnerable to attacks.

Checkpoint Software today added itself to the growing list of Vista security software providers. Microsoft itself has issued several Vista security patches since its release.

Redwood City, Calif.-based Checkpoint said its ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite 7.1 is the first by a major security to utilize the Windows Filtering Platform (WFP) API (application programming interface)   for Vista. Checkpoint also announced its ZoneAlarm Antivirus and free ZoneAlarm firewall are now available for Vista.

"By utilizing Vista’s new API and providing a deeper OS-layer firewall, ZoneAlarm can provide consumers with greater protection and stability on the Vista operating system," said Charles Kolodgy, research director at IDC in statement. "As hackers innovate, security vendors can not rely purely on old methods and old technologies – it’s good to see ZoneAlarm lead the way."

Jordy Berson, group product manager at Checkpoint, said the decision to use WFP was partly driven by Microsoft's touting it as a better alternative than TDI (transport device interface) traditionally used by security firms for Windows.

"TDI has an advantage in that's it's a known quantity and faster to develop for," Berson told internetnews.com. "But we knew at some point everything had to move over to WFP because Microsoft is going to stop supporting TDI and we'd rather make that transition now rather than have to port applications later."

Berson also said WFP has some inherent advantages, such as the ability to choose exactly what you want to filter versus what you don't care about. "With TDI it's all or nothing, it intercepts all Internet traffic."

He also notes that Microsoft's goal with WFP is to make it easier for more than one security solution to be installed without compatibility issues. "With TDI there is more potential for clashes," said Berson.

ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite 7.1 is available now in retail stores and online from Checkpoint. List price is $49.95, though there is currently a promotional price of $39.95. The three users family pack at $69.95 list has a promo price $49.95). Existing customers can update to version 7.1 for free if their subscription is current.