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01/25/2006 Archived Entry: "Zone Alarm phones home"
Windows users: I'm sure you've heard by now that there's a new virus circulating, which will delete your documents on February 3rd. Now would be an excellent time to update your anti-virus signatures, if you haven't been doing so regularly.
This is probably an opportune moment for me to recommend this excellent article from The Register, on the benefits of a multi-layered defense...and why the last line of defense is an alert user.
Alas, quis custodiet ipsos custodes? I thank L.W. for passing on this item, about how the Zone Alarm firewall "phones home" with data about your activities. You can block this by a simple edit to your hosts file...but I don't think I'll be recommending Zone Alarm in the future.
This, unfortunately, is the risk you run whenever you install software written by someone else. The best way I know to mitigate this risk is to have all of the source code, and all of the development, out in the open. For closed-source code, we can only rely upon the diligence of independent security experts and the tech media.