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ZoneAlarm fix for DNS death released

ZoneAlarm fix for DNS death released

Users of the ZoneAlarm suite will need to patch it before applying Tuesday's Windows DNS patch.

A Windows patch designed to fix a security hole in the Internet's DNS resolution system left a swathe of customers without 'net access this Tuesday.

The issue was caused by a bizzare incompatibility between the patched Windows system files and the popular – if a little Fisher-Price – ZoneAlarm personal firewall package. Any users running ZoneAlarm and installing Microsoft's MS08-037 patch, released as part of the regular Patch Tuesday update cycle, will have found themselves cut off from the 'net after rebooting their systems.

According to CNet a patch has been created by CheckPoint Software, the company behind ZoneAlarm, which restores connectivity in affected systems. There's only one teeny little snag – you have to download it.

Workarounds to ensure that you can grab the patch – aside from downloading it somewhere else – include switching ZoneAlarm from 'high' to 'medium' security, uninstalling the MS08-37 patch and then reinstalling again after updating ZoneAlarm, or temporarily switching to the built-in Windows firewall until the update is applied.

The Microsoft patch that prompted this issue, which only affects ZoneAlarm installations, was part of a massive effort on behalf of a large number of networking companies addressing a security flaw in the domain name resolution system used to turn friendly domain names into IP addresses. Before the hole was plugged, it was theoretically possible for a malicious individual to point browsers to fake websites without ever needing to compromise their PC and router. Thanks to the companies involved, including Microsoft, this issue has been resolved – albeit not without a few hiccoughs along the way.

Any ZoneAlarm users had a few issues since Tuesday and only now finding out why? Perhaps you're still having issues – in which case you won't be able to read this? Does the fault for this problem lie with Microsoft for not testing the patch with a popular firewall package, or with CheckPoint for doing something weird with the Windows system files that no other firewall vendor does? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

17 Comments

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tribalman 11th July 2008, 09:17 Quote
ah, thank you for the information. i have been having this trouble and was just going to try testing the update on a separate computer before i updated the main system again. i figured there was an issue with the update and a firewall somewhere.
Paradigm Shifter 11th July 2008, 10:22 Quote
Hm. I've had problems with my net connection whenever I've installed SP3, but I don't use ZoneAlarm...:?
theevilelephant 11th July 2008, 10:56 Quote
i found this out yesterday when my net suddenly stopped working :|. it was fairly obvious what the problem was so i went and downloaded comodo instead.
Darkedge 11th July 2008, 12:05 Quote
I'd lay the blame fairly at checkpoint as this patch as been planned for AGES. Mind you ZoneAlarm is one of the most rubbish firewalls out there and I wouldn't trust it on any system I use ever having had loads of issues with it before. Seriously the Windows firewall is better than that rubbish.
Orlix 11th July 2008, 13:27 Quote
I have been having issues with my wife's computer for a while now. The latest was on tuesday, but I just lowered the security to med and was running again. I did the update yesterday on mine and had the same problem, of courseI will download the patch for both today. I still think I need to reinstall Windows on my wifes computer... really not looking forward to that.

Darkedge,
Checkpoint has a compatibility issue that does not make it rubbish. On what issues do you base your statement? I am curious as I changed to ZoneAlarm after actually paying for Norton, that is a really annoying piece of software. It took away all the control from me and decided what was best for me, for example what emails were safe regardless of what I told it. I ended uninstallig it.
dom_ 11th July 2008, 13:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlix

Darkedge,
Checkpoint has a compatibility issue that does not make it rubbish. On what issues do you base your statement? I am curious as I changed to ZoneAlarm after actually paying for Norton, that is a really annoying piece of software. It took away all the control from me and decided what was best for me, for example what emails were safe regardless of what I told it. I ended uninstallig it.

Ah, the problem here is that nortons firewall is even worse than zonealarm. Which i did not think was possible.
fargo 11th July 2008, 17:17 Quote
the security update was also known as KB951748 and is listed that way in your add/remove programs list. as far
as I'm concerned zonealarm is the best firewall for the money windows firewall is useless in comparisan and zone
alarm was on top of the problem. I downloaded the update to fix my firewall then installed KB951748 and everything worked fine.
BioSniper 11th July 2008, 17:19 Quote
We've had no end of issues with this where I work.
I've just been telling everyone to do what the zone alarm site says which is stick the security in ZA to medium. Problem solved
fargo 11th July 2008, 18:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by BioSniper
We've had no end of issues with this where I work.
I've just been telling everyone to do what the zone alarm site says which is stick the security in ZA to medium. Problem solved

moving the za to medium is a workaround not a fix! and it reduces your internet protection. download the update
from za and install it over your present za program no clean install required
leexgx 11th July 2008, 20:00 Quote
wunder why ZA was not working, this customer was behind an router so just removed ZA problem soved
LordPyrinc 12th July 2008, 00:04 Quote
Thanks for the article... a buddy of mine at work was having this problem with both he and his wife's computers. I had just told him earlier today that I hadn't seen anything on Bit-tech about it, and sure enough, I get home and see the article. You guys rock as always!
Colt 45 J 12th July 2008, 02:10 Quote
So this is why my little brother was whining about his internet going out and everybody else could get on it... I had just turned down the security to see if it worked and it did. Guess I will have to download this patch in the near future and then I can turn the firewall back to high.. You have no idea how much hassle this has caused me...
boixter 12th July 2008, 09:04 Quote
I experienced the same problem and thought there was a problem with my wireless. .Kept restarting the router till i realized that my other computer could log on to the net. Tried disabling zonealarm and surprisingly it worked! So i uninstalled zonealarm and change to comodo instead. Discovered that comodo is quite a gem actually!
automagsrock 12th July 2008, 09:38 Quote
We've had about 300 people call in regarding this Zone Alarm issue since Tuesday. We will disable it, and if it works we reboot the PC so its back on and tell them to call Zone Labs for a fix.

Glad Zone Labs has a fix out already.
Lazarus Dark 13th July 2008, 01:39 Quote
I spent hours trying to figure out my problem last night. After realizing the other three comps on the router worked fine, I thought my network stack had been corrupted and tried every diagnostic program I had. I could ping the router, just couldn't access the net at all. So frustrating! Finally, after many things I got it working, but I didn't realize what it was that fixed the problem (I had disabled ZA in the process of trying things but didn't realize that fixed it). So this morning after another reboot, it wouldn't work again! *Pulls out hair*
Finally, I did a search on another comp and found the cause and dl'd the latest ZA.

Thing is, in all my years with XP, or any windows, I've been lucky and never had a patch or update or service pack give me any problem whatsoever; so that was not something that came to mind when trying to diagnose the problem, especially since I had completely forgotten about installing that little patch a couple days ago.
Sparrowhawk 13th July 2008, 04:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazarus Dark
I spent hours trying to figure out my problem last night. After realizing the other three comps on the router worked fine, I thought my network stack had been corrupted and tried every diagnostic program I had. I could ping the router, just couldn't access the net at all. So frustrating! Finally, after many things I got it working, but I didn't realize what it was that fixed the problem (I had disabled ZA in the process of trying things but didn't realize that fixed it). So this morning after another reboot, it wouldn't work again! *Pulls out hair*
Finally, I did a search on another comp and found the cause and dl'd the latest ZA.

Thing is, in all my years with XP, or any windows, I've been lucky and never had a patch or update or service pack give me any problem whatsoever; so that was not something that came to mind when trying to diagnose the problem, especially since I had completely forgotten about installing that little patch a couple days ago.

Agreed. I was pulling out my hair trying to find out what happened to my parent's computer. Never before have I been able to ping a website (bit-tech, incidentially ) but not be able to load the site in Firefox. :(

Mostly figured someone had mucked about with the settings of Windows again, but I didn't think about ZA. Makes me glad I couldn't get it to work with XP 64. :D
ufk 13th July 2008, 10:25 Quote
Its not only affecting zonealarm, I run no firewall apart from the windows one and the one built into my router, let windows install the update, no internet on windows but the linux box still works fine, uninstall the update the internet is back. Now for the strange bit, the update doesn't break the internet on the other windows pc in the house which runs sygate personal firewall (/me curses symantec for buying them out and killing sygate)
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