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July 12, 2008

"It was Microsoft"

I have to report a totally true conversation I had at shul with a member of our congregation who is a computer consultant. I'm leaving nothing out between my question and his answer.

Me: Do you use ZoneAlarm for your firewall?

Him: It was Microsoft that did it.

To explain: This past week, Microsoft pushed an update to Windows XP that apparently "broke" ZoneAlarm in the sense that internet traffic was blocked. I figured out ZA was broken by eliminating about 10 other possible causes of our inability to reach the internet. The workaround was to go from High to Medium on the internet zone, which seems to unstealth one port but otherwise leaves things alone.

The guy I was chatting with said that many of his clients had called him this week to solve the problem -- which is why he knew what I was going to ask. Incidentally, he didn't blame Microsoft. He said these updates can't be tested on every software (although I would think major firewalls would be in the top 10 to test), and he thinks ZA could have alerted its registered customers with the solution and later with the upgrade. He's right, and I still don't have the upgrade.

But the idea that a Microsoft fix could be harmful was an amusing turn of events. And really not so surprising.