A screenshot from ZoneAlarm's website.
I must admit that I have never liked ZoneAlarm, despite its position as one of the most popular Windows firewalls. Whenever I used it a couple of years ago, I would find myself quickly uninstalling it, turned off the benefits of firewall protection by ZoneAlarm's blinding traffic light lookalike interface (entirely too much bright yellow). The result of this UI hatred is that I have ignored it for many years.

While I wish that this post was about how I downloaded ZoneAlarm on a whim and fell in love with it, resulting in a torrid romance and Vegas marriage that was annuled a number of days later, the image at the left (or above, if you are consuming this short essay in a syndicated format) and lack of links to ZoneLabs (the makers of ZoneAlarm) should have already alerted you that all is not right.

I understand that marketing products sometimes involves fear and doubt. I also know that most people do not know what IRC is, and that Internet Relay Chat sounds horribly generic. And while "bot worm" is probably meant to signify malicious software that is designed to spread through networks and includes automated functionality for remote access and control, the term is horribly confusing if you do not know what "bots" and "worms" are.

But what is really getting my goat is the definite article. There are dozens (if not hundred) of malware that could be considered "Internet Relay Chat bot worms," yet ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite promises to protect you from "the bot worm."