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Protect yourself on the web with BufferZone Pro

There are many security threats on the internet and websites you visit, files you download and hackers can compromise your PC. Security software is essential if you want to stay protected while using the web. BufferZone Pro aims to boost the security of your PC and make using the web safer. It is an interesting utility.

BufferZone Pro runs in the background all the time so it is always active, although you can turn it off if you want to. It creates a folder on the disk drive called C:\Virtual.

When a web browser, instant messenger or other internet program is run, it is automatically isolated from the rest of the system and it can only access the C:\Virtual folder on the disk. If you download a file or if one is downloaded automatically, it is saved to C:\Virtual. If you run a downloaded program, it runs in C:\Virtual. If it tries to write to the disk, it does so on C:\Virtual. It is a bit like having a virtual disk drive.

The idea is that web browsers and other internet programs cannot access files on the rest of the PC. This means that personal information cannot be accessed, viruses cannot be installed, spyware cannot spy on anything and so on.

It works quite well and when you are running a protected program its window border is red, so you can easily tell that it's protected. You can download a program, install it and run it, all within a secure and protected environment. It's in C:\Virtual, but the software doesn't know it. The installation folder, like C:\Program Files, is mirrored in C:\Virtual so it looks like the real thing to the software.

BufferZone Pro

It is not quite perfect though and you can download a zip file, open it, copy a program out of it and run it outside of the protected environment. It's a slight flaw, but as long as you are aware of this then it is OK. You also need to be aware that software downloaded and installed is only installed in C:\Virtual. This is great for testing software, but if you really want to use it, you have to copy the file out of BufferZone onto the real disk drive and install it again.

One thing I didn't like was the way that it reported threats. For example, any file you download is regarded as a threat, whether it is safe or not. When you view the status screen and see how many threats BufferZone has saved you from, it looks very scary indeed. I was saved from hundreds of threats in a matter of minutes. However, many are not really threats and they may actually be safe programs or harmless web browser cookies.

BufferZone Pro can be turned off and on, you can set various security levels, you can protect from software installed from USB drives and memory sticks, and there is a firewall for programs running inside BufferZone.

BufferZone Pro is free, but it is only for 32-bit vesions of Windows. It isn't perfect, but you are more secure with it than you are without it.