Back in December, regular reader John W, pointed me to a free license giveaway for BufferZone, a virtualization application which creates an isolated environment called the Virtual Zone, while you surf the Internet.
Based on John’s recommendation, I wrote an informational only article, since I had not had an opportunity to test the application. I’ve spent some time in the interim testing this application, and there’s just one word to describe it – brilliant, exceptional, splendid, superb.
OK, that’s more than one word – but I’m more than just a little enthusiastic about this program. Best of all, this application is now free – as in FREE.
This is not 1985 when the only thing you had to worry about was the crud that might be on the floppy disks you exchanged with your friends. Today, your Browser is the conduit into your computer – that’s the route by which the majority of malware spreads, and intrusion attempts take place.
A case in point:
While surfing the Net, a user mistakenly accepts an invitation to install a scareware application but realizes, after the fact, that this is a scam. Operating in a “real” environment, the damage, unfortunately, would already have been done.
Operating in a “virtual” environment with BufferZone active, system changes attempted by this parasite would simply not occur.
So, controlling malware intrusion, while surfing the Net, through the use of a ‘”virtual” environment rather than operating in a “real” environment, makes sense given the escalating level of cyber criminal activity on the Internet.
From the developer’s site:
BufferZone Pro keeps you surfing, downloading, e-banking, sharing, chatting, and e-mailing to your heart’s content – basically, using the Internet as it should be used. The Virtual Zone gives you total freedom, peace and security on the Web. With BufferZone Pro, you can do absolutely anything on the Internet threat free.
With BufferZone, all programs or files that enter your computer through downloading, browsing, or uploading with external media devices, are redirected to a Virtual Zone (C:\Virtual). And, since any intrusion attempt occurs within this virtual environment, there’s nothing in that summary that I can disagree with. BufferZone’s Virtual Zone does protect a PC from all forms of known, or unknown, attacks originating from the Internet, or external devices.
It does so in a non intrusive way, and after initial setup, requires a minimum of user intervention – perfect for the average user. Installation is hassle free – it’s just a matter of following the on-screen instructions.
BufferZone sits in the Taskbar and can be fully controlled from there.
Once the application is installed, and after a re-boot, you will be taken to the developer’s site (this is a one time occurrence), for a point by point introduction to Buffer Zone. The following screen captures (taken from the developer’s site), provide a clear explanation.
Clicking on any screen shot will expand it to the original.
In the last few months we’ve looked at operating system virtualization – Shadow Defender, Returnil Virtual System, Wondershare Time Freeze, and a number of other similar applications. As well as alternatives to OS virtualization – specific application virtualization running in a sandbox. For straight out ease of use while surfing the Internet though, BufferZone has become my favorite.
If you’re unsure as to whether you should operate in “virtual mode” while surfing the Net, then take this free security test at the developer’s site.
On my “unprotected” test machine, the following is the result of the simulated Trojan attack. The “stolen” files were on a non-system partition so the Trojan doesn’t restrict itself to just the (C:) drive.
Actually, I forgot to turn off ThreatFire, which picked up the attack in progress. This shows the benefit of a layered security approach.
System Requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Win 7 (32-bit).
Download at: the developer’s site (Trustware.com).
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37 responses to “Free BufferZone Pro – Maybe The Best Surfing Virtualization Application At Any Price”
Sounds great!! I’m sold on it. I tried to take advantage of the free license giveaway in December and got smacked down with that “32bit only” error message. Have you heard any insider word from the BufferZone folks on when 64bit support may be announced?
According to Trustware support a 64 bit version is scheduled for release in the first quarter, but no firm date. It’s hard to understand why developers aren’t paying more attention to x64.
Thanks for this reminder .
Best regards !
Thanks for coming by.
Thanks for the x64 FYI! Encouraging news.
I guess the vast market share is still on x32; and therefore the need for such security software is greater; do you agree with that unconfirmed position?
How’s this for a direct answer – no. 🙂 But, I know where you’re coming from. Virtually all AV developers have released x64 versions of their apps.
One of the more commented upon issues here, is the lack of native 64 bit support in many of the free general purpose apps I write about.
It’s particularly frustrating for some users, I expect, since virtually all new machines are running on 64 bit, and have been for some time now. Seems strange to me that some developers are still lagging.
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Thanks for reminding me of this. I had forgotten all about it since my recent reformat, it is now back on again!
I lost 20 data files with that test despite the amount of layering that I have running as I disabled none of it just to see what could still happen.
It kind of prooves the point that despite the amount of layering and safeguards already in place that there is always another way of having your system compromised.
And as a wiser man than myself reminded me only yesterday that a lot of these problems are first created by the idiot sitting behind the keyboard to start with. 🙂
The next time you do a reformat, first, setup a folder on your data partition (you do have a data partition – I hope :), and download all the applications you will need/want on the new install, to that folder. Saves a lot of time and agro later.
Interesting that the test was successful against you protection. You might consider adding ThreatFire – it stopped it dead in my case.
BufferZone is a terrific application, and you have my thanks for recommending it.
Ah yes ThreatFire did stop it instantly but I allowed it anyway just to see, you know the old saying curiosity killed the cat.
Ah no I have not got around to partitioning as yet, matter of fact I’m soon to build a new system, just waiting for SB motherboards to become available again.
Ah, that explains it. 🙂
Good to hear you’re gonna do a homebrew – very cool.
This looks very interesting indeed. As you know, I use Wondershare Time Freeze for internet browsing, but what looks good about Bufferzone is that it presents statistical view of prevented changes. I like that idea. A new toy to play with today lol.
Well, you’ll definitely have some fun with this one. Scout around a little – there are some cool surprises.
This is exactly what I have been looking for! Just started using it, seems great so far. This was the one missing security layer I needed. Can’t believe that it’s free. Thanks!
Good to see your enthusiasm for this app. BTW, the Pro version has just recently gone free. I can deal with that! 🙂
Good software, tried it for a month….but…
the only con that i had is a few (IE8) Favorites that I’ve saved before I install BZ went missing. What I mean is, the favorites are there but after clicking, nothing happens, it doesn’t take you to the site. Now, gone back to Sboxie.
And BZ (may) have a conflict with the “fragile” Avast Internet Security (ver 5.1.889) as it made my PC unbootable after intalling AIS, not even in Safe Mode.
Thanks for this.
Sorry to hear it didn’t work out, but SB is definitely a terrific app.
BTW, Avast 6 which is due out shortly will incorporate a sandbox – including the free version. Details are skimpy at the moment.
Avast 6 already launched..
How does BufferZone compares to Sandboxie ?
And merci beaucoup for this reminder.
A very interesting question. That’s a full scale project which I’ll take under consideration.
That will be worth waiting for (but hopefully soon). I’m quite status quoist and Sandboxie has been good for me for years. So it will be nice to read a competent A versus B review 🙂
You’re quite right – Sandboxie is a terrific application.
I hope to get on this comparison shortly.
Hope you can include GeSWall along with SB & BZ.
I quite like GeSwall, so yeah, it should be in there.
Thanks for the suggestion.
This sounds interesting. Have stored it away until the 64bit version is available. Not going to rant about this as we know each others’ feelings – just have to be patient……. but WHY?
As you know, I haven’t yet switched over to x64, precisely because of this issue. It’s extremely frustrating to be restricted in this way. More so I’m sure, for people such as yourself – who are operating in that environment.
Great find Bill. Maybe Returnil also finds that but remains silent.Sandboxie is and will be the best app of its type.It does everything perfectly and works without issues.Returnil leaves non system partition uncovered and anything can happen there. Otherwise silent and very very effective.Sanboxie is a must for all and comparison must be done on Returnil Pro and BZP free-resources they take,all registry changes made when on,bugs and % of BSOD.Both will do.Whether BZ keeps all partitions fool proof like Deepfreeze Std. or Returnil and other so many comparisons.Although I use Returnil the same time when running in a sandbox.Fool proof.
You’ve made some very good points in your comment, especially regarding Sandboxie – a must have for a serious computer user.
While you and I, and other experienced users like us, have no difficulty in running applications such as Returnil, and Sandboxie, typical computer users still find this type of application confusing.
I’ve written on many of the virtual application which are available and (offered them for download), and interestingly, BufferZone has been downloaded through here far more than any other virtual app. I suspect that’s because its easy to understand and use, for a less experienced user.
Not as powerful as Sandboxie perhaps, but still, a good start for an average user.
Good to hear from you.
I’ll agree that BZ is easier to operate. Totally disagree that it isn’t as powerful as Sandboxie. I’ve run BZ for nearly a year. Nothing has ever beaten it. You just need a couple of adjustments.
In Policy: move the top slider to the 4th line. Nothing will install outside BZ unless you allow it.
In Configuration: Bufferzone, select open inside Bufferzone. All unknown scripts and macros in a trusted program will open in BZ.
I don’t believe anything is 100%. The above makes BZ as secure as anything I’ve found. It’s a great program, as is Sandboxie.
Good to get your experience with BZ.
I should have added, I always run an antivirus just in case. In my case, I’m using Avira free. IF anything ever escapes BZ, I’m confident Avira will catch it. No one should ever trust any single piece of software exclusively to protect their machines.
I’m no security expert, but have made enough mistakes during my 15 yrs online to know what not to do (or so I believe). It seems to me that virtualization is the future. Unfortunately, as more people are realizing it, so are the malware creators. Thus, layered defense is only good sense.
Avira is an excellent application.
“No one should ever trust any single piece of software exclusively to protect their machines.” – As you point out, a layered approach to security is “good sense”.
And yes, virtualization is gaining popularity but, as you suggest, the bad guys are well aware of this. In the long run, virtualization will not be a permanent solution.
Love your website and just found this topic. I want to try Buffer Zone to compare to Sandboxie which I already run and like but has a few things that aggravate me. I downloaded the BZ .msi program but when I click it to install I get an error that says I need to create an association in the set association control panel. I’m lost with how to do that and having problems getting on the BZ forum as it asks for a registration key.
It’s not an issue with the application – I just finished a test download and install, to be sure. I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here, since eHow does a great job of covering problems with .msi installers – MSI Won’t Install. I think you’ll find this helpful.
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