We have all heard of Sandboxie, right? And Returnil Virtual System? Both Sandboxie and Returnil are programs that use sandboxing technology to help protect users from malicious apps and files. Sandboxie allows users to sandbox individual programs, cutting them off from the rest of the computer so if they are malicious they cannot affect your computer. Returnil places a virtual layer over your whole computer, sandboxing any and all changes made; then it dumps all the changes upon reboot. BufferZone is another sandboxer, but one that works more like GeSWall than Sandboxie or Returnil.
What BufferZone does is it sandboxes different parts of your computer from where a threat can emerge, such as your Internet browser or P2P program. Any and all changes made from these particular programs are kept in a “virtual zone”. In other words, anything that comes from the outside of your local computer (such as a file you download) is placed into a virtual zone and kept separate from other parts of your computer. Within this virtual zone you can interact with the programs/files normally, but these files and programs are cut them off from the other parts of your computer; so in case they turn out to be malicious they won’t be able to affect your computer. Confused? The following image (created by the developer) explains it a bit better:
Here is the official description of what BufferZone Pro does, as per the developer:
How BufferZone Works
The Virtual Zone: Prevention Approach to PC Security
BufferZone creates an isolated environment called the Virtual Zone. The Virtual Zone “buffers” your PC from all forms of known or unknown attacks that originate from the Internet and external devices. All of your private information is secured in a trusted and separated environment.
How does BufferZone Technology work?
When you use the Internet, programs from the Web can enter your PC uninvited or invited (by downloading). In order to run, these programs make modifications to your hard drive and registry (operating system). Usually such modifications are harmless. However, when they’re not, infected programs or files can do serious damage to your computer.
BufferZone patented “Threat Virtualization” technology
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). C:\Virtual is a special directory in your computer’s registry that keeps external programs and files in an isolated environment, separated from your trusted personal files and your PC’s operating system.
All files, personal information, drivers and system resources remain invisible to threats and therefore protected from costly or irreversible damage. Viruses, bots, worms, Trojan Horses, phishing, keyloggers, spyware and other malicious code are prevented from covertly installing on your PC.
Modifications from infected programs, files or problematic websites will run only inside C:\Virtual. Inside the Virtual Zone, infections are easily contained and changes can be reversed. The Virtual Zone keeps your computer and trusted files clean and safe.
Anti-virus programs identify only known viruses and then react. This conventional method allows unidentified threats to penetrate and infect your PC. BufferZone technology isolates all threats (known, unknown/zero-day) inside the Virtual Zone. This way, with BufferZone Free you can browse with Internet Explorer, chat with MSN IM, and download from the Web with total peace of mind. With BufferZone Pro, you can use all browsers and chat programs, share with P2P and use external devices.
Identity and Information Theft
Your personal and private information stay in a trusted environment making it impossible for spyware, keyloggers, botnets or any other Internet born malware from stealing your personal data and documents.
Sensitive areas or information on your PC that BufferZone Pro keeps separated from threats:
- E-banking and e-shopping: Both BufferZone Free and BufferZone Pro let you browse trusted Web sites (Privacy Zone) such as e-banking and e-shopping inside a trusted environment.
- My Documents” folder: BufferZone Pro hides and (visually) “locks” your private files and directories.
As Internet use has become more widespread, malicious attacks on computers have exponentially increased. Common anti-virus suites are effective to a point, but ill-equipped to totally contain the problem. BufferZone was designed to compliment and enhance your existing security suite.
BufferZone technology stops all threats (even those not yet identified by your anti-virus) from infecting your computer and accessing your personal data. You can finally surf anywhere, download anything, open email attachments, share, chat, and e-bank safely and securely.
BufferZone Pro looks good on paper; but how well does it perform? Well since dotTech has not reviewed BufferZone Pro, I cannot say how good or bad BufferZone Pro is. However, Softpedia reviewed BufferZone Pro in 2007 and gave it 4/5 stars and Download.com reviewed BufferZone Pro earlier this year and gave it 5/5 stars. (FYI I have no respect for Download.com reviews, but Softpedia reviews are typically spot-on.)
BufferZone comes in two forms: Free and Pro. Here are the differences between Free and Pro (as per the developer):
As you can see in the chart above, BufferZone Pro would typically cost $39.95. However, for a limited time Trustware is running a promotion (starting December 1, 2010 6 AM PST and end January 1, 2010 6 AM PST) where users can get BufferZone Pro for free! It doesn’t seem like BufferZone Pro works off a renewable license system so if you grab BufferZone Pro during the promotion timeframe, you should be able to keep and use the program forever. However, I do not know this for sure and have asked my contact in Trustware to clarify this point. Also, it is unknown if participants of this promotion will receive free updates or not – I have asked my contact in Trustware to clarify this point also. I will provide an update when I have more news about these two issues.
Update: I got a reply from Trustware. They have informed me this freebie is a 1 year license of BufferZone Pro and it includes free updates during this year. Furthermore, no tech support is provided; the only tech support available is via their forums.
That said, how to get BufferZone Pro for free? Follow these simple directions:
Version being given out for free: v3.41-14
Free updates: Unknown
Supported OS: Windows XP/Vista/Win7 (32-bit only)
Download size: 14.6 MB
Giveaway time frame: Giveaway starts December 1, 2010 6 AM PST and ends January 1, 2011 6 AM PST
Giveaway limitation: For “consumers” only
Note: Unless specifically stated otherwise in this article, Trustware BufferZone Pro has not been tested or reviewed by dotTech (aside from checking to make sure this promotion is valid). Please do not take this post as an endorsement/rejection or review of the program. This article is simply to inform about the availability of this program as a freebie.
- Download and install BufferZone Pro.
- After installation you will be asked to restart your computer; do so.
- After your computer has restarted, BufferZone Pro should automatically be running (if it isn’t running, launch it). You will be asked to register BufferZone Pro with your name and e-mail address:
There are is no specific name or e-mail address you have to use, so use whatever you want (BufferZone Pro will activate on anyone’s name and e-mail address). If you do it properly you will get a confirmation message:
- That’s it – there is nothing more to it. Enjoy!
If you have trouble getting BufferZone Pro for free, post below and I will try to help.