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Anti-virus What is the best kind?

#26 User is offline   ZangieF 

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 11:19 PM

View PostMenelmacar, on Jun 9 2010, 04:06 PM, said:

Being the rather un-software-hardware-savvy person I am - how does Symantec rank with the rest of these? (If the answer is "poorly", I'll probably switch to Avira...)

CM

Compared to Avira, considerably worse in proactive detection (about 30% worse than the free Avira, about 35% than paid Avira), somewhat worse in reactive detection (about 10% worse). The proactive detection capabilities of Avira's paid version appear to be slightly higher than the free version according to Virus Bulletin's latest tests; that's all.

View Postaander91, on Jun 9 2010, 05:57 PM, said:

Symantec=Norton?

:(

Yes.

View Post300happy, on Jun 9 2010, 06:20 PM, said:

Late reply, but I've been using Comodo Antivirus/Firewall and occasionally scan with Malwarebytes. Both are free(though Comodo's website will try to sell you the better "full support" version, there is a free install under "free tools".)

Haven't had problems with either on Win7 64 bit. The "sandbox" mode of Comodo is also a much better alternitive to their old "pop up an alert every time a new program asks for keyboard access" they had in the older version of the software. It's really quite nice, and having firewall protection with antivirus in one program interface is very nice for my younger siblings who only have to learn to use a few buttons in one program, instead of two. :)

Comodo's detection rates leave something to be desired, particularly in the case of polymorphic viruses (i.e. viruses which alter themselves). The proactive component of its firewall / defence system is apparently pretty good though. The test results in question are from May 2009, so they may not be completely accurate with the current version; the VB article is here (link).

View PostKaelri, on Jun 9 2010, 07:34 PM, said:

I scan with Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware about once a week. Honestly, that's all I've ever needed. It consistently finds things that other apps don't. I use Windows' built-in firewall as my only active defense.

Unless I were dealing with especially sensitive files, or had some unique risk of infection - for example, if I were deliberately installing questionable software for testing purposes - I really wouldn't think it worth paying for maintenance software. I don't think there's enough benefit to justify the expense. But to each his own.

MBAM is pretty good, especially at spyware- / adware-type infections. I can't speak for its performance against viruses, as most of its users do not use it that way; I'd recommend running it alongside Avira or something to be sure.
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#27 User is offline   Mystress 

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Posted 13 June 2010 - 10:33 PM

As long as we're talking random standalone AV and AS programs, I have a Spyware sweeper standalone called CA Yahoo! Anti-Spy that runs from my browser and is a part of the Yahoo! toolbar. It's done me some great service in the past, including finding Spyware that even Webroot managed to miss!

View PostKaelri, on Jun 9 2010, 07:34 PM, said:

I scan with Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware about once a week. Honestly, that's all I've ever needed. It consistently finds things that other apps don't. I use Windows' built-in firewall as my only active defense.

Unless I were dealing with especially sensitive files, or had some unique risk of infection - for example, if I were deliberately installing questionable software for testing purposes - I really wouldn't think it worth paying for maintenance software. I don't think there's enough benefit to justify the expense. But to each his own.


That's... risky at best, since it's not exactly a 24-7 protection thing like most Vi-Spy software is. I hope you at least back up your files to CD-ROM or something; I'd hate for something to slip through on accident and then you lose all your files or something.
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#28 User is offline   ZangieF 

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 12:47 AM

MBAM isn't "vi-spy" (which, by the way, is not an actual term, or at least not one I've ever seen) software at all. It's not really meant to combat viruses, worms, and the like, though it will find some of the more common ones, IIRC.

Also, with regard to CA's products, such as the one which Yahoo has evidently decided to bundle, they have rather unsatisfactory performance, in my experience. Virus Bulletin's latest tests place them at about a 70% detection rate for reactive detection (i.e. known threats with signatures, a result that is really quite unacceptable IMO) and not even 50% for proactive detection (i.e. using heuristic technology to identify malware without using signatures). While I don't expect proactive detection rates to go much higher than 50-70% in most cases (Sophos, which I like, is one of a few fairly rare exceptions, with about 75% proactive detection rates), actually falling under the short end of this range is a bit worrying.

And lastly, I might also note that CA's home user product failed to get a VB100 award (i.e. it did not successfully detect all known threats handed to it) in Virus Bulletin's Windows 7 tests, done not too long ago. Overall, I'm really not impressed by them.
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#29 User is offline   Kaelri 

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 01:20 AM

View PostMystress, on Jun 14 2010, 12:33 AM, said:

That's... risky at best, since it's not exactly a 24-7 protection thing like most Vi-Spy software is. I hope you at least back up your files to CD-ROM or something; I'd hate for something to slip through on accident and then you lose all your files or something.

Well, here's the story: I used Symantec Antivirus for about two years, mainly because my college network required it. During that time, I was hit with one really nasty virus which was hijacking my Google searches. Symantec didn't find it; MBAM did. As a result, I ran an experiment for several months, scanning with both Symantec and MBAM before removing or quarantining any files. There was no trial in which Symantec found something that MBAM didn't. On that basis, I gave up Symantec and have relied only on weekly MBAM scans ever since.

MBAM's website specifically cites "viruses, worms, trojans, rootkits, dialers, spyware, and malware," which seems to cover all the bases. The only thing missing is active protection, or "vi-spy," as you call it. I suppose that between Firefox (which scans every download), Gmail (which scans every attachment), and MBAM (which I use not only for full system scans, but invoke manually against any file that I deem remotely questionable), I've just never felt the need. And if a 75% detection rate is the best I can expect, it hardly seems worth the extra process.

That said, if our "self-proclaimed IT security expert" thinks I'm being thick-headed, I'll swallow my pride. :)
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#30 User is offline   ZangieF 

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 02:47 AM

75% proactive detection rates, for Sophos specifically. You can't expect to skim my posts and think you understand the whole thing. >_>

MBAM hasn't ever been submitted to Virus Bulletin for testing; while I can attest to its usefulness in cleaning up quite a number of nasty things, I don't really have statistics to back up its performance in the variety of situations that the VB100 tests put products through. I've never run it as the only anti-malware app on a system, since the free version has no on-access scanning or automatic updates, which are instrumental in being able to detect the latest threats, particularly when one happens to make it onto your computer, even if it looks harmless.

With regard to your Symantec comparison there, I'm going to say "no kidding, you'd be hard-pressed to find a product that performs worse than it" (though there are some, actually; Kingsoft Standard antivirus performs about 60% worse reactively, and about the same proactively; that rate is 25%). So yes, by not using anything that updates itself automatically and has real-time on-access scanning, you are potentially putting yourself at risk. Everybody says "I'm not going to be the one to get hit by something like that, I'll spot it first" or whatever; sadly, that doesn't make it so. Here is a big, bold link to Avira's main website for their free product; please do yourself a favour and click on it.
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#31 User is offline   Kaelri 

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 11:17 AM

View PostZangieF, on Jun 14 2010, 04:47 AM, said:

75% proactive detection rates, for Sophos specifically. You can't expect to skim my posts and think you understand the whole thing. >_>

Heh, I didn't skim. You said 75%, proactive, for an app which you consider "a rare exception" in terms of its success rate. I took that to mean that I couldn't expect any better from another service. Certainly not a free one. Am I wrong?

Quote

With regard to your Symantec comparison there, I'm going to say... "you'd be hard-pressed to find a product that performs worse than it"

Ahuh. I'm glad to know that the University of Toronto really cared about my digital safety. (They made me install ZoneAlarm, too. I've never quite removed the stench.)

Quote

So yes, by not using anything that updates itself automatically and has real-time on-access scanning, you are potentially putting yourself at risk. Everybody says "I'm not going to be the one to get hit by something like that, I'll spot it first" or whatever; sadly, that doesn't make it so. Here is a big, bold link to Avira's main website for their free product; please do yourself a favour and click on it.

I tried Avira once. Never found anything, and whenever it tried to do a full scan, it would get hung up on the registry and eventually freeze. Wasn't confidence-inspiring, needless to say. Though I guess I'd rather have it than something like AVG (which was bloated, intrusive, and also never found anything). I'll try it again, I guess. Maybe it's improved.

Understand, I'm not trying to be argumentative; you're clearly knowledgeable about this. And having had a memorable bug which clawed out the eyes of my boot sector and ultimately destroyed most of my data, it's an issue that I take seriously. But I'm also fighting experience. I've tried a lot of these services, and the result is universally the same: they're ugly, they're bulky, they slow things down to a crawl, and they spam me with subscription ads telling me how unsafe I am (despite using the product they'd advertised in the first place), all in exchange for absolutely nothing. They never actually find anything. Not once, in the ten years since I became the responsible party for a household of five PCs, have they proven their worth. So it's hard not to think that I may as well live without them.

Once more unto the breach...
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#32 User is offline   ZangieF 

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 12:15 PM

Quote

a memorable bug which clawed the eyes out of my boot sector

I think this is the first time that a severe technical problem has been captured perfectly in metaphor like that. *clap* I haven't run into any problems with recent versions of Avira, and it recently even got a bit of a redesign, and some new features (even for the free version).

Yeah, forcing you to install ZoneAlarm and Norton (or whatever Symantec product they used) is not that great an idea. ZoneAlarm tends to slow things down drastically on some computers, doesn't play well with antivirus, and is generally a hassle to deal with, oftentimes. If you absolutely must have a firewall besides the Windows one, you can use an antivirus that includes one (Kaspersky Internet Security has one) or you could try Comodo's firewall, which I've heard good things about. Never tried it myself though.
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#33 User is offline   Mystress 

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 07:36 PM

View PostZangieF, on Jun 14 2010, 01:47 AM, said:

MBAM isn't "vi-spy" (which, by the way, is not an actual term, or at least not one I've ever seen) software at all. It's not really meant to combat viruses, worms, and the like, though it will find some of the more common ones, IIRC.

Also, with regard to CA's products, such as the one which Yahoo has evidently decided to bundle, they have rather unsatisfactory performance, in my experience. Virus Bulletin's latest tests place them at about a 70% detection rate for reactive detection (i.e. known threats with signatures, a result that is really quite unacceptable IMO) and not even 50% for proactive detection (i.e. using heuristic technology to identify malware without using signatures). While I don't expect proactive detection rates to go much higher than 50-70% in most cases (Sophos, which I like, is one of a few fairly rare exceptions, with about 75% proactive detection rates), actually falling under the short end of this range is a bit worrying.

And lastly, I might also note that CA's home user product failed to get a VB100 award (i.e. it did not successfully detect all known threats handed to it) in Virus Bulletin's Windows 7 tests, done not too long ago. Overall, I'm really not impressed by them.


Actually, I saw the term "Vi-Spy" on a security site; might have been Sophos, but I'm not positive.

And not to be argumentative, but in my personal experience, the CA Anti-Spyware program's worked just fine, as long as you use it only as a secondary tool and NOT as your primary mode of protection against spyware. It wasn't meant to be a primary detection program, it's only a small add-on Yahoo! decided would be a helpful tool, after all. It's kind of like WOT's (Web of Trust) add-on for Firefox - it's useful and can help protect a user, but it isn't full protection and it isn't meant to be. That's what Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware (Vi-Spy is a term for software that combines both anti-virus and anti-spyware) software is for. And again, it's found and removed things that Webroot, one of the better Anti-Virus/Anti-Spyware programs I've tried, has never even found in a full system scan. Maybe CA's products just don't play well on Apple computers? :)
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#34 User is offline   ZangieF 

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 09:50 PM

Oh, CA doesn't make products for Macs, haha. I was indeed referring to the way they run on Windows systems; perhaps this little add-on doesn't suffer from the same shortcomings their other software does. In any case, I was quoting Virus Bulletin's latest RAP tests for those statistics, so my experience with their software personally doesn't affect that.
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#35 User is offline   ArchitectofAges 

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 05:04 PM

AV Comparatives publishes a monthly report & annual summary of the performance of various antivirus software in various metrics.

This past year's summary put the latest Norton (involuntary shudder) at the top, a place it has never been in the history of the tests. (They actually commented on the huge differences in footprint & speed from previous Norton products.) Microsoft Security Essentials also did surprisingly well.

Software is as software does. PC viruses evolve and change, become more or less dangerous, etc. IME, it makes the most sense to use the AV software that performs best that year (within your personal margins of cost, etc.), rather than sticking it out with something that used to work well, but has fallen behind.

Regardless, Common Sense v1.0 is always your best bet.

-Josh
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