Paid antivirus

time

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Anyone have something positive to say about unfree antivirus software, eg "it detected and removed the rootkit within minutes"?

In other words, any evidence that a particular product is worth the money? I guess something that doesn't turn an i7 into a Pentium 4 would be worth knowing about as well.
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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Howell seems to like Vipre and NOD32 is a decent choice for being easy on system resources. I've been told that new versions of Norton AV are not as bad as older ones, but that's a claim I'm not even willing to investigate.
 

Chewy509

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Home use or corporate use?

For Corporate stuff, the Trend Micro management software is one of the better ones, and Officescan is fairly light on resources. On the other hand, I've personally found anything Symantec or McAfee to be horrible on the management side of things, with the clients somewhat better than than the home user stuff, but not greatly so.

Home stuff, no idea on recent versions - most people I know have migrated to Microsoft Security Essentials from the paid stuff.
 

time

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Home or small business use.

I'm also raising the question whether anyone has seen paid antivirus software achieve much in the last few years. It's occurred to me that I probably get far better results from free tools like ComboFix.
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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I think MSE is a lousy product. I'd only use it for someone whom I believe has zero likelihood of encountering a virus in the first place, lack of savvy for keeping Avast up to date and a relatively new computer.

Likewise, I see absolutely no reason for anyone to install a third party firewall on Windows.

Among the corporate security products I manage in one form or other, I have customers with AVG, Symantec and MS Forefront. The group that has the most security issues? The folks with Forefront.
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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Let me say that one more time in case anyone missed it: Between Microsoft's new security product and a four year old SAV Corporate install, I have more issues with the people who are using Microsoft's product.

Some of that might be the personalities of the people at those workplaces, but at the time I felt that MSE was a better product than I now believe to be the case.
 

Will Rickards

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I use NOD32 and usually recommend it. But twice in the last couple years, I have seen it miss stuff on other people's computers. I know nobody can be 100% but the times it does miss, then I have quite a bit of cleanup work. And a full scan takes hours so nobody does weekly full scans to catch the stuff that got through realtime scanning.
 

ddrueding

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I recommend that the computer stay on 24/7 and I schedule updates, defrags, drive image backups and AV scans one a night.
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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Has anyone a recent experience to add to this discussion?

I hadn't seen a machine with the current paid version of Avast (v7) until this weekend. It's blecherous, easily as bad as AVG or Norton in terms of the load it places on a machine. On a six year old Core 2 machine, I was looking at 210-second boot times and LONG delays for program starts. When I removed the paid product and installed the freebie, it became substantially faster. I don't think I like the example set by that behavior.

I do really like Kaspersky's Linux-based scanner. I've got it on one of my thumb drives. It loads up, detects available network connections (including 802.11, though I'd be shocked if that works for everything), updates itself to the most current AV binary and definitions and then takes off scanning... which is exactly what I want it to do.
 

ddrueding

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Still using NOD32 to great effect. Just be sure to only get their antivirus and not their all-in-one security product. Little added security and a slower machine.
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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Does the paid NOD32 security suite similarly bog down a machine?

Is it the third party firewall that actually kills performance rather than antivirus like I'd always assumed? Or some goofy antimalware aspect?
 

ddrueding

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Does the paid NOD32 security suite similarly bog down a machine?

Is it the third party firewall that actually kills performance rather than antivirus like I'd always assumed? Or some goofy antimalware aspect?
It does. I hadn't bothered to pin it down to the firewall, just the "kitchen sink" approach to having it monitor/notify/log everything. That still doesn't excuse Norton/McAffee as their AV solutions still lick dog balls, but Norton's corporate solution isn't that slow (still doesn't catch much).
 

Howell

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MS AV may not be any good.
http://securitywatch.pcmag.com/security-software/307816-microsoft-security-essentials-tanks-another-antivirus-test

On the other hand, this is an easy to use report and evaluation of AV software
All products analysed by AV-TEST are tested in terms of their performance in the categories of Protection, Repair and Usability. This area of the website contains detailed test reports on all of the products that AV-TEST examined since July 2010.
http://www.av-test.org/en/tests/home-user/
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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I flatly refuse to believe that Norton Internet security rates above everything else on offer. The rest of the list is roughly on par with my experiences , but I see far too many houses machines with Norton AV on them to think it does anything but suck and die.
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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They do break down their results and discuss their methodology, but it's a PC Magazine test and I strongly suspect they're biased in favor of their biggest advertiser.
 

Howell

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They do break down their results and discuss their methodology, but it's a PC Magazine test and I strongly suspect they're biased in favor of their biggest advertiser.
Actually it's a magazine article about the tests of an independent group. There are actually two independent testing groups mentioned, one based in Germany.
 

Tannin

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Hmmmm ... I am very suspicious of "independent" groups. Remember all these "independent" CPU benchmarks Intel owned by devious, hidden methods? But be that as it may, any "test" that rates Norton AV above products like ... well, above practically anything really ... isn't a test, it's a PR scam. Ignore it.

These days, BTW, I'm using the outstanding Bullguard AV, but there are several other good ones around that I know about, and no doubt others I have not seen. Hey, if we are only trying to find something better than Norton, you could pick something with a pin and be 98% sure of success.
 

Howell

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If you don't like Norton (and if he called you names and made fun of your mother who could blame you) you could pick one of the two other highest rated, Bitdefender or Kaspersky.

Note that the different parts of the the total package, like blocking blacklisted websites, are integral to the package working as a whole.
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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Avast no longer runs acceptably on single-core systems. Spybot 2 chokes and kills low-end Core 2 and C2D Celeron CPUs.

For Spybot, the main value is in the Immunizations, and the Immunization definitions are the same for 1.6 as they are for 2.0, but it's tough to tell people that they have to hunt down an outdated version of security software.

Security Essentials does not in my opinion represent adequate protection for home users. I suspect it might be OK in a corporate setting where there's some kind of security appliance or LAN-level threat blocking, but it misses too many threats on its own.

Among the paid products I've used in recent memory, all of them are considerably heavier in terms of resource allocation than Avast. Bitdefender and Kaspersky both seem to be made with the assumption they'll be installed on a new system.

I'm getting to the point where "Just don't bother with security software other than ad-blocking" is the only answer I have for machines that are five or six years old. Does anyone else have a better answer at the moment?
 

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I'm getting to the point where "Just don't bother with security software other than ad-blocking" is the only answer I have for machines that are five or six years old. Does anyone else have a better answer at the moment?
I've been using Avira Free on old PCs, but it's gotten so naggy / bothersome trying to upgrade itself to newer versions that I don't need or want (just give me updated definitions) that I'm hesitant to give them money for the paid version.
 

Clocker

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NOD32 (virus scanner only) continues to work great for both my parents and I. I never even notice it's running.
 

ddrueding

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NOD32 is my AV of choice, but it doesn't play well on systems that are already behind the curve. Slow drives and a single-core CPU mean that NOD32 will delay system loading. Of course, you could say that systems that are already that far gone can expect delays (boot times in excess of a minute, etc).
 

Clocker

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I thought one of the good things about NOD32 was the low impact on system resources.....?
 

ddrueding

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I thought one of the good things about NOD32 was the low impact on system resources.....?
It is, much lower than many of the other AV systems out there. Particularly if you avoid their holistic "Smart Security" product. But it still consumes resources (I don't know how it could do the job otherwise). And on systems that really should have been replaced ages ago (P4? AMD Athlon? 5400RPM HDD?) it can add to the pain. These are systems where the OS alone can't get itself out of the way fast enough to have a usable experience. At that point, just pull the AV (and anything else you can) to let it live out the rest of it's life as best it can.
 

LiamC

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I've been using Avira Free on old PCs, but it's gotten so naggy / bothersome trying to upgrade itself to newer versions that I don't need or want (just give me updated definitions) that I'm hesitant to give them money for the paid version.
That's the reason I ditched Avira for Avast!

I will resurrect an Athlon 3400+ to see how a custom install of Avast! works. Probably doesn't need all the "shields" and other security "products" installed.
 

Tannin

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Bullguard is truly excellent. Very low resource use (even on things like (e.g.) Pentium 4 3000, 1GB RAM, 80GB HDD it is bearable); reasonable pricing; the best retailer/OEM scheme that goes on providing benefits long after you sold the software; prompt, very efficient interactive on-line help; best of all, you never have to do stuff or put up with stupid "look how clever I am" pop-ups. After the install, you are offered a choice of verbose or quiet mode. For most users, quiet mode is perfect - it simply does its job and doesn't bother them.

There are various versions; in most cases the one to have is the plain Anti-Virus (without firewall and other stuff - if you want those things, get the Internet Security product instead). I don't think much of the spam filter - too resource heavy - and I always switch that off and use the Thunderbird one instead.

Highly recommended. Fully functional free 15-day trials are available from bullguard.com Be sure to enquire about the reseller program if that applies to you.
 

Tea

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Bitdefender and Kaspersky both seem to be made with the assumption they'll be installed on a new system.
Actually, Kaspersky seems to be made on the assumption that you need performance equivalent to a single-core P4 with 512MB and you are installing it on Blue Gene/Q

I'm getting to the point where "Just don't bother with security software other than ad-blocking" is the only answer I have for machines that are five or six years old. Does anyone else have a better answer at the moment?
Download a Bullguard trial and see what you think. I run it - actually the whole Internet Security package, not just the smaller Anti-Virus one - on my Netbook, which is .. er ... an old Asus thing with an Atom CPU ... can't remember which one, but it was cheap and came with 1GB of RAM (I think it has 3GB now, or maybe 2GB) and Windows XP Home in June 2009. It's sluggish but usable for the light-duty tasks it normally performs (some accounting, bit of web surfing, and sometimes scanning other people's hard drives for viruses via a USB caddy if the main scanning machine is already in use).
 

sechs

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Security Essentials does not in my opinion represent adequate protection for home users. I suspect it might be OK in a corporate setting where there's some kind of security appliance or LAN-level threat blocking, but it misses too many threats on its own.
I've been telling home users with desktops that sit behind a router with a firewall to use MSE. Is that not sufficient on your mind?
 

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I've been telling home users with desktops that sit behind a router with a firewall to use MSE. Is that not sufficient on your mind?
Absolutely not. MSE is abysmal at actually detecting much of anything. It's not worth the CPU cycles to run it. I'll put it on a little old lady's computer so that she can have some peace of mind but it doesn't belong on any machine that actually needs security software.
 

Chewy509

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Absolutely not. MSE is abysmal at actually detecting much of anything. It's not worth the CPU cycles to run it. I'll put it on a little old lady's computer so that she can have some peace of mind but it doesn't belong on any machine that actually needs security software.
Gut feeling or some empirical evidence to back up the sentiment? (Not that I don't trust your gut instinct).
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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Well it's not like I've been keeping a detailed log, but I definitely have to clean up machines that had up to date MSE on a fairly regular basis, and the couple customer sites where it's still in use are also customer sites where I still have to deal with malware-related issues that I don't see with other security products.

I suppose it's a matter of informed observation. I think MSE has gotten worse and worse since it was released. Forefront is a legitimate product that Microsoft sells, and MSE is basically the free Forefront client, but I wonder if its wide adoption has led to greater awareness of its vulnerabilities in the malware-writing community.
 

Chewy509

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Thanks, I've always liked MSE for Windows machines, especially for those that are more technical savvy and those that use NoScript, AdBlock, etc. (Where the plugins reduce the attack vector)...

My parents have Trend on their laptop, but my wife is still using MSE on her laptop... might be time to look elsewhere for her.

The reduction in performance may be more due to MS scaling back the number of AV products they offer - IIRC most of the ForeFront stuff for servers/exchange/sharepoint have been axed over the last 12 months. (It's not something they appear to want to continue as a end user product).
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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Overall I still think Avast is the best free option. Newer versions insist on themselves more than old ones did; "Hey, look at me! I'm doing stuff for you! And I'm free! But you can buy me!" And I appreciate some of the not-strictly-AV functionality even if I don't use it. I normally disable Webrep but there are users for whom I leave it enabled. The Software Update Checker is handy. Most of the ad crap can be turned off (Silent/Gaming mode is your friend).

I do wish Avast were as unobtrusive as MSE, but really that's the only thing MSE brings to the table as far as I'm concerned and I'd rather computers actually be protected from things.
 
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