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Last post Author Topic: Is it time to start a new AntiVirus/Internet Security Suite review thread?  (Read 34036 times)

J-Mac

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Similarly, I have read only good things about PrevX; however virtually all I have read about it has come from very loyal and dedicated users, so these are not unbiased opinions. I haven't seen any truly independent reviews - or whatever passes anymore for "independent" reviews.

Jim

4wd

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And I just realized that I got a better deal than I thought...that lifetime license is good for 3 PCs.

I also took them up on their offer, (which they extended to the end of January, IIRC).  I thought it was an absolute bargain at the time...and still do :)

Innuendo

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I bought Agnitum's suite for the firewall mostly. In every firewall test I have seen 3 products dominate the top of the charts every time: Agnitum's Outpost, Comodo, and Online Armor.

Comodo has way too much drama swirling about it for me to ever take it seriously as a product that's going to keep my PC safe no matter how well it does in tests. Online Armor, while good, is quirky at times and the numerous BSODs people are reporting with the product doesn't leave me feeling warm and secure. Online Armor does not yet support x64 or Windows 7 yet, either.

Even if I eventually end with turning everything off in Outpost except the firewall and using it alongside another anti-virus I still think I got a good deal.


mnemonic

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So, I guess that you can get away with a fairly low-cost setup:

(1) A good anti-virus
(2) A hardware router
(3) Firefox with Adblock and Noscript
(4) A bit of "safe surfing" (i.e. not clicking on that "download Smileys!" link)

Avira security suite looks interesting, but I'd want to turn-off the firewall due to the annoyance factor.  Does it really offer a lot more than the free anti-virus?  Reading the Avira comparison chart, it seems that the suite includes "enhanced antispyware" and "antibot".  Unfortunately, it doesn't really explain what extra protection these functions really give you.

Innuendo

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When you're dealing with Avira one thing that you will have to get used to is false positives. Every release I have tried to date has way too many false positives for my liking.

mnemonic

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When you're dealing with Avira one thing that you will have to get used to is false positives. Every release I have tried to date has way too many false positives for my liking.

I've been using the free version for a couple of years and have got a few too.  Saying that though, Prevx Edge sprang up a false positive the first time it ran (believing that TortoiseSVN was a virus).

It's difficult with Antiviruses (Anti-virii?).  I keep wondering whether to move to NOD32 or KAV, but I then consider that I've got a virus in years, so I haven't yet got around to trying.  I used to use Online Armor alongside Avira, but the pop-ups did my head in.  I'm just not sure whether the extra feeling of safety is worth constantly being bothered by pop-ups.

There's so much choice out there that it seems so difficult to put a decent set of products together (vipre, defensewall, returnil, online armor, prevx just to name a few).  Unless you're prepared to spend half of your life investigating the options, I can't see how you'd be able to get an acceptable coverage (although, I guess that's why products like KIS and ESET smart security are popular). 

Innuendo

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mnemonic,
You spoke about routers and that is something a lot of people ignore. If you get a good firewall that performs real stateful packet inspection you can circumvent a lot of the random attacks out there and then concentrate on defending on the reduced amount of crap that makes it through.

My recommendation is to visit the third-party firmware web sites for routers such as DD-WRT, Tomato, OpenWRT & find the firmware you like best. Once you've done that carefully look over your chosen firmware's list of supported routers & get buy the one that has the features you want at a price you can afford. Once you get that firmware installed you'll have a firewall appliance running Linux offering you firewall features that are usually only available on devices costing $500+ dollars.

As for security products, I can't sum it up any better than saying it's like walking a tightrope. The more features a product offers to secure your PC the more resources it's usually going to take up. KAV, for example, makes a system feel more sluggish than one running NOD32. One of the reasons this is because KAV is looking out for a lot more trojans and malware than NOD32. Even if you are fine with the resource usage of KAV, moving up to the single-stop security solution of just getting the KIS security suite isn't necessarily a no-brainer because the firewall in KIS is not as good as some offerings.

As for free anti-virus programs one has to realize that generally speaking one is going to have to put up with more false positives, perhaps reduced features, and definitely getting AV signatures at a later date than those using the paid version of the same product.

Firewall programs are not easy to choose, either. Generally, the most secure ones are the ones who offer the most granular control over your system. Unfortunately, with that granular control usually comes increased popups like with Online Armor. I understand that someone can get irritated and frustrated with all the increased questions of allow this and disallow this after installing one of those products, but you can't let it get the best of you. As long as you are telling the firewall program to remember your decisions as you progress through the popups you are only going to have to answer each of those questions once. After the firewall has been trained on all your installed programs you're only going to see a popup question once a week or two...or even less.

The security software market is unique in that you will always be better off staying away from the major market players that overflow store shelves. Keep McAfee, Norton, TrendMicro, and BitDefender off your PC and you'll generally be a happier person for it.

mnemonic

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Thanks Innuendo.

Unfortunately, I'm locked into using the router provided by the ISP (it has a username and password embedded into the firmware).  Not such a bad thing, as the router is fine (some kind of Netgear).

Currently, I'm running with:

(1) Avira free (been using this for a long time)
(2) The router's firewall
(3) AppGuard (on trial and quiet as a mouse so far)
(4) Spyware Terminator (weekly scan)
(5) Firefox with Adblock and NoScript

Seems to be running extremely quietly at the moment and (from what I've read) looks to provide decent coverage.

Innuendo

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If you should ever wish to move to a different router it may be possible if that Netgear has a setting that will let you put it into bridge mode.

Avira is probably one of the best free AVs & in spite of the false positives I usually prefer recommending it over Avast. Avast just interferes with too many applications.

You may want to consider adding Spyware Blaster and Spybot Search & Destroy. They are both free & very useful.

Stoic Joker

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Spybot Search & Destroy's best proactive feature are inoculation & the SD helper (TeaTimer is a freaking nuisance) unfortunately it laggs the crap out of IE8 ... So I'm looking for alternatives.

What has Avast interfered with? Its always seemed rather well behaved to me.

Innuendo

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Avast's latest program update is known to interfere with The Bat! Just look for CodeTRUCKER's posts on this forum. It's also known to interfere with Newsbin Pro. Those are just the two I know of in recent memory. Fortunately, in both cases just adding an exclusion to the respective programs' download directories clears up the problem.

IE8 is the problem with your lagging. Microsoft's new browser doesn't handle very well long lists of restricted sites. The minute I saw in the IE8 beta that they took away the address bar auto-complete I knew there was someone incompetent in charge. Your only solution is to either switch browsers or stop using the restricted sites functionality of Spybot.

Innuendo

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To anyone following Agnitum's offerings, I just downloaded their latest beta version of their security suite v6.7 beta 4 and the changelog states they are using a new anti-virus engine. I haven't been using it long, but it seems like my system is more responsive and not lagging as much with the previous betas.

Helpful tip: Don't even try to install any version of Agnitum's suite older than v6.7 on Windows 7 or your unhappiness level will be great.

Josh

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You know, I just swapped to NOD32 and purchased a 2 year, 2 user license for my wife and my PC's and I will not look back. ESET Nod32 4.0 is a very decent product with very powerful configuration and control options. I swear by it and it has replaced the Symantec Endpoint Protection which was provided to me for free through the US Army.

Innuendo

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Yes, NOD32 is a very good product. It's been slipping down in the AV rankings, but I'm sure it'll bounce back.

Anyone looking to buy NOD32 should keep an eye out for NewEgg sales. Every so often they put it on sale for $9.99 w/ free shipping. You definitely can't go wrong at that price.

Curt

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40hz

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The only recent change I've made to my security setup is to incorporate an Untangle Open Source Network Gateway into the mix. Untangle provides boundary protection for my SOHO network. Most of its features are available for free under GPL.

Untangle is a big product. I've mentioned it in some previous posts, so I won't repeat it here. Here's the original post in case anybody's interested: http://www.donationc....msg158003#msg158003

You can read all about Untangle on their website ( www.untangle.com ). Linux and Windows versions are available on the downloads page.

Disclaimer: 40hz is not affiliated in any way with the folks that publish Untangle.

----------------

On my desktop I'm still using paid versions of Avira Antivirus and ThreatFire.

I'm also running Comodo's Firewall - less for security, and more for keeping an eye on what my apps are getting up to behind my back. ;D

All three desktop apps play nicely together, so I'm not overly motivated to switch. So far (knock wood) I haven't been hit with anything this combo didn't catch in time.

Note: I'm sure a lot of it depends on how you use your PC, but from what I've seen, staying on top of MS Windows and Office updates does the most to prevent malware from actually killing your machine. Internet security suites have their place in an overall protection strategy, but keeping current with Microsoft's updates will always be your first line of defense.

Just my 2ยข  8)
« Last Edit: June 23, 2009, 06:05:37 PM by 40hz »

Stoic Joker

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If anybody is interested Microsoft has released a beta version of their new AntiVirus program (Microsoft Security Essentials). More information is here:

http://www.microsoft...security_essentials/

You can sign up through Microsoft Connect to download a beta version of it. They have beta versions for Vista/7-64, Vista/7-32, and XP-32.

Innuendo

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I'm going to be watching this new AV from Microsoft with keen interest. Their last AV product didn't have a stellar record with its detection rate, but I'm hoping they got their act together this time so I have one more free option to recommend to people who are reluctant/unable to pay for an AV program.

40hz

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re: MS Security Essentials

Video review and walk-thru from remove-malware.com is up on YouTube:

Quote
I quickly downloaded my free BETA of Microsoft Security Essentials and put it right to the test.  The install process was very simple and fast.  As far as configuration...there was none.  I chose all defaults.  I let Microsoft Security Essentials update and off i went...

...to a list of 40 malicious URL's including drive by downloads, rootkits, trojans, worms, viruses and more!  Security Essentials blocked all 40 pieces of malware with complete ease!!!  WOW!

I'll be making my review of Security Essentials tonight and uploading it to my youtube channel right after.

Geared a bit for beginners, but it's interesting to watch in unedited real time, glitches and all.

Also good for showing to your less technically savvy friends so you don't have to try to explain what an antivirus app does - or how to use one... ;)

Links:

Article: http://remove-malwar...security-essentials/

Video: www.youtube.com/mrizos




« Last Edit: June 24, 2009, 02:26:28 PM by 40hz »

MrCrispy

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I'm going to be watching this new AV from Microsoft with keen interest. Their last AV product didn't have a stellar record with its detection rate, but I'm hoping they got their act together this time so I have one more free option to recommend to people who are reluctant/unable to pay for an AV program.

This is not true. Defender and OneCare, when they started out didn't match the detection rates of the big guys, but have improved a LOT.

According to the latest AV-comparitives report, which you can read here (http://www.av-compar...ret/avc_report22.pdf), OneCare got their highest award and performed better than Symantec and McAfee.

The engine in MSE is better than OneCare's as it also does dynamic updates, at this point I would trust it more than any product except maybe Avira.

Stoic Joker

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I jumped onto the beta DL (which now appears to be closed) and grabbed all 3 (32, 64, & XP) and will be playing with this later this weekend. From the video it appears to have been brilliantly done (simple, quick, & straight forward).

Innuendo

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MrCrispy, I never used OneCare. I was just passing along what I had heard. This new beta is supposed to use the same engine as their corporate/enterprise product and is supposed to be quite good.

For those who missed out on downloading the beta when last I checked one could download it from Softpedia.

EDIT: Found where I heard OneCare wasn't all that great. MrCrispy, you link to AV Comparitive's latest Retrospective/Proactive test. However, their latest On-Demand test did not show OneCare in such a flattering light:

http://av-comparativ...ret/avc_report21.pdf

MS OneCare scored 87.1% on the On-Demand test ranking them 16 out of 17 participants. That's awful. Hopefully, MS will rise to the challenge and do better in future tests.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2009, 03:01:35 PM by Innuendo »

MrCrispy

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I'm sorry, I should have read the on demand report as well. Now OneCare doesn't look so good after all. I myself don't use it anymore (switched to Avira) but it was simple to use and had integrated backup etc.

From the remove-malware.com review, MSE does seem to handle the latest threats very well, so it looks like a good start.

Stoic Joker

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However in the same report MS had the best score for the least FP's out of any of the tested products. Which begs the question; are the others really better (more accurate) or are they just jumping blindly at anything?

Trust must factor into the assessment, and if the scanner is just flagging anything that confuses it then it's really more chicken little then trusted companion. Especially when it's hogging massive amounts of system resources like Symantec or McAfee which scored high on said accuracy test.

cyberdiva

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Trust must factor into the assessment, and if the scanner is just flagging anything that confuses it then it's really more chicken little then trusted companion. Especially when it's hogging massive amounts of system resources like Symantec or McAfee which scored high on said accuracy test.
I hate the fact that McAfee is a resource hog--I've thought of ditching it several times just for that.  However, I still use it, and I think these results help to show why.  They certainly do not suggest that McAfee is "just flagging anything that confuses it."  Indeed, it scored 3rd best on false positives, while also scoring very high on overall anti-malware effectiveness.