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Last post Author Topic: The Best Security Suites (2013/2014)  (Read 17831 times)

mouser

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The Best Security Suites (2013/2014)
« on: February 13, 2014, 05:43:42 AM »
PC Magazine writer Neil Rubenking wrote a massive and very useful review of security suites (antivirus + firewall) for PC Magazine recently, with ratings and detailed observations.

Quote
The chart below summarizes our findings for three dozen current security suites, highlighting overall scores and category scores of 4.0 stars or better. It's easy to see that some products earned high scores in all or nearly all the categories, while others got just a few high scores.



I may not agree with everything written but it's darn useful.  See also some newer PC mag security reviews that came out after the roundup here.
See also: http://securitywatch...ce-need-not-conflict

40hz

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Re: The Best Security Suites (2013/2014)
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2014, 08:59:58 AM »
I tend to shy away from the suites on my personal PC since they often include things I don't want or have the patience for. I'm running Bitdefender AV Plus on almost everything I have using Windows right now and I'm happy with the performance and protection level it provides. They also provide a free version with fewer options and capabilities that still offers excellent protection for people who are short on cash. Download page for that here. If you're running Microsoft Security Essentials, Bitdefender AV Free  is a very good alternative. It's literally "set & forget."

FWIW I'm also boycotting anything from AVG (and badmouthing them every chance I get :mrgreen:) because of the hamfisted way they pulled CrossLoop off the market. :nono2:
« Last Edit: February 13, 2014, 12:58:38 PM by 40hz »

Curt

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Re: The Best Security Suites (2013/2014)
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2014, 09:41:40 AM »
I am of course disappointed that without any explanation, Agnitum Outpost Security Suite Pro was not tested. To me this is like saying twenty years ago, we have tested for the safest car in the world, without even mentioning Volvo.


mouser

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Re: The Best Security Suites (2013/2014)
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2014, 09:45:42 AM »
Neil actually did go review Outpost after this initial roundup, here: http://www.pcmag.com...,2817,2430088,00.asp
And a couple more here: http://www.pcmag.com...,2806,1639159,00.asp

mouser

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Re: The Best Security Suites (2013/2014)
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2014, 10:08:08 AM »
While I don't agree with all of the conclusions, there are lots of interesting charts in the roundup, this one I found particularly useful:

http://www.pcmag.com...71,iid=392519,00.asp

Screenshot - 2_13_2014 , 10_06_09 AM.png

It shows the impact on performance when running the different tools (explanation here).

Stoic Joker

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Re: The Best Security Suites (2013/2014)
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2014, 10:52:48 AM »
Zoiks! With the exception of the top few, those are some frighteningly high percentages.

mouser

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Re: The Best Security Suites (2013/2014)
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2014, 11:31:30 AM »
The one area I think Neil gave himself (and the tech support of these companies) huge amounts of completely unnecessary pain, and colored his results as well, is how determined he was that these tools should be able to do their initial install on an already virused system.

That's asking too much, and no one should turn to an antivirus/security app after an infection to rescue them from it.  If you are trying to recover from an infection you should use a dedicated self-booting repair tool, or something similar.

40hz

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Re: The Best Security Suites (2013/2014)
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2014, 11:50:15 AM »
The one area I think Neil gave himself (and the tech support of these companies) huge amounts of completely unnecessary pain, and colored his results as well, is how determined he was that these tools should be able to do their initial install on an already virused system.

That's asking too much, and no one should turn to an antivirus/security app after an infection to rescue them from it.  If you are trying to recover from an infection you should use a dedicated self-booting repair tool, or something similar.

This x 1000!

The real goal is interception and prevention - not scrubbing a system after it's infected.

I'm always more interested in how effective the realtime scanner is. Not how well the cleaner works. Especially since (with some of the root level  and MBR infections running around) disinfecting a system (even with a bootable antimalware disk or key) leaves the system inoperable after the clean-up finishes. At which point you’re now left doing data recovery, and then reinstalling your OS - and all your apps. Not fun. Even with an image available.

 8)
« Last Edit: February 13, 2014, 11:55:37 AM by 40hz »

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Re: The Best Security Suites (2013/2014)
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2014, 01:38:24 PM »
Yep.

In general, I would not put too much weight on the actual numerical ratings and editor's choice in this roundup.  Neil's priorities are different than ours.  In addition to focusing on removal of infections, he also seems biased towards suites that have everything including the kitchen sink, while many of us, myself include, do not want all this bloatware and are just interested in antivirus+firewall.

Having said that -- this massive comparative review (and the charts the accompany it) are full of very useful information -- and the overall impressions, coming from someone who has tried so many, are likewise useful.

longrun

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Re: The Best Security Suites (2013/2014)
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2014, 02:01:36 PM »
I'm running Bitdefender AV Plus on almost everything I have using Windows right now and I'm happy with the performance and protection level it provides.

I was on the verge of buying BitDefender on a Newegg special until I read some truly horrifying user reviews--BSOD's, corrupted systems, etc. I've never used it so I don't know the validity of these comments, but they might be worth looking at before buying.

I've used VIPRE for years. The most annoying thing about it is that it still flags a bunch of DC programs like ClipTrap even though I've contacted VIPRE repeatedly.

40hz

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Re: The Best Security Suites (2013/2014)
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2014, 02:46:01 PM »
I don't know the validity of these comments, but they might be worth looking at before buying.

I'm looking at 4 personal (3 laptops + one desktop) machines and well over 100 client PCs that I'm directly responsible for. Haven't run into anything even remotely like that, so I'm not sure what I should be looking at. All is calm - all is bright. Same goes for their server AV products. Have never run into a single problem. But I also knew each of those machines was properly set-up and updated -  and was "squeaky clean" system-wise before I installed BitDefender so somebody else's mileage could well vary.
 8)

Innuendo

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Re: The Best Security Suites (2013/2014)
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2014, 11:02:03 AM »
Neil actually did go review Outpost after this initial roundup, here: http://www.pcmag.com...,2817,2430088,00.asp

Neil's verdict is grossly different than everything else I have ever read about this product, especially the firewall. Agnitum's firewall is one of the best in the business as rated by independent tests.

Agnitum's new AV engine is starting to get a lot of notice as well so I wonder what Neil did wrong in his tests.

Furthermore, he says Outpost does a mediocre job blocking malware and exploits. I can tell you from first-hand experience this is not true as I sometimes frequent the darker corners of the internet & Agnitum's product hasn't failed me yet.

TaoPhoenix

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Re: The Best Security Suites (2013/2014)
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2014, 11:14:43 AM »

I zoomed in on this snip:
"Looking for the smallest, lightest protection available? The installer for Editors' Choice Webroot SecureAnywhere Complete (2014) would fit on a 3.5" diskette (if you could fine one). Its unusual antivirus component doesn't use virus signatures; rather, it detects threats by their behavior and other characteristics."

A, being a fan of Small and Light, that was nice! But see the note about behavior vs signatures. What if you got that to behave with a second AV program without them fighting each other? Could the combined power of the two approaches synergistically become "more than the sum of the parts"?


40hz

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Re: The Best Security Suites (2013/2014)
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2014, 03:00:05 PM »
A, being a fan of Small and Light, that was nice! But see the note about behavior vs signatures. What if you got that to behave with a second AV program without them fighting each other? Could the combined power of the two approaches synergistically become "more than the sum of the parts"?

Hard to say, but the AV players are aware of it. As a result, many of the big AV products (that are signature based) also include a heuristic/suspicious behavior scanning feature. Many people leave it off. And it's not necessarily turned on by default.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2014, 03:17:04 PM by 40hz »

mouser

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Re: The Best Security Suites (2013/2014)
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2014, 06:41:08 PM »
I have for years been a fan of Eset's offerings -- their antivirus and then their combined antivirus and firewall.

Before switching to Eset I was a big fan of Agnitum.

From my standpoint, Eset has the best, most utilitarian and powerful user system, as far as user options and interface.

The options and alerts are excellent -- and they still have some firewall features that for some reason few have copied -- like when an alert pops up you can choose to ignore it for the current session (or once, or create a rule).

So many of the firewalls reviewed (and which get good ratings) offer so little control and information.  There really needs to be a distinction between truly flexible controllable firewalls like Eset, Outpost, and Comodo, which are in a different class than the others, that just silently do their job and offer you little information or control -- and little help if something is being silently blocked which shouldn't be.  It does alert me when anything tries to connect in or out which I like to know.

I love the clean interface of Eset's tools -- and they get just about every single thing right when it comes to organizing and presenting options, logs, alerts, etc.

HOWEVER, I have recently dumped Eset despite being a paying customer.  I have confirmed that their firewall makes my computer unstable and causes programs to occasionally hang and require a reboot to terminate.  Prior to windows 7, a known and apparently unfixable-by-them bug in their win xp x64 version would cause computer freeze and blue screen when attaching an external usb.  This was a known problem for years that i cast a blind eye to. When freezes started happening on my win7 machine, i had enough.

For the last week I've been trialing AVG internet security.  I tried a dozen others but AVG was the one that I found least offensive.  I might try outpost again, as I always liked Outpost, but right now AVG is doing pretty well by me.

I did not install the optional stuff like web browsing guards, identity guards, etc. -- and thankfully those are optional installs.  Those seem too likely to cause problems and slowdowns to me.

AVG does *not* offer the kind of fine granularity control of the powerful firewalls like Eset and Outpost, but it does offer more control and transparency than some of the truly minimal ones.  But my patience for micro-managing firewall access control rules has diminished over the years, so that's not bothering me as much as it would have in the past.

In terms of basic antivirus and firewall, i'm not unhappy with AVG, and the system performance and stability seem really excellent, which is my main concern these days.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2014, 06:51:39 PM by mouser »

Contro

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Re: The Best Security Suites (2013/2014)
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2014, 06:53:31 PM »
The free version of Agnite http://free.agnitum.com/ can coexist with Avast! free ?
I would like give a try because of my latest security events.

mouser

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Re: The Best Security Suites (2013/2014)
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2014, 07:01:25 PM »
ps. For those looking for fine-granularity control, this combination firewall+antivirus looks very promising and is in the same class as Eset, Outpost, and Comodo: http://www.emsisoft.com/

mouser

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Re: The Best Security Suites (2013/2014)
« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2014, 07:04:11 PM »
One of the nice things about Agnitum is that it can be used as a firewall only, so you can combine it with a different antivirus -- which might make sense since i'm not sure what the caliber of Agnitum's antivirus engine is.

However, I'm confused about Agnitum's free offering -- I wish someone would explain that to me -- how it compares to the full one.

mwb1100

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Re: The Best Security Suites (2013/2014)
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2014, 09:52:03 PM »
Agnitum has a free-vs-pro comparison here: http://free.agnitum.com/download.php

I'm not sure what "safe web surfing" or "ID theft prevention" are exactly (and I'm an Outpost user), but they don't seem like core AV or firewall functionality. So I think the key thing that the paid version has over the free is "priority update".

The very low impact numbers given for Webroot SecureAnywhere has me considering taking a look at that. And I have a lifetime license for Agnitum and hate trying out anti-malware.

mwb1100

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Re: The Best Security Suites (2013/2014)
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2014, 10:02:31 PM »
Also - it looks like the free version of Agnitum's suite is at 7.1.1 while the paid version is at 9.0.  I don't know if the version numbers between the free suite and the paid suite necessarily correspond with each other (ie., does that mean that the free version uses the same basic technology as the 7.x version of the paid suite used?), but that's my assumption at this point unless someone corrects me.

Innuendo

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Re: The Best Security Suites (2013/2014)
« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2014, 10:16:04 AM »
From my standpoint, Eset has the best, most utilitarian and powerful user system, as far as user options and interface.

You should track down some screenshots of Agnitum's new UI. It's very modern and streamlined. Everything is minimalist until you go into the advanced settings. Then you're presented with every setting you'd wish to tweak, but it is still presented logically.

Quote
The options and alerts are excellent -- and they still have some firewall features that for some reason few have copied -- like when an alert pops up you can choose to ignore it for the current session (or once, or create a rule).

Agnitum has that as well. You can also set various settings that make the training of the firewall easier for you on first install.

Quote
There really needs to be a distinction between truly flexible controllable firewalls like Eset, Outpost, and Comodo, which are in a different class than the others, that just silently do their job and offer you little information or control -- and little help if something is being silently blocked which shouldn't be.  It does alert me when anything tries to connect in or out which I like to know.

Outpost is the only firewall that I know of that allows you to control how granular the firewall will be and how often it will alert you. If one just wants a 'quiet' firewall like AVG, you can configure Outpost that way. However, if you are a micro-manager and you want to be alerted any time a DLL on your system has changed, a program updated, or say, a program trying to access the internet through IE then Outpost can do that, too.

Quote
HOWEVER, I have recently dumped Eset despite being a paying customer.  I have confirmed that their firewall makes my computer unstable and causes programs to occasionally hang and require a reboot to terminate.

Eset used to be the best, but their AV was always better than their firewall. One could say the exact same thing about Kaspersky as well. They used to have an unbeatable AV, but it was always better than their firewall.

Quote
For the last week I've been trialing AVG internet security.  I tried a dozen others but AVG was the one that I found least offensive.  I might try outpost again, as I always liked Outpost, but right now AVG is doing pretty well by me.

It's been a long while since I last checked out AVG, but every time I have it never completely protected my system. Things were always slipping through.

Innuendo

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Re: The Best Security Suites (2013/2014)
« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2014, 10:20:19 AM »
Also - it looks like the free version of Agnitum's suite is at 7.1.1 while the paid version is at 9.0.  I don't know if the version numbers between the free suite and the paid suite necessarily correspond with each other (ie., does that mean that the free version uses the same basic technology as the 7.x version of the paid suite used?), but that's my assumption at this point unless someone corrects me.

Yes, the version numbers do correspond. That's the trade-off. You're getting a commercial product for free, but it's an older version. Agnitum keeps making noises about updating the free version to be closer to their paid offering, but they haven't done it yet.

I don't think that's too huge of a deal, though, because a firewall isn't as dependent on updates as an AV is what with it having to rely on signatures and such.

superboyac

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Re: The Best Security Suites (2013/2014)
« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2014, 05:35:15 PM »
A, being a fan of Small and Light, that was nice! But see the note about behavior vs signatures. What if you got that to behave with a second AV program without them fighting each other? Could the combined power of the two approaches synergistically become "more than the sum of the parts"?

Hard to say, but the AV players are aware of it. As a result, many of the big AV products (that are signature based) also include a heuristic/suspicious behavior scanning feature. Many people leave it off. And it's not necessarily turned on by default.

40hz, question:
Why did you go with Bitdefender AV over MSE?

Stoic Joker

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Re: The Best Security Suites (2013/2014)
« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2014, 10:58:43 AM »
A, being a fan of Small and Light, that was nice! But see the note about behavior vs signatures. What if you got that to behave with a second AV program without them fighting each other? Could the combined power of the two approaches synergistically become "more than the sum of the parts"?

Hard to say, but the AV players are aware of it. As a result, many of the big AV products (that are signature based) also include a heuristic/suspicious behavior scanning feature. Many people leave it off. And it's not necessarily turned on by default.

40hz, question:
Why did you go with Bitdefender AV over MSE?

I'm going to guess because MS only has 2 sizes, tiny and enterprise. While MSE can (legally) be use on business networks with 10 or less machines. Above that (legally) requires MS ForeFront which is such a big harry monster that it doesn't make sense on networks with less than ~500 machines. So if you (and I suspect 40 is) are in that vast middle ground ... You need a middle sized (legal - option B ) solution to avoid getting forced into MS's A or C (dinky or huge respectively) size options.

40hz

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Re: The Best Security Suites (2013/2014)
« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2014, 11:00:37 AM »
40hz, question:
Why did you go with Bitdefender AV over MSE?

@SB - it's very light on its feet and the free edition protects better the MSE IMO. My GF had a few niggling things get through MSE a short time ago that didn't get spotted until her weekly MBAM scan. Happened about three times. Since I put the freebie Bitdefender on her PC MBAM comes up completely clean.

I like Bitdefender. It's been around forever and earns consistent high detection scores in tests. I especially like their small business and enterprise products. They've always worked well for me in a client setting. YMMV.

Note: I've used (at one time or another) AV solutions from:

Avast
AVG
Avira
Bitdefender
CA
ESET
F-Protect
Kapersky
McAfee
Norton
Symantec

Of the above, I would still consider using Kapersky. And possibly AVG since it seems to really be at home with Windows 8 (which is coming whether we want it or not). Even has a pretty 'Win8-look' to its dashboard. The clients I have that use AVG are happy with it, even if I think it's feature set is bulking up alarmingly with each new release. (Note. AVG's customer service can sometimes be a little hard to deal with - so keep good track of your license keys and customer ID in case you do need to talk to them.)

Most of the other products I thought were great at one time. Or at least I did until they mucked them up with feature bloat. I'll also +1 w/Mouser on ESET. Their NOD32 antivirus was one of the absolute best products available - until they broke it.

I generally don't have much need for local firewall (or related features) on my home PCs. The firewall, along with antispam and privacy controls, are handled by my gateway for the entire network. So on the local machines I just run Bitdefender + the Windows built-in firewall and call it a day. I also keep a copy of the free versions of SuperAntispyware and MBAM on each machine for additional on-demand checking - and a bootable Kapersky USB key and restoration images in case some mega-disaster ever strikes.

Outside of that, keeping Windows religiously updated, and my other software regularly updated (mostly :-[ ) constitutes my Windows security regimen.

tonystark.jpg "That's the way America does it! That's the way 40hz does it! And it's worked pretty well so far..."

------------------------------
UPDATE:

Note: one of my cronies just pointed me to this. It has info and links that allow you to legally obtain a fully functional "one-year trial" copy of AVG Internet Security 2014. Can't vouch for it since I didn't try to install it - but the download links on the webpage still appear (as of today 2/18/2014) to be working. A similar offer appeared on the Most i Want website recently. See it here.

Quote
AVG Internet Security 2014 Free Download with 1 Year Trial Serial Key

AVG Internet Security 2014 is normally priced at $54.99 for a 1 year 1 PC serial number/license key. And it comes with a 30 days trial version like other security software. If you don’t like the usual 30 days trial then here is an promotion offer to download a trial version of AVG Internet Security 2014 with an in-built serial key for 1 year (364 days) at no cost. It doesn’t say how long this offer will stay free, so get it while it last!

This free 1 year trial is actually intended for Huawei dongle users but it works for everyone lol. And in terms of features and protections, there are no differences between a trial and a paid license — you get all the same features, updates, and protection.

« Last Edit: February 18, 2014, 02:06:33 PM by 40hz »