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Antivir and AVGs paid and free versions


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#1 Billermo

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Posted 18 October 2008 - 11:20 AM

Both Antivir and AVG have very popular free versions of their anti-virus software.

I notice that the versions used in tests on AV-comparatives.org are the paid versions, and my understanding is that the performance of the paid versions is not the same as the free versions of both programs.

Does anyone have any solid info on this topic?

Are there any tests out there that compare, say, AVG's free and paid versions' performance? Or Anti-vir's.

Thanks

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#2 frankp316

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Posted 18 October 2008 - 06:01 PM

IIRC, you don't get a popup ad every time you update with the paid version of Avira. Not sure if there's any other difference to the average user. Generally speaking, paid features added to high quality free software tends to be negligible at best. I don't need to pay 20 bucks for automatic updates. Based on your other post, you're assuming that paid products offer better protection than free products and that isn't true.

#3 Billermo

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Posted 18 October 2008 - 09:23 PM

Not exactly correct. I read one round up review of anti-virus programs that included testing done by one of the major testing outfits (av-comparatives, checkvir, etc) that included the usual suspects (Norton, McAfee, Kapersky, etc.) and also the biggest free ones (AVG, Antivir, one other, can't remember which, along with a few others. AVG free finished near the bottom in catching viruses, at 9th or 10th. This was on a website like ZDnet or PCworld, again, can't remember. Sorry. But this isn't an assumption (that the paid and free versions are different in performance) coming out of the air, it was based on an article I read that was citing reputable test results. (Anti-vir free came in about 6th or 7th)

But if we look at what you said, you seem to make a big assumption. I haven't heard the claim that they're the same (the free and paid versions of AVG or Anti-Vir) is supported by any convincing objective evidence. I mean, if you only have the free version, how would you know? It seems like subjective first-hand experience is being given too much credibility. Test results carry much more weight, in my opinion. And test results over time, actually, because these programs need to perform well for years, so it makes sense to pick one that has a good track record over the past few years in test results.

Edited by Billermo, 18 October 2008 - 09:26 PM.


#4 frankp316

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 05:29 AM

If you're talking about Avira or AVG free vs paid, the protection is the same. The only difference is additional features that aren't worth 20 bucks. I'm not basing that on a review that wants to sell me something. I'm basing that on anecdotal info from this site. These are real people here at BC. They're not being paid to endorse security software. In your mind, you believe that paid security software is better and it's not true. I don't need test results to know that. They don't mean anything in the real world. You're conveniently using test results to convince yourself that paid security is better than free. And the advice you will get from all the experts at BC will tell you otherwise. Don't want to listen to free advice from real users? Then don't ask.

#5 tg1911

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 06:50 AM

Also, these "tests" are run, using different criteria.
One site says product A is the best, while another site wil say product B, or C is better, so who's to say who's correct.
Until the test criteria becomes standardized (and even then), you should take these results, with a grain of salt.

The only criteria I need, are real-world results.
I've been using AVG free for over 6 yrs, without ANY problems.
That's the only test, I need.

Besides, no AV, or anti-malware program, is 100% effective.
That's why it's a good idea to occasionally run a few on-line scans, just to be sure.
Layered protection, is the only way to increase the odds, of remaining infection free, and even that, isn't 100%.
It depends on how fast the developers of your program, recognize a new threat, and issue updated definitions.

Use the free, or paid-for version, of your program of choice, it doesn't matter, because they are both just as effective.
The only difference, is that the paid version has more "bells & whistles".
The reason (besides the cost :thumbsup:) I don't care for paid-for programs, is the resource-hogging bloat, added by the additional features.
I have better things I can be doing with my RAM, and processor. :flowers:
.
.

Edited by tg1911, 19 October 2008 - 06:52 AM.

MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P, CPU: Phenom II X4 955 Deneb BE, HS/F: CoolerMaster V8, RAM: 2 x 1G Kingston HyperX DDR2 800, VGA: ECS GeForce Black GTX 560, PSU: Antec TruePower Modular 750W, Soundcard: Asus Xonar D1, Case: CoolerMaster COSMOS 1000, Storage: Internal - 2 x Seagate 250GB SATA, 2 x WD 1TB SATA; External - Seagate 500GB USB, WD 640GB eSATA, 3 x WD 1TB eSATA

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#6 chrisxa

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 06:51 AM

what about the Avast:Home Edition...its free as well. how does it compare to the other anti-virus?
Beneath wings of darkness, wings of death, I dwell in shadows,
Here I have found a kingdom, here I have found a princess; the princess of darkness.
She's the only one I fear, my princess wrapped in shadows, my princess beloved.

#7 Billermo

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 01:13 AM

If you're talking about Avira or AVG free vs paid, the protection is the same. The only difference is additional features that aren't worth 20 bucks. I'm not basing that on a review that wants to sell me something. I'm basing that on anecdotal info from this site. These are real people here at BC. They're not being paid to endorse security software. In your mind, you believe that paid security software is better and it's not true. I don't need test results to know that. They don't mean anything in the real world. You're conveniently using test results to convince yourself that paid security is better than free. And the advice you will get from all the experts at BC will tell you otherwise. Don't want to listen to free advice from real users? Then don't ask.


Frank, you keep saying not to make assumptions, but here's you making one after another. One, you seem to assume that the paid versions only offer additional features that aren't worth the price. I've researched since my last post to find out exactly what AVG's free and paid versions include. On one count, it seems as if the updates and scanning are mostly the same. One very key difference is that AVG free does NOT protect against unknown potential viruses that seem to be viruses, or what is called heuristics. That is a feature that is standard in any paid product and is an important part of protection. This is according to AVG itself, by the way.

If you look through the different categories of testing on AV-comparatives' tests, you can see that this is an area where AVG performs very badly -- in its detection of unknown varieties of virus -- and where others perform very well. This is year after year.

It seems as if you're claiming that anecdotal evidence is superior to methodical testing. I don't think I need to even comment on that, other than to say that that's what you are saying. I disagree, as I would expect most reasonable people would. Now this comment about 'real people' -- do you think people doing the testing are not real people? Then you say the testing organizations are being paid to endorse security software. Pretty strong charge, I'd say, and what I'd call a huge assumption. You're calling the testers a fraud, in other words. I cited AV-comparitives. Are you accusing them specifically? Evidence? The organizations I cited (AV comparatives and Checkvir) appear to be reputable and the objectivity of their testing respected.

To tg1911: the tests don't match perfectly of course because they use somewhat different methods and different test viruses. For a would-be customer to evaluate a particular product, it would make more sense to look at the track record over time, and its tendency to perform better vs others. NOD32 performs particularly well, always at or near the top, along with a few others. Certain ones seem to often finish at the bottom of the pack, others usually in the middle -- but then once in awhile a middle one will perform near the bottom or top, and so on. I think you have to consider the general trend, over time, not one single test.

Anyway, you make a good point about scanning using another program (such as online version of BitDefender, etc.)., I agree with that. But your claim that the free ones match the paid ones in quality just isn't backed by any objective evidence -- and AVG itself seems to disagree on this point. You guys can yell all you want about it, but your anecdotal evidence just isn't convincing in a world where there is such a possibility as scientific testing. And it's easy to test anti-virus programs. The only reason not to is a lack of will. Or a will to keep believing in myth.

Edited by Billermo, 21 October 2008 - 01:16 AM.


#8 DSTM

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 01:39 AM

If you're talking about Avira or AVG free vs paid, the protection is the same. The only difference is additional features that aren't worth 20 bucks. I'm not basing that on a review that wants to sell me something. I'm basing that on anecdotal info from this site. These are real people here at BC. They're not being paid to endorse security software. In your mind, you believe that paid security software is better and it's not true. I don't need test results to know that. They don't mean anything in the real world. You're conveniently using test results to convince yourself that paid security is better than free. And the advice you will get from all the experts at BC will tell you otherwise. Don't want to listen to free advice from real users? Then don't ask.

I use AVIRA ANTI-VIR Personal free on another PC. From my research the main difference with the paid and free version,ia the paid version has EMAIL Scanning,whereas the free doesn't.
Worth $20 or so bucks for email peace of mind? Your choice.
You are never going to get concensus on this discussion.
I'm outer here.Best of luck Billermo. We can't make up your mind,for you, if your so indecisive. :thumbsup:















#9 frankp316

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 05:53 AM

If you're talking about Avira or AVG free vs paid, the protection is the same. The only difference is additional features that aren't worth 20 bucks. I'm not basing that on a review that wants to sell me something. I'm basing that on anecdotal info from this site. These are real people here at BC. They're not being paid to endorse security software. In your mind, you believe that paid security software is better and it's not true. I don't need test results to know that. They don't mean anything in the real world. You're conveniently using test results to convince yourself that paid security is better than free. And the advice you will get from all the experts at BC will tell you otherwise. Don't want to listen to free advice from real users? Then don't ask.


Frank, you keep saying not to make assumptions, but here's you making one after another. One, you seem to assume that the paid versions only offer additional features that aren't worth the price. I've researched since my last post to find out exactly what AVG's free and paid versions include. On one count, it seems as if the updates and scanning are mostly the same. One very key difference is that AVG free does NOT protect against unknown potential viruses that seem to be viruses, or what is called heuristics. That is a feature that is standard in any paid product and is an important part of protection. This is according to AVG itself, by the way.

If you look through the different categories of testing on AV-comparatives' tests, you can see that this is an area where AVG performs very badly -- in its detection of unknown varieties of virus -- and where others perform very well. This is year after year.

It seems as if you're claiming that anecdotal evidence is superior to methodical testing. I don't think I need to even comment on that, other than to say that that's what you are saying. I disagree, as I would expect most reasonable people would. Now this comment about 'real people' -- do you think people doing the testing are not real people? Then you say the testing organizations are being paid to endorse security software. Pretty strong charge, I'd say, and what I'd call a huge assumption. You're calling the testers a fraud, in other words. I cited AV-comparitives. Are you accusing them specifically? Evidence? The organizations I cited (AV comparatives and Checkvir) appear to be reputable and the objectivity of their testing respected.

To tg1911: the tests don't match perfectly of course because they use somewhat different methods and different test viruses. For a would-be customer to evaluate a particular product, it would make more sense to look at the track record over time, and its tendency to perform better vs others. NOD32 performs particularly well, always at or near the top, along with a few others. Certain ones seem to often finish at the bottom of the pack, others usually in the middle -- but then once in awhile a middle one will perform near the bottom or top, and so on. I think you have to consider the general trend, over time, not one single test.

Anyway, you make a good point about scanning using another program (such as online version of BitDefender, etc.)., I agree with that. But your claim that the free ones match the paid ones in quality just isn't backed by any objective evidence -- and AVG itself seems to disagree on this point. You guys can yell all you want about it, but your anecdotal evidence just isn't convincing in a world where there is such a possibility as scientific testing. And it's easy to test anti-virus programs. The only reason not to is a lack of will. Or a will to keep believing in myth.



I'll leave it to the experts here to explain it to you but generally speaking, test results on security software isn't as reliable as user feedback. You can't depend on test results. But that's not even what we're talking about here. You have the audacity to come here and assume that paid security products are better than free security products. That's nonsense. And then to assume that companies like AVG or Avira would hold back protection to get users to fork over twenty bucks is even more nonsense. My problem with you doing that is some inexperienced user is going to come here and think that you may actually know what you're talking about because you use a lot of words. The truth is you are misinformed and you're not paying attention to what people are telling you. So when you come here with that kind of attitude, no one is going to read your blah blah blah. We've had several folks come here and assume that paid protection is better than free protection and they quickly learn that isn't true. You're not learning that. Take your attitude elsewhere.

#10 Billermo

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 10:31 AM

I'll leave it to the experts here to explain it to you but generally speaking, test results on security software isn't as reliable as user feedback. You can't depend on test results. But that's not even what we're talking about here. You have the audacity to come here and assume that paid security products are better than free security products. That's nonsense. And then to assume that companies like AVG or Avira would hold back protection to get users to fork over twenty bucks is even more nonsense. My problem with you doing that is some inexperienced user is going to come here and think that you may actually know what you're talking about because you use a lot of words. The truth is you are misinformed and you're not paying attention to what people are telling you. So when you come here with that kind of attitude, no one is going to read your blah blah blah. We've had several folks come here and assume that paid protection is better than free protection and they quickly learn that isn't true. You're not learning that. Take your attitude elsewhere.


From AVG's website:
http://download.grisoft.cz/filedir/presale..._1_20050726.pdf
Note the line "detection of potentially unwanted programs" and the way it's check-marked in the paid version and unchecked in the free one. Sorry for having the audacity to post the link.

Edited by Billermo, 21 October 2008 - 10:57 AM.


#11 frankp316

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 10:53 AM

Did you see this response to you on the other thread from a guy who also likes paid security software?


I take objection to your unfriendly attitude.We here at Bleeping Computer are one big happy family,and your last post is far from friendly.
In another thread to refer to us as teenagers,is insulting.
You cannot dictate to us what we post as long as it is within BC Guidelines and the posts so far are relevant.
I wouldnt bother posting again in your threads.


That's a polite way of saying "Take a hike". Being polite doesn't seem to work with you. Your whole approach to this subject is ill informed and explaining that isn't going to help. I just don't want anyone else to buy into it.

Edited by frankp316, 21 October 2008 - 10:56 AM.


#12 Guest_Abacus 7_*

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 11:02 AM

I did make a Comment on the other Thread, but will leave this up to frankp316.

:thumbsup:

#13 Billermo

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 10:50 AM

Did you see this response to you on the other thread from a guy who also likes paid security software?


I take objection to your unfriendly attitude.We here at Bleeping Computer are one big happy family,and your last post is far from friendly.
In another thread to refer to us as teenagers,is insulting.
You cannot dictate to us what we post as long as it is within BC Guidelines and the posts so far are relevant.
I wouldnt bother posting again in your threads.


That's a polite way of saying "Take a hike". Being polite doesn't seem to work with you. Your whole approach to this subject is ill informed and explaining that isn't going to help. I just don't want anyone else to buy into it.


Frankly, it doesn't strike me as polite, nor does your approach.

It doesn't sound like you've checked out AVG's input into this discussion, by clicking on that link. They seem to say that one of us is wrong, and it's not me. You don't need to look though. Others will. That works well enough for me.

It just so happens that the detail mentioned in that link matches perfectly to the one clear area of weakness of AVG shown in the AV-comparatives.org tests. It does a bad job catching unknown viruses. I want something that offers more security than that, and $20 a year sounds fine to me to get it, as I'm sure it would for lots of people.

For anyone interested, here are results of two different types of tests on many different AV programs, 4 tests per year, going back to 2004.
http://www.av-comparatives.org/index.html?...mparatives.html

I expect people who check it out will be impressed by the thoroughness of the tests and reports, and the degree of professionalism.

A snapshot from the Nov 2007 test shows the rates of detection of unknown variants. Avira actually performed best of 17 programs tested, catching 80%. NOD32 was 2nd at 71%. Most come in somewhere between 30-40%, and AVG came in 14th out of 17 products tested, at just 25% detected. In the most recent pro-active test in May 2008, AVG improved its position to middle of the pack, but still just caught 32%. Avira was again the best at 72% this time (if you disregard programs that report too many false positives). NOD 32 second again, though at just 57% this time.

These appear to be the paid versions that are being tested, so the original question still stands, how would free AVG and Antivir perform versus their own paid versions. But I'm sure we're not going to be allowed to consider that question. Not here at least.

Edited by Billermo, 22 October 2008 - 11:09 AM.


#14 Billermo

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 02:40 AM

I wanted to note that the link I gave above actually was a list of features of Free vs Paid AVG for version 7.1. Now there is a version 8.0, and the similar list for the new version does not include that line indicating that Detection of Potentially Unwanted Programs is not included in the free version. What's more, I can't even say for sure if that is referring to pro-active virus detection (basically, detecting unknown viruses not already in the database of identified ones, which is what you receive in updates).

I emailed the people at AV comparatives asking about this, and some other things. The reply was that the new 8.0 version of AVG does now include the feature mentioned above (the reply seemed to say that this was a new change in 8.0). It's called Ewido. Also, it is not primarily about detecting unknown viruses, though it does help catch some malware. So if this is correct, it means my link would be true and relevant for versions previous to 8.0. The last pro-active test by that group was done in May 2008 using AVG 7.5, so it remains to be seen if the detection of unknown viruses improves with 8.0.

I also asked about whether or not AVG and Antivir's free and paid detection rates would be the same. The reply is that they should be the same except that Antivir paid includes anti-spyware/adware, while the free does not.

So the basic answer to my original question according to AV-comparatives is that the free and paid versions are essentially the same in terms of virus detection. That said, I'd also be interested to see if Grisfoft (AVG) and Avira (Antivir) would confirm that. If so, I'd say it would be case closed on this question.

In future, I'd prefer to have discussions about these issues stick to facts. There's no need for injecting emotion into it. We're only trying to find out facts. Any assertion should be supported by evidence, and it should be fair and acceptable (and not audacious) to challenge someone to support their assertions with evidence. That request shouldn't be taken as a personal attack. Speaking for myself, I'm not going to presume anyone is 'expert' and doesn't need to support their claims with evidence. If they really are 'expert' then they shouldn't have a problem doing that. And to do less would indicate to me that they either can't or are just not motivated enough to. I haven't noticed any responses thus far that meet this standard. I'm not saying there are no experts speaking here -- just that they haven't made the impression that they are, not so far at least.

Myself, I'm just a fairly normal user with an unusual curiosity about these issues. I've reached this point when in the past year I got hit with a virus going from one computer to another. In short, it was a virus designed to infect thumbdrives. The computer I caught it on used AVG. AVG did not detect it. According to AVG, there was no virus. I brought it home. McAfee also didn't detect it. Bitdefender's online scan did not detect it. Eventually I got rid of it, though not with the help of any anti-virus software but rather through specialized tools from another forum like this one. It took days of working on it to get rid of the virus. So to me, I am experienced in dealing with viruses that these programs don't detect, to me they're a real problem that I have had to deal with. If you have been lucky enough to avoid them, ok. But I doubt you would make the same argument for wearing seat belts in a car -- you can go along for years with no problem -- until the day you rear end another car and go flying through the windshield. The fact that something has been problem-free for a long time for you personally doesn't make it solid. The seat belt analogy is extreme, I admit, but the principle is the same. To be as secure as possible, just as with seat belts, one has to look at a wider sample than one person could experience alone under normal usage. Basically, some of these programs do detect higher percentages of known and unknown viruses, they must. One person alone probably can't by normal daily use conduct a comprehensive test to find out how even just two different programs perform versus each other. On the other side of the equation are tests. Looking at AV-comparatives tests (the only ones I've been able to find test results that include details), in their comparative tests (which use the program's updates to detect known viruses) they test with over 2,000,000 virus samples. In the pro-active tests (detecting unknown viruses through heuristics -- basically identifying something that seems to be a virus but isn't known by the program to be) they use over 11,000 samples. An individual user can't hope to come in contact with that many viruses in a lifetime. Obviously tests this comprehensive will give a better gauge of the program's abilities than single users who only use one program with no control sets. To go by one's own personal experience alone is to basically choose to go by gut instinct and turn away from the validity of hard evidence. That just doesn't strike me as sound reasoning.

Another point I've heard before is that it doesn't matter which AV program you use. I would say that if they all perform equally well, that would be true. But how can anyone find out if that is true? The obvious way would be to see how they perform under the same conditions versus one another -- in other words, in tests. The results of the tests I've seen indicate that they do not perform the same. For that point to be supported by evidence, one would have to show results of tests that indicate that all the AV products performed equally. The test results I've been able to find support the opposite view.

Edited by Billermo, 26 October 2008 - 03:05 AM.


#15 DSTM

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 02:58 AM

This link answers your query about EWIDO.
http://www.ewido.net/en/


















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