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AntiVirus Packages; Are Total System Protection Packages Worth the Cost?

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#1 eurosamurai


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Posted 06 July 2009 - 12:44 PM


After a recent malware event, I began thinking about a product that I thought was a little more than it actually proved to be. My question here is what everyone thinks of the total system protection AV packages that companies like Symantec, McAffee, and AVG sell?

Basically, I have Norton 360 total system protection (which I religiously update almost daily) installed on my PC and I let my guard down by accepting a program from a friend. That was my main mistake; but needless to say I paid for my lack of judgement. Anyway, as I installed the program I saw a quick blip from Norton saying that it was processing threats and then nothing else for the entire process of events. There wasn't even a log saying that Norton processed anything. If I had gotten up to get a drink I would never have even realized I got hit by something. It turned out that I was infected by a nasty trojan with a keylogger, etc. So I guess the question is if real-time protection is really worth the cost? Are there free alternatives that provide for the same thing? I've seen alot of postings about Avira AntiVir and Comodo Firewall free editions along with Firefox and its add-ons and those seem like good alternates to the $70 bloatware I see nowadays, but what is everyone doing for real-time protection? Are you even concerned about real-time protection? Are items like SpyBot Tea Timer just as good or better? I don't mind paying money for "good" protection, but it should be "good" protection.

Any thoughts good, bad, or ugly are appreciated!

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#2 Stang777


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Posted 06 July 2009 - 08:58 PM

I am very happy with ZoneAlarm. I do not use their full suite, just the Antivirus that comes with the firewall, which includes an operating system firewall. I did not mind paying the 30 bucks for the program and I do not mind paying the 20 bucks to renew it each year. I have used for many years and I have no desire to switch, not even to the free products many around seem to like a lot, that is how happy I am with it.

While I won't be without real time antivirus protection or an outbound firewall, ZoneAlarm is the only real time protection I use and it won't let me install anything it perceives as a threat. I do not like or use Spybots Tea Timer but I do use Spybot to immunize my system, along with SpywareBlaster. I use Malwarebytes and SuperAntiSpyware to run the occasional scan for malware/spyware

#3 Someones


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Posted 07 July 2009 - 01:11 AM

The only security features most suites have that's not in their AV is just an outbound firewall and spam filter, which isn't worth the money IMHO. Though there are a few exceptions, for example the Kaspersky and ZoneAlarm suites.

But IMHO with some common sense and safe surfing practices, free security software is more than enough to achieve good protection.

#4 eurosamurai

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 07:12 AM

Thanks for your replies and you both have valid points. My main concern really is wasting $80 for a piece of software that says it does something it really doesn't do. I see alot of posts on the Malware boards where people have decent antivirus packages and they are still getting hit for whatever reason.

Take Symantec's advertisement for Norton 360 for example:

"Norton 360™ Version 3.0 offers proven performance, delivering today’s fastest and lightest all-in-one solution for protecting your PC and all your online activities. It protects against viruses, worms, hackers, and botnets, safeguards against online identity theft, protects important files, and keeps your PC tuned and running at peak performance. Completely automated and easy to use, Norton 360 works quietly in the background, with virtually no impact on PC performance, to provide comprehensive protection for everything computer users care about. By offering an unmatched combination of performance and protection, it helps you get the most out of your PC and your online experience."

I feel that this is false advertising, as it gives me the impression that their product covers everything under the sun. Given; I made the mistake of expecting the software to save me from myself, the protection this software has provided has been startlingly inadequate. What they don't tell anyone is that these products don't handle most types of malware very well and that it has problems catching variants of malware that it specifically says it protects against.

I guess the learning curve for me has been the realization that while AV products serve a purpose, they don't provide all inclusive protection as they say. If you plan on doing anything other than casual surfing on your PC, it's wise to have products specifically targeted for different types of spyware/malware. Even then, you may still run into issues.

It's just too bad that most people only find this site after they've been impacted by malware. Anyway thanks again for your input to my post.

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