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Which anti-malware programs can be run together safely?


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#1 CompuWow

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 12:18 PM

Hi all. I was wondering if there is a resource available that explains which of the anti-malware programs can be run simultaneously in real-time protection mode without having bad effects: SuperAntiSpyware, Malwarebytes, Spybot S&D, etc.

It would also be useful to know which anti-virus program can be incorporated into the mix without damage.

For example, I was thinking to run the following pieces of software together on a Windows 7 system: MS Essentials, Malwarebytes (realtime), SuperAntiSpyware (realtime). What do you think?

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#2 quietman7

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 12:29 PM

Choosing a security toolkit with anti-virus, firewall and anti-malware programs is a matter of personal preference, your technical ability and experience, features offered, the amount of resources utilized, how it may affect system performance and what will work best for your system. Other factors to consider include effectiveness, user friendliness, ease of updating, ease of installation and removal. A particular combination that works well for one person may not work as well for another. There is no universal "one size fits all" solution that works for everyone. You may need to experiment and find what is most suitable for your needs. Another factor to consider is whether you want to use paid for products or free alternatives.

No single product is 100% foolproof and can prevent, detect and remove all threats at any given time. The security community is in a constant state of change as new infections appear. Each vendor has its own definition of what constitutes malware and scanning your computer using different criteria will yield different results. The fact that each program has its own definition files means that some malware may be picked up by one that could be missed by another. Thus, a multi-layered defense using several anti-spyware products (including an effective firewall) to supplement your anti-virus combined with common sense, safe computing and safe surfing habits provides the most complete protection.


As a general rule, using more than one anti-spyware program like Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware, SuperAntispyware, Spybot S&D, Ad-Aware, Spyware Terminator, etc. will not conflict with each other or your anti-virus if using only one of them for real-time protection and others as stand-alone scanners. In fact, doing so increases your protection coverage without causing the same kind of conflicts or affecting the stability of your system that can occur when using more than one anti-virus. The overlap of protection from using different signature databases will aid in detection and removal of more threats when scanning your system for malware. However, competing tools may provide redundant alerts which can be annoying and/or confusing as a result of the overlap in protection.

If using multiple real-time resident shields (TeaTimer, Ad-Watch, MBAM Protection Module, Spyware Terminator Shields, etc.) together at the same time, there can be conflicts when each application tries to compete for resources and exclusive rights to perform an action. They may identify the activity of each other as suspicious and produce alerts. Further, your anti-virus may detect suspicious activity while these programs are scanning (reading) files, especially if it uses a heuristic scanning engine, regardless if they are running in real-time or on demand. The anti-virus may even detect as threats, any malware removed by these programs and placed into quarantined areas. This can lead to a repetitive cycle of endless alerts or false alarms that continually warn a threat has been found if the contents of the quarantine folder are not removed before beginning a new security scan.

Keep in mind that you can overkill a system with resource heavy security programs that will slow down performance. Sometimes you just have to experiment to get the right combination for your particular system.
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