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deciding between AVs


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#1 unrecreational

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Posted 03 July 2011 - 11:40 AM

Firstly: Yes--I'm aware that there's not a single "best" AV out there. And I know that no AV will protect anyone 100% of the time. I know common sense is the best tool, etc; I've read quietman7's posts and the guide (http://www.sans.org/reading_room/whitepapers/commerical/choosing-anti-virus-software_784).

**********

Anyway, I would just like to hear some opinions for choosing an AV based on my current rundown. I've done prior research, so I know the basic gists of most AV programs. Here goes:

I am deciding on an AV for 64-bit Windows 7. I share a nice, new desktop computer with my two brothers. Being young and addicted to the web, the lot of us are not prone to be the safest internet surfers/users in the world, but at the same time none of us are terribly gullible or lacking in common sense, so we won't go around clicking and downloading anything that will likely harm the computer. (Actually, to be honest, I'm a relatively safe surfer, but I cannot always control my brothers.) My brothers game from time to time, so I'd prefer something that's light on the system and that's not a huge resource hog (I hear Kaspersky is pretty heavy). However, I don't necessarily want to give up better security for size/weight of the AV. Also, price isn't my primary concern (I'm willing to pay for quality), although it'd be nice to opt for something cheaper. Also, I'm already using comodo firewall + malwarebytes (free version).

Given that^^, here's my impression now on some AVs that I am considering (correct me if you feel any of my views are inaccurate). Yes, I've done some prior research (quite a bit, actually), and I've narrowed my list down to a few.

1) NOD32-- Pros: lightweight, small footprint (not sure exactly what this entails) / Cons: maybe not as in-depth and thorough as other AVs

2) Kaspersky-- Pros: extremely thorough, in-depth program, huge company, great reputation for many years / Cons: supposedly HUGE resource hog and might slow down computer

3) Avira (either FREE OR PAID; IS PAID WORTH IT?)-- Pros: well, so many people talk about how great it is. i've even heard from hackers that they have trouble (albeit minor) with avira. / Cons: well, it tends to not make a lot of the mainstream consumer review lists, although this doesn't seem to be much of an issue. Oh, and I hear it gives a lot of false positives.

4) MSE-- Pros: free yet supposedly matches the potency of the paid AVs. has great reputation / CONS: i've heard multiple people complaining about MSE not detecting stuff. also, if an alternative paid AV is considered more worth it, i'm willing to pay.

5) F-Secure -- Pros: people seem to say a lot of good things about it, although i really don't know too much / Cons: i've heard it's also a big resource hog.


One more side-question: Do you think it's worth it to pay for the pro version of malwarebytes? free seems to suffice for people who have all-around protection.
******

Thanks a lot for reading! So, any thoughts or suggestions will be appreciated. (If you're going to link me a guide on general AV comparatives/testings, i'd prefer it to be up-to-date (2011) because the older ones don't seem to give me insight on present-day issues.) Thanks again.

Edited by unrecreational, 03 July 2011 - 12:56 PM.


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#2 quietman7

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Posted 03 July 2011 - 06:00 PM

My personal choice is NOD32 Anti-Virus if choosing a paid for program as it leaves a small footprint. That means it is not intrusive and does not utilize a lot of system resources.

I recommend taking advantage of the Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (Pro) Protection Module in the full version which uses advanced heuristic scanning technology to monitor your system and provide real-time protection to prevent the installation of most new malware. This technology runs at startup where it monitors every process and helps stop malicious processes before they can infect your computer. Keep in mind that this feature does not guarantee something will not slip through as no product can detect and prevent every type of malware. The database that defines the heuristics is updated as often as there is something to add to it. Also keep in mind that Malwarebytes does not act as a real-time protection scanner for every file like an anti-virus program so it is intended to be a supplement, not a substitute. Enabling the Protection Module feature requires registration and purchase of a license key that includes free lifetime upgrades and support. After activation, Malwarebytes can be set to update itself and schedule scans automatically on a daily basis. The Protection Module is not intrusive as the program utilizes few system resources and should not conflict with other scanners or anti-virus programs.

If any conflicts between Malwarebytes and another security program are reported, suggested solutions are usually provided in the Common Issues, Questions, and their Solutions, FAQs thread. I know and have worked with some members of the research team so I can attest that they make every effort to resolve issues as quickly as possible.
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#3 unrecreational

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Posted 03 July 2011 - 11:51 PM

thank you for the very in-depth response. anyone else have thoughts?

#4 ONT

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 05:44 AM

Also read this thread

And I would like to prefer Bitdefender or Kaspersky.

Edited by ONT, 05 July 2011 - 05:45 AM.


#5 Queen-Evie

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 06:35 AM

If you are considering a paid program, the best thing to do is

1) research to find out what is available

2) make your choice then go the manufacturer's website. See if it has a free trial. If so, install and use it.

Doing this will allow you to evaluate the program and you will find out if it plays nice with your system.

3) If you like it and want to purchase, wait until the trial is nearly over. If you provided an email address in order to get the trial, you might get an email offering a purchase discount.

#6 Romeo29

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 05:17 PM

Like quietman7, I also prefer NOD32 for paid. It is lightweight and works very well. For free antivirus protection, avast! is my choice.
If you own a Linux box, then I recommend Bitdefender.

#7 xXAlphaXx

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 09:02 PM

I personally use Kaspersky religiously. I have a lot of activity that includes sensitive information so it keeps me happy. I have to disagree with the resource hog part that people claim about Kaspersky. It usually only uses 1 - 3% of CPU while it is online, and up too 15% when doing an full in depth system scan. Maybe it's because I have quite a bit of power under the hood (Core i7 920, "8" core model @ 3.2Ghz) that I don't suffer from this performance drop. Kaspersky will alert you before you even click a link that the download you are about to download contains a virus, ads on the webpage have a high possibility to link you to a virus. So it is indeed very thorough.


Just my 2 bits. ^^
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#8 midou1994

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 06:24 AM

Kaspersky 2012 is lighter than 2011 version...


The parental control is a feature a lot of People like Its very Cheap too....


Norton is my favourite though although people say a lot of terrible things

I think the suite is pretty good,atleast the Internet Security version not Norton 360..

Malware Research Group has also conducted tests have a look at the results...
Midou

#9 BrendanT

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 06:41 AM

I agree with xXAlphaXx Kaspersky is fantastic, and its not really a recource hog, ive got it deployed on around 400 machines at work only had 2 or 3 complaints about it slowing the computer down, and they're crappy crappy old pc's
-BrendanT

#10 AJNorth

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 06:49 PM

Greetings Young Man,

Though they have taken a HUGE hit the past ten days (since they released Service Pack 2 for AntiVir 10 Personal) because of their mind-boggling choice to affiliate with Ask.com (and also Uniblue), I continue to use Avira AntiVir Personal Edition (read more about what else Service Pack 2 entails here) on a personal Windows box (Dell laptop - P-4M, 1 GB DDR, XP Pro SP 3) and a dozen other machines under my care, ranging from XP Home to Win 7 Pro. Three of these installations have been in place since version 9, two are in households with young people who, well, do what young people do... :-) -- and to date, none have been infected. It also continues to perform quite well in the most recent testing by the major independent testing labs.

Other free anti-malware solutions that have large followings include Avast! Free Antivirus, Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE), Panda Cloud Antivirus and, though I personally am not a fan, AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition.

Since no real-time protection will catch everything, I also recommend regular scans with at least one of the better on-demand scanners. As Hitman Pro scans so quickly, it can be used for a fast second opinion, then augmented with one of the following: Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware, SUPERAntiSpyware or Emsisoft Anti-Malware (or more than one for a stubborn infection). I use all of these on a regular basis (depending upon the machine in question and the circumstances). But remember: no matter which application, the very last thing one needs to do before beginning a scan is to update it. [Note: Emsisoft tends to have the most false positives - and is a HUGE download.]


May I also suggest that you coast on over to Gizmo's Freeware and spend some time there. We (truth in advertising: I am a contributor) have an enormous amount of what I hope you will find to be useful information. Other worthwhile sites include CNET's Download.com and PC Magazine (whose Lead Analyst for Security, Neil J. Rubenking, has some excellent reviews).

Please bear in mind that when you put ten techs together in a room and ask their opinion, you might get twelve different replies... Also, often there is no single absolute correct answer; though there are formal benchmark tests of security solutions, there is also a subjective component.

No matter which anti-malware solution you choose (even if you should later change to another, as we all have done), the best security solution is to employ a "layered" approach - a relatively few applications that work synergistically, play well together and don't bog-down the system.

The Firewall -- Even though Win 7 has a far more robust firewall than previous versions of Windows - and which can be configured, you will be better served by one from a third-party vendor; I personally use (and recommend) Comodo, though the current ZoneAlarm is also a reasonable choice.

Another free utility that, IMHO, should be on every Windows machine is WinPatrol; it can effortlessly prevent a whole panoply of very unpleasant things from happening and plays well with others (it also has some nifty features). Another highly-recommended application is Web Of Trust (WOT), a browser add-on for all the major browsers that will help steer you away from known malicious sites (unless, of course, you or one of your brothers, should elect to "click through" their highest-level warnings...).

Which brings up another issue: The Browser. IE 9 has substantial security enhancements over IE 8 and, even if you should choose another default browser such as Firefox or Chrome, you should have updated to it; if not, do so!

As should come as no surprise, a Windows box that has not been updated with all of the current applicable security updates from Redmond cannot be protected. Frequently overlooked, however, are the sometimes many add-ons that Windows Updates does not cover, such as the Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Shockwave Player and the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) from Oracle. These (and other third-party components of the OS) can pose HUGE security threats if left unpatched. Fortunately, there is another must-have free utility, the Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI) that will monitor for any software-related security deficiencies and either alert you so that you can manually perform the update(s), or perform most of them automatically (I prefer to do mine manually...).

One last software recommendation is the Belarc Advisor. It turns out that occasionally (very occasionally) a Microsoft security update doesn't completely install; that system may scan as fully up-to-date by Windows Update, but there could still be a serious security hole. The Belarc Advisor can actually detect whether all the necessary Microsoft security patches are present - AND in fact properly installed. If any are found not to be, Belarc will provide direct download links for whichever patches might need to be reinstalled. (It also provides an enormous amount of information about the computer - hardware & software, as well as peripherals connected to it.) < Read more about Belarc in my reply below. >

If you do not have a router with a decent built-in [hardware] firewall, the cost of one will be a wise investment. (You might as well get a good wireless router for future expansion... Personally, I like Netgear, but again, others will have a different - and valid - opinion.)

Even with a router, utilizing a different DNS (Domain Name Service) than what your ISP provides can add still another layer of security (and also speed); take a look at What DNS Servers Do and How to Change DNS Server. Currently, I am using OpenDNS, but have also used the DNS from both Norton and Comodo.

Finally, THE most important security enhancement to your computer is... YOU (but you already knew that). Though it can be very annoying, the User Account Control (UAC) that was introduced in the much-loved Vista OS (but refined in Win 7) can truly help to prevent catastrophe. Many are tempted to turn it off, which often proves to have been a very bad idea.

These, of course, are my own opinions; I hope they are helpful.

Regards,

AJ

Edited by AJNorth, 09 July 2011 - 09:29 AM.


#11 n01paranoid

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 03:20 AM

I've just run Belarc Advisor (never heard of it before). I thought my computer was pretty secure. Virus protection and Microsoft security udates were fine, but my system security status score was low. Problem is fixes seem fairly complex and aimed at IT expets. Any suggestions on how to improve my score?

#12 AJNorth

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 06:11 AM

Sorry about that; I was remiss in not mentioning that for virtually all personal computer users (and most others, really), the Security Benchmark Score returned by Belarc will will be alarmingly low - and can largely be ignored. For the vast majority of users, it is the other two parts of the System Security Status that are most useful (along with much of the system information returned).

The Security Benchmark Score is a computed quantity based on a consensus of "best practices" for maximized security really only useful for computers in extremely high-security networks (or stand-alone settings) - maximum-security government laboratories or at the Department of Defense, for example.

In fact, for the vast majority of users, while some of the changes in settings that might be suggested to raise one's score are both useful and safe, a number of them can render the machine virtually unusable for most purposes, as this warning implies:

Warning: Applying these security settings may cause some applications to stop working correctly. Back up your system prior to applying these security templates or apply the templates on a test system first.

You can read more about this by clicking on the Benchmark itself (an active link); there is an extensive discussion on the right, highlighted in yellow - or by doing your own search and reading relevant articles (such as this one from TechRepublic).

One other bit of advice: it is better to right-click on a link and open a new window or tab, rather than having to reload the main page each time (especially in Internet Explorer).

Again, for most users, the unique ability of the Belarc Advisor to determine whether Windows' required security patches are not only present, but properly functioning, may be its single greatest attribute.

Finally, one other utility that many will find quite useful is the free version of SIW (System Information for Windows), by Gabriel Topala - http://www.gtopala.com/ (click on Purchase/Download; the free versions are at the bottom of the page).

Edited by AJNorth, 09 July 2011 - 07:51 AM.


#13 n01paranoid

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 07:49 AM

Thanks for the reply. Regarding the security benchmark score, for instance, I have Comodo Internet Security firewall and thus have disabled Windows firewall, but because of this I then score zero for everything relating to Windows firewall. My PC is also standalone and noone else uses it, so it is configured accordingly, but as a consequence scores badly.

I'm a big fan of Gizmo's Freeware site. I already use most of your above suggestions (Avira, MBAM, Hitman Pro, WOT, Secunia PSI), and installed them after they'd been rated highly on Gizmo's.

#14 AJNorth

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 04:24 PM

You're most welcome; glad to hear that you've visited Gizmo's Freeware and give us a thumbs-up!

Also, thank you for bringing up an important point: only one firewall should ever be active at any one time.

For a reason unknown to me, when last installing Comodo Firewall Pro (on three rigs running XP Pro SP 3 a few months back), the built-in Windows Firewall was not automatically disabled (needless to say a surprise). It is entirely possible that that Comodo have addressed this issue in a subsequent update, but it is always good practice to actually check to see that the built-in firewall has in fact been turned-off after a third-party firewall has been installed (following a restart).


Since you are running Avira AntiVir Personal, you might like to see their recent cumulative score (and their ranking amongst the other anti-malware applications):



Posted Image

http://www.virusbtn.com/vb100/rap-index.xml


I think it fair to say that with the release of SP 2, their score will likely be even higher.



One more thing about AntiVir Personal 10.2: if you have elected not to install the crapware (some will even say malware) Ask.com Toolbar, you still have three of its files present inside the AntiVir Program Folder,
ApnIC.dll, ApnStub & ApnToolbarInstaller, the second of which 'phones home with every reboot. Since you are running Comodo Firewall Pro, it is a very simple matter to put an end to this nonsense:

Double Left-click on the Comodo icon --> Firewall --> Define a New Blocked Application; under Program path / Group name, choose Select (drop-down) --> Browse --> [navigate to] Program Files --> Avira --> Avira Desktop. Now, one at a time (in succession), Right-click on each of the three --> Open --> Apply.

Comodo will now forbid each of these three rogues from connecting to the Internet. Ever.


For those also running AntiVir Personal, but not a firewall that allows (at least with reasonable ease) a similar functionality, and who want to neutralize the Ask.com files, here is a procedure (for the more technically inclined) that will do the trick:

(As quoted from the Avira AntiVir Personal Support Forum)

"You can delete them by either doing a safe boot or (easier) by going into configuration - expert mode > security > uncheck "protect files and registry entries from manupilation". Then delete said three files from your avira folder in "program files". (Don't forget to check the entry in "configuration" again!)

1. Delete the three files following my method above.

2. Open a command prompt screen as administrator (Start > All Programs > Acessoires > right click command prompt and chose "run as administrator")

3. Type the following lines (the location of your avira folder depends on your configuration!):

cd c:\program files (x86)\Avira\AntiVir Desktop
md ApnToolbarInstaller.exe
md ApnStub.exe
md ApnIC.dll
attrib +r +a +s +h ApnToolbarInstaller.exe
attrib +r +a +s +h ApnStub.exe
attrib +r +a +s +h ApnIC.dll

This creates three hidden, write-protected directories with the same names as the ask.com files. Since no files can be added to a folder that already has directories with the same name, Avira's update process will skip adding the ask.com files to your Avira folder.
I tried it and it doesn't produce any errors or intervene with other updated files."

Since this approach may be more than many wish to tackle, this might be an excellent time to install a good third-party firewall that affords the necessary control. :)

Edited by AJNorth, 09 July 2011 - 04:41 PM.


#15 Union_Thug

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 03:52 AM

These, of course, are my own opinions; I hope they are helpful.


Nice write-up AJ, TY!:thumbsup:




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