Author Topic: free antivirus comparisons  (Read 17276 times)

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Offline IanB

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Re: free antivirus comparisons
« Reply #25 on: June 09, 2012, 11:24:57 pm »
I do believe the need for big anti-virus packages is reduced these days. I use Windows 7 with MSE, with the Windows firewall enabled, with a non-admin account, behind a NAT router. I apply Windows updates as they come out and I keep my browsers and other software like Flash up to date.

The situation today is vastly better than it was in the old days when computers running Win 98 were wide open.
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Offline Monkeh

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Re: free antivirus comparisons
« Reply #26 on: June 09, 2012, 11:40:35 pm »
Monkeh, You simply dont know enough IT proffesionals..   ;)  Go out seek and you shall find..

Thank you, no, I prefer not to socialise with advanced Windows lusers. I have had more than enough issues of my own with the likes of Norton.

Well, we advanced Windows "lusers" earn good money upon beeing advanced, and that on useres that is not advanced. We like and make a living upon people that ex. are not abel to figure out the settings and use of programs like Norton. ( You mean that a Fortune 500 companys main produkt is not good? The they should not be a Fortune company at all if that was a fact!)

So , we win..   8)

Very thinly veiled insult.

Just FYI, I use operating systems which don't require the bloatware you seem to like so much. Works well for me.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2012, 11:46:06 pm by Monkeh »
 

Offline bradleytron

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Re: free antivirus comparisons
« Reply #27 on: June 09, 2012, 11:49:58 pm »
I'd like to suggest the following regarding this thread and the banging back and forth about what constitutes the better or best product from the perspective of the IT folks: I means nothing to simply say that one program is better than another especially if you base it on a bunch of qualitative statements. I think the best way to address this question is to compile data and show, in tabular form, comparisons based on performance and features. Performance should reflect different hardware platforms, e.g., old Pentium IVs or high end Dells. Features should be weighted based on applicability, e.g., how often is the feature invoked in a typical system. Obviously, bloat is one major issue, indeed, one of the big reasons why I hate AV software. The other obvious issue relates to the effectiveness of the features provided with each program and the presence or absence from one program to the next. Maybe someone out there, who has a little time on their hands, would go off and do the research and reply back with some actual useful analysis so the reader can make an informed choice. I wish I had the time but for now I do not. I've always had use of commercial products, of late, it happens to be Norton 360. I use it on a Dell Optiplex 150, XP Pro, SP3, Pentium III, 512 MB RAM. The program works rather well, all things considered, but it does obviously overuse resources so thanks for the heads up on the other choices out there.
 

Offline IanB

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Re: free antivirus comparisons
« Reply #28 on: June 10, 2012, 12:04:55 am »
It's pretty difficult to review and rate anti-virus products in practical terms. I have seen no elephants in my back yard in a long time, which means my elephant repellents are working pretty well...

In 30 years I have never had a virus on any of my computers, except for one time when I think I accidentally installed an infected piece of software (fool on me). For most of the time I have used computers I have used no anti-virus products (I do today, because things like MSE are now sophisticated enough to keep out of the way and be unobtrusive).

How am I to say which of my elephant repellents are working better than the others?
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Offline AntiProtonBoy

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Re: free antivirus comparisons
« Reply #29 on: June 10, 2012, 12:57:11 am »
Your best defense against malware is to implement a deny-all policity on your system and white list on the things you want to run. Use browser filters like AdBlock Plus, NoScript, Cookie Monster, Better Privacy, HTTPS Everywhere, and so on. Setup restricted user accounts for every day tasks and an admin one for maintenance. Prevent as much applications running at start-up as possible. Keep crappy but necessary software updated, such as Java and Flash. Setup your router's firewall to deny all traffic, except a few white listed ports. You may have to do some port forwarding for some apps. I'm on WinXP-x64 and I don't have an anit-virus package installed (sadly MSE is not available on this platform), and as far as I know my machine remained clean over the past 5 years due to the aforementioned measures.

Regarding Norton. It's horrible, horrible, horrible. If you want to give your machine syphilis, Norton is it. Such as system hog, has a myriad of false positive triggers, and it is next impossible to remove once your installed it. Just because "Fortune 500" companies use Norton, that doesn't imply it is good. Big corporations are also susceptible to software marketing hype, just like anyone else. Time and time again you see shit software on corporate machines because it's "industry standard" and because it's made by a "trusted vendor". This is quite typical of workplace Windows platforms. Norton products kicked arse in the DOS era, but they stopped being relevant once Windows 95 entered on the scene.

As for AVG, they used to be good about 5 years ago, until they had this nonsensical "browser protection" implemented. It became nothing but bloatware since then. They are also problematic with false positives.

Avira is not bad, but they became more spammy with their nag screens. Meh, I tossed it.
 

Offline amspire

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Re: free antivirus comparisons
« Reply #30 on: June 10, 2012, 01:00:13 am »
In 30 years I have never had a virus on any of my computers, except for one time when I think I accidentally installed an infected piece of software (fool on me). For most of the time I have used computers I have used no anti-virus products (I do today, because things like MSE are now sophisticated enough to keep out of the way and be unobtrusive).
If that is the case it is pure luck, as there have been many long term vulnerabilities in Windows and all other operating systems that mean that if you were connected to the Internet, your computer can be fully hacked. No amount of skill or judgement could have protected you. For example, there have been many viruses that you could get by opening a jpeg file or a PDF. There have been several major DNS flaws that can open you to all sorts of attacks.

I am interested though - if you were not using an anti-virus product, how on earth can you know you do not have any viruses? It is not as if they have to announce their presence in any way. A rootkit virus is not visible to you at all.

Richard.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2012, 01:09:29 am by amspire »
 

Offline IanB

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Re: free antivirus comparisons
« Reply #31 on: June 10, 2012, 01:26:28 am »
If that is the case it is pure luck, as there have been many long term vulnerabilities in Windows and all other operating systems that mean that if you were connected to the Internet, your computer can be fully hacked. No amount of skill or judgement could have protected you. For example, there have been many viruses that you could get by opening a jpeg file or a PDF. There have been several major DNS flaws that can open you to all sorts of attacks.

I am interested though - if you were not using an anti-virus product, how on earth can you know you do not have any viruses? It is not as if they have to announce their presence in any way. A rootkit virus is not visible to you at all.

Richard.

Working behind firewalls and keeping software fully patched helps enormously. After that being careful not to install untrusted software.

Malware is rarely undetectable unless it is inactive. If active it will show up in various ways by affecting performance, memory usage, network traffic, unexpected items in task manager, etc. Stealth malware like key loggers is dangerous of course so these days I do make sure watch out for things like that.

Rootkits usually show up in offline system scans, especially if you use a cocktail of scanners and don't rely on just one. Actually that's one of the key things: don't put all your faith in a single product, run scans with a variety of products to get good coverage.
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Offline IanB

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Re: free antivirus comparisons
« Reply #32 on: June 10, 2012, 01:31:12 am »
If that is the case it is pure luck

It might be considered luck in some sense of the word, but it is not luck when compared to the people I have known who get their system riddled with loads of malware every few months and have to keep getting their system cleaned.

For instance I know that connecting an unpatched system to the open Internet will get it infected in moments. So I don't even think of doing that. That's not luck, it's awareness of risks and risk avoidance.
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Offline amspire

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Re: free antivirus comparisons
« Reply #33 on: June 10, 2012, 01:53:27 am »
If that is the case it is pure luck

It might be considered luck in some sense of the word, but it is not luck when compared to the people I have known who get their system riddled with loads of malware every few months and have to keep getting their system cleaned.

For instance I know that connecting an unpatched system to the open Internet will get it infected in moments. So I don't even think of doing that. That's not luck, it's awareness of risks and risk avoidance.
I totally agree with you here. I have been asked to help people who behave in a way that means that they definitely will have viruses. Visiting all the porn sites and running the video viewer EXE files from porn sites, downloading pirated software, installing pirated software from friends. This includes people like accountants and lawyers on their work computers! Totally clueless. Those people usually will not take any advice, so I now just tell them I cannot help.

Richard.
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: free antivirus comparisons
« Reply #34 on: June 10, 2012, 03:17:14 am »
My experience is not just with my behaviour. I have serviced and disinfected hundreds of systems and networks over the past many years. I have had to fix many systems that had an updated running Norton or McAfee running and they had not stopped the problem. Not all of it was due to porn surfing, some was just from random surfing and spam.

If you want to protect your system, then don't use Norton.... just my experience. Not only does it not work wen it is needed, it hogs so much of the system that if it crashes, it takes the whole system down.
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: free antivirus comparisons
« Reply #35 on: June 10, 2012, 05:02:10 am »
Norton internet security. Firewall , av , email scan.
I got about 12 computers all unning norton. Heve been for the last 10 years.
Zero infections. Zilch.
Norton was slow for a while but since 2009 they rebuilt the engine. Its unintrusive. I never feel the machine slow down.
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Re: free antivirus comparisons
« Reply #36 on: June 10, 2012, 12:39:20 pm »
A question for everyone claiming that an anti-virus package has protected them from many infections: how often do you get a message from your anti-virus software that it neutralized a potential thread? If there is a potential virus, the virus scanners will usually announce this to show their importance. If you don't get any alerts, then the virus scanner did not protect you from anything. For me it's extremely rare to encounter a virus, and I attribute it mainly to user behavior. The only time I see a virus is if a site offers '2N3904 datasheet.exe' for download, or an obviously suspect e-mail with a .jpg.exe attachment. Windows and popular browser and e-mail programs have gotten much better in this regard since Microsoft started paying attention to security (Windows XP SP2). Many of the infected computers I encountered in the past did have a virus scanner installed. I'm wondering if anti-virus software has become the rock that keeps the tigers away.

Standard security practices like promptly installing critical updates, not disabling the built-in firewall or security features like UAC are much more effective in my opinion.
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: free antivirus comparisons
« Reply #37 on: June 10, 2012, 12:52:49 pm »
Do not use default file views, but choose the detailed view, show all files and extensions does help as well. You will be amazed how much spam in email is composed of html or exe files disguised as something else. Do NOT OPEN untrusted files, even from people you know, unless they have said they will send it to you in a separate email and where you are expecting there to be an attached file.

Simplest way to keep from getting infected, as well as using my favourite addons for Firefox, Noscript and Requestpolicy. May break some sites, make pages render poorly but strips most disguised malware out.

As well make and update the hosts file, a black hole to malware hosts.
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: free antivirus comparisons
« Reply #38 on: June 10, 2012, 03:22:39 pm »
I get once or twice a year a flag from the firewall in NIS that something was probing for ports.
Virus warnings... Hmm mostly when i plug in a foreign usb stick ... Or have to recover someones pictures from his old computer ( i pop out the drives, put in usb box , and go that way. )
I have a dedicated machine for such work. Has two harddisks. Second drive holds a ghost image of the boot drive, and the drive is powered off. If i do get virus warnings on a recovery job , i finish the job , then power cycle the machine and restore the ghost image. Just to make sure...

That machine sits on its own vlan. I use a cisco small business router with vlan capability , and i have a switch that does vlan as well. My home network is partitioned.

There is a vlan for the filers. I have 3 NAS filers that duplicate each other. Disk space is cheap... i work in the harddisk world  ;D

There is an office vlan. Bridges internet and filers and lab.

There is a lab lan. Bridges internet and filers and office

There is an entertainment lan. I have a boxee box as my source of entertainment. This has qos and bandwidth priority. This also has the blu ray, dvico media player , a sony hifi system with webstreamer and a logitech internet radio hooked up.

There is a 'dirty' lan .this is for the recovery machine. Internet only

There is a guest lan with wired and wifi. This is bogged down ( speed limited ) on the wifi part. If there are no guests the wifi is stopped. Guest lan is internet only plus a dropbox on one filer.

There is a gizmo lan. Internet only over wifi with whitelists for phones and tablets.

I have a dmz lan where there is another nas box. This allows me to dump files from anywhere in the world.

There is a security lan that has the home automation network. This has its own wifi and internet connection. The wifi only talks to the contol tablets. The cabled portion goes to the home controller. A Vera using z-wave for the controls.

When i bought the house last year i pulled cat-6a from a central point to every room. Every room has at least 2 ethernets plus a phone ( i used cat-4,which is phone wire ) as lead wire and simply left it in the wall. Lab,living room where tv is has 4 circuits. Living room has 8 circuits ( tv, boxee ,blueray, cameras, dvico media player, home controller etc )

I do not use local switches ( apart for one in the lab ). Its all direct to the main switch . Everything sits in a cabinet built into the wall in a walk-in-closet.

The main switch has a 64gb/s backplane. So everything can be talking without slowing down the network
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Offline Simon

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Re: free antivirus comparisons
« Reply #39 on: June 10, 2012, 03:38:47 pm »
while your comments are all welcome and offer insight and confirmation of my preference for Avira I still don't know if avira (or any of the others) will clean an infected file or simply delete it ?
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Offline SeanB

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Re: free antivirus comparisons
« Reply #40 on: June 10, 2012, 04:26:17 pm »
That really depends on the virus and what is done with the original file by it. If it appends itself it is possible to remove it, but most of the time the file is replaced with the malware, or has a chunk of the beginning overwritten.

If that then you need a good backup that worked, all solutions will not recover what is not there. Chopping a few k from the front of a video or music file will not do much other than remove metadata and the beginning. but will destroy almost any other file type irreparably.
 

Offline bradleytron

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Re: free antivirus comparisons
« Reply #41 on: June 10, 2012, 06:23:20 pm »
It's pretty difficult to review and rate anti-virus products in practical terms. I have seen no elephants in my back yard in a long time, which means my elephant repellents are working pretty well...

In 30 years I have never had a virus on any of my computers, except for one time when I think I accidentally installed an infected piece of software (fool on me). For most of the time I have used computers I have used no anti-virus products (I do today, because things like MSE are now sophisticated enough to keep out of the way and be unobtrusive).

How am I to say which of my elephant repellents are working better than the others?

You missed my point altogether. By the way, its 'antivirus' not "ant-virus". When you say, "In 30 years I have...", are you suggesting that your situation is typical, are you qualifying it on some universal level that is to say, we should now all follow what you say because you seem immune, you are the king of antivirus protection after all. Your statement about 30 years means nothing in the context of what constitutes good or bad AV software! Putting forward useful information in this regard would require considerable effort and skill ("...pretty difficult") and is not a project that a person who thinks they might have elephants in their back yard should consider trying.  Your few lines of comment do very little to add to the issue of AV software and your comment about the elephants, while funny, is the kind of thinking that got mankind to the moon and back!
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: free antivirus comparisons
« Reply #42 on: June 10, 2012, 06:29:04 pm »
while your comments are all welcome and offer insight and confirmation of my preference for Avira I still don't know if avira (or any of the others) will clean an infected file or simply delete it ?

SeanB is correct. Not every infection can be cleaned. Sometime the infection alters system files, or the MBR. Many cases infection is in a file that looks like another file name or an official file and these can be cleaned. But unfortunately repairing and cleaning can take many steps, many hours, and a clean system to copy files from to replace the ones damaged. Sometimes there is no other option but to wipe and re-install from the start. Avira is as good as any other at cleaning, but sometimes it can't do all by itself and in which case none of the others will do it themselves either, you will need other programs and manual intervention.
 

Offline IanB

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Re: free antivirus comparisons
« Reply #43 on: June 10, 2012, 06:34:16 pm »
You missed my point altogether. By the way, its 'antivirus' not "ant-virus". When you say, "In 30 years I have...", are you suggesting that your situation is typical, are you qualifying it on some universal level that is to say, we should now all follow what you say because you seem immune, you are the king of antivirus protection after all. Your statement about 30 years means nothing in the context of what constitutes good or bad AV software! Putting forward useful information in this regard would require considerable effort and skill ("...pretty difficult") and is not a project that a person who thinks they might have elephants in their back yard should consider trying.  Your few lines of comment do very little to add to the issue of AV software and your comment about the elephants, while funny, is the kind of thinking that got mankind to the moon and back!

I am saying that you can't readily go by anecdotal evidence like "I use Norton and I've never been infected" because that tells you very little.

What you need to do is test the products in a laboratory under controlled conditions against a harvested collection of specific threats, testing like for like against each product. But surely that has been done already?
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Offline Sionyn

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Re: free antivirus comparisons
« Reply #44 on: June 10, 2012, 08:09:12 pm »
from my own coding adventures iv found it particular easy to evade anti virus programs, heuristics and hash based detection.

anti virus programs are useful to a point who ever once you have been compromised how can you trust a machine again ? i prefer to start again from known good source or from backups.

a antivirus can only detect what it knows and it that sense infective. Your better chance is to change your behaviour stop visiting suspicious sites,sanboxing your webrowser. 

Security is never black and white. If someone asks, "for best security, should I do A or B?" the answer almost invariably is both. But security is always a trade-off. Often it's impossible to do both A and B -- there's no time to do both, it's too expensive to do both, or whatever -- and you have to choose. In that case, you look at A and B and you make you best choice. But it's almost always more secure to do both.

antivirus software is neither necessary nor sufficient for security, but it's still a good idea. It's not something that magically makes you safe, nor is it is obsolete in the face of current threats.

there not perfect but they can be useful.
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Offline PeterG

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Re: free antivirus comparisons
« Reply #45 on: June 10, 2012, 10:45:26 pm »
People, any discussion regarding "PAID" antivirus products is of little use in this thread. The OP has requested information regarding FREE antivirus options.

In this case it seems Microsoft's offering is the most commonly used and recommended.

When it comes down to it, it is a lotto as to whether your AV will pick up any new virus. It simply depends on who releases the required update first. Which company discovers the new virus first is a game of chance. So for my money, there is little difference between the mainstream free Antivirus products now days.

My 2 cents worth.

Regards

Testing one two three...
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: free antivirus comparisons
« Reply #46 on: June 10, 2012, 11:38:42 pm »
if it really needs to be free : power off the computer. there you go. Perfect protection and it doesn't even consume electricity. No way the virus can enter, and if there is one on  it it is now blocked from executing.

i dare you to find fault with my solution ( in terms of security )
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Offline Monkeh

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Re: free antivirus comparisons
« Reply #47 on: June 11, 2012, 12:55:56 am »
i dare you to find fault with my solution ( in terms of security )

The blind assumption that because you pay for a product, it must do everything it claims.
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: free antivirus comparisons
« Reply #48 on: June 11, 2012, 04:55:20 am »
i dare you to find fault with my solution ( in terms of security )

The blind assumption that because you pay for a product, it must do everything it claims.

no. my solution was free : simply power off the computer. doesn't cost you anything and consumes no power. you didnt even have to install anything.
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Offline touchh

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Re: free antivirus comparisons
« Reply #49 on: June 11, 2012, 05:30:28 am »
I use paid antivirus at the moment, but having used MSE before, I will never use it again. It has awful detection rates according to tests ran by AV testers and personal experience seems to confirm this. http://www.av-comparatives.org/images/stories/test/ondret/avc_fd_mar2012_intl_en.pdf

If I did have to use any free one, I would suggest you do the following, keep flash and adobe pdf reader updated at all times (or use an alternative pdf reader like foxit), in general you need to keep all software updated, use firefox with plugins like flashblock that block flash from autoloading on pages, disable the embedding of PDF's in Firefox. Make sure UAC is turned on and set to at least prompt you.  A lot of malware/viruses use exploits in flash/adobe pdf reader to execute code on your computer, even if they are not running with administrative privileges, they can still cause you a hassle.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2012, 05:39:48 am by touchh »
 


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