Anti-Virus, Malware and Spyware

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by warrenlewis, Nov 8, 2008.

  1. Hi, <p> Wondering what the latest and greatest in Anti-Virus, Malware and Spyware software is, for a Win XP
    machine.<P>Thanks, <P>Warren
  2. My personal favorite is McAfee, but you'll get a lot of different responses.
  3. ESET Nod32 on anti-virus; Malwarebytes Anti-Malware for spyware/malware, etc.
  4. I'm currently using Norton Internet Security 2009. I'm not at all knowledable about the pros-and-cons, but this latest NIE seems to not be using a lot of resources, and does it's job fairly efficiently without disprupting me, an improvement over previous releases.

    I previously tried Trend Micro for a year: found it's interface somewhat frustrating, *and* discovered their wonderful practice of automatic renewal of subscription, the hard way. A long distance phone call to a difficult-to-find direct phone number *finally* got that charge reversed. I lost $5~ due to varying exchange rate, the cost of the phone call, and any interest in using Trend Micro in future.
  5. So far so good on Norton AV 2008. It updates itself regularly, actually advises me real time when it catches something evil, but does seem to exercise my hard drive a lot when I'm not at the keyboard.
  6. Check out Zone Alarm. They offer a great security suite that has everything you're looking for (plus a
    great firewall) without the memory leak issues of Norton. I've had lots of frustrations with Norton over the
    past and can't recommend...

    Zone Alarm's having a deal on a 3 pc license right now. Give the demo a try and see if you like it.
  7. I used ZoneAlarm (the suite), not the free version) on XP and am now using ZoneAlarm AntiVirus on Vista. I recommend the paid versions over the free version because the free version omits the outging program control component of the firewall that is included in the paid versions. For ad-hoc anti-spyware/anti-malware I have run SuperAntiSpyWare (SAS) and MalwareBytes AntiMalware (MBAM). I'm Vista-centric these days, but there are more details regarding my choices here .
  8. Michael, I purchased 2008 close to 2 months back, and received a notification through the software that 2009 had become available and I was eligible to upgrade for free. I'd also installed 2008 on my wife's pc (3 installs are allowed per purchase), and for some reason the notification through the software did not happen with hers. Still, I was able to legally upgrade her pc to 2009 as well. There was a few more hoops, I can't recall the exact steps, but it was doable. Your status might be the same, I would check into it.
  9. jtk


    I've used CA Antivirus (Computer Associates) since 1999 8 PCs & laptops, XP and Vista (for my biz). I believe CA is a bigger antivirus company than any of the others, known mostly to businesses.

    Online all day long, lots of downloaded attachments from strangers. No grief. It updates unnoticed in the background, deals unnoticed with virus in the background...I don't want my time wasted by antivirus that wants attention.

    IMO Norton is itself a virus and McAfee is a time-waster. I doubt anybody would use either if the intro versions weren't included with their PCs.
  10. "I doubt anybody would use either if the intro versions weren't included with their PCs"

    John, I did ;)

    Norton Internet Security has been a less than stellar experience for me in the past. How about this for a gotcha:

    Upon completion of the install, if you happened to move the NIS additions to the Windows Start Menu, say shift them
    to a sub-folder, Norton soon thereafter warned you that there was a problem with the installation, that could *only* be
    resolved by complete uninstall/reinstall. Actually there was another resolution: just move the Start Menu items back
    to where they started, "problem" resolved.

    But I was pleasantly suprised this time around. A lot of things you mentioned regarding staying in the background,
    doing it's job, etc: apply also to the *current* NIS. The price is reasonable and there's often rebates or deals.

    Here's one comparison source:
  11. Something I've found: nothing stands still, and software is no exception. Yesterday's "dogs" can turnaround, not always, but it happens. It's comforting to try to latch onto one thing and stick with it, but the ways of the world are always shifting. Cripes, I'm getting religious, LOL.
  12. "if you happened to move the ... say shift them to a sub-folder," and

    "Norton soon thereafter warned you that there was a problem with the installation"

    why would anyone want to do that ? Norton installation would not know where to chase after moved files...

    It is definitely not a Norton's problem.
  13. lavasoft ad aware is good, free and unmentioned, as is AVG free antivirus by grisoft, I think.
  14. Frank, I'm not talking about moving the program, *just* the links within the Window Start Menu.

    When you quote me, the "..." explains this.
  15. Here I consider Norton to be a virus too. It remove Norton is like removing manure from deep waffle tread shoes; part of the ilk is still in the cracks no matter how many times one tries to clean them; and there is whift of Norton that still fouls the air.
  16. I used to swear by Norton, but these days I swear at it - in my experience it causes more of a performance degradation than most viruses!

    The thing with most packages is that they have to "err on the safe side" and configure themselves accordingly - so whereas you may just want an anti-virus product, you end up with anti-virus, anti-spyware, popup blocker, firewall, parental control, privacy protecter etc etc etc.

    Personally (after doing this for a living for many years) I settled on CA anti-virus & anti-spyware - they seem to have by far the least performance hit.
  17. I once was a big fan of Norton and had in on many boxes years ago. <BR><BR>Once with a normal virus signature upgrade we had all our Autocad verisions down except for boxes that didnt have Norton. After many panicy calls Norton didnt know anything; we found some obscure panicy folks with the same issues a week later on an obscure web site; to fix the problem required new dll files ; screwing around in the registery; a huge jack around factor; ie a HUGE lost time futzing. I would not feel bad if Norton paypaled us 5 grand for that crap to deal with. We had all these Autocad drawings to print by converting the dwg to plt's for a major customer; and most all our boxes got hosed by Norton. Thus the ancient slow boxes that are not even web connected were used to do all these conversions thru the night to meet a deadline; while the main guard dream machines sat hosed by Norton; true virus in itself. <BR><BR>One has a program that during a virus signature upgrade goes out an fools with bowels of windows and replaces dll files that are required for programs; and the new versions halt the launch of programs that have worked with no issues for years. <BR><BR> If I every tried Norton again it would be on just a few boxes; and never on many since I still have the Norton funk ie bad taste of wasting so much time futzing around to fix Nortons problems during a deadline.
  18. Steadfast commitment and a hammer will fix any Windows computer.

    Provide yourself some personal grief therapy afterwards and pick up an Apple. I'm serious. Few things have been better than to kiss the
    clashes between applications that occurred so often goodbye. Probably the biggest problem with multiple virus scanners on a Windows
    box is letting them slug it out to determine which one is dominant. One virus scanner may tell on another. And, it will usually take a
    variety pack of them to root out most difficulties.

    Solving security problems with porting out a Windows box can be like watching a tribal war among a pack of baboons. The most
    aggressive application wins. Meanwhile, with every clash, you can have the pleasure of clicking on some dialog box. After many years of
    this, I just gave up on it and finally got an Apple. I now live in computer bliss, and recommend it highly.
  19. There was a time that CA or Computer Associates antivirus was one of the best, but now they are one of the slowest to provide updates for new threats. That comes from using it personally and in a large business environment for about 10 years. Only reason I still have it is they auto-renewed. Next year I will switch to something else.

    ClamAV is actually pretty good, and it is free. Cisco Systems is actually integrating it in to some of their security software.
  20. If you are not bound to Windows for your work, Linux offers excellent protection from all the usual Windows annoyances. I enjoy my D700 and Bibble Pro and the occational Gimp for RAW post processing on SuSE Linux and Ubuntu.

    I know this does not help you with your Windows trouble, but it may be worth a try.

    For customers, friends, and family who must use Windows, I usually suggest the free version of Grisoft's AVG for anti virus. Several tests have deemed it just as good or bad as commercial software. Spyhunter is also free and offers good protection against various Trojans.

    Be aware, though, that most free software of this nature may only be used for private purposes.

    My day job is that of a freelance IT consultant.
  21. Eset NOD 32 has a package that includes it all. It updated daily and seems to leave a smaller "footprint" as far as how much computer resources it takes. Been using it two years and very happy with it.
  22. "I just gave up on it and finally got an Apple. I now live in computer bliss, and recommend it highly.

    They say that ignorance is bliss - I guess this must be what they're talking about.

    Ask any McZealot about computer security, and their answer is always the same; "Macs are more secure" the PCs. Unfortunately, the facts show otherwise. In a recent study around 3 times as many security vulnerabilities were discovered in MacOS than were discovered in Windows Vista in the first year of it's release, and it took Apple - on average - around 3 times longer than Microsoft to patch them. So are Macs more secure than Windows Vista? The answer is no they're not.

    The next McZealot argument is that Macs are more secure because "nobody bothers writing viruses for Macs". Personally, I find the argument of "you're more secure on a Mac because our market share is so small virus writers don't get a sufficiant return on investment to be bothered trying to attack us" to be somewhat less than comforting as a security strategy - and additionally - it just doesn't hold up anymore in that the thrust of malware writers has long since shifted from writing viruses that replicate via eMail to ones that attack via infected web pages - to which the Mac platform is proving to be just as vulnerable.

    The reality is that all most anti-virus packages are only good for "closing the stable door after the horse has bolted"; the best defence is to (a) Keep your system patched (Windows users can have this done automatically), and stay away from "sites of ill repute" - sites like,, etc are not going to try to exploit security vulnerabilities. Sites like "" & "bad taste sites" are almost guaranteed to try to exploit any weaknesses.
  23. "Provide yourself some personal grief therapy afterwards and pick up an Apple."

    Take a look at some 2007 Mac -v- PC security hole stats - Mac now up to FIVE times as many security holes.

    Mac for me? NO THANK YOU - I prefer a far more secure operating system.
  24. Amazing that no one has recommended Kaspersky. I think it's the #1 anti virus program in the world. I suffered w/ Norton for years and finally got tired of how it hogged my computer's resources and slowed it down. Their support was a nightmare. No one spoke english as a first language (not fun when dealing with computer technology!) and their corporate attitude was that if was always your fault if you had a problem. The solution was always to upgrade to the newest Norton version, which was inevitebly more expensive, bigger, and slower. I read the reviews and went w/ Kaspersky and it's been great. System updates itself several times a day and doesn't slow the computer down. Best of all I downloaded the 2009 Security Suite trial version for free and found legal 1 year licenses on eBay for under $10 each. So for $20 total I have both our computers protected, daily updates, and excellent support if we need it.
  25. I agree to steve mareno, Yes kaspersky is the Number 1. I also recommend Bit defender though a bit heavy on the processor and AVG as other alternatives.

    But again, I feel its AVs are a personal choice.... Be happy with what comforts you :)
  26. I get scanned every day for 30 minutes by Webroot and I love it ...Staples installed it for me and have had no problems...
  27. I do not find that Anti-Virus software is all that important. Nor is Anti-SpyWare nor Anti-Malware software. Good old common sense will keep out most baddies. And NoScript with Firefox helps, too.

    I do run a software firewall, as my machine is a notebook and therefore is not always behind my router.
  28. Best response to Spyware, Malware, and Viruses?

    A mac.


    But when I used XP I used McAfee, but it was pricey; and not always 100%

    Check out SpyBot too.
  29. when i was stuck with windows, I used avast. Its free, and has a neat voice announcement when it updates. Also if you use search and destroy, it will lock down your system so that adware, and malware cannot take control of your browser. Other wise, go mac or linux. I have been using linux for years, and only using windows for games, but I finally made the switch to mac, and I love it.
  30. AVG Internet Security works well, I back it up with Windows Defender and no problems so far.
    AVG I.S has the basics of Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware, two way Firewall and Anti-Sp@m.
  31. "Take a look at some 2007 Mac -v- PC security hole stats - Mac now up to FIVE times as many security holes.:

    Yep, I took a look. A huge number were technologies bundled with OS X, but not used, certainly not on by default - a ton of PHP
    graphics library issues, for instance. Also several are for older systems. "Mac OS 10.4.4 through 10.4.10", when we're on 10.4.11 /

    Granted, there's a couple of real honkers there. And on the Windows side too. The counts show the difference between a (somewhat)
    open system vs a (somewhat) closed system. I bet many of those problems were found by code inspection once one class of problem
    was found. Many of these individual issues apply to Linux / Solaris / BSDs also, and I don't think you can make the claim that XP is
    80% more secure than those systems.

    No system is perfect, but looking at the actual track records in the number of active exploits and amount of malware on each platform,
    not to mention how thriving the anit-malware market is on each platform, it's pretty obvious the Mac stacks up much better than just
    naively looking at absolute counts.
  32. I use several defenses.

    First, our computers sit behind a NAT router. This stops outside attempts to access or ping the computers (networked printer). Even if I had but one computer, I would still run a router. It is an inexpensive "firewall". Checking my Zone Alarm logs, I can find no instances of external attempts to access my computer since I installed the router several years ago.

    Next we use a firewall. I have Zone Alarm on my Windows 2000 computer - perforce an older version, but it works well. My Significant Other is running Vista and uses the built in firewall. Coupled with the hardware router, I feel quite secure.

    We both run anti-virus programs. I run an older version of McAfee she runs Kaspersky Anti-Virus, not Internet Security Suite. When I upgrade my computer, I too shall run Kaspersky. Kaspersky updates the virus signature files automatically and several times a day.

    I run a Spybot Search and Destroy scan once a week as new signature files are released. So far, they only thing it has found is "tracking cookies".

    I read both the Kaspersky and the McAfee user forums. The vast majority of problems reported involve the respective "Internet Security Suites"; very few problems are reported with the Kaspersky Anti-Virus program by itself. The last time I checked, McAfee Anti-Virus came bundled with other security programs, hence the switch when my SO upgraded her computer last year.
  33. If it wasn't for my girlfriend, I would not be using anti virus, anti spy ware or a firewall.
    If you can leave nasty websites for what they are, don't open all those funny e-mails and have an offline back-up.
    Don't bother the extra software running on your machine. I never had a virus or even an alert. My girlfriend however
    makes me not take the risk

    just my 2 cent

    oh, Avast and Ad Aware protect my computer for free against my girlfriend ;-)
  34. My biggest gripe with Lavasoft Spysweeper is the time it takes to load up all its files. McCafee slows things
    down but not as much. I wonder if anyone uses one that was at one time supposed to be a great all around item,
    namely PC Micro's "PC-Cillin". Haven't tried it but am considering it,sort of..anyone use that software? I am
    seguing to a MAC but will keep a separate older PC too. Ambidextrous of a sort. Confused is more likely.

    I bought the iMAC last year for reasons other than the virus threat, which I feel I have under restraint the way
    I operate. I think it was the original Vista and some PC companies that got me peeved off when I looked to
    replace an old WIN system....

    All my e mail goes through a 'washing machine' at the ISP that sorts the scum from the cream. It is worth it for
    me for 8 bucks a month.

    What a bunch of cow patties in a grassy lawn this subject is to pester the artists and visual poets of the world,
    like we-all. I suppose we are all ultimately vulnerable to some invasion of our lives,fortunes, or honor. Not
    sanguine here thank you.... That is why I guess I have a home security system AND a huge intimidating doggie :)
    En garde!
  35. I've got McAfee. It downloads new upgrades all the time, and blocks popups all right, but was no good at all dealing with a very ordinary Trojan--put my PC into perpetual loop blocking its attacks, but didn't touch the bug itself. Went to McAfee for support, and they gave me a DOS scanner that did kill the bug, but left my PC clobbered worse than before. Went to Dell for support and they fixed it, no problem.
  36. Hi Lennert,

    I am sorry to have to tell you, you are very, very wrong. The latest attack vector is to hack supposedly safe web sites and inject a line or two of malicious code that redirects to a malicious server, which tests for unpatched vulnerabilities and then downloads malicious software. At that point, your machine becomes a zombie - part of a botnet.

    Some of the "safe" sites that have been hacked and had malicious code injected include the BBC, several NFL team sites and others that would normally be considered "safe".

    Keep your systems patched and you Anti-Virus files up to date. By the way, the latest attack in the wild is via Adobe Reader version 8.1.2 and earlier. Be sure to patch to 8.1.3 or install version 9.

    Oh, yes, thank your girlfriend. She is truly a friend.
  37. Lennert, I must warn you about Avast. I have used it for years and thought it was working. I installed Avira antivirus free edition and ran both at the same time. Turns out I had a virus all along and Avast missed it. Avira caught it and it also caught several attempts by a supposed safe web site trying to download malware on my system. Avast missed the boat there too.
  38. Our company (I'm a system builder and system administrator on several networks) usually install
    Kaspersky Antivirus or Kaspersky Internet Security (personal or server controlled edition).
    Norton is also a good choice... now it works fine.

    Free antivirus?... Thank you... I need more customers!

    Antispyware: Defender (Microsoft), SpybotSD, AD-Aware.

  39. Macs are no more secure than PC's despite what amateurs claim: if you run Vista and make sure your day-to-day account is 'limited' rather than 'administrator' then you are as secure if not more secure than a Mac. However you are still more likely to get infected since organised crime botnet virus's are written against the systems with the larger market share, and no amount of anti-virus, spyware or other defenses can completely protect you (especially with instant messaging if you talk to dodgy people especially in their teens). It is for this reason that it is not unreasonable to wipe every six months.

    AV Product X didn't catch what product Y did catch: this is rubbish as no AV product is 100% capable and some 'catch' spyware/malware which isn't technically a virus. You need to combine an AV product with anti-malware/spyware if the AV product doesn't do this, and do regular or automatic software updates, and make sure you configure your account to be 'limited'. Some AV products do catch a few more than the others, but its marginal. Decide on the basis of usability instead (ie. not Norton/MacFee which are monstors). Kapersky and Avast are good options; the latter has a free home edition and has a decent user interface unlike AVG.

    For critical usage (banking, purchases etc) buy a cheap ($200) linux Eee Asus netbook and use Safari as your browser, and don't use it for any other purpose (non-critical websites, instant messaging etc). Also consider disabling javascript except for those sites that don't work without it: most infected sites work through javascript.
  40. If you're really paranoid, virtualize. It's a good thing to do anyways for bunch of reasons unrelated to security, but much more robust protection against malware of all sorts is one.

    Go look at the vmware products. The virtualized browser appliance is free. For those more technically inclined, the vmware workstation product is excellent. Run Linux on the host machine and virtualize a Windows box for browsing. Reload from a clean snapshot whenever needed.
  41. DON'T run without antivirus! Kaspersky and NOD are currently the best ones that you pay for you. As mentioned before, you no longer have to go to a questionable site to catch something. There is a well known home builder site that is infected with AntiVirus 2009 pest that installs itself. And just because you click No or the X doesn't mean that a crook programmer isn't going to install sliently anyways.
  42. It's natural to reason that if a product has done well in the past it will continue to do so. But, it's also an unfortunate
    fact of life that software developers can anticipate this mentality: it encourages the current leaders to rest-on-their-
    laurels, while the also-rans try their hardest to improve, but are ignored.

    Conversely, if you've had an issue with a program in the past, it's also a reasonable reaction to avoid it. But, often a
    product's past shortcomings have long since been addressed, and it's worth revisitting.
  43. [[Free antivirus?... Thank you... I need more customers! ]]

    More likely your company needs a better employee...
  44. Rob... you are very funny!

    If you want you can buy antivirus or use free edition... it's up to you, this is not my business.

    I fix at least 10 computers with virus or other kind of malware every week... at least 8 of those use
    Avast, AVG, Avira, etc.etc...

  45. Another vote here for Kasperksy. Things change rapidly in this field, but Kaspersky has consistently been one of
    the (if not THE) top performers in both effectiveness and efficiency in the last few years. Norton does appear
    to be improving after falling to the depths in recent times, but I'm still sticking with Kaspersky - that, and a
    solid (Sonicwall) hardware firewall.

    No method will keep you completely safe, (including so-called "safe surfing", as some very reputable sites have
    been victimized in recent times) but I've had good experiences so far with these tools.

  46. Here is another reason to pick your Anti-Virus software wisely. It seems that AVG has a big problem.

    I hope no AVG users have trashed their systems.

    My phone is ringing!
  48. I think that whatever application one uses to fight external threats, no-one can be guaranteed 100% protection. Brainless use of the Internet and all its possibilities will lead to intrusion and infection. Sensible and knowledable users of connected machines will experience less problems.
    First defense (tongue in cheek) would be to outlaw Windows machines being connected to anything.
  49. I recommend ESET NOD32 or ESET Smart Security.

    I currently use NOD32 antivirus and Agnitum Outpost Pro, previously on an old Pentium 3 600Mhz and now on a P4
    1..8 Ghz, with no slowdown of either system and both products work brilliantly. They're also good value esp.
    when buying a 3 year licence.

    If Smart Security had been around when I was considering an AV/firewall product, I probably would've gone for
    that if it's as good as NOD32
  50. I 've been using Trend Micro PC-cillin since it came installed on my Dell 2 years ago. No complaints.

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