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Best Anti Virus?

 
 
smackedass
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      06-12-2008

I'm starting to question my own judgement. I still think, and tell people,
that I recommend AVG above all others; first of all, it's free for
stand-alone home desktop users. Second of all, it doesn't really screw up
that often.

But Symantec/Norton is still so prevelant. I never liked it, when something
goes wrong with it, it goes very wrong, and I think it's over-priced.

McCaffee I'm not a big fan of, of course there are Trend Micro, Kaperski and
other fringe (yet reputable) programs.

Still, people look at me like I've got two heads when I say that I don't
like Symantec/Norton. Name recognition goes a long way.

What say you?

sa

 
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John O
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      06-12-2008
> Still, people look at me like I've got two heads when I say that I don't
> like Symantec/Norton. Name recognition goes a long way.
>
> What say you?


I hate that sh!t, and don't ever let the CDs get within sniffing distance of
my machines.



Seriously, it has deep tentacles and over the years it has caused tons of
trouble with many different applications. It's hard to remove completely,
maybe impossible. And many of the techs I talk to say it offers a serious
performance hit on modestly-powered PCs.

-John O



 
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Bill Eitner
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      06-12-2008
John O wrote:
>> Still, people look at me like I've got two heads when I say that I don't
>> like Symantec/Norton. Name recognition goes a long way.
>>
>> What say you?


It depends on the type of user.

For users who know what they're doing
(by that I mean they know what's risky and
what isn't), I recommend Bit Defender Free.
It's a free on-demand scanner that does a
good job with no performance hit when
configured correctly (go in settings and
uncheck everything--especially starting
when Windows starts).

For newbies with broadband connections and/or
those who take risks, AVG Free is a good choice.

> I hate that sh!t, and don't ever let the CDs get within sniffing distance of
> my machines.
>
>
>
> Seriously, it has deep tentacles and over the years it has caused tons of
> trouble with many different applications. It's hard to remove completely,
> maybe impossible. And many of the techs I talk to say it offers a serious
> performance hit on modestly-powered PCs.


I agree about the performance hit.
Unfortunately, I'm noticing that the new AVG Free 8
with both anti-virus and anti-spyware is slowing
modest systems down more than the earlier versions.
Both the type of user and the system enter into
the decision on whether to use Bit Defender (on-
demand) or AVG (runs in the background).
--
 
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smackedass
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      06-14-2008

> An anecdote - I recently got a nasty Trojan from this little music
> program...


Great story. Thank you.

sa

 
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Bill Eitner
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      06-14-2008
MF wrote:
> "smackedass" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> newsIf4k.1998$n9.1334@trndny01...
>> I'm starting to question my own judgement. I still think, and tell
>> people, that I recommend AVG above all others; first of all, it's free for
>> stand-alone home desktop users. Second of all, it doesn't really screw up
>> > that often.

>>
>> But Symantec/Norton is still so prevelant. I never liked it, when
>> something goes wrong with it, it goes very wrong, and I think it's
>> over-priced.
>>
>> McCaffee I'm not a big fan of, of course there are Trend Micro, Kaperski
>> and other fringe (yet reputable) programs.
>>
>> Still, people look at me like I've got two heads when I say that I don't
>> like Symantec/Norton. Name recognition goes a long way.
>>
>> What say you?
>>
>> sa

>
> Good question. And maybe unanswerable, since most reviews seem to change
> "the best" from year to year. Trend Micro was getting top spot for two or
> three years in a row, but then dropped. For a while, PC Magazine
> religiously picked Symantec, whether or not their own stats supported the
> pick.
>
> An anecdote - I recently got a nasty Trojan from this little music program I
> installed. It was an executable, and I had scanned it three times: twice
> with Symantec on the same system, and once with AVG 7.5 free from a
> different system. Both AVs reported that the program was free of nasties.
> So I double click it and it installs with no warning or complaints from
> Norton running in the background. And what it installs is a key-logging,
> call-home trojan. Luckily, it was badly written and immediately crashed XP
> SP2.


This must have been before you had Bit Defender.
I'm curious as to whether or not it would have
identified it to any degree. With what has
happened with AVG 8 (noticeable performance hit)
and the fact that Grisoft is discontinuing support
for 7.5, I'm interested in figuring out where
Bit Defender ranks as far as detection capability.

> I booted the computer from a different OS and went to Trend Micro's free web
> scan page, a tedious process, but it did find ONE file that was part of a
> known Trojan.


Trend Micro's House Call is slow but good.
A variant on what you did is to boot an OS
from a live CD like Bart PE or Knoppix then
go online and run House Call. These days,
in some cases, it could even be from a flash
drive. Here on an A+ forum this is highly
relevant. It's been mentioned before; a
live OS CD and the know-how to use it effectively
should be in any competent techs bag of tricks.

> So I researched that Trojan on several the major AV mfgrs
> websites: Trend, Symantec, Grisoft, and Kaspersky. Although this virus was
> 4 years old NONE of them had sufficient information on it. They all thought
> it was pretty rare, gave a mild infection, and was easy to get rid of.
> Kaspersky (not a fringe player) had the most info.
>
> I had a feeling these guys were missing the boat and had not identified the
> variant I had. So I searched many forums (scrolling past dozens of HJT
> logs)


What's an HJT log?

> and found out the nasty variant I had was _at least_ a year and a half
> old, usually rendered Windows partly or completely inoperable, installed and
> used at least five files, and was indeed very hard to get rid of, usually
> defying all the big name AV programs. In one of the forums, the moderator
> had identified the files and registry keys the trojan installed. So I went
> through the partition and killed it off manually. This was fairly easy,
> because I knew the two dates associated with the trojan's files, but the
> research was looooooong and less than joyful.


At least you hit paydirt in the end.

> If, as with most people,
> that had been my only computer, and XP the only OS on the machine, I would
> have semi-screwed.


Live CD to the rescue.
One of the most valuable benefits of a live CD
OS is that none of the hard drive files are in
use--therefore no virus can fight your eradication
efforts. And once the infected files are dealt
with the registry entries refer to nothing and
can be mopped up by a general purpose registry
cleaner like CCleaner.

The one caveat to the live CD is RAM. Very
modest systems won't have enough. In that
situation either more will have to be added
or the hard drive moved to another machine
to be cleaned up.

> So my ultimate pessimistic feeling is that you can't completely depend on
> any of them.


I agree. It's better to be educated than to rely
blindly on any anti-virus software. I'm proud
of the fact that other than the hardware firewalls
that are built into the DSL gateway and wireless
router, my system has no full-time security yet I
rarely ever get infections even though I engage in
some risky practices at times. The above procedure
(update on-demand scanner and scan) is used on
any new infectible files(s) before they are run, and
weekly system scans and backups are performed.

I'm not saying that's the right way for everyone,
but it works for me and others who have a clue.
Here's the test: When your system is started and
left idle for 5 or 10 minutes, how many tasks and
services are running? How many programs are set up
to start when the OS starts? What's the commit
charge? Can you provide that information without
having to look? Do you know your system(s) well
enough to detect even relatively small performance
changes that may be indicative of infection? Do
you know what ports are open and why? Is your critical
data backed up often enough to where if your hard drive
(or drives) were to crash this second it wouldn't be
a big deal? Do you know what the risky behaviors are
and what to do to minimize the associated risk? In a word,
if you're at that level, you probably don't need to eat the
performance hit or any of the other possible problems
that are often part of full-time security software.

> Therefore:
>
> Give the customer what they ask for. If they want Symantec, they get
> Symantec. If you don't, and they later get a virus, they'll blame you.


Good point. However, with me, they'd quickly be
hipped to the fact that it was one of their decisions
that led to the infection and that's where the buck
ultimately stops. For example, you chose to obtain
by whatever means and run that little music program.

You pays your money and you takes your chances.

I (and probably most others here) would have done
the same thing. I would have manually updated Bit
Defender, scanned it, and if nothing was found,
executed it. That's how the game is played.

> If, however, they don't express any preferences, give them what you think is
> going to be easiest for them to keep updated and to use.


In my experience, if they're coming to me, generally
they aren't yet at the level where they can do away
with full-time security. If I get the feeling a
particular person is looking for maximum performance,
I mention on-demand versus full-time and see where
it goes. Most still end up with full-time.

> Other than that, I would echo what two others said: AVG 8.0 seems to be a
> design mistake (check out Grisoft/s AVG Free forums for user
> dissatisfaction).


I recently bought a new laptop. It came with Symantec/
Norton full-time security pre-installed. In time I
changed over to AVG 8 and the performance was no better.
Like another poster said, Norton may be getting better.
AVG is definitely getting worse (bigger performance hit).

> And that Bit Defender free ed., installed to scan only on
> demand, is a useful second line of defense, if you feel your customer is
> savvy enough to know that two AV progs running simultaneously can lead to
> much unhappiness.


That wouldn't be an issue because with me it's either
one or the other (full-time or on-demand)--never both.
With some ruthless configuration, earlier versions
of AVG Free could be
turned into an on-demand program more-or-less like
AVG Free Anti-Spyware. That may still be possible
with version 8, but rather than take that approach
I chose to see what else was out there. So far I've
been favorably impressed with Bit Defender Free V10.
And even though it's on-demand, it installs a number
of services and wants to start when the OS starts.
That's why I'm leery of combining it with any other
security software. As with earlier versions of AVG
Free, the autostart and services can all be disabled;
however, then the ability to start a scan from a
context menu (to me the must-have feature of an on-
demand scanner) is disabled. So, my preference is to
turn off autostart (which doesn't disable contextual
scanning) and auto-update and leave the services as
originally installed. Set up like that it works
just the way I want it to work; no performance hit
at all as the services take up very little memory
and do nothing until needed, yet I can scan anything
I want with two mouse clicks. As for updates and
other system scans, the updates are a bit slower than
AVG 7.5, and the system scan speed is about the same.

> You can see the reason for my sort of vague advice above simply by searching
> on "best anti virus program" and reading a few reviews.


I did that when I was looking into on-demand scanners.
What a mistake that was--nothing but argument.
The best that turned up were lists sorted by type:
security suites, full-time scanners, and on-demand
scanners. I found exactly what I was looking for.
I was hoping to find a quality (won't be free) full-time
suite or scanner where the free version was on-demand
(but not crippled or limited in any other way).

I'm hoping that Bit Defender is as good as it claims
to be as far as detection goes. That's why it would
have been nice to see if it would have detected any
part of your trojan.

> I might note that
> after looking at four such reviews at random, it appears that Avira AntiVir
> is coming up in the world. Personally, I got rid of Norton, have AVG 7.5
> Pro (they had a one day give away that I stumbled on) with Bit Defender in
> reserve for a second scan of stuff I am leery about. I am, however, open to
> abandoning AVG if their reviews don't improve.


Eventually you'll have to make a decision as updates
for AVG 7.5 will be discontinued. Let us know what
you decide to go with.
--

> Mike
>
>

 
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A J Hawke
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      06-14-2008
Q: Best Anti Virus?
A: None - dump windows
 
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A J Hawke
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      06-14-2008
On Sat, 14 Jun 2008 18:38:10 +0100, Unbeliever wrote:

> A J Hawke wrote:
>> Q: Best Anti Virus?
>> A: None - dump windows

>
> And Linux is invulnerable?


Compared to Windows?
 
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Bill Eitner
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      06-14-2008
Unbeliever wrote:
> A J Hawke wrote:
>> On Sat, 14 Jun 2008 18:38:10 +0100, Unbeliever wrote:
>>
>>> A J Hawke wrote:
>>>> Q: Best Anti Virus?
>>>> A: None - dump windows
>>> And Linux is invulnerable?

>> Compared to Windows?

>
> You have not answered the question - is Linux invulnerable or not?


Linux is plenty vulnerable--
it's just not targeted to
anywhere near the degree that
Windows is targeted.

And in my opinion, Microsoft does
as least as good a job--if not better--
than any linux flavor group would do
in the same position when it comes to
the degree of threat that Windows
constantly faces.

Linux people and apple people think they
are superior regardless of the fact that
almost none of them actually have a hand
in the development or support of the OSs
that they so snobbishly support.

Bottom line: out here it's just trolling.
--
 
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smackedass
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      06-15-2008

(Aside: I always like when a thread that I started goes on this long...)

sa
 
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Bill Eitner
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      06-15-2008
MF wrote:
> "Bill Eitner" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> news:rhH4k.8204$(E-Mail Removed)...
>> MF wrote:
>>> "smackedass" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
>>> newsIf4k.1998$n9.1334@trndny01...
>>>> I'm starting to question my own judgement. >

> <snip>
>>>> people look at me like I've got two heads when I say that I don't like
>>>> Symantec/Norton. Name recognition goes a long way.
>>>>
>>>> What say you?
>>>>
>>>> sa
>>> Good question. And maybe unanswerable,

>
> <snip>
>
>>> So I double click it and it installs with no warning or complaints from
>>> Norton running in the background. And what it installs is a key-logging,
>>> call-home trojan. Luckily, it was badly written and immediately crashed
>>> XP SP2.

>> This must have been before you had Bit Defender.
>> I'm curious as to whether or not it would have
>> identified it to any degree. With what has
>> happened with AVG 8 (noticeable performance hit)
>> and the fact that Grisoft is discontinuing support
>> for 7.5, I'm interested in figuring out where
>> Bit Defender ranks as far as detection capability.
>>

> I was thinking about this. About keeping the trojan carrier program, doing
> up a hard drive with the same OS, imaging it, then downloading every AV prog
> I could get. Then find out which of them would detect the nasty through an
> on demand scan, and, after that, see if any of them would catch the program
> and prevent it from installing. It would be interesting. But following
> interests like that is one of the reasons I don't have a yacht, so I didn't
> do it.


There's a huge difference between having the dough
for a yacht and keeping one file for testing anti-
virus programs. Tell me where to go to download
the little music program and I'll do it. On-demand
scan it with Bit Defender--that's all I'm asking.

> <snip>
>>> I had a feeling these guys were missing the boat and had not identified
>>> the variant I had. So I searched many forums (scrolling past dozens of
>>> HJT logs)

>> What's an HJT log?

>
> The log(s) produced by HijackThis. The ultimate fallback program for a
> manual cleansing. Written by Merijn, purchased last year by trend micro.
> Still freeware.


I'm familiar with HiJack This, but asking people to
recognize it by "HJT" is asking a lot. It's not
that well known. A few more keystrokes won't kill
you or make you look less cool.

>>> had identified the files and registry keys the trojan installed. So I
>>> went through the partition and killed it off manually. This was fairly
>>> easy, because I knew the two dates associated with the trojan's files,
>>> but the research was looooooong and less than joyful.

>> At least you hit paydirt in the end.
>>
>>> If, as with most people, that had been my only computer, and XP the only
>>> OS on the machine, I would have semi-screwed.

>> Live CD to the rescue.
>> One of the most valuable benefits of a live CD
>> OS is that none of the hard drive files are in
>> use--therefore no virus can fight your eradication
>> efforts. And once the infected files are dealt
>> with the registry entries refer to nothing and
>> can be mopped up by a general purpose registry
>> cleaner like CCleaner.
>>

> Agreed. That's the "semi" part of it. I haven't made/updated such a disk
> in over a year ;( -- in fact, I should do it now.


A custom Bart PE disk can make you look
like a God. I've become fairly well known
at the school I attend (I'm 44 and am attending
a trade school in order to change careers).
Other students know where to find me (the
computer/electronics/telecom/wireless
networking lab where I prepped for the A+).
Most every week I end up straightening out
at least one or two computers. It's good
` experience and I never turn down a chance
to try and fix a computer. Most are software
issues like virus infections. In fact the
huge majority are such. Hardware problems
are rare even though many of the owners
think that's what's wrong. For example,
last week I dealt with a Dell laptop where
the display would randomly shut off. At
first it appeared to be a hardware issue
(the display backlight), but in the end
it was malware. I installed Bit Defender
from a hard drive in an enclosure (another
of my favorite little toys), updated it and
ran it. It found 20+ malware programs.
After a half-day (4 hours) of cleaning it
up the little laptop was working fairly well.

>>> Therefore:
>>>
>>> Give the customer what they ask for. If they want Symantec, they get
>>> Symantec. If you don't, and they later get a virus, they'll blame you.

>> Good point. However, with me, they'd quickly be
>> hipped to the fact that it was one of their decisions
>> that led to the infection and that's where the buck
>> ultimately stops. For example, you chose to obtain
>> by whatever means and run that little music program.
>>
>> You pays your money and you takes your chances.
>>
>> I (and probably most others here) would have done
>> the same thing. I would have manually updated Bit
>> Defender, scanned it, and if nothing was found,
>> executed it. That's how the game is played.

>
> There's not much else you can do. If your AVs have been keeping you safe
> for a while, the tendency is to trust them. You can't acquire and update
> five different AVs every time you are going to try out a questionable
> program. So you dance with the one you brung, at least till they stiff you.


And even then maybe you forgive them.
The trick for a virus author is to be clever.
Being one of the first to see a new variant
is not impossible.

FYI, a good but mostly unknown program that
can be used as a second line of on-demand
defense is A-squared free. It can be configured
to where there is basically no trace of it on a
box for the most part (manually disable all options
and services):
http://www.emsisoft.com/en/software/free/
That means it can truly co-exist with other
security software without causing any issues.
It's another program I use contextually that
seems to be an above-average detector.

>>> If, however, they don't express any preferences, give them what you think
>>> is going to be easiest for them to keep updated and to use.

> <snip>
>>> You can see the reason for my sort of vague advice above simply by
>>> searching on "best anti virus program" and reading a few reviews.

>> I did that when I was looking into on-demand scanners.
>> What a mistake that was--nothing but argument.

>
> You betcha.
>
>> I'm hoping that Bit Defender is as good as it claims
>> to be as far as detection goes.

>
> Me too.
>
>
>>> I might note that after looking at four such reviews at random, it
>>> appears that Avira AntiVir is coming up in the world. Personally, I got
>>> rid of Norton, have AVG 7.5 Pro (they had a one day give away that I
>>> stumbled on) with Bit Defender in reserve for a second scan of stuff I am
>>> leery about. I am, however, open to abandoning AVG if their reviews
>>> don't improve.

>> Eventually you'll have to make a decision as updates
>> for AVG 7.5 will be discontinued. Let us know what
>> you decide to go with.
>> --

> I know. I _think_ the Pro version will be good for the rest of the year,
> but I got a popup from AVG saying that the Free version (on a different
> machine) will not be supported after June 25. Perhaps they will come out
> with an 8.01 with less bloat - but I think I'll try Avira and Bit Defender
> no matter what they do.


Personally, I think you're at a level where Bit Defender
with all options unchecked and nothing else would be
appropriate. You knew what you were doing when you
danced with the little music program. You don't need
a program that looks over your shoulder (checks every
file you open and every action you take). If you choose
to run both, be aware of the services that may conflict.
Disable the Bit Defender services until you need/want to
use the program. They are: bdss, vsserv, livesrv and xcomm.
Further, I suggest trying the Bit Defender / A-Squared
combo. To that you can also add Spybot. Every two weeks
I manually update and run all three along with a backup of
everything critical. Because I have a clue, they never find
anything--but I always do it all just the same.
--

 
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