Best Anti Virus?

Discussion in 'A+ Certification' started by smackedass, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. smackedass

    smackedass Guest

    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
     
    smackedass, Jun 12, 2008
    #1
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  2. smackedass

    John O Guest

    > 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
     
    John O, Jun 12, 2008
    #2
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  3. smackedass

    Bill Eitner Guest

    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).
    --
     
    Bill Eitner, Jun 12, 2008
    #3
  4. smackedass

    smackedass Guest


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


    Great story. Thank you.

    sa
     
    smackedass, Jun 14, 2008
    #4
  5. smackedass

    Bill Eitner Guest

    MF wrote:
    > "smackedass" <> wrote in message
    > news:pIf4k.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
    >
    >
     
    Bill Eitner, Jun 14, 2008
    #5
  6. smackedass

    A J Hawke Guest

    Q: Best Anti Virus?
    A: None - dump windows
     
    A J Hawke, Jun 14, 2008
    #6
  7. smackedass

    A J Hawke Guest

    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?
     
    A J Hawke, Jun 14, 2008
    #7
  8. smackedass

    Bill Eitner Guest

    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.
    --
     
    Bill Eitner, Jun 14, 2008
    #8
  9. smackedass

    smackedass Guest

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

    sa
     
    smackedass, Jun 15, 2008
    #9
  10. smackedass

    Bill Eitner Guest

    MF wrote:
    > "Bill Eitner" <> wrote in message
    > news:rhH4k.8204$...
    >> MF wrote:
    >>> "smackedass" <> wrote in message
    >>> news:pIf4k.1998$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.
    --
     
    Bill Eitner, Jun 15, 2008
    #10
  11. smackedass

    Bill Eitner Guest

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


    Beware that's the story in forums where I hang my hat.

    KD6TAS is an amateur radio callsign.

    (Hint: that means I can be looked up.)

    Call me or knock on my door if you don't like
    what I say and see what happens. I'm not a
    pussy who hides behind his keyboard.
    --
     
    Bill Eitner, Jun 15, 2008
    #11
  12. smackedass

    A J Hawke Guest

    On Sat, 14 Jun 2008 21:34:11 +0100, 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?


    Compared to windows? I was first, so answer my question and I will answer
    yours.
     
    A J Hawke, Jun 15, 2008
    #12
  13. smackedass

    A J Hawke Guest

    > Some fool wrote:

    > Bottom line: out here it's just trolling.


    That is normally the response made when the poster does not like the
    question or statement.
     
    A J Hawke, Jun 16, 2008
    #13
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