Dumping the Useless AVG 8 - Any Suggestions For Other Free Anti-Virus

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by Henner Mania, May 7, 2008.

  1. Henner Mania

    Henner Mania Guest

    After reading up on AVG 8, I have determined it is a bad news program
    sucking up CPU and doing a lot of useless checking, etc.

    Other than having to buy Nod 32, any recommendations on some other good Free
    Antivirus?

    Your thoughts?

    Henner
     
    Henner Mania, May 7, 2008
    #1
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  2. Henner Mania

    Henner Mania Guest

    I agree with you that Avast looks like a decent free replacement.

    As far as Nod32, I have techie friends that hack everything but have decided
    to go with Nod32 and pay for it.

    They have ESE Smart Security for the prices you quoted but it appears if you
    look just below that the prices for the ESET Nod32 are less and a pretty
    nice discount for multiple licenses.

    Any big differences you are aware of between the two other than a personal
    firewall and anti-spam in the Smart Security?

    http://www.eset.com/purchase/index.php

    Thanks,

    Henner
     
    Henner Mania, May 7, 2008
    #2
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  3. Henner Mania

    VanguardLH Guest

    I trialed AVG 8 in a virtual machine (makes a handy sandbox plus I can
    instantly revert back to a baseline snapshot). Obviously the first
    thing I do is get rid of any e-mail scanning during the install or
    disable it if there is no choice during the install. I got rid of the
    Linkscanner to eliminate browser slowdown. I had already trialed
    Linkscanner separately and noticed the slowdown. The free version
    (which is also what you get in the free version of AVG) still has some
    slowdown but not as much but I found it generated false positives. All
    a site had to do was to mention a bad site by its URL to have
    Linkscanner make that site as bad. Some folks say they never get popups
    but every day the banner that slides out from the bottom (see the lower
    right of the main screen for a button to slide it out) would show up.
    It wasn't in the way but it made AVG 8 into adware (buy me, buy me, buy
    me). I ended up switching to Avast.

    I had also trialed Avira's AntiVir. I originally dumped it because of
    it being nagware as it popped up a "buy me" window during updates. That
    can be killed by adding a software policy that bars avnotify.exe from
    loading. Their bulletin screen when it loads can be eliminated by
    adding a parameter on the command to load its UI in the registry Run
    key. So I got rid of the nuisances except one: Avira has more false
    alerts than the other AV programs that I trialed. Yeah, it has a higher
    coverage rate than the others but I wasted too much time investigating
    on an alert to find that there was no such infection and the alert was
    bogus. Doesn't take too many times of crying wolf before I decide to
    get rid of an AV program.

    Avast has been okay so far. Its VRDB scheme (to keep hashes of the last
    3 versions of a file) probably gives it a better chance to disinfect a
    file than other AV programs (but then I also do daily backups so I could
    walk back through the backups to find an uninfected one). Most AV
    programs, you don't get to specify which ports over which to monitor
    e-mail or NNTP traffic so only the standard ones are monitored. I don't
    recall AVG or Avira letting you specify which ports (and allowing
    multiple ports) to intercept e-mail and NNTP traffic but I could be
    wrong on this point. Avast does let you specify multiple ports over
    which to interrogate e-mail traffic, if you feel so inclined to do so.
    I use SpamPal, a local proxy, for spam filtering and have it listen for
    POP connects on port 7110 and IMAP on 7143 (to prevent conflict with
    transparent proxies, usually for AV programs, that intercept on the
    standard ports) so I added those in the Internet Mail monitor for Avast.
    I also added 587 to port 25 for SMTP traffic (although I also disabled
    scanning of outbound e-mail) since many e-mail providers are moving away
    from port 25. If you use SSL between the e-mail client and SMTP mail
    host, the AV scanner isn't going to be able to interrogate the traffic,
    anyway, so there is no point in adding ports 995 for POP and 465 for
    SMTP. You can also add ports to the HTTP monitor. Port 80 is already
    included by default so I added 8080 (there might be some other common
    HTTP ports but I'll add those as I encounter them). Again, no point in
    adding 443 for HTTPS (secured HTTP) as the communications will be
    encrypted so the AV interceptor won't be able to monitor that traffic.

    I don't care about e-mail scanning but I left it enabled to see if one
    day it becomes one of those "everything was working for years and then
    suddenly ..." problems noted by other users. I always left e-mail
    scanning disabled in AVG as it did get in the way eventually (but I
    didn't trial the new AVG 8 long enough to condemn that version for the
    same problem). I left inbound scanning enabled (because there are ways
    to keep the e-mail client from timing out the mail session) but outbound
    scanning is disabled. If you do enable outbound scanning, don't be such
    a rube as to add a signature that your e-mail is clean. Like anyone is
    going to believe you just because you said so, yeah, right. If the AV
    program couldn't find the pest on my host then it isn't going to find it
    in outbound e-mail traffic, either.

    I know a lot of folks like to claim that using AVG, Avira, or Avast will
    reduce their consumption of resources (usually memory). However, after
    you add a good firewall and anti-spyware program (if the later is really
    needed), you end up consuming as much memory as the bundleware. With
    Avast and Comodo's v3 firewall (68MB physical memory consumption), I
    don't feel that I need to add anti-spwyare software, but those two
    together consume almost as much memory as did the old McAfee bundle (but
    without the privacy module which is irrelevant for me as the only user
    of my host) at 85MB. I didn't record how much AVG 8 + Comodo v3 ate up.
    I know lots of folks like to rag on the bundleware but McAfee was good
    albeit with some fluff that I never used - except when it interferred
    during the day by doing updates while the host was busy. I'd be in the
    middle of something and then McAfee would go do an automatic update
    which impacted the responsiveness of my host. I couldn't schedule to do
    the updates during the night. Avast is configured to look for updates
    every 4 hours, by default, and hasn't impacted me yet. However, I don't
    recall Avast yet doing a program update, just signature updates. McAfee
    too often had to do program updates and would whine that it needed a
    reboot to complete, and would complain every couple of hours about
    needing a reboot if you said No to continue using your host. The free
    version of AVG only updates once per day and gets low priority from
    Grisoft. Many times users have noted that the server is too busy and
    they don't get an update that day and might have to wait until the next
    day, or the next, so it could be several days before you get an update,
    especially after a major outbreak. Avast polls every 4 hours so it is
    less likely that you'll go more than a day without an update. I don't
    configure it to poll any sooner as 6 times a day seems plenty of chance
    to get an update and shorter poll intervals just seems abusive and rude
    to Alwil for providing their product for free.

    There is one complaint that I have with Avast: they have 2 setting
    screens. One is the on-access protection configuration and the other
    are program settings. These should've been combined into one
    configuration screen. "Nope, not here, go check the other config
    screen." They default to having separate icons for the VRDB and AV
    functions but you can opt to merge them into 1 icon. I also disabled
    the options to show even more icons when e-mail scanning or for other
    active functions. I did leave the option to animate the tray icon when
    scanning (a file) to let me know why there might be any impact to
    responsiveness to my host (but I haven't noticed it yet or it has been
    minimal). If you expect Avast to speed up your boot time, no, it won't.
    When Avast loads, it still does some preliminary checking and
    interferring with startup to ensure the host is uninfected and that
    causes a delay. I leave my host always powered on (with power schemes
    for low-power modes when idle) so I don't reboot very often, usually
    only when I have to, like for software install or an OS configuration
    change that is only effected after a reboot. I don't know of a good AV
    program that won't "get in the way" on bootup as they all dig into the
    system to protect it. All security products will impact system
    responsiveness. Security and ease-of-use are the antithesis of each
    other: to get one, you sacrifice the other. So don't go overboard on
    security which impacts the use of your host beyond your tolerance.

    I would suggest going into the Troubleshooting config options to enable
    the one that disables popups from Avast when fullscreen programs are
    running, like a game. Smacking a game to pop back to the desktop can
    often leave the game in an unusable state. Here you could also disable
    rootkit scanning on bootup but I wouldn't recommend it. I do like that
    Avast will let me schedule a boot-time scan so it can run before the
    malware can load (and some do load in Windows safe mode). I have read
    but don't remember why where some users had to disable Avast's
    self-defense module, probably due to a conflict with other security
    software.
     
    VanguardLH, May 8, 2008
    #3
  4. Henner Mania

    PeterC Guest

    We had to do this when updating Beta versions via aswbeta.exe but it's done
    automatically for routine program updates (I use the Beta method so haven't
    seen a full one yet). Alwil couldn't expect ordinary users to do this!

    I've tried Avast with its providers on and off and there's very little
    difference in times of progs. opening. The Web Shield seems to make no
    difference at all (within the differences of consecutive tests).
     
    PeterC, May 8, 2008
    #4
  5. Henner Mania

    tashfeen Guest

    Avast is good, but honestly from my experience free stuff isn't as
    good as paid ones. Here's my take on all the major brands of
    antiviruses (including free ones): http://avscan.blogspot.com. Yes,
    I've tested all of them.
    Good luck!
     
    tashfeen, May 8, 2008
    #5
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