Antivirus software discussion thread

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Which do you use?

BitDefender
1
1%
Trend Micro
2
3%
McAfee
2
3%
Norton
5
7%
CA
0
No votes
NOD32
6
9%
ZoneAlarm
3
4%
AVG
19
28%
avast!
9
13%
Avira
8
12%
other
4
6%
I don't use Windows
8
12%
 
Total votes: 67
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Antivirus software discussion thread

Postby xyzyxx » Mon Sep 01, 2008 12:32 am

I've been trying to search the internet for a straight answer to these questions, but every site out there seems to have a vastly different opinion on the subject.

-Which one is most effective at detecting and neutralizing threats? (this includes viruses, spyware, rootkits, direct intrusion attempts, etc)
-Which one has the lightest memory (RAM) usage?
-Which one causes the least performance issues (slowdowns during scanning, etc)
-Which of them are least intrusive (able to run without a window popping up to notify me of an available update or scan)
-Which of them doesn't whine and complain when I disable parts of it I don't need (email scanning)

Note: To those Mac and Linux users who would choose to use this thread to advocate the use of their operating system: Don't. I want to keep this thread somewhat on-topic for as long as possible.
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Postby RabidZombie » Mon Sep 01, 2008 1:48 am

Nod32 is pretty good. I've got no complaints so far. And it's pretty good on memory usage too.
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Postby Synapse » Mon Sep 01, 2008 1:54 am

I used to buy Norton Internet Security every year, and it found threats all the time etc. Then I started learning how to control my router, close ports and encrypt packets. And I found that Norton was doing jack shit. So last year, I didn't renew my Norton. I don't have any firewall software at all. I run an antivirus every few months, usually it finds nothing more than a few tracking cookies.
In my opinion, internet safety is all about what you do, rather than what others do. If you close up your ports, have nice router security and don't go around downloading from dodgy porno sites, you're really going to be fine. The worst someone can do is DoS you, and unless you go around making enemies with pr0 haxx0rs...the internet isn't a warzone like Symantec would like you to think.

Anyway I know this sounds stupid but I've found it to be true, if you're looking for free and accurate software, a combination of ZoneAlarm and AVG, along with something like RootkitRevealer will stop most things, unless you go around making enemies at Defcon or something (not the game :P). If you fancy going into your wallet, Norton Internet Security really is the shit. And don't forget router settings, the inbuilt router firewalls are the most customisable imo. AntiVir PE Premium has the best stats for 2008 though at detection. It really depends whether you want an untouchable comp or not. Nowadays the threats seem to be from DNS exploits and network vulnerabilities as opposed to the days of worms and trojans infesting everything.
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Postby xyzyxx » Mon Sep 01, 2008 2:04 am

I have some experience with Norton, as well as McAfee, and my opinion is that while they do a fine job of protecting you most of the time, they also take up way too many resources and bog down the system.

Also, I've heard from a ton of people that ZoneAlarm's firewall is way too paranoid, blocks most everything, and is completely incompatible with some games. It just won't let them through.
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Postby tabasco boy » Mon Sep 01, 2008 3:16 am

In my experience using Norton or McAfee... i might aswell turn of my machine.

I use Avira its been tried and tested on my network my only issue is i wish they make one or in the near future a PC-BSD version even though there's not much virus for BSD you can never be safe.

xyzyxx i would recommend comodo for a firewall.
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Postby elexis » Mon Sep 01, 2008 3:28 am

It depends on how you use ZoneAlarm. I use it and so do all my friends. When you first use it, ZoneAlarm IS completely paranoid, especially if you do all the "maximum security" options. It will then ask you for permission anything and everything (even itself WTF!!!) that happens, and this can get annoying. Just make sure that if it's asking you about software you completely trust, tick the "do this for all further warnings" box. It's not like all this paranoid behaviour is unexpected, zonealarm warns you that thi will happen. Usually it lasts about three weeks. Just be patient with it.After that you will have a really secure, low key security suite that will hardly ever bug you again. I only ever get bugged when I install something new.

You mentioned games not working... there are three ways around this.
The first one is called "game mode". Just turn this on and tell it to allow every warning. The down side to this is that if something malicious starts doing something, ZoneAlarm wont notice it.
The second option is to just tick allow to all the popups. Sometimes these popups dont appear in front of the game, so you will have to alt-tab out to see them. Once you have allowed the popups, you wont get them again, but you may need to restart the game to use network.
The third option is to allow the program before the popups appear. This can be done in program control.

Maybe I sgould have done this at the stary, but here's it's breakdown:
-Used under VISTA for 1 year, when it finds a virus it will try to clean the file, then quarantine, tec. If it cant get rid of it, ZoneAlarm will like you to a webpage that will usually tell you to go into Safe Mode and ZoneAlarm will delete it there.
-Hardly noticable in RAM.
-I run my full scan every wednesday on the train home, while on maximum battery, listening to music, playing trackmania.
-Apart from the alerts mentioned above, popups appear in the corner for scanning etc. They dont affect full screen applications, and go away on their own.
-You can turn as much of it off as you want and it doesn't openly complain (windows security centre does though)



Also, my laptop came with Norton, which was a nightmare. It is impossible to uninstall once you start using it.
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Postby xyzyxx » Mon Sep 01, 2008 4:24 am

elexis wrote:Also, my laptop came with Norton, which was a nightmare. It is impossible to uninstall once you start using it.
There is a wonderful little thing called Norton Removal Tool that completely wipes out every Symantec product installed on your computer.
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Re: Antivirus software discussion thread

Postby Pox » Mon Sep 01, 2008 5:49 am

xyzyxx wrote:Note: To those Mac and Linux users who would choose to use this thread to advocate the use of their operating system: Don't. I want to keep this thread somewhat on-topic for as long as possible.


Oh. Damn.

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Postby Rkiver » Mon Sep 01, 2008 8:12 am

Norton. Waste of money. I used to work for Symantec, all Norton does it tie up resources and doesn't provide any sort of decent security.

I use Avast on my main machine, AVG on slower ones. Router + NAT +Windows firewall covers the rest.
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Postby elexis » Mon Sep 01, 2008 8:30 am

xyzyxx wrote:
elexis wrote:Also, my laptop came with Norton, which was a nightmare. It is impossible to uninstall once you start using it.
There is a wonderful little thing called Norton Removal Tool that completely wipes out every Symantec product installed on your computer.


I just got rid of it when vista did it's bi-monthly catastrophic-total-system-failure and never used it again. It's actually quite easy to remove the program providing you NEVER run the program.
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Postby bert_the_turtle » Mon Sep 01, 2008 9:03 am

The firewall component of Norton is utter crap. We had cases here where it blocked DEFCON completely (even though it was configured to ask when new apps are started), and (plug!) there were also odd error reports for Armagetron where the only solution was to remove that abomination by the name of Norton. Anagram fun for beginners: Norton = No Tron.

Firewall wise, as has been said, you're already safe with a reasonably configured router (don't have it broadcast incoming packets from the internet to the whole LAN, then you're safe from outside attacks already) and the builtin firewall of XP or Vista. Although the XP one annoys me because when you start a new network app as a regular user, it gives you an "The app has been blocked, have your admin unblock it if you want" information, but no "enter admin password right now to unblock it" option, so you have to run everything as admin once (or add the exception by hand).

For Antivirus, I use the free Avira one. It never gave me any noticeable slowdowns; the tiny "update in process" window flickers through a bit on some badly programmed games when they run fullscreen (the kind that doesn't know how to enter fullscreen mode properly, but somehow renders to the desktop). And for about two years, the free edition has pretty large popups once per day/update that remind you the full version gives even more protection. They don't disturb fullscreen games, so I don't mind.
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Postby jelco » Mon Sep 01, 2008 9:05 am

ZoneAlarm Security Suite has none of the paranoidiness of the earlier versions. Well, it does, but you can decide whether or not you want that turned on. When you've installed it and run it for the first time you can lock it into learning mode and practically decides to sit and watch your internet behaviour while keeping its mouth shut, and after a couple of days (or weeks, can't really remember properly) it takes all that data, creates its security settings and program permissions with it and you're done. The first time that this works flawlessly still has to come, but bar a couple of popups after it retreats from learning mode it's usually quiet and doing a good job. You just shouldn't use it if you continuously install new apps. I've also found that patching Multiwinia (in beta that is) results in two warnings everytime I run the updated version - this has to do with the actual exectutable being updated for the most part, while other games usually patch their program files which doesn't lead to ZA detecting a 'changed program'.

Security Suite also has antivirus and antispyware, and can do scheduled updates for all three of its components. (There's a lot more components but I really don't use IM security except for turning off "Block IRC" - which for some reason is on by default - and a spam filter since I use Gmail's webinterface, and all the others for other reasons.) It works marvelously and I've never had trouble with it.

One minor thing to note: with the last few Windows updates it sometimes happens that any internet communication is blocked at the max security level, and you have to turn it down to medium. I don't really know what the difference is, but most of the time it does work on max so it at least gives me the feeling it's more secure. ;)

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Postby Wasgood » Mon Sep 01, 2008 9:27 am

AVG is good on Memory usage. Got to be careful though don't do anything while scanning otherwise itll lock up.
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Postby rus|Mike » Mon Sep 01, 2008 1:30 pm

If Norton is the same as Symantec then it's the best from what I know. Zero system requirements + easy, fast and very little traffic demanding update system.
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Postby MarvintheParanoidAndroid » Mon Sep 01, 2008 2:13 pm

On our other home computers (which, sadly, I can't configure however I like), we have Norton on one, and the free Zonealarm firewall on the other. I particularly enjoyed when XP forced an important security update on them, which changed the way DNS traffic was handled due to some exploit or other (or something like that, I'm no expert), and Zonealarm promptly blocked all internet traffic on that computer. I spent goodness knows how long trying to work out what the problem was, turned off Zonealarm and did a quick, desperate Google search to be confronted by a ton of pages explaining the issue. GRRRRR.

Fortunately, I just have AVG + Windows firewall on my laptop, and both work fine, and have never actually found anything of note.

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