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Help with anti virus
July 15, 2007 12:42 PM   Subscribe

What is the best anti virus software? My Panda subscription is about to expire. Is there an independent service that reviews them. I haven't had any trouble. Just wondering.
posted by ok to Computers & Internet (35 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm a huge HUGE fan of Kaspersky. I've used it exclusively for a long time, and I find that between its running invisibly (uses no system resources), its fast scans, and it's general ease of use it's GREAT.

I do know that in the past, places like Symantec have bought Kaspersky Labs virus fixes/definitions.
posted by TomMelee at 12:53 PM on July 15, 2007


Anti-Viruses are really nothing but a big scam. I've been running a PC for 8 years now without an anti-virus program, and have not had a single virus yet. Anti-virus programs terrorise you so that you keep paying them for doing nothing.

If you REALLY need one, how about just going with AVG free? It's free and it does the same stuff as all the others.
posted by markovich at 12:57 PM on July 15, 2007


i like AVG too. i have no idea if it's effective because i'm not the kind of guy that invites vampires into my house, but it gives me that false sense of security that i crave...

...and if a false sense of security is what you're after, best not pay for it.
posted by klanawa at 1:04 PM on July 15, 2007


I did some research a few months back and found Kaspersky and BitDefender to be the most reliable.
posted by Sufi at 1:10 PM on July 15, 2007


I'll second Kaspersky. It's reliable and unobtrusive.

I wouldn't install anything with the word "Norton" on the label. In every one of my computers that had it pre-installed it hurt performance and stability so much it was worse that most of the virus it was trying to stop.

I've been running a PC for 8 years now without an anti-virus program, and have not had a single virus yet.

How do you know? That's like saying I haven't been to the doctor in 20 years so I'm cancer free. Eight years ago the most common infection vector was from infected floppy's/zips/CDs. Then came clicking on an email attachment. Now you can get your computer turned into a bot simply because the operating system you're running hasn't been patched. Being a careful driver doesn't protect you from what the other guy does, which is why you get insurance for your car.

However AVG free is what I recommend for friend/family computers when I can't convince them to put money into it.
posted by Ookseer at 1:14 PM on July 15, 2007


AOL Active Virus Shield is Kaspersky, re-branded, and free. I highly recommend it. It is more fully-featured than AVG Free, lacks the nagware aspect of the latter, and allegedly has better detection rates.

Don't run real-time protection, though, on this or any other product. It slows your computer down way too much, IMHO. Schedule scans overnight.
posted by grouse at 1:14 PM on July 15, 2007


In reply to those stating AV's are useless, I have to disagree with that statement. It really depends on how you use your computer. My husband does not have one installed and he's been fine for years, tho he does reformat every few months and he never downloads files. I however use bittorrent frequently and download crap from not so safe websites. I get viruses from time to time and I would gladly pay for the comfort of a good antivirus program.
posted by Sufi at 1:16 PM on July 15, 2007


I am going to have to nth AVG Free . I have used it on countless windows computers, and it has protected all of them (and even helped me bring back a few which I thought were far beyond saving without a wipe).
posted by MaHaGoN at 1:17 PM on July 15, 2007


I am a long time fan and user of Avast which is free for home use. I have never found it problematic, updates smoothly and uses few system resources. Good luck on your mission.
posted by rmhsinc at 1:24 PM on July 15, 2007


Kapersky wins all of the anti-virus head-to-head shootouts.
posted by Crotalus at 1:25 PM on July 15, 2007


I should say that I have used both Active Virus Shield and AVG, and believe that Active Virus Shield is clearly better. It would be interesting to know if anyone "nthing" AVG Free has actually compared it with Active Virus Shield/Kaspersky or anything else.
posted by grouse at 1:26 PM on July 15, 2007


I'm sure there's nothing wrong with AVG, avast or others solutions but I swear by eset's nod32.

It has detected several threats and quarantined on sight.

They've received enough awards to gain my trust.
posted by Baud at 1:27 PM on July 15, 2007


My bad, you had asked for a website that reviews them. These are two of the top ones that I have used in the past.

www.av-comparatives.org
www.checkvir.com

If you really want to get into your research, look at these websites.
posted by Sufi at 1:34 PM on July 15, 2007


I switched back to AVG Free one month into a 12-month paid subscription to Norton Anti-Virus. AVG gets the job done, it's simple to manage, it doesn't tie up resources, it doesn't tie up the Internet connection -- the opposite of Norton on all those points.
posted by winston at 1:35 PM on July 15, 2007


For what it's worth---the Free AOL uses the Kaspersky 5x engine---which is to say it's NOT the same.

If you're going free--choose Avast or ClamWin. AVG = suxx imo.
posted by TomMelee at 1:38 PM on July 15, 2007


About staying virus free:

1. Don't open email attachments that are not clearly recongizable file formats like pdf, mp3, jpeg, png, txt, etc.

2. Don't use floppys (well, nobody does anymore)

3. If you download stuff from bittorrent, don't download wierd .exe. Look at the comments for the item first. Same thing - stick with known file formats or make sure there are comments from others who have tried the app first

4. Use firefox

5. Look in your process list every now and then to make sure you know what's auto running on your PC.

6. Update windows (only neccesary for the blaster virus)

If you follow these rules, you REALLY don't need an anti-virus scanner. I've done it succesfully with no problems for the 8 years. All the same, you have to run a scan (online scan [Homecall]) every now and then to make sure everythings still fine and dandy.

Recently, I've also given up on a firewall. See, NO program comes on your PC that you did not somehow initiate through some action. I am careful with what I put on my pc, so there is basically little to no chance that anything will come in.

And without an anti-virus and firewall, my system runs much better and way faster. But of course, every man his meat. If you're a newbie, use your anti-virus.
posted by markovich at 2:30 PM on July 15, 2007


You can buy Panda for $6 at newegg.com. After reviewing those sites after 5+ months, it seems Kaspersky (my chosen AV) is "obsolete". I'll be switching to Panda immediately. I'm glad you asked this question!
posted by Sufi at 2:35 PM on July 15, 2007


See, NO program comes on your PC that you did not somehow initiate through some action.

Yeah, but sometimes that action is as little as turning your computer on with the ethernet cable plugged in.
posted by juv3nal at 4:19 PM on July 15, 2007


Check out NOD32. At the time I signed up it was known for not taking as much system resources and being fast. I'd have to say that is true. It never bothers me, updates itself every night and can email me if it catches something.
posted by arh07 at 4:54 PM on July 15, 2007


Nthing Nod32. It's easy to run, it's not a resource hog, and I've had no problems with it conflicting with other programs running on my system.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:19 PM on July 15, 2007


NOD32 for money, AVG for free, Norton for masochists.
posted by flabdablet at 6:39 PM on July 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


ClamWin: open-source and free
posted by karlshea at 8:14 PM on July 15, 2007


ClamWin is indeed an excellent scanner, but as far as I know it still doesn't have on-demand single-file scanning, which means you'll need to pay more attention to it than you would to, say, AVG.
posted by flabdablet at 8:27 PM on July 15, 2007


I get a newletter from http://www.techsupportalert.com/. The guy who writes it does regular real world tests of AV and other security software.
The lengths he goes to, and the paranoia he displays (all browsing in a sandbox) lead me to trust his anaysis.
He says NOD32.
I personally use AVG because I am cheap.
posted by bystander at 9:01 PM on July 15, 2007


flabdablet said: AVG for free, Norton for masochists.
QFT
AVG for me.
posted by blink_left at 12:36 AM on July 16, 2007


I second AV-Comparatives.org for a review, look at their latest comparative.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:26 AM on July 16, 2007


I can only say McAfee and Norton have seriously crufted up several computers I've been asked to fix.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:27 AM on July 16, 2007


I've been using AVG Free for a while now.. but it doesnt really give me a good "sense of security"... As others have said, I've read great reviews about NOD32..and they seem to have pretty good detection rates and won alot of awards. So I've moved to NOD32.

As for Norton/Symantec being "Crap"... I would clarify that by saying that Norton/Symantec HOME products are indeed pretty poor.. although their business/enterprise versions are much better (but not perfect).
posted by jmnugent at 3:07 AM on July 16, 2007


I would recommend NOD32 as the most reliable AV available, but it's just do damn hard to use!
posted by Sufi at 4:58 AM on July 16, 2007


The Symantec enterprise versions do suck very slightly less, but only because the most badly broken component (the automatic updater) confines itself to hogging stupid amounts of resources on your server instead of on your workstations.

As well as being a resource hog, the central update process is also quite fragile, and I've regularly seen workstations report out-of-date virus databases for weeks on end until it's kicked along by hand.

In contrast, I've deployed the AVG Network Edition (including centralized administration and update management) on the 50-workstation primary school network I manage, and as well as having lower licensing costs than any other commercial offering I could find, it Just Works.

According to many comparison tests, AVG does less well than some others (notably NOD32) when looking for viruses that aren't in its signature list; balanced against that is the frequency of its updates (one or two per day) and its very low false-positive rate.

The thing I like most about AVG is just how set-and-forget it is. The only time you have to mess with it at all is on an update to a new major version (e.g. 6.x to 7.1.x, or 7.1.x to 7.5.x). The commercial version, by the way, updated automatically from 7.1.x to 7.5.x without my having to touch it. The fact that the commercial licences all run for two years at a time is a hassle-saver, too.

I get no kickback from Grisoft for this recommendation - I'm just a happy customer.

Another anti-virus resource that's worth knowing about is virusscan.jotti.org. If you have a file you're suspicious of even though your current AV thinks it's OK, upload it to Jotti's malware scanner and make it run the gauntlet.
posted by flabdablet at 5:19 AM on July 16, 2007


From Sufi: "In reply to those stating AV's are useless, I have to disagree with that statement. It really depends on how you use your computer. My husband does not have one installed and he's been fine for years, tho he does reformat every few months and he never downloads files. I however use bittorrent frequently and download crap from not so safe websites. I get viruses from time to time and I would gladly pay for the comfort of a good antivirus program."

You sound pretty computer savy. You should check google the term 'usenets' and see what you come up with. Check out sites like newshosting.com or Giganews for more info. I promise you will stop getting viruses.
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 6:12 AM on July 16, 2007


No, I'm not all that savy. Thats why I need the antivirus :P
posted by Sufi at 6:22 AM on July 16, 2007


You don't need antivirus. Really!

You are just feeling the FUD. Run housecall once in a while to reassure yourself that you still don't need antivirus, and you'll be fine.
There are other occasional scan solutions (as opposed to always on programs) that are as good..


Also, this question has been asked a lot:
Non-bloatware virus detection?
cheap, effective firewall/AV new broadband user.
Solution to adware/spyware/viruses
Computer Protection Over-Kill
Tags are becoming quite useful lately - virus.
posted by Chuckles at 8:05 AM on July 16, 2007


second the AOL Antivirus Shield, free and updates by the hour

cant get better than that, use a throwaway email address for the activation email tho, might get spammed otherwise
posted by radsqd at 12:14 PM on July 16, 2007


check this out
posted by Gregamell at 4:02 PM on July 16, 2007


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