Virus Warnings & Assistance

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Unread postby Adam » Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 am

It's a pretty common thought that McAfee isn't a good anti-virus program, hell James said it somewhere in the Computer Assistance thread, and no one can question him.
Tracking cookies are easily picked up with Ad-Aware so that's nothing spectacular. And AVG has done a good enough job picking up trojans for me. I know I should go with that Nod thingy cause it'd be better, but I'm too poor.
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Unread postby Kristina » Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:23 am

oh well. . .It's been working for me. WHat's so bad about it, from your POV?
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Unread postby Adam » Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:58 am

Let's see. And keep in mind I haven't used any other pay to use anti-virus programs, so some of these complaints probably apply to them as well.

First, why the hell do I need to use an email address and password to get major updates? You have to log on to their stupid website to get the thing, it's a needless pain in the arse if you ask me.
The incredible lag it created when it updated itself was a bitch, especially with my crap computer, and I had to literally stop doing anything when it wanted to do a daily scan.
And the popup notifications just plain pissed me off, cause you'd get 'em almost once an hour. That still angers me with the firewall, I set a program up to be allowed, but when it gets updated McAfee has to ask me if I want to allow it access again, but it waits until I'm actually <B>IN</B> the program to do it, causing me to shift back to Windows if it's a fullscreen program.
It literally took me 10+ minutes to startup my computer while McAfee was installed on it.
The GUI annoyed me for some reason.


And that's not even mentioning the tons of horror stories with their customer support service; or lack thereof. I'm sure there's more but I've been 'depreived' of it for so long I can't recall, but I do know there were other issues for me.

AVG along with Spybot and Ad-Aware have done as much for me as McAfee ever did. Although that Nod thing would be better, it certainly looks it.
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Unread postby Kristina » Mon Feb 26, 2007 3:30 am

Adam Sisemore wrote:Let's see. And keep in mind I haven't used any other pay to use anti-virus programs, so some of these complaints probably apply to them as well.

First, why the hell do I need to use an email address and password to get major updates? You have to log on to their stupid website to get the thing, it's a needless pain in the arse if you ask me.
The incredible lag it created when it updated itself was a bitch, especially with my crap computer, and I had to literally stop doing anything when it wanted to do a daily scan.
And the popup notifications just plain pissed me off, cause you'd get 'em almost once an hour. That still angers me with the firewall, I set a program up to be allowed, but when it gets updated McAfee has to ask me if I want to allow it access again, but it waits until I'm actually <B>IN</B> the program to do it, causing me to shift back to Windows if it's a fullscreen program.
It literally took me 10+ minutes to startup my computer while McAfee was installed on it.
The GUI annoyed me for some reason.


And that's not even mentioning the tons of horror stories with their customer support service; or lack thereof. I'm sure there's more but I've been 'depreived' of it for so long I can't recall, but I do know there were other issues for me.

AVG along with Spybot and Ad-Aware have done as much for me as McAfee ever did. Although that Nod thing would be better, it certainly looks it.



heh. We get updates fine, no email crap required. It pops up and asks if I want to update now, or later. When it is updating, it doesnt slow anything down, or if it does i dont notice it. You can set it to scan whenever you want. Mine scans once a month at 3 am.

I'll give you that it takes a little bit longer for my computer to start up.


Hmm, which reminds me. Anyone know of any dangers of me switching my comp to standby or hibernate rather than shutting down every night?
I've been doing it a lot lately, and I'm wondering if I shouldn't.
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Unread postby James » Mon Feb 26, 2007 4:29 am

Ah, hell. My name was mentioned so I have to reply now. (As opposed to the thread discussing my death, to which I am fearful of replying!) I like to compare McAfee and Norton to 800 pound gorillas. <i>Not</i> the Wal*mart brand 800 pound gorilla that mercilessly destroys everything that dares to oppose it, but rather a fat, lazy, 800 pound gorilla that happens to be fond of eating a specific form of fatty woodland animals, but only when they come within arm’s reach (in this case viruses). There are smaller 500 pound gorillas that are actually able to get up and run about, hunt their favored foods more efficiently, and are actually somewhat pleasant to have around. You feel safe with the 800 pound gorilla until it passes gas, then all hell breaks loose.

Now for the technical explanation: Norton and McAfee have long been the gods of virus removal—but both programs have grown old and seen no significant revision since they dawned back in the day when DOS roamed the earth. Consequently, like other bloatware and poorly maintained old crap, they use a huge chunk of RAM and plenty of CPU resources. Furthermore, their firewalls and monitoring capabilities have not evolved significantly are are particularly prone to causing software conflicts.

They both do a good job at detecting and removing viruses (though I would rate them above average at best; they no longer set the bar, unfortunately). Furthermore, their popularity works against them in this regard. Malware makers monitor these programs, without fail, and will often-times update their programs within <i>a day</i> of these companies releasing a security fix.

Speaking of popularity, this is a horrible thing in another regard—especially when combined with their legacy code: they are expected and targeted by malware makers. Many viruses and spyware specifically search for McAfee and Norton installations and <i>try to damage them</i>, often times succeeding if you are behind at all in updates (or if you are unfortunate enough to be dealing with a so-called ground zero threat—a new threat). Additionally, malware that has successfully installed itself is in a much better position to actively monitor for these installations, corrupting the program upon installation (sometimes taking your operating system in the process).

There’s more. The finest anti-malware programs out there feature wonderful proactive protection capabilities (called ‘heuristic protection’ by tech-speak people). Basically, they are able to identify threats and stop them, even though the threats aren’t yet researched or known! Norton and McAfee attempt to do this but have an unfortunately high rate of misdetection (believing good software to be a threat, or misidentifying a legitimate threat to be a different type of malware, thus solving the problem incorrectly). This is the most important type of protection to have on your computer because the serious damage is done as soon as the malware is installed. If you can avoid this, you get off scott free! McAfee and Norton have horrible statistics in this regard.

Alternatives
On the consumer market there are several good alternatives. Rather than go into all of them (several of which are also starting to move around less, and gain more weight), I’ll mentioned PC-Cillin’s Trend Micro Antivirus. It is comparable to McAfee and Norton in terms of performance, is far more compatible with other programs on your computer or activities you may be interested in, and uses a small fraction of the other programs’ RAM. If you must buy something off a store shelf, this is what you should get.

But my champion, my hero, my baby, <a href="http://www.eset.com/products/index.php">Nod32</a>, reigns supreme. As far as I am concerned <i>nothing</i> on the market protects your computer anywhere near as well as Nod32. In addition, <i>Nod32</i> has a <i>very</i> small footprint (it doesn’t use a lot of resources, like RAM or CPU), has stellar <a href="http://www.eset.com/products/compare_heuristic_detection.php">proactive detection</a> and removal capabilities (a key feature), barely bothers you at all (in fact, with some preference tweaking you’d hardly know it is there until it actually <i>finds</i> a threat, in which case you will see the Glowing Red Eye of Hell), and get this: it actually does a wonderful job with spyware too, a threat most antivirus programs handle poorly.

Oh, and I forgot to mention something. It is cheaper than all three programs mentioned above.
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Unread postby Ranbir » Mon Feb 26, 2007 1:46 pm

So should I uninstall McAfee and get this Nod thing which so reminds me of C&C? I like the less CPU thing.

Edit: Got it anyway now. Matlab now loads much much quicker with Nod than it did with McAfee. (Hell, I had to even disable McAfee's On-Demand scan just for starting it up!)

My license on Zone Alarm Pro has been long expired now, so looking for something else...what software firewall is your baby?
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Unread postby James » Mon Feb 26, 2007 3:53 pm

Ranbir wrote:My license on Zone Alarm Pro has been long expired now, so looking for something else...what software firewall is your baby?

The best question is what do you need the software firewall for? If you are trying to manage all of your programs’ internet access to prevent illegal apps from ‘phoning home’, stick with something like Zone Alarm Pro. If you are doing nothing of the sort, and simply want to remain protected against threats, there’s honestly no need for this program. Nod32 has a firewall that monitors activity for suspicious threats and blocks them immediately upon sight or questionable doings. Windows Firewall should be sufficient for everything else (though inferior to Zone Alarm Pro or Norton Firewall).

Another word on these firewall programs. They take up a fair portion of resources and are the software element most likely to cause software conflicts. Windows Firewall tends to behave well enough, but Norton’s Personal Firewall comes in on the other end, hefty in resource use and a cruel dictator to the other inhabitants of your computer. Zone Alarm Pro, when it works, is great, but I’ve seen dozens of compatibility issues that cause strange problems (and several that flat out render your computer unbootable). I stopped selling it to people for the later reason, but if you’ve got it installed already, you’ve already got a greater chance of avoiding the already slim chance of this happening (just don’t install SBC’s software).
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Unread postby Tigger of Kai » Mon Feb 26, 2007 4:38 pm

James wrote:PC-Cillin’s Trend Micro Antivirus. It is comparable to McAfee and Norton in terms of performance, is far more compatible with other programs on your computer or activities you may be interested in, and uses a small fraction of the other programs’ RAM. If you must buy something off a store shelf, this is what you should get.

I hear Trend Micro offers a free online virus scan, is it a waste of time or not?
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Unread postby James » Mon Feb 26, 2007 4:48 pm

Tigger of Kai wrote:I hear Trend Micro offers a free online virus scan, is it a waste of time or not?

I’m pretty sure Norton and McAfee also offer free online scans. Some other companies do as well, but their legitimacy should be verified before allowing them to do something to your computer. That said, these online scans are great way to supplement the protection you already have, and are a fine way of checking for threats your other program may have missed—and those that are capable of removing threats sometimes do a good job. Due to computer access issues, though, they cannot replace their fully-installed cousins in terms of proactive and preventative protection, nor are they quite as capable of finding a threat when one does turn up. They are also good for cleaning up malware that may have been partially damaged by your already-installed software.

I’ve seen cases where the installed program couldn’t get a virus out, but an online scan from a different company snatched it out no questions asked. Just make sure you pay attention to what they find to avoid potential false positives. Several months ago, for example, I saw McAfee’s anti-virus engine identify Webroot’s Spysweeper as a virus.
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Unread postby Lao Kong » Fri Mar 02, 2007 3:58 am

UGH! I have a bad story to relate.

My computer is going ape-crap over some spyware. So I download the recommended SpyHeal thing, and it has an effin' virus on it. So I delete this all, and then I find out I still have spyware... Well, good thing I don't have a credit card! /me sticks the tongue out for phishers :P
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