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Antivirus programs -- which one do you prefer? Part 2

The following is part two of a peer discussion about preferred antivirus programs taken from a live thread in the ITKnowledgeExchange forum.

Click here to return to part one of this discussion about antivirus programs.

QUESTION
From: Wazzup
Date Sent: 25 Sep 2005

Can I get any suggestions on what you consider is the BEST antivirus software -- the one with the least hassles? The two I'm most interested in are Norton and McAfee, but any third party applications will also be greatly appreciated.

I had Norton 2005 Internet Security on my Windows XP SP2 (1.7 GHZ AMD, 384 MG RAM) and it slowed down my PC. Then I turned to McAfee, but I'm still not 100% certain what I should use! Any idea why it slowed down my PC so much?

RESPONSES

Response 19
From: PRINCESS8
Date Sent: 28 Sep 2005

Speaking of AV software, what would be the best antispam solution for an Exchange 2000 mail server which is loaded with Symantec Corporate Edition?

Response 20
From: hedgehog
Date Sent: 28 Sep 2005

Although I have no first hand experience as a user of F-Secure, I can tell you it's a Finnish company that licenses one of their AV engines from Kaspersky. They also have their own AV engine (afaik) working in succession with Kaspersky's. So every file/email gets scanned by two AV engines. I have heard this makes it slower, but I would like to hear from F-Secure users.

In any case, no matter what AV you choose, you must look for:

  • Near-perfect detection rates (although that should be a given, in many cases it's not!)
  • How often they release "tested" AV updates
  • How fast their response time is (i.e., how soon do they have a tested cure for a new virus)
  • Availability of good tech support, in case all goes wrong
  • If the AV is for an SME/corporate site (as opposed to a home user), availability of comprehensive centralized management and deployment tools is also something you need to consider
I have used McAfee, Symantec and Kaspersky directly in different companies I've worked for and for my own customers. So far, Kaspersky is the only one that managed to tick all the boxes above. It may be Russian and may have had a quirky GUI in the past (much better now), but in terms of solid AV, that's where my money goes.

Response 21
From: Lily933
Date Sent: 28 Sep 2005

I like Trend Micro. I've used both their OfficeScan for networked systems and their stand alone PC product for quite a while now. They're pretty quick on pattern updates too.

Response 22
From: MargaretRouse (Posted on behalf of Edward)
Date Sent: 28 Sep 2005

According to a test by a private Web site, it was reported that by running AVG + Microsoft AntiSpyware + firewall applications like ZoneAlarm, 99% of viruses can be blocked. I personally installed AVG Free + Microsoft AntiSpyware + Look 'n' Stop (firewall) on my PC, and I also installed a free version of Ewidio for periodic scanning of spyware. However, for paid AV, I'll recommend NOD32. I've used it for about a year before switching to AVG. It is fast, easy to update and reliable.

Response 23
From: dfdumont
Date Sent: 28 Sep 2005

Two things:

AV is likely the least of your worries. Malware (trojans, worms, trackers, etc.) is by far the more insidious problem experienced by IT professionals and home users alike. To date, there are NO -- not even one -- good anti-malware products. Best practice is still to run a multiple products, and hope the union of the things they detect covers what might be on your machine.

That being said, I also need to remind you that in any infestation situation, running a program on a suspect machine is inane. You must always start with a known clean environment. Windows being as it is, I suggest downloading any one of several CD-based Linux distributions that include NTFS file system support, and ClamAV. You boot the Linux CD, which has services on the CD that can detect and fix viruses on NTFS file systems (Windows NT4, 2000, XP). Knoppix was the first one of these, but several derivatives have been produced. Keep in mind that a bootable CD cannot be compromised, as the media is read-only.

Response 24
From: Maclanachu
Date Sent: 28 Sep 2005

We use McAfee Enterprise 8.0i in corporate environment. (We didn't like Norton because of the resource hog thing.) We haven't had any outbreaks in the 14 months it's been installed. I am feeling a bit burned, though, after the eventid 3019 and 6004 errors. Anyone that has McAfee Enterprise 8.0i will know what I mean. More here: McAfee help Forums

We were wondering about switching AV next time around. We had a trial of Kaspersky; it was crap for catching viruses. After we installed McAfee Enterprise 8.0i, it found a lot more stuff on the old PCs.

Does anyone know if you can set McAfee Enterprise 8.0i to only scan new or modified files like was mentioned earlier in Norton?

Response 25
From: spywarebiz
Date Sent: 30 Sep 2005

Right Now Im using avast AV. I back it up with Ad-Aware SE and Sygate Firewall and WinPatrol. This combo works good for me.

Respone 26
From: plewisssww
Date Sent: 30 Sep 2005

My choice -- avast 4, coupled with Spybot Search & Destroy, with the TeaTimer option enabled, and all behind a home router with a firmware firewall built in. I have seen ZERO problems with this combination in over a year of solid operation. My home LAN has 4 PCs routed to my cable connection, and the only problem I've seen is my wife's PC being hit by a browser hijacker (when she was using Norton). With avast 4 and Spybot S&D, I've had no problems.

Response 27
From: TedRizzi
Date Sent: 01 Oct 2005

CA's eTrust is a great enterprise antivirus solution. It has a very small footprint ,so it doesn't take up much memory or CPU power to run. It has a great management console that is policy based oriented, so you can manage all your desktops from one location. They update their signatures almost daily. We have been using their product since 1994 and have been very satisfied with it. It's actually two AV products in one; one is called InoculanIT, and one Vet. You also get two AV scanners for the price of one... I use one scanner for realtime scanning and the other for system scanning.

Response 28
From: aziris
Date Sent: 02 Oct 2005

I'm having a good experience with the free AVG program -- no viruses, worms, trojans. After over 3 years on my personal PC, I suggested and obtained it for the non-profit org that I work for. It was 1/2 the price and has trapped ugly horrible things for us. We do sit behind another organization's firewall, but users are persistent in dragging in anything via e-mail, diskettes, etc.

The biggest complaint we have is support. They do not speak English very well, and often refer you to the very part of the manual that you are writing about (because you can't call Romania... ) But, they are trying to become a player and have a great attitude because of it. Look for them to make headway into the big players (machine hogs and can never remove McAfee) arena in the coming years.

Response 29
From: glfunk
Date Sent: 03 Oct 2005

Norton (Symantec) is by far the best for business environment. The others just try to keep up.

Response 30
From jaysea
Date Sent: 03 Oct 2005

Being a Finnish based company I'm pretty much required to use F-Secure and if you go back a few postings you'll see I plugged for eTrust. If you want to know more send a private message.

Response 31
From: ladrick
Date Sent: 03 Oct 2005

Enterprise Setup -- I would recommend Sophos Anti-Virus which can be centrally managed from one WS/Server as well as running a Web content security application such as Finjan to block nasty code in websites as well as manage allowed URLs and Mail Marshall for filtering incoming outgoing mail.

Home Setup -- use AVG Free Edition + Microsoft AntiSpyware + ZoneAlarm -- all 100% free --and then if you choose, route it all through a Linux gateway for extra security.

Response 32
From: spywarebiz
Date Sent: 04 Oct 2005

Geez, I hope no one is using Kaspersky this morning. Just heard they have a flaw in their antivirus library that can be exploited. I still think they have the potential to be a top seller though.

Response 33
From: darkwingduck
Date Sent: 04 Oct 2005

As far as antivirus programs go, I have always been a McAfee fan. I have had nothing but trouble whenever Norton has been installed on any of my computers.

Another good antivirus program is AVG antivirus. They have a free version, but if you are looking to use it on a server OS, you will need to purchase the Professional Version. They have always been right on top of new viruses, and virus definitions are always free for download.

Response 34
From: contamines
Date Sent: 06 Oct 2005

For my private use I am very satisfied with avast. It's fast, free of charge for home-users and in my opinion very good. Free registration for a serial and all updates are automatic.

Response 35
From: mschoenb2005
Date Sent: 07 Oct 2005

I have to aggree that Norton causes alot of problems and is very invasive and difficult to remove from your system.

McAfee is okay. My favorite would also be Trend Micro. Their product is called PC-cillian. It is worth the $30 cost. It uses the same engines and definition files as the corporate editions and they are very good at getting new definitions out.

Response 36
From: shjn96
Date Sent: 10 Oct 2005

We are currently using the McAfee Enterprise VirusScan 8.0i. It's able to do more than the normal antivirus scan; for example, it has the capability to block some of the ports, etc. Plus, McAfee has the ePolicy Orchestrator which enable the central control of all clients via a single server. This means that you could push a specific or a general policy for the clients. It's great especially when you need to push a signature file urgently and immediately.

Click here to return to part one of this discussion about antivirus programs.

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This feature originally appeared on SearchWindowsSecurity.com.

This was first published in January 2006

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