Posts with tag "anti-virus"

Anti-virus should be OS level but it’ll never happen

computer-security I’ve been playing around with different anti-virus software packages the last few days, and still am, which made reading a couple of recent post rather interesting. The first one was by Svetlana Gladkova over at where she related her trials and tribulations trying to find a package she was comfortable with. Being Russian she tried a couple of ‘native’ solutions including one from Kaspersky’s.

In the end though she decided to go with new offering from Panda which is the first cloud based anti-virus product on the market. I also gave it a shot but it definitely didn’t want to play nice on my Windows 7 RC install so I was back hunting once more.

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From the Pipeline – 5.4.08

Being Sunday another fun episode of the Elite Tech News podcast was put to bed – or at least in to the producer’s hands. Something about Art cleaning it up a bit and making sure there isn’t any language to offend the sensibilities of the more tender of our listeners. I tried to make his job a little easy but I’m sure you’ll hear a few beeps. In the meantime here’s a few things that caught my eye in today’s FriendFeed pipeline.

AVG Free Anti-Virus 2008 Released, Much Improved :: Lifehacker – apparently a new version of the perennial free anti-virus program AVG has been released.

Springnote: My New Virtual Three-Ring Binder :: Profy – Cyndy provides us with a bit of a review of a new note keeping program called Springnote. I wonder how it stacks of against EverNote?

Echo Chamber Break Out :: Seek – SeekGround has a fun post about dealing with the ever present echo chamber that bloggers seem to find themselves.

Twitter Said To Be Abandoning Ruby on Rails :: TechCrunch – Michael reports that contrary to whatever Twitter honcho’s assert the company is in fact trying to move away from Ruby on Rails; which is the development language to service is written in.

Twitter 101: Clarifying The Rules For Newbies :: SheGeeks – Corvida has a great post up to help newcomers to Twitter find their way around the service.

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Finally some realistic pricing for security software

Sunbelt Software Anti-virus and spyware companies had to be among the first software companies to realize that a cash cow the whole idea of subscriptions on top of already expensive software. In an industry that is built on exasperating fears of infected machines this constant price gouging is one of the reason in my opinion why many anti-virus and spyware applications get turned off or never kept up to date.

So it is really nice to see this post from Alex Eckelberry the CEO of Sunbelt Software a major player in the anti anti-virus and anti spyware software industry where he talks about the business model of companies in the security industry and the pricing models. In the post he talks about a survey that hey did concerning the current trend of multiple computers within a home.

Back in February, we were doing a survey for our upcoming security product, VIPRE (shipping later this month), and our head of marketing noticed something interesting: On average, about 35% of the respondents had more than 3 PCs in their household. (21% responded with three computers, 28% responded with two computers and 17% responded with one computer.)

What they came away with from this is that a larger; and growing, number of households are now running multiple computers and as such the old pricing model for their products just didn’t cut it any more. So Sunbelt has taken an unprecedented move to totally revamp their pricing models that from what I can figure after reading the post is really one that will benefit the users of their products.

For the first time that I can think of – especially in the commercial security software business Sunbelt is going to begin offering a new unlimited home license program

So, after further discussion and some testing, we’ve formally launched our new Unlimited Home Site License program. All of our consumer products have this in place right now, but it will also be available for VIPRE.
This is an unlimited license — it works for as many computers as you have at home, whether 3, 10, 50 or 100 computers. No guilt, no BS. No limits.

I think that this is a great idea and as a past customer for their Kerio firewall; which in my opinion is one of the best firewalls out there, I think this is a great move by Sunbelt. It is nice to see a company that isn’t placing outrageous profits over being able to fairly provide their customers with a fair deal.

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Security software – the new snake oil salesman

Have I got a deal for you.....

During the years I have done tech support for clients and friends I have come to the firm conclusion that there are three definite levels of computer users in the PC world; well there could be four but it probably wouldn’t be politically correct :) to add them in here.

In my mind they breakdown as such

  • Joe Average – just make sure it works and while you’re at it show me where the off on switch is.
  • Power User – knows more than your average bear when it comes to software and their machine.
  • Uber Geek – if it cuts they’re willing to bleed.

No where is this separation more apparent that with security software – especially anti-virus and spyware software. Where the Uber Geek and the Power User could probably operate their computers without either of those items the Joe Average user should be wrapped in an Internet Condom before being allowed to turn on a machine.

And the providers of these types of security software know this and play to crowd with scare tactics and daily alerts of the next big worm to come crawling along the internet tubes. So their software gets installed en mass and users are charged subscription fees through the nose; not to mention the incredible hit computers take from some of these packages.

It was this part of a post by Jeff Atwood over at Coding Horror that really caught my eye because he provided some actual numbers that showed how some of these packages can cause massive slowdowns of any machine.

And nothing cripples your PC’s performance quite like anti-virus software. This isn’t terribly surprising if you consider what anti-virus software has to do: examine every single byte of data that passes through your computer for evidence of malicious activity. But who needs theory when we have Oli at The PC Spy. Oli conducted a remarkably thorough investigation of the real world performance impact of security software on the PC. The results are truly eye-opening:

Percent slower
Boot CPU Disk
Norton Internet Security 2006 46% 20% 2369%
McAfee VirusScan Enterprise 8 7% 20% 2246%
Norton Internet Security 2007 45% 8% 1515%
Trend Micro PC-cillin AV 2006 2% 0% 1288%
ZoneAlarm ISS 16% 0% 992%
Norton Antivirus 2002 11% 8% 658%
Windows Live OneCare 11% 8% 512%
Webroot Spy Sweeper 6% 8% 369%
Nod32 v2.5 7% 8% 177%
avast! 4.7 Home 4% 8% 115%
Windows Defender 5% 8% 54%
Panda Antivirus 2007 20% 4% 15%
AVG 7.1 Free 15% 0% 19%

As you can see by the numbers some of these packages cause some massive hits to your system; especially the Real-time Scanner options.

There are a couple of points I totally disagree with Jeff on though. I would never shut off Windows Defender; or some such equal 3rd party anti-spyware program, only because the majority of this stuff comes in from the web pages we visit. The one other one I totally disagree with; especially for Joe Average users is shutting off Vista’s UAC feature. I feel the same way about this as I do with the system Restore option. Turning off features like this for the average user is just irresponsible.

Jeff goes on to raise another point that I totally agree with; and I thing was highlighted with the whole fuss raised over the Vista 64bit PatchGuard system

I’ve never run any anti-virus software. And Mac or Linux (aka UNIX) users almost never run anti-virus software, either. Am I irresponsible to run all my computers without anti-virus software? Are Mac and Linux users irresponsible for not participating in the culture of fear that Windows anti-virus software vendors propagate? I think it’s braver and more responsible to recognize that anti-virus software vendors are not only telling us to be afraid, they are selling us fear. The entire anti-virus software industry is predicated on a bad architectural decision made by Microsoft fifteen years ago. And why, exactly, would any of these vendors want to solve the virus problem and put themselves out of business?

While I would totally discourage the idea of Joe Average user from running without an anti-virus package installed, I do agree that for those people that really know what they are doing and have prepared for any worst case scenario in the event they screw up having anything installed that makes your system take such a performance hit it something to think about.

In my opinion one of the best things you could do is have an automatic System Restore point created whenever you start up in the morning and then points set at specific times of the day. That tied in with proper backup procedures will always assure you that you have a safe fallback – just incase.

The ultimate anti-virus procedure though is using common sense but that can be the hardest thing to teach computer users and this is what the anti-virus snake oil salesmen count on.

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