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Tales from the toolroom - AVG free v. the rest

By AlbertLionheart · 63 replies
Mar 16, 2009
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  1. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    I've scanned thousands of computers over the course of several years and the majority of those scans were performed with multiple AV products.

    My personal choice? NOD32.

    And sure, while my experience covers a large swath of systems, AVs and many years, I admit my observations are merely anecdotal. I have no fancy spreadsheet or pie charts to represent what I've seen in the field, but I can tell you NOD32 works very well.

    The truth is, most AV products clean the vast majority of viruses you'll find. What sets them apart is avoiding false positives and features.

    AVG, for example, is a respectable virus scanner. I feel AVG is "good enough" and I recommend it to my clients on a tight budget. Kaspersky has also been very good, but the scans take a lot of time to perform (especially on the job) and I've had quite a few false positives. I quit fooling with Norton years ago.. maybe it is better now.. but I won't ever touch another Norton product again after all the BS I've encountered over the years with the program itself. Avira and Trend Micro have been good as well, but again, I don't like the false positives.

    When all is said and done, sngx has the right idea -- prevention is key. Use your noggin, update your software regularly and don't surf the "seedy" areas of the web. As long as you have some experience with the web, you'll be just fine, even without AV. If you don't have much experience though, you might want to get yourself an AV. The free ones (AVG, Avira and Avast) are all perfectly acceptable and will protect you well.
  2. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,026

    I respect the wishes of others except when it is just plain silly! I kept my council the other day when a client told me he was going to move from Kaspersky to NOD32 and then had trouble installing NOD32 because bits of Kaspersky were still on the system. When I got down to sorting this out I found the remains of McAfee as well and the reason he had being disappointed with Kaspersky was probably because of this.
  3. bobcat

    bobcat TechSpot Paladin Posts: 688   +67

    OK guys, it’s easy to say “Avoid seedy sites” etc. But you only live twice, once for your dreams and once for yourself, the latter of which has the more substance.

    You might as well say, “No drink, no overeating, no women, no indulgence, no excitement, no nothing, and you’ll live to be 100 years”.

    The inevitable question arises, “To do what?”

    Or, as somebody wittier than me put it,
    “Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.”
    (Redd Foxx) (Well a fox is smarter than a cat).

    So, if we follow a strict regimen of no P2P, no warez, no downloads, no porn, no new software, no social networking, no unproven sites, no link-clicking etc, what will happen?

    If we are not too bored by the computer to turn it on and enter the web, we’ll catch a drive-by virus, or have our ports scanned by a hacker who will then duly load us with his Trojans, or get infected by what we most trust – did you know that fully respectable sites can be taken over by hackers? Or that Sony once put rootkits on its CD’s?

    So, we may be super careful and, especially, lucky not to get seriously infected for some time. What then, success? Not so fast!

    The disc will suddenly kick the bucket, in which bucket we had our most valuable, and inevitably not properly backed up, files.

    The moral?

    • Keep a full defense system, including updates
    • Do regular backups
    • Be reasonably careful, which in plain language means, “Don’t be an *****”.

    • Last but not least, Have fun! (bobcat)
  4. Spyder_1386

    Spyder_1386 TS Rookie Posts: 498

    I'm no geek with a computer but probably no slouch either. I'm about average I would say. I've found the above arguments to be rather fascinating and enlightening.

    I have however stumbled upon a major question, a dilemma so to speak. Why does there have to be a "best" anti-virus (AV is the anagram used by all you fundies)? How then is the "best" defined? By what virus it identifies and destroys or how many maybe? By the amount of system resources it uses in doing it business? Maybe it's all based on a simple majority vote by the literate or illiterater combined? Or perhaps it's judged by the panel of experts on AVs whose individual hard work has caused their hearts to settle upon a product that they've become attached and biased toward and thus ultimately forgotten what the true purpose of their experiments were in the first place?

    Is it impossible to admit that one AV is capable of doing something that another cannot? In comparing two AVs aren't we in essence comparing a hockey player to a football one - one is better at skating on ice and hitting a puck whilst the other is quick across the turf and can punt a pigskin a good distance?

    In a world of infinite viruses, cumulatively an infinite amount of time to contract these viruses, and subsequently a large number of variables defining the "best", aren't we asking the wrong questions?

    Again, I'm one sitting on the technology fence - I guess it allows me to appreciate either side.

    Spyder_1386 :)
  5. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,026

    One of the first things to consider is what the product does: there are some which do 'only' anti-virus, others that do anti-spyware and yet others that do things like protect against phishing, hackers and the rest.
    Personally I think that the top ones are so good that a single product that does all for you is probably best and avoids conflicts, duplication and sometimes expense.
    People get fed up with me saying this, but top of the heap at the moment is Kaspersky Internet Security 2009 - followed by either F-Secure or Avira, then NOD32. Norton is producto non grata.
  6. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,518   +2,312

    The 23rd Psalm.......

    To Regret having missed those things! (Sooo, obvious)

    (Sorry Bobcat, but here again, obvious.)
    Well, not all that obvious. But , I knew that, and this was written (I believe) because of it. http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897445.aspx Sony's CD rootkit was at very least partially responsible, of that much I'm sure.

    You mean to tell me the 1,000,000 MTBF stat is a lie too? First weapons of mass destruction, now this.

    I don't know if this is THE moral, but did you that a common male activity that was once linked as a causality of blindness, upon further study, has been linked to improved prostate health in aging men? Either that or the moral compass which guides our scientists has fled.

    Captaincranky's Twitter; In addition to the TS forum tab which I have open, there are 88 other tabs open consisting of "Art Photo" galleries. But, yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no malware! For verily, in addition to an array of security software, I have a good Christian upbringing to ward off evil. Therefore, I will download no screensavers, yield not to the temptation of revealing my personal information, and I will dwell in the house of of my lord, Mozilla, forever.

    Here's where I'm having problems. I think I'm having fun, but I'm so damned old that I'm losing the frame of reference to base it on:confused: Plus the fact the opportunities for fun are not as forthcoming as they were previously. Gotta "jet" it's time for my nap :zzz:
  7. Manolo

    Manolo TS Rookie Posts: 23

    I just got a nastry trojan infection while using AVG8. I posted the problem in a thread in this forum and kimsland asked me to remove AVG and install AVIRA, which I did. AVIRA found and cleaned stuff that AVG had not detected. I work in a computer lab, and I had installed AVG in all of the computers (8 computers). After this incident I removed AVG from all of them and installed AVIRA and I was surprised when AVIRA found nasty stuff in all of them that had been unnoticed to AVG.

    Maybe some of them are false positives, but (i) AVG did not see coming the trojan I got and (ii) I feel safer now
  8. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,026

    You and many others, Manolo! Seems as if AVG has lost the plot with v8 and later.
  9. mopar man

    mopar man TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,379

    Well, I switched from AVG a while back because it was no longer Dial Up friendly. I now am a Beta Tester for Avira's new Premium Security Suite, and I love it. No problems, ever, and I go to some websites that some would say are "fishy", yet, I'll take Avira off and scan with Avast and others, and I get nothing, so I'd say Avira is a really reliable product. It finds things immediately and will even block most of those Fishy sites with my version. :)

    The only thing I have against it is that when it finds a virus, it beeps and is more annoying than a siren, imo. :)
  10. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Well at least your computer speaker works, because that's the one it uses
  11. mopar man

    mopar man TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,379

    Yeah, I know, but it's just SOOOO annoying... I sadly got so mad one day I almost took it out! XD I was putting a new side fan in, and it had, just before I shut the computer off, decided to find 10 or so problems... and it wouldn't shut up... >>
  12. Manolo

    Manolo TS Rookie Posts: 23

    The first thing I did is to disable the beep (Configuration->Expert mode->General->Acoustic Alerts)
  13. ralphedison

    ralphedison TS Rookie

    According to some forums that I've visited AVG has many false positive detection and from my experience about AVG free edition, it failed to detect some viruses that Avira detected. (Well they are about 7GB worth of some useless cracks that I don't even use.) Though I still recommend AVG free edition. Aside from it being free, it is also a great anti-virus program.
  14. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

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