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What Are The Best Antivirus, Spyware, And Firewall Programs?

By JeffFinnan · 22 replies
Jul 6, 2008
  1. Since I am reinstalling XP, what would you recommend? Why so? They don't have to be free.

  2. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,345   +13

  3. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Virus: Paid version of AVG, Avast, Avira, Nod32, Kaspersky, Trend Micro, PCTools or Computer Associates EZ Armor.
    Spyware: Adaware 2008, paid Spyware Doctor, paid Webroot Spyware, along with MalwareBytes, SuperAntiSpyware to test.
    Scans: Panda or Symantec free scan, but don't use their removal tools.

    None are perfect. McAfee and Symantec are usually OK, but they cheat you.

    Best results with best value: Kaspersky

    One shop's opinion
  4. syllovesyou

    syllovesyou TS Rookie

    pretty much never use norton.
  5. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,425   +112

    These program can only protect you if they can be updated on a regular bases. I've them all and now since security is worst this year than prior I just beef up the to the next level. Can't stop it all as most companies can't compete with the new ones so quickly. So someone get infected and then reports it. Again I find too much protection can slow down the system or worst keep the system stable.

    Their is a mix bag of free and pay-for ones available. You can choose by going here:

    Spychecker (been around for a couple of years) they have both type of reviews

    Plus you can download the mix bag of free and pay-for..

    Trend Micro

    These have been around from the start when most of these issues have started. Norton Original Anti-Virus for Windows 3.1 was the best, their was one for MSDOS too. Now the software is hog can hose the system. I know they do try to help the end user but sometimes they go to far and well the problems. Mcafee Trend Micro and CA are no better. They offer you 1 year for updates for free then charge you for more years. Too much profit in that I say. The free-ones are very good some don't really do much protection. Everyone here going to have a favorite, I've tested a lot installers.exe with backdoor infections that a lot of these free one just don't catch. The only one that did catch and will give you two choices remove or quarantine is PC Tools Anti-Virus.

    Here's something that might work is called SafeSpace - I haven't tested it yet but will soon.


    From the site
    SafeSpace is a revolutionary solution for eliminating the problem of malware. It creates a secure barrier between your computer and the internet, protecting you and your personal information against known and unknown malware threats. Surf where you want, listen to or watch what you want, download what you want. It doesn’t matter.

    SafeSpace protects your computer from unwanted changes, and stops internet applications from reading your personal information. Surf in complete safety. Download with absolute confidence. Log off knowing your computer is clean and your personal information remains private.

    Sounds like PC Tools ThreatFire (free) does the same, but SafeSpace protects your applications from malware.
  6. tragicallyhip

    tragicallyhip TS Booster Posts: 90   +12

    Software firewalls are resource hogs,Use a hardware firewall ( alphashield ) ,spybot S&D.
    This is all I use no more no less and not a single problem in three years.Or go to Yoggie-e store and check out
    Gatekeeper pico @ $140 this is solid option but cost about $10 a year to suscribe.
  7. Blind Dragon

    Blind Dragon TS Evangelist Posts: 3,908

    Some are resource hungry but other are not so bad, the average machine should be able to run Zone Alarm without even knowing it there other than the occassional warning, when something wants to connect
  8. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    I haven't ever seen an evaluation or review that finds Spybot S&D does anything useful. It removes cookies, and even misses many of those. I agree with Blind Dragon on Zone Alarm, but we have been amazed by the huge numbers of problems of Comodo and Kerio (SunBelt) lately.
  9. Blind Dragon

    Blind Dragon TS Evangelist Posts: 3,908

    I have noticed some problems with comodo lately too ray.

    I use spybot - I update and immunize and let it manage my hosts file. But that's it, i don't scan with it, it never runs except when I update They have a great collection of sites in their hosts file and they update that list regularly.

    Of course you could always download the MVPS Hosts list and use that, but I like how spybot is easy to update and immunize.
  10. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,425   +112

    Kind of share what problems you have with Comodo? I only use it on Vista Business laptop, I would like to use the free PC Tools Firewall Plus as I use that on all XP Pro wired/wireless and on two Server 2003 without any issues. Just won't load on Vista. I know their is a beta out PCTFP.

    As for Spybot I ran it way back didn't like it never gone back to it. Spysweeper was in the norm around then but that go to be a memory hog. I don't know how Blind Dragon is running SuperAntiSpyware without issues. The free one on server never loads and crashes it so bad, I have to recover from an image backup to restore the server. On XP Pro boxes they don't load up the startup tray after you run the update and then to a report. The cause is SAS. I just tried to install in on Vista Business SP1 it don't install.

    WinPatrol which one are you using Free or Plus/Pro? Have you ever use RegProt very small program that ondemand monitors the registry. I use that on everything I got so far so good. It had caught a free stuff trying to load itself in the registry and just hit no to delete..
  11. Blind Dragon

    Blind Dragon TS Evangelist Posts: 3,908

    I have used SAS on 100's of infected computers and never had a problem with it. I keep a close eye on my registry and manually make any changes necessary, I don't trust any program to make changes, I use Winpatrol free to monitor startup entries, new active X, BHO's. But if a change needs to be done I do it manually. When a victim has corrupted registry entries I use .reg file instead of fixing with a registry program.

    Regprot is very similar to Winpatrol.


    The problems I have noticed with Comodo have been on Vista machines - the most recent I remember was that it corrupted the Repository. I have since started backing up WMI to the WBEM folder under system32 as Repository Recovery.rec -> this can be done through

    1) go to control panel -> administrative tools -> computer managementv->
    2) expanded services and applications
    3) Right click WMI Control and select properties
    4) Backup/Restore Tab -> Select Backup now (Before becoming corrupted)

    The problem this causes is for windows security center to report errors such as no firewall when you in fact have one active. Or it will report multiple firewalls when there is definitly only 1 installed. With the backup you can restore the repository without having to attempt to delete and rebuilt it, <- doesn't seem to work to well in Vista

    But there have been some other issues that was just the most recent
  12. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Actually, Tipstir, we are in communication with Comodo. One good thing about those people is that they are interested in the problems and finding ways to fix them.
    But we are a long way from a reliable Comodo that will work on small networks of 10 machines or less. Comodo gives trouble on most networks, it seems to me... even the two machine networks....
    The mystery is the problems with multiple printers.
    For now, Comodo is a terrific product for one-machine WXP installs only.
  13. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,425   +112

    Thanks for the tip about VMI,... Free version of Winpatrol doesn't have ondemand guard, that's why I use RegProt. I was using Advanced Task Manager but again to large to much memory to allocate to that program. SAS well you see to have faith in that program more than anyone I know, but if it works for you good. I did get it work before it brought now my server it happens on a reboot. Well enough said on that note.
  14. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,425   +112

    Raybay wow this is pretty interesting as I can only think of one firewall that would work like Comdo which was Armor2Net couldn't work with other PCs on network but it could protect one PC on that network. I'll remove Comodo and use the latest version of PCTFPS 4 for Vista 32-bit. They seem to have release a newer one. Hope it works?
  15. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,425   +112

    No dice with PC Tools Firewall Plus it blocks out everything, so back to square one for Vista Business SP1. What are you both using?

    ZoneAlarm just for the heck of it sure enough worst than PC Tools Firewall.
    Ran a Sandbox on one package esetsetup.exe it has hidden Start.exe in there. So just terminate and everything is okay. Comodo can't be the only one availabe that works. It's malware is a joke.
  16. Blind Dragon

    Blind Dragon TS Evangelist Posts: 3,908

    Not a lot of options out there yet- I run zone alarm mainly and Comodo on my business computers. I guess the best option would be XP Pro?

    The good thing about Comodo is that it has built in HIPS and it can monitor programs for behavior rather than relying on a set of definitions. They call it malware hueristic or defense +
  17. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,425   +112

    Not a lot of working versions you mean.. Comodo then back in it goes for now.. Otherwise Vista is faster with any firewall loaded Another way to get around firewall is to use run Firefox in a Sandbox and ditch the firewall all together.

    CPU is at 16% with the sandbox environment active. I am it now typing this out using Firefox 3.0 on Vista Business SP1.

    XP Pro SP2 Arsenal of Protection

    Firefox 2.15 (testing sandbox with Firefox 2.15 on some systems)
    PC Tools Firewall Plus 3.14 (code injection active)
    PC Tools Spyware Doctor 5.1.x (runs daily)
    PC Tools Anti-Virus 4.x rootkit scaning (runs daily)
    Ad Muncher 4.x (active)
    RegProt (active)
    Spyware Blaster 4.1 (enabled)

    Vista Business SP1 Arsenal of Protection

    Sandbox with Firefox 3.0
    PC Tools Spyware Doctor 5.1.x (runs daily)
    PC Tools Anti-Virus 4.x rootkit scaning (runs daily)
    Ad Muncher 4.x (active)
    RegProt (active)
    Spyware Blaster 4.1 (enabled)
  18. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,425   +112

    Wow for Vista now the Comodo is the only free that works for it... Kero crashes.. I'll keep testing and to see anything else is available.?
  19. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,425   +112

    Okay now let Vista Firewall run and Vista Firewall Control (free 32-bit program to monitor outbound traffic for Vista only) Also running wf.msc can use advanced vista firewall settings.

    Frankly I didn't care for Comodo or Sunbelt kerio version...

    Vista Business SP1 Arsenal

    1. Vista Firewall
    2. Vista Firewall Control
    3. Ad muncher
    4. firefox 3.0 with adblocker plugin
    5. pctools anti-virus
    6. pctools anti-spyware doctor
    7. sandbox

    Clean junk left off from prior firewalls an etc..
    TuneUp Utilities 2008
  20. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    Are the Comodo issues only on networked machines? Because I use Vista Home Premium x64 and I have no issues. In fact, I like it much better than ZoneAlarm.
    Also, Spyware Doctor seems tons better than Spybot: S&D, which hasn't really caught much at all on my PC.
  21. Blind Dragon

    Blind Dragon TS Evangelist Posts: 3,908

    Kerio Firewall - now Sunbelt - has just become Vista compatible for 32bit not 64

    May be worth checking out - they had a great product for XP

    Kerio (Sunbelt)

    Looks like it's just a 30day free trial then all the advanced options don't work possibly
  22. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to be the same product., after my quick review... not the same as Kerio at all.
  23. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,425   +112

    Finally got it working... Vista Business SP1 with PC Tools Firewall Plus v3.14 worked just like my XP Pro Boxes. No sluggish behavior not trying to cut me off my network or internet access like with Comodo, ZoneAlarm, Sunbelt, Vista Control Firewall (worst), ESET Business Smart Security (is a joke) PC Tools ThreatFire has memory leak badly. It does find stuff though, but not always. ashampoo free personal firewall doesn't work with vista was going to try Bull Guard but wasn't too impress. Drive Security is another I have to test out... But everything is stable so I'll just make an image of the drive and call it a day...

    Battle Shield just to use internet...

    PC Tools Firewall Plus v3.14 free
    PC Tools Anti-Virus v4.x free
    PC Tools Spyware Doctor 5.1.x
    RegProt loaded and active free
    Ad Muncher 4.x
    Spyblaster 4.1 free
    Sandbox free
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