What do you think is the best Antivirus right now?

By Vigilante · 35 replies
Nov 19, 2005
  1. Alright, hoping to avoid any flaming, I'd like a good discussion on AV products right now.

    We all know that Norton and McAfee are very much under attack by most virus writers, as well as the products just suck (imho!)

    We have been selling Panda now for over a year, 2004 edition of both Platinum and Titanium. At the time we made this choice (from selling NAV), Panda had excellent reviews everywhere I checked. Best detection rates, 100% clean rate, multiple daily updates, etc... And it was an awesom product.
    But now in the POST SP1 and SP2 world, I'm starting to have problems. Panda does NOT have a very good registration process, or REregister for additional time. Their site is often acting up, or will suddenly send you to pages in a different language!

    I've also noticed with Panda, the two major problems I just can't overlook. Number one is that, sometimes, rarely but regularly, when Platinum is installed, the firewall just blocks all access to the Internet. This is not the default behavior. Normally the firewall always pops up asking what you want to do. But some rare cases it just blocks everything no matter what, and there doesn't seem to be anything I can do about it except turn the firewall off.
    The 2nd issue is that, more often then I'd like, when Panda is first installed, the automatic protection just doesn't enable on startup. The program comes up, and then says your protection level is low because automatic protection is off. In Panda, it says there was an "error". No help there. Panda suggests reinstalling it. Which of course I've done a million times to no avail. However, if you go in Services, you can manually start the protection service, and everything is fine. May take a couple times but it does start. It just won't start on bootup.
    And last quirk with Panda is that it seems to take forever for the icon to show up in system tray. Like every program loads and Panda is always last, even a minute after everything else. This doesn't give me a good feeling, thinking that every program but the antivirus can start up and do it's thing before the antivirus comes up. I would much rather have the AV come up FIRST. Though this may be a non-issue.

    So that leads to this thread. I want to consider selling a different product, although we are going to try the 2006 version of Panda and see how we like it. I am reasearching today's offerings for resale.

    Here is my shortlist of features.
    1. Robust. Yes, detection rates are good, but I want an AV that WILL work and install right, hopefully, every time. A program that knows how to handle its own services and make sure it will run. Unlike Panda where, on a clean working system, for no apparent reason, the auto protect service has "error" which seems to be unfixable. I want a robust AV that will install and work. And is easy for an end-user to do.

    2. Detect rates. Of course it needs to pass industry standard AV tests, and have good heuristics scanning. I am not interresting in loads of extra stuff. I don't "need" antispyware and antihacks and anti-everything else. I just want good quality virus detector. And the heuristics scanning which will attempt to find new virus behavior and warn you or ask what you want to do about it. Which Panda had top rated a year or two ago.

    3. Updates. I don't want a Norton-like 3 or 4 day wait for updates. One good thing about Panda, you will get new virus signatures every day. Anywhere from 1 new virus to 60 or 70 new ones.

    4. Resources. The last count I had of Norton was TWELVE SERVICES running for their NIS suite. Not including regular startup programs. This is crazy. I want a AV that knows how to be small and unobtrusive. I don't see why an AV couldn't just have a couple services to do its job. So hopefully a small AV that doesn't get in the way to much. Panda is fairly small, but Platinum has a firewall, and the new Titanium has antispyware. So their service count is climbing, but maybe only to 4 or 5.

    5. Price. Since this is for resale, we like to bulk-buy maybe 25 to 50 at a time. We can get Panda for like $8 bucks. So we need to be able to get it cheap so we can pass on the savings. We can't be forced to buy it ourselves for $25 to $40 or whatever, or we won't be able to resale very well. Or buy very many at a time.

    6. It would be nice if the manufacturer had a good working web site, with a simple registration process, and a simple way to buy a new year. Panda was fairly simple, you just put a username and password in the program and that's how they track it. Norton's is stupid, with all their hidden license key files and what not, making it near impossible to change products without it thinking you are on the old license etc... So a good registration tracking feature is a must. A simple user/pass, or key you put clearly in the program. Etc... With a clean web site and good customer service.
    Panda, as some of you know, have NO phone support apparently, not even for pay. This is what I heard, though they do have phone numbers for whatever. So when people have a problem with Panda, they end up calling us, simply because they can't find any options through them. It would be nice if I could say, oh, you have problems, call xxxx. Or at least tell people to get support from them, not us. Panda only does support through E-Mail.

    Alright, hope that wasn't to much of a read, but changing company policy to a new Antivirus needs a LOT of research, not just a few personal biases. I know people like to recommend AVG cause it's free and a good option for people trying to clean up. But I don't think they are great for a retail product. A non-standard interface, slightly odd usage, not as good detection as the big boys. Still a great product, we can't really sell something that is free. Or even getting the paid-for version, what would be the point?
    I also know some people like Kaspersky. But that just doesn't seem as "mainstream" as the other big names. One of those oddball things you wonder if they will be in business next year. I don't know.
    I was doing some quick searches and found a place with rated the highest, some product called "The Shield Pro". I've never even heard of it.

    So then, give me some real reasons why I should dump Panda in favor of any of your suggestions. Or point me to your favorite AV test sites. Show me some real world reviews and tests. Speak from experience. Give me some research. Show me the pros and cons. Feed me Whoppers. er. nevermind that last part.

    What are your thoughts?
  2. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,666

    No opinions? Unheard of!

    Okay, let me simplify my question for those who can't read this much.

    What AV do YOU personally use? What do you love about it? And then what do you NOT love about and what would you change about it?
  3. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

  4. spartanslayer

    spartanslayer TS Rookie Posts: 394

    I have Norton Security Edition 2005 and like it. It is extremely easy to use, and lets you set a password to access it. I don't like the fact that it won't let me set it to download files without a warning message.
  5. Aezel

    Aezel TS Rookie

    The past two years i have been using Norton IS 2004. Recently i switched to Avast Pro edition and Sygate Personal Firewall Pro because Norton was taking up too much memory.
    Not only did it slow the boot time but overall system performance was slower than it's now. I freed up 45mb of RAM with these new programs and they work just as well (firewall even better) as NIS2004.

    I also tried the BitDefender 9 Standard antivirus and it was great. It's virus scanner found a backdoor virus in one of the programs i had been using for 2 years and it blocked exploits on some webpages I frequently visited before, where NIS and Avast didn't find any problems.
    Bitdefender also has an active Registry scanner, monitoring your Windows registry. If anything tries to modify the registry, u get a popup to allow or deny the program acces to the registry.

    HOWEVER, Bitdefender was causing major errors to my system. See this thread .
    According to the Bitdefender developers it's a rare problem..
    Bitdefender did it's job really well so u might wanna give it a try. But don't blame me if u get reboot problems as well :p.

    Otherwise I would recommend Avast Antivirus Pro. There's also the free (freeware) Avast Home edition but it doesn't have browser script blocking, which the Pro version does have.

    AntiVirus software test 2006 click here .
  6. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,158   +986

    the answer is: you need more than ONE :-( No single product catches everything - - there's just too much to deal with.

    This is why you ought to focus on:
    1 a good firewall first,
    2 teaching users what to open vs save as... and scaning it,
    3 a collection AV tools
  7. hewybo

    hewybo TS Maniac Posts: 435

    don't work for me

    I haven't been able to make two AV products co-exist, even an independent firewall and separate AV program. They just won't play nice together.

    I am in the last month of a year's worth of Panda Platinum7. Overall, it has been great, but I had the same problem as Vigilante, with random ocurrences of blocking internet access. I briefly "upgraded" to Panda Titanium2005, but it would never keep itself operating properly, so I had to RMA it. I was also offered, and accepted, a beta chance with MS OneCareLive. Good program, I think, with good ideas, but it, too, would not run consistently. Too many re-installs, and "low protection" warnings with no explanation, so back I went to Panda Platinum. If I don't find anything better before I expire-er-Panda expires next mont, I will use them again. But NOT the Titanium. :giddy:
  8. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Posts: 4,172

    No problems here, and I've been doing it for years. Must be some incompatibilit with your system.
  9. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    On my PC I have had combinations with Firewalls from Sygate (free), Kerio (free), Agnitum Outpost Pro (bought), and Antivirus from Kaspersky Beta, Eset-Nod32, AVG Free, ExtendiaAVK and F-Secure.
    Of the above, F-Secure kept crashing, the others were fine.
    Eset-Nod32 does a very good job, is light on resources and is very fast. Only had the trial version.
    Extendia combines Kaspersky and RAV and does an excellent job, using only few resources. Unfortunately there are no program-updates, only new definitions for this otherwise excellent AV. I bought this for a year, but did not renew.
    Reason is the free AVG, which I am currently using.

    I've had Agnitum Outpost since 2003, and it is probably the best FW around.
    It's €23.- a year, and is regularly updated. The latest version now includes a very good spyware-blocker as well.
    Kerio was not always consistent and also not intuitive enough for me.
    Sygate does a very recommendable job, but now that Symantec has killed it, there is no future for it.

    In the end, I will continue with paying for Agnitum Outpost, and use the free AVG.

    My surfing habits lead me literally everywhere, and protection with these 2 programs is more than good enough for me.
    Running the likes of Adaware and Spybot never reveals anything other than cookies.
    I only check them maybe once a month.
    I've dumped the M$ Antispyware Beta, because of their declaring Claria and Gator as "acceptable" junk. So much for that!

    If I'd be in the market for a package deal, my choice would be Trend-Micro's PC-Cillin.
    However, I prefer individual programs, because each spends more time/money on what they do best!
  10. toffeapple

    toffeapple TS Rookie Posts: 152

    I know it got a bad rap in the past ( i would agree we used the older versions and it was a nightmare) BUt MCaffe's on demand 8 which we use at the moment is a great tool...it expensive but it cuts loads of over heads(suits me as im a lazy **** and its not my money im spending).....
    its only viable on a medium to large network ( we have around 200pc's in HQ and 10-15 in each of our 40 remote sites).
    It works with active directory using computer account names and uses an active directory type snap in(e policy orchestrator) to monitor/ update all machines..it automatically updates dats and engines which it then sends to each pc..it doesnt just update daily it updates any time there is a new DAT availble..you can also install on remote machine.
    it will also update you via email when it has found a virus what it was what it done with it etc...stops the user getting warning signs or even any type of on screen info which tends to panic them...it has many other features reporting tools etc......but i dont want this to sound like an AD!!!
    I wouldnt have bought MCaffee's on past experince but i didnt have a choice with this purchase( probably brown envelope job) but if you want minimum fuss after inital roll out, which can cause a lot of network traffic, then its nae bad..cant complain
  11. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,666

    We also use Norton Corp for the similar task of network updates. We've got a server running server NAV and then the clients all connect to it. On the client side, it's pretty few resources, and it doesn't even have an icon in system tray, so you don't really know it's even there. I suppose it has done a decent job.

    We did sell Norton for a while, but based on how often we have to fix it, and seen all the problems it develops, Panda's two or three issues pale in comparrison to Nortons.
    And while my opinion of McAfee is not very high, I can't ignore that in most all my experience, I have rarely ever had a system with serious McAfee problems. I just don't like it because of various program quirks. Such as having to log in to the web site to get updates. Or it not telling you when the subscription expires. And I don't like the interface. Just dumb things like that.

    The Panda Titanium is the one we were going to sell, as just an Antivirus tool. But it seems odd that the Platinum version does a better job of catching viruses, I would think they both use the same engine and pattern files?

    I am using Panda Platinum 2004 at home for the last year and I've been very happy with it, it hasn't ever said low protection level, or blocked Internet access. I suppose I just got lucky there. I've been happy with the firewall as well. I'm behind a hardware firewall which I have maybe 8 ports open for various services I'm running; but Panda always catches other things like scripts trying to run and what not.
    I use AVG on my laptop for many years, and I load AVG on system I build to sell used. I'm happy with that as well, the program is small and unobtrusive, it always seems to just "work". Though even on that test site RBS posted, AVG was only in the 50 percentile. So I don't think it is quite as powerful as the others.

    I am most interrested in Kaspersky at this point. I've downloaded the Betas for AV and IS and am waiting for an oportunity to install them and see how it looks. But RBS, you said it doesn't give "program" updates, only defs? On their site, they had a news article about the "magic byte" exploit. They said a patch was being tested and will install through their normal updates function. So they obviously have a way to do program updates if necessary.

    Anyhoo, keep them thoughts coming!
  12. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    You misread my post. It said Extendia does not give program-updates, only defs.

    If you are only after an AV proggie, look at Eset-NOD32
    They have every type of AV under the sun, supporting plenty OS-varieties, corporate stuff etc.
  13. toffeapple

    toffeapple TS Rookie Posts: 152

    would agree with you there ..but all those issues are now gone with on demand 8..its pricey but
  14. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,666

    RBS, you said "Extendia combines Kaspersky and RAV and does an excellent job, using only few resources. Unfortunately there are no program-updates..."

    I thought it sounded like you were saying Extendia MAKES Kaspersky, and they put it together with RAV. At least that's how I first read it. Okay, well that takes Extendia off the list. Leaving Kaspersky and F-Secure.

    I loaded Kaspersky Beta 1 on my server which previously had NO Antivirus. I was looking it over and seeing all the functions and what not. It worked good at first, I got to see its popups about various programs trying to access the Internet, and how deep you can control them. The interface is very clean and easy to get around in. But it wouldn't update, I tried like 10 times over about 15 minutes. But then some time later it must have auto updated and wanted to restart. So I restarted.
    Upon bootup, it came right up saying I needed to restart because of updates. So okay, I restarted again. And it was then up to date. So I think it's pretty nice, but a few of their messages and some of their internal linking could use work. Also their word use was a tad confusing, but not the end of the world.
    So then all of a sudden, I couldn't get online. I tried IE, ping, ipconfig, it just wouldn't do anything. I checked the rules for my network and it was set to allow everything. It was weird because my game server was still up and running online. So I unplugged the Ethernet and put it in my 2nd NIC, and I was online again. So I have to see why it stopped my access for no reason.
    But hey, if it really does have this high of detection rates, a good strong scanner, good ability to clean and delete what it finds, mixed with the nice interface, I think it could be a winner. Though I've yet to see how much resources it's using.

    As for NOD32, I did attempt to use it, years and years ago, and it caused all havoc on my system, leaving a bad taste in my mouth. But I haven't tried any newer versions. That was back when they were free. Or are they still free? I'll have to look into them as well, I know a lot of people swear by them.

    We have just ordered a batch of Panda Platinum 2006 as well. So now I can compare that with Kaspersky and see who wins. Plus I really really like that Kaspersky has 24/7 phone support, even in 5 or 6 languages, on a toll free line. Panda could learn something there.
  15. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    I also use norton corporate. As a client program it does put a small icon in the taskbar- a shield.... it's easy to use and doesn't use too muh resources. It's caught a few things over the year.
  16. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    Extendia is using the engines of BOTH Kaspersky and RAV in their own ExtendiaAVK program.
    Kaspersky AND RAV both update their own programs, but these updates are NOT integrated, nor made available, to Extendia users.
    In other words, Extendia uses 'old' technology with the latest AV-definitions.
    Currently they implement the 2004-status of the AV engines.

    I think they replaced RAV with GIANT, the one that M$ uses/has bought.
  17. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,666

    Hmm, that is sort of interresting, and weird, that they just use the other scan engines. Why wouldn't someone just buy the other programs directly? Oh well. I'd rather get the real deal.

    Still trying Panda 2006 and Kaspersky 6 Beta...
  18. Char_X

    Char_X TS Rookie Posts: 170

    Avast antivirus is a great product. It's free for home users.
    Dr.Web is quite good too. It is almost invisible and I have never had any problems with it!
  19. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,666

    So far I am liking Kaspersky. However it considerably slows down the PC while doing a full scan, so I'd recommend only doing during the night.

    Also I compared processes from Panda Platinum 2004 to Kaspersky AV. Keep in mind that Panda has the firewall so it has those extras that K doesn't.

    Pavproxy.exe (2,816k)
    apvxdwin.exe (5,264k)
    PavSrv51.exe (4,592k)
    Pavfires.exe (12,964k)
    Avengine.exe (18,864k)

    Panda total ( 44,500k ) or 44.5mb
    Also note the last three files there are running under "System". Likely services.

    Kaspersky as of looking just now:
    avp.exe ( 3,324k )
    avp.exe (variable from about 3k to 12k)

    Kaspersky total ( 14,588k ) or 14.5mb
    Note the first avp.exe was running under my user, the 2nd under System account. As I watched the 2nd one, it got as low as 3,324k and jumped up to 11,264k as it did stuff, then dropped down again. I could see the system tray icon go active when the process grew in size, so it must be the background scan.

    As you can see, Kaspersky takes 3 less running processes and is more then 3 times smaller in size! I'm liking it.
    I have not compared this, yet, to the Panda Platinum 2006. But, again, Panda has the firewall AND anti-spyware services that K doesn't. However, K DOES find various spyware objects that is marks as "not a virus" when they are found. So it does have some spyware definitions in its database. Just not a full service.

    I'll keep updating this thread will details as I get them.
  20. hk_guy

    hk_guy TS Rookie

    I use Trendmicro PC-Cillin, which is better than Norton in term of speed and "light weight"....
  21. swker98

    swker98 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,077

    I use avg and Zone alarm both free and they do a fine job of keeping the junk out, i also have a firewall in my router, avg is very good for being free and i would highly suggest it
  22. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    I use norton corporate. It's lightweight also and free if you're a federal government employee.
  23. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,666

    I like Norton corp alright, we use it in the office as well.

    I like AVG and ZA but we're talking about retail sales here, not just "what do I use at home?"
    This is for selling to customers to walk out the door with. I suggest AVG as an alternative if they simply can't afford us to install something. And we offer to load AVG for cheaper then buying one, if it comes to that.
    So we can't sell free products over the counter, nor corporate licenses. Which is why we have been doing Panda, and looking into Kaspersky.

    I think Trend Micro is pretty good, we use their housecall scan a lot. I just simply think it doesn't stand up to its equally priced big brothers. Although we DO buy the Trend Micro scanners for running on Server 2003 editions.
  24. Jonas_football

    Jonas_football TS Rookie Posts: 16

    I am using Zone Alarm, it's ok
    but it slows down computer while scaning (a lot) and i have a few viruses which it detects but can't remove.
    I was using Bullguard which i realy liked, but only had the 60 day trial vertion and therfore got zonelabs.
    It think bullguard is my favorite AV
  25. Watchen

    Watchen TS Rookie Posts: 17

    Re Anti-ware? "discussed ad nauseam!"

    Hi, I know this is an OLD post but all the recent post ONLY point to old ones, and here is the problem EVERY YEAR all the reviews of the ANTI - Virus & Spyware programs change. One year CounterSpy was rated BEST, the next year WebRoot and I tried them both, now they are usually not even in the list so what someone wrote back in "2005" is totally irrelevant today!

    So PLEASE how about an update, at least once a year on these products, just a list of recommendations, you don't even have to comment, list them in order of preference. :- ))

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