Freeware AV, choice considerations

Discussion in 'other anti-virus software' started by Kees1958, Jan 31, 2008.

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  1. Kees1958

    Kees1958 Registered Member

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    Hi,

    Would like to know your considerations when chosing a resisdent freeware AV:

    The classical three are Antivir, Avast and AVG, with newcomers as PC Tools and Comodo. Also AOL always offers a one of for a year, last year Kapersky, this year McAfee.

    What are you criteria

    1. Ratings in tests.
    When you look at AV comparatives and AV test org (I have the idea that AV test org only uses a in the 'wild' sample test set and AV comparatives also 'zoo' virusses in its test set), then Avira is the strongest, with Avast as close second.

    Problem with Avira (and AVG) is that the freewware version does not have Antispyware in it. In a Dutch PC magazine, Antivir free and AVG free scored only 75 to 85 percent of the paid version (with AS). When you apply this correction on the last tests Avast is by far the best freeware deal.

    2. Update frequency
    From my personal experience Avast and AVG are the clear winners (compared to Antivir and PC Tools). Have never tested Comodo because its test results were so dramatic, so I can not tell anything on their update frequency. I have not tried McAfee, I know a lot of people re bashing but McAfee actually was my last paid AV and it ran well at teh time (at least eight years ago). This posy of Trjam clearly expresses the importance of update frequency (see retry percentatges of AVG and AVAST = 100%)

    3. Completeness of AV
    Antivir only offers read and write, AVG also a e-mail, but Avast offers the complete works. In this context Avast looks to offer the complete product.

    4. CPU hog/boot delay
    Again from my personal experience It 'feels' that AVG runs the lightest, next Avira and Avast is the most hungry application. Still when you have a better look at Avast the standard module checks at reads and writes and program executions. That is a bit over the top, considering that the other modules check incoming data streams (network, e-mail, P2P, Internet). Quesition is when you undo this redundant checking does it detection rate drops?

    5. Heuristics
    Antivir is a clear winner over Avast and AVG despite the punishment AV comparatives gives for the false positives of Antivir.

    My advice
    When you take these criteria into account, I always tell friends the following

    a) When you have a dangerous surfing behavior (likely hood to get in a dangerous situation then Antivir highest detection rate + good heuristics will problably safe yoru ass), choose Antivir, otherwise Avast or AVG.
    b) When you have a slow PC you might prefere AVG over Avast, otherwise Avast offers the most complete solution for free


    Please tell me your choice and considerations (why you choose it) plus arguments ( fan posts are nice but do not have any info value to me :doubt: )

    Thx K
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2008
  2. solcroft

    solcroft Registered Member

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    Re: Freeware AV, choise considerations

    I choose the one with the prettiest UI.

    I don't suppose that's very informative, but it's not like I count on an antivirus to actually do anything when I need it to. :D
     
  3. Kees1958

    Kees1958 Registered Member

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    Re: Freeware AV, choise considerations

    Solcroft thanks,

    Pretty is very personal, but I think the UI of Antivir although German like grundlich and simple looks better than AVG (very old fashioned) and Avast (strange media player scanner interface).
     
  4. solcroft

    solcroft Registered Member

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    Re: Freeware AV, choise considerations

    I'm using a freeware copy of NOD32 now, actually.

    It's something of a regional offer with a local partner. Very pretty UI. :thumb:
     
  5. noway

    noway Registered Member

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    Re: Freeware AV, choise considerations

    Another catagory might be customization. For example, can you exclude certain folders from the active monitor? AVG Free doesn't, so I don't use it.

    Also, what I would call license hassle factor. Does the product require activation and how long is the license good for? Personally I prefer no activation and license for at least one year. As a result, I have excluded Antivir from my list of potential free AV.

    Also, update options. I THINK these all have downloadable updates outside of using the program itself. There may be other freeware (and shareware) AV that don't have this option.

    Other considerations like reliability, GUI, memory use, etc.
     
  6. Kosak

    Kosak Registered Member

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    Re: Freeware AV, choise considerations

    Eset doesn't provide free solution (there is only 30 days trial version). You can find some informations for cheaper price in your country (e.g. for students).

    :thumb:
     
  7. MikeNAS

    MikeNAS Registered Member

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    Re: Freeware AV, choise considerations

    To Lukas K.

     
  8. Wordward

    Wordward Former Poster

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    Re: Freeware AV, choise considerations

    I think pretty is to strong of a word here though solcroft. LOL.
     
  9. solcroft

    solcroft Registered Member

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    Re: Freeware AV, choise considerations

    You don't think so? :D

    nod32.PNG

    It's not doing a very good job of detecting the two MSN worm variants you see on the desktop in the background, though...
     
  10. Jomsviking

    Jomsviking Registered Member

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    Re: Freeware AV, choise considerations

    Hi Kees1958.

    I use many of your own criteria:

    1. Ratings in tests.

    These need to be taken cautiously. I don't care if one gets 99,1% and the other 98,3%. People stress over these small differences too much.
    However, if one AV product places constantly at the top or near the top at several tests by several entities, it tells me that people behind that AV are doing something right.
    I agree that, regarding the inclusion of spyware detection, Avast would be the best offer. If the choice is AVG, you can complement it somehow with AVG Anti-Spyware.

    2. Update Frequency

    I don´t stress it if it updates 2 or 10 times a day, but I expect some regularity. New threats coming out every day. For freeware, once a day gives me no problems.
    Having read about and seen some problems with Avira updates, I would go with Avast or AVG in this chapter.

    3. Completeness of Product

    Agree that Avast is the most complete, followed by AVG.

    4. System impact.

    I don't care if I lose a second here or there (no speed freak here), as long as the product works well. If the delay becomes notorious, I ditch the product. My experience is the same as yours: AVG is usually the lightest, and Avast the heaviest.

    5. Engine.

    Here I look for stability, results from self-protection (free AVs usually lack here) and cleaning ability tests.
    Cleaning is increasingly difficult in this day and age, as malware gets stronger, but an AV better know how to deal with at least some of it. Detecting only and then doing nothing is not good.
    I don't care if an AV detects a threat through the use of heuristics or signatures or any other method, as long as it detects the threat.
    I will of course agree that the use of strong heuristic modules and behavior-blocking/HIPS technologies incorporated in AVs is mandatory in the present.
    Heuristics-wise I also verify your results, and coudn't care less about the occasional false positive, being a "first shoot then ask questions" person myself, as long as I can discern if the positive is false or not; but I would not recommend an AV which gives a lot of FPs (Avira does have its share) to friends which don't know much about computers.

    6. GUI

    Doesn't matter to me, as long as it is not pink pretty and cluttered.
    Detail and clearness of prompts is very important.
    Avast is ugly (to me), between AVG and Avira I would prefer Avira, but I really don't sweat that small stuff.

    7. Company profile and support offered.

    This for me is fundamental. Freeware or not, I expect:
    - a forum for solution of problems (+ direct support for the paid versions, obviously).
    - strong documentation: FAQ, KB, manual, the works. This for me is extremely important; in this chapter, Kaspersky is exemplar.

    If the company had measures which I have considered not correct, that is enough for me to abandon the product or never even begin to consider using it. Example: I use A; A gets bought by software giant B, whom I don't like; I remove A from the PC and don't give it a second thought.

    Country of origin (of developer staff): Whether people admit it or not, this often plays a role, even if unconciously. I am no different and tend to be fonder of certain countries than others. But I´m cool with AVG, Avast or Avira in that regard.

    So, like you wrote, my recommendation would depend on the situation:
    - Friend knows crap about computers and surfs fairly safe: AVG or Avast. Pick the one you like better and complement with anti-spyware, even if Avast was the choice.
    - Friend has some knowledge of computers: any of AVG, Avast or Antivir, but I make sure to point that Avira has less features in the freeware version, such as mail scanner. Still recommend using anti-spyware complement.
    If speed is an issue, possibly AVG.
    - Friend knows nothing and likes to surf dangerously: I tell him: "You're on your own", hahaha.

    Just some points.
     
  11. computer geek

    computer geek Registered Member

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    Re: Freeware AV, choise considerations

    definately m:D c:D a:D f:D e:D e:D virusscan although i would highly reccomend getting it from natwest if you do not want slight limitations and the aol banner on the GUI.
    Detection:
    ain't perfect ain't bad but its heuristics are OK. The thing i like most is siteadvisor, if you click the siteadvisor button for the site, it tells you whether the file has a virus, spyware or whatever else in it, making it handy.
    accessories:
    considering that this is mcafee basic product, it offers more than the competiters, therefore raising its price. it offers- firewall, hips, maintain computer, manage and view network, shredder, visual tracer, virus map and hackerwatch, some of which don't even come out on products some companies call "total security." i want to talk about quickclean in particular, i run it every week and it cleans at least 3gb out, and better too, you can securely delete it with shredder so nothing can recover it except system restore of course. i would also like to point out that i do not surf and download stuff every day, just an average user.
    resource usage:
    many people still think that mcafee is very bad with resources, and will find themselves to be wrong when they try out the 2008 version. in my computer, it took up 36mb of my ram, not good you might say, but seriously, its just one of those programs that doesn't effect your speed. (well, nearly)
     
  12. Fuzzfas

    Fuzzfas Registered Member

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    Re: Freeware AV, choise considerations

    Ahahaha! I 'm not alone!!! I usually keep AVG Free resident (when actually running an AV) and Avast Home on demand. The few times that i did download malware, AVG has usually failed me. But i keep it for psychological reasons and because it runs light. Gives a false sense of security :D . I would count much more on Sandboxie, Threatfire or classical HIPS any day than on any AV. In fact it's what i usually do...

    Back on topic, i agree with Kees' classification.
     
  13. Don johnson

    Don johnson Registered Member

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    Re: Freeware AV, choise considerations

    There are many freeware AV in China(eg. 180days free NOD32 and 180days free Kaspersky)
     
  14. Kees1958

    Kees1958 Registered Member

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    Re: Freeware AV, choise considerations

    Jomsviking,

    Thx very usefull additions, others?
     
  15. mercurie

    mercurie A Friendly Creature

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    Kees1958,
    I got to update my sig. So don't get confused. PC 2 died (Emachine). I think the power supply died. I really think it got mad when I bought another Emachine. ;) All for another thread...now to get back on topic.

    The old faithful Compaq 2001 vintage (PC 1) is still going. I removed McAfee Suite it was killing the old war horse (to few resources). I tried AVAST at last. :D :cool:

    So now I have used all three at one time or another. A real expert I am now...:D NOT! The comments you and others have made are accurate. I will stick with Avast for now any way because it does offer the most complete free solution. Damn that thing is ugly but as was said this is not significant issue for me either. Still don't know if it will stay as it is too early to tell. I have had it only for two days. I do note the boot scan that is good for Avast. Spinning ball is silly but it does let you know it is working. The talking update is really :cool: :cool: :) .

    AVG has nice interface but I don't like the fact that you seem to click all over the place to find what you want. It missed a trojan...it was not a bad one as my research indicated it need another piece of malware to become active. By the way Avira caught it in a scan, which at that particullar time I was switching to.

    I really love Avira...but as was said no spyware protection. No question in my mind Avast has the most superior updater of the three. :thumb: :thumb:.

    None of these three freebies have ever left me with a computer that was seriously infected by any means. I have suffered almost no infection. The worst was with McAfee a very old version. Again Avast has been used only a short period of time. In my opinion Avast appears to be the heaviest and AVG just slightly more then Avira, but all do well on my resource challenged PC 1.

    I have not suffered any slow down or stability issue at all on any of the machines I have owned a credit to all of them in my opinion. :thumb: All should be cheered for offering free product to the world. Can not address support because I have never needed any.

    Hope this helps. ;)
     
  16. L815

    L815 Guest

    Avast is a bit slower on Vista than XP. I'd use Avira personal classic but Vista Home Premium doesn't have local policy manager to block the pop up ;/

    Maybe I'll give aol mcafee a try.
     
  17. acr1965

    acr1965 Registered Member

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    A friend of mine uses AVG in combo with the Comodo Anti-Malware. CAM has caught a trojan that splipped past AVG and he is happy with the AVG/CAM combo.

    BTW- I see Avast free does not offer a script blocker. Is this an issue to be concerned about? Is there a program that can be used in combination with Avast that offers script protection for someone who uses IE7?

    thanks
     
  18. acr1965

    acr1965 Registered Member

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  19. solcroft

    solcroft Registered Member

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    No.

    It's like worrying about whether you have a HTTP scanner when you already have a good file on-access scanner.
     
  20. Tarq57

    Tarq57 Registered Member

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    I installed Avast following a malware encounter a few years ago when I knew pretty much nothing, and (quite unfairly) blamed the other AV I'd been using.

    Following that learned that Avast was very configurable, had a few useful features such as a boot scan, was generally well thought of, but most important, I stayed malware free. The webshield, though seemingly regarded by some as overkill, has a few times blocked supposedly dangerous pages loading. There isn't a website around I need to see badly enough to test whether it was right to do so.

    While looking around for other free offerings, some other things I've started to take into account:
    -The EULA. The reading of the AOL offering (for example) totally put me off ever wanting to install it. It could be Kaspersky on steroids. Still won't go there. I read them a bit more carefully now.
    -The forum support/other support.
    -The opinions of folk on forums such as this one. (Especially this one.)
    -Last but not least, how active are the developers, or a member of the "team" on forums such as this. (Not essential, but it says something for the support if someone is prepared to offer help or advice outside their own forum.)

    Nothing I've experienced or read since installing Avast has made me want to seriously consider anything else. If Avast wasn't available, I'd happily use Avira, then AVG.
    The Avast gui, being easily skinable, doesn't bother me at all. I rather like it.
     
  21. Hermescomputers

    Hermescomputers Registered Member

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    Hiya,

    Has anyone given serious consideration to the free Clamwin & WinPooch combination as Free AV?

    Heres some info on both Free'bees:

    ClamWin is an open source product and so is completely free. It has no active scan. Combine it with Winpooch Watchdog which adds an active antivirus scan (using ClamWin's definitions) and some adaware active scanning, and adaware scanning services. ClamWin comes with no definition when installed and its first job is to go grab one.
    ClamWin Web Site: http://www.clamwin.com/
    Get ClamWin AV here http://downloads.sourceforge.net/clamwin/clamwin-0.92-setup.exe

    WinPooch stands alone and is a handy way of monitoring activity on your Windows System directory and the Registry - you should only really see these alerts when installs or Windows Updates are going on - however they can timeout some install processes.
    WinPooch Web Site: http://winpooch.free.fr/page/home.php?lang=en&page=home
    Get WinPooch here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/winpooch

    I would love to read what Wilders Peeps can come up on these...
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2008
  22. solcroft

    solcroft Registered Member

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    ClamWin is notorious for being crap, and WinPooch is unstable, lacks the ability to differentiate between finer file operations (can only define read or write), unstable, unable to monitor interprocess actions, and is abandonware. It is also important to NOT download ClamWin through WinPooch, as what you'll get is an outdated ClamWin engine that cannot be upgraded to the latest version without some rather advanced wizardry on your part.

    That's probably it in a nutshell...
     
  23. Sjoeii

    Sjoeii Registered Member

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    My vote will always be Kaspersky but if you really want a free one than Avira and Avast are the best I guess
     
  24. Hermescomputers

    Hermescomputers Registered Member

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    Thanks a bunch!

    I'm often asked about ClamWin which appears to be a rather decent AV (Passive) albeit still under open source development... that may be but I had no idea about the WinPooch combination.

    You say it's abandon ware? It is not stated anywhere on their site. This could lead some into trouble...
     
  25. computer geek

    computer geek Registered Member

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