In need of new antivirus (and firewall)

Discussion in 'other security issues & news' started by Fly, Feb 9, 2008.

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  1. Fly

    Fly Registered Member

    Nov 1, 2007
    Sorry about the long post:

    Currently I use McAfee Virusscan Plus, Counterspy, and the Spy Sweeper (WITHOUT antivirus), on Windows XP Home Edition.

    I was planning to wait till Sunbelt comes out with their new version of Counterspy that should also protect one from viruses. An antimalware product instead of antispyware. It was projected to be released in the first quarter of this year.

    But I've read about the upcoming Microsoft Patch Tuesday, to which I look with some trepidation. Two critical patches for IE 7.

    Last time that happened, one of IE 7's updates failed at first, and then it seemed to succeed the second time. I could use the internet as before. Till the next day. I could no longer connect to the internet ! I only have a wireless connection (not configured by some Windows XP wizard). I tried a number of things, including uninstalling and reinstalling the software for the adapter. Eventually, the only solution turned out to be a complete reformat of my harddrive and a full reinstall ! (Yes, I should have a backup drive, but I don't have that right now, and intend to buy that later)

    I'm a bit tired of waiting for Sunbelt anyway. And there are some other reasons why I want to get rid of McAfee SOON.

    And besides, sometimes when I access the 'manage network' part of McAfee it says more or less that there is no wireless connection, even though I can use it. Then, later, McAfee acknowledges that it's connected to a network that is not trusted (as configured). I have the impression that McAfee updates cause the former sometimes. I won't even try the Virtual Technician, it messes with things I that don't want it to.

    Now, I've read a LOT about many issues on this forum, and will spend some more time reading some threads.

    So I'm asking for a bit of personal advice.

    A LONG time ago I asked an employee of Webroot (and it must have been a long time, you don't get that kind of service anymore!) if their antispyware catches trojans. The answer was: some, but for others you need an antivirus.

    The precise difference between antivirus products and antispyware products eludes me.

    Some people say: you don't need an antivirus. That may be true, it has been a very long time since I caught one. But what about the trojans, or things like viruses, worms, that try to clean out your bank account ? The type of virus that just reformats your harddrive or is a prank is not a concern. In a way, what is a virus ? Differences between spyware and viruses, trojans have blurred. Counterspy works by monitoring changes that programs make or try to make. They don't have antivirus definitions, and I have no clue how well its heuristics deal with viruses.

    So I'm seriously considering getting some antivirus, or something like that. Some people prefer a HIPS, (with a P for prevention, not for detection which is I believe more common). I've tried a HIPS, the Kerio Firewall. I often got questions like: do you want to allow this or not. Nearly always allowing it was safe or necessary, knowing when to say yes or no can be difficult. I also recall that the old Kerio Firewall (now owned by Sunbelt, now newer version) significantly reduced the speed of surfing the internet with IE 7. And it slowed down the scanning speed of the Spy Sweeper A LOT.

    Better no antivirus than a weak antivirus. Does it need to be signature based ? I don't know. (Certain aggressive heuristics MIGHT clash with Counterspy) I have seen a number of reviews. AVG is free, but its detection rate isn't very good, to say the least. Avira is better (or am I wrong?), and it has a free version, but I don't know the speed of the updates compared to the paid version. Eset/NOD is expensive, I'd rather avoid Kaspersky, am not even going to consider Panda, and I don't like security software that has spyware aspects (like Zonealarm joining with IAC trying to install the toolbar and probably the search assistent, McAfee's data sharing/spying policy). It should be free or inexpensive. Please note that offers restricted to North America (including most 'free rebates') are of no use to me, since I'm in Europe (eurozone, currency). My geographical location might also be relevant to protection of safe online banking, and the speed/timing of updates. On demand scanning is not much of an issue, I usually don't scan for viruses for weeks or months, I'd want someting that either prevents its installation or that takes action when the virus becomes active.

    I'd rather not have something heavvy, the first time I activate my computer on any given day I have to deal with several minutes of 100 % or near 100 % CPU cycles, mostly McAfee, perhaps also Windows calling home. I suppose that software that has many hooks deep into the system has its risks.

    I'd also need a firewall. Sunbelt has one that looks nice (originally the Kerio firewall), but I'm concerned about the HIPS part of the paid version (slowdown, difficult questions). Comodo is very popular, it's said that it has a very good protection against known leaktests, but I'm also aware of a comment that Comodo was specifically written to counter known leaktests. Which doesn't necessarily make it safe. One thing I like about the McAfee firewall is the ability to temporary allow an outbound connection. And firewalls are supposed to block incoming data, but how does it know what to allow and what not ? (In the past, plenty of junk passed the firewall of my router) My McAfee firewall is currently at a 'strict' setting, which supposedly blocks receiving any other data than what I had asked for. I want a good software firewall, but don't see it as the solution against malware, replacing antimalware software.

    Something that indicates how safe a website is (and works with google) would be nice, but it should not have any spyware characteristics. (Not McAfee!)

    My internet habits (using IE 7): staying away from porn, warez, file sharing sites and such, but visiting mainstream sites, also extensively researching a subject and visiting non-mainstream sites, often using Google. My ISP protects me against viruses in email. I'm not in the habit of installing new programs from the internet.

    Suggestions appreciated.

    This post was intended to be brief ! Sorry.
  2. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

    May 9, 2005
    Windows built-in firewall, Firefox/Opera instead of IE, AVG/Antivir as an antivirus, light, free, all set.
  3. 031

    031 Registered Member

    Sep 5, 2007
    @ Mrkvonic , nice post . Mcafee certainly isn't working for you . Just get rid of it . Try the free avs like avast , avg or avira . I would recommend avast as it provides protection against spywares unlike the other two . And for firewall you can use comodo without the defense+ hips . This is a rock solid firewall . Again there is pctools and online armor . Both of them are stable and easy to use . Browse the firewall section of the forum and you will get more information . good luck .
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