PC Tools

Discussion in 'other anti-malware software' started by Davidpr, Aug 21, 2007.

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  1. Davidpr

    Davidpr Registered Member

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    PC Tools now have a suite of free antimalware software - AV, FW and now Threatfire. Is anyone using these as a suite and if so do they work well together?

    It seems we have at least two companies, PC Tools and Comodo going strongly for this free market. Will this affect the better known AV houses?

    Thanks.
     
  2. besafe

    besafe Registered Member

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    Not sure about Comodo, but PC tools has to repair their image in my book. Maybe this is their attempt to do so. Or maybe they are simply trying a different marketing metthod. Give people the freebies so they will upgrade to the paid applications.
     
  3. Perman

    Perman Registered Member

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    Hi, folks: Both companies have done home pc users a lot of favours by providing freewares.
    PCtools has be nurtured to this day by two products; spyware doctor and registry mechanic.Their late entry into already-crowded security sector may indeed provide non-commercial pc users more options, that does not mean they already have a workable suite on hand, and IMO, the chance having a free suite is very remote. Their products carry two classes of services; no frills-at your own risk and full serve-with limited liability. Freewares are used as marketing lancers, exploring new territory and testing uncharted water. No free lunch on their land.
    Comodo is indeed providing clean and pure freewares. Their bread and butter is focused on commercial clients. Freewares of excellent quality will bring them fame and fortune. Its CEO's vision is high above the clouds-has earned my admiration.
    At the end I shall commend both companies for their tireless efforts in providing us good quality options.
     
  4. TerryWood

    TerryWood Registered Member

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    I have to disagree with the last post. There is a fair amount of evidence from various forum posts that PCTools indulge in dubious possibly unethical marketing practice.

    Rather than report what others say, I will share my experience. Downloaded V5 Spyware Doctor via Google (freeware) it found 3 baddies. It was heavy on resources and I actually only wanted on demand. Went to forum, guy advised to download v4.1 which I did.

    I did not realise that this was NOT a freeware version so it only finds baddies you have to register to remove them. Fair enough.

    BUT when I scanned, it found 633 YES six hundred and thirty three items.

    I checked probably 20 of them, none of them were on my system. Followed up with scans from Avir, AVG, Super AntiSpyware, Spyware Terminator. NOT ONE OF THEM found anything.

    So what gives between version 4.1 NOT FREE and version 5 free. Does the paid for version find more. No it doesn't. So it must be a scam to NUDGE YOU TO BUY.

    That is what I call dubious marketing tactics. How can you trust an organisation that does this. If you don't believe me Google the forums.


    Terry
     
  5. 19monty64

    19monty64 Registered Member

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    As a past-customer of theirs, I know that they are guilty of a lot more than "goading to purchase", so if they want to give back to the people that have supported them in the past....so be it!!!
     
  6. Technodrome

    Technodrome Security Expert

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    They probably were all cookies. NOTE: Protection agains cookies is not included with Google’s “starter” edition.


    http://www.pctools.com/spyware-doctor/google_pack/


    tD
     
  7. Eldar

    Eldar Registered Member

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    One thing I certainly didn't like at all was the fact that as a registered user of Spyware Doctor they charged my credit card for the renewal automatically. This was done without my approval. :eek:

    You do have a certain period in which you can ask for a refund, but once past that, you're stuck.

    I do like their firewall which I tried, but not their current anti-spyware which hogs resources and produces false positives over and over again. :doubt:

    I sincerely hope they'll change their marketing technique, because they do have great apps too.

    For now I'm waiting until they release a new version which works at lot better then the current SD. :)
     
  8. TerryWood

    TerryWood Registered Member

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    Hi Technodrome

    Think you might have misunderstood my post Re your comment:

    "They probably were all cookies. NOTE: Protection agains cookies is not included with Google’s “starter” edition.

    http://www.pctools.com/spyware-doctor/google_pack/"

    The 633 items found were via the SD 4.1 download not the version 5 Google download.

    AND NO they were not all cookies by a long shot. Some, if they had actually existed were real nasties.

    Why don't you download SD v4.1 you can always disprove me and say my experience was a one off. Remember v 5 produced only three mild nasties .


    Regards

    Terry
     
  9. Technodrome

    Technodrome Security Expert

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    I don’t use any of PC Tool programs .I just have a hard time to believe that you had 633 malware infections. Which weren’t detected by free version. Many AS programs are identifying cookies as malware (marketing?) and they do confuse average users.

    My machine is clean. I don't think this would be helpful in this case. :cool:


    tD
     
  10. RejZoR

    RejZoR Registered Member

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    ThreatFire is so far their best tool. Though whole base and entire team is from Novatix. Their antivirus was also quiet problem free in Vista and WinXP. But their firewall was a complete disaster in Vista. Works fine in XP but in Vista it's a real wonder to get it working.
     
  11. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

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    To elaborate on the automatic renewal, I had downloaded PC's Registry cleaner app, (I forget the exact title) from a PC World promo. A year later I received an e-mail from PC tools informing me that they had renewed the app and my Visa card would be charged. I had 48 hours to cancel. They provided no link or phone number to contact. After much navigating on their support pages, I found an e-mail contact site and sent them a stern message to cancel the renewal. After a day I received a return e-mail telling me it had been canceled. Now what I found out later is that on the download page for the app, there is a radio button, and next to it in small letters it says that if you DON'T want auto renewals, uncheck the radio button. How many people do you think noticed it?:mad:
     
  12. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

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    And RejZor is going to join their team soon!:D :D
     
  13. GES/POR

    GES/POR Registered Member

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    Those infections are heuristic rookits detections or some sort. You probably configured the app to the max just like i did wich indeed let to that many detections wich many top tier apps did not flank. To be precise it flagged every file inside Steam. However with that specific config option there was a warning about possible fp's.

    How can threatfire be a succes? Cyberhawk had nice looks yes, good support yes, many fp's, almost to the point making it more a hips then b.blocker,easy to use i say no with that many fp's, bugs yes, system resource issues?

    What about pctools: nice looks yes, support never dealt with them, many fp's,bugs yes, bloated?

    Ok now combine those and take a wild guess what kind of an app threatfire will be: very nice looks, support?, behaviour blocker or hips?, many bugs, huge amount of fp's.

    Could there be any truth in this simple calculation or is it going to rock our worlds? Im hoping for the last but dare not touch it in the coming years.
     
  14. Eldar

    Eldar Registered Member

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    I sure didn't see it, however their forum admin helped me to get this refund back.
    You're right, you can't find anything on their website to contact them. o_O
    Not here on my installation. It ran just fine without any trouble and light on resources. :)
    Besides it's not easy to find a firewall which will run on Vista and is free on top of that. :cool:
    I for sure am going to try every new update to see if there's improvement.
    As for renewing my subscription, we'll see what the future brings. :rolleyes:
     
  15. pctools

    pctools Registered Member

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    Hello all; half of me says I should leave this post alone as I don’t want to start any sort of ‘he said’ - ‘she said’ flame war but I thought I would reply for two reasons 1) to show someone from PC Tools has read your comments and will raise them internally; 2) to provide another side of the story (of course!).

    Let me prefix with this, everyone is entitled to their comments and opinions, nothing I can say can probably change your mind if it’s made up but I believe it doesn’t hurt to try. So let me address a few points raised:

    Yep, we now have a full range of free products in addition to the paid ones. For free you can now get Spyware Doctor (Google Pack edition); PC Tools AntiVirus; ThreatFire; Firewall Plus; you can also basically get the SPAM product for free it has very limited restrictions so effectively if you wanted a suite of free products you could do it – although it wouldn’t be the most optimized method as everything would be running independently.

    Fair comment - there is no hidden agenda; yes I’m sure we’d love people to “upgrade” to our paid products – hey someone has to pay my salary – but there isn’t any hidden conspiracy. Great thing about free products you can use them all you like and if for some reason they annoy you or the free-ness changes (not that it will with ours) you can pull them off just as quickly. I don’t think there is any “trick” that could ever be pulled that could force you to upgrade?

    Fair enough, we have been working a lot of the ‘heaviness’ of SD5, in our internal and external testing it’s about middle of the road, not the lightest application around but not the heaviest either. We’re working on it and the new version 5.0.5 is better, next version 5.1 even more … it’s a very high internal priority along with sociability (i.e. playing nicer with other security applications). As for on-demand only; i.e. no service/drivers; the effectiveness would be hugely decreased - a lot of the new threats require kernel mode scanning, that can’t be done by a simple on-demand scanner and that’s being shown in a lot of recent reviews that include those types of products.

    Well this is a tricky one as only you have access to your system but I can say from the millions of users we have I have not heard of anyone ever getting this many detections with nothing existing on the PC.

    We like anyone have FPs from time to time, we try to avoid them as much as possible (every database goes through 2 layers of FP testing), but we have over 9.6 terabytes of “white” test files; to do a full FP scan takes two weeks. If we waited two weeks to get every database out we would miss the mass distribution period of most threats. We do the 99.999% testing but sometimes a 0.001% will slip through and with the billions of files out there this is pretty hard to completely avoid. In most reviews SD is highlighted for not getting any FPs (e.g. the latest PC World round-up).

    Also we are always clean system testing the product, and there is nothing in there that will detect infections when the infections don’t exist. Only thing I can think if you had some other AS program installed that modified some registry keys, or installed some immunization that made it look like something was installed to our scanners – very hard to say without seeing the exact system.

    I guarantee it is not a “marketing tactic” if it was we would be out of business very quickly.

    Auto renewals are love hate, some customers love them for the convenience some not so much, pretty much every security product is auto-renewal these days – Symantec, McAfee, OneCare, Webroot… so some points on our system:

    1) When people signup we make sure it is clearly mentioned in no less than 3 places (create an account jump screen, on the checkout confirmation page, and in the confirmation emails). We have *never* charged anyone’s cards without their approval, and in fact we don’t charge any cards (it’s done by Digital River) who control and audit the process. We have no access to credit card numbers and couldn’t force any renewal ourselves or choose to charge a card without authorization.

    2) You can cancel/opt-out at any time using many methods and people do. Email us at support@pctools.com and include your order number; reply to the confirmation email and request no auto renewal; login to “My Account” at https://secure.pctools.com/myaccount/ and do it yourself; call us toll free on 1-800-764-5783; submit a ticket online; write us a letter; start a live chat; contact us through our forums.

    3) If you are ever charged and you didn’t cancel in time you can contact us for a refund. The telephone number if printed right on the statement or see above about how you can contact us.

    Thanks we think it’s great too.

    Thanks again

    Version 3.0 beta is coming out in the next couple of days which has been tested a lot on Vista, v2 worked in a lot of scenarios but in some it caused problems. Please check the beta and let us know if you still have problems…

    Up the top of our site is a link that says “Company” under that is a link that say “Contact” it goes to http://www.pctools.com/contact/ and has the phone numbers and addresses. If you would like online support please go to http://www.pctools.com/contact/support/. If you would like to email us directly please use support@pctools.com.

    Thanks for reading if you made it this far.

    Regards,

    David
    PC Tools
     
  16. solcroft

    solcroft Registered Member

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    David,

    Thanks for the responses. However, the problem with PC Tools go beyond simple problems with your software. To summarize:

    1. PC Tools AntiVirus: problems with scanning Unicode filenames and not releasing USB drives reported almost 8 months earlier. Forum representative assures that problems are being looked into. No action taken to date.

    2. Firewall. No stateful packet inspection, therefore fails grc.com port scanning tests. In response to customer enquiries the default ruleset now includes a particular rule to block port 0-1024, the ports scanned by grc, while leaving a large chunk of everything else unstealthed. Non-savvy customers now think firewall passes grc tests when it actually does not and cannot. No response to customer enquiries to date (this problem to be fixed in v3, hopefully?).

    3. SD. The usual problems. Earlier FP fiasco with NOD32, as well as Skype ads.

    The very basic mistakes your products have made and your company's response to customer enquiries regarding said mistakes do little to inspire confidence in PC Tools as a security software company.
     
  17. Drew99GT

    Drew99GT Registered Member

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    PC Tools for sure has blatantly dubious and in my opinion, darn near illegal marketing practices with SD. I posted about blatant false positives (not cookies) with the google pack version. The other day I gave it another chance. Guess what? More blatant false positives. I manually looked for these pieces of malware and they are not there. God forbid anyone lets this p.o.s of a worthless program actually clean and delete things it finds!
     
  18. screamer

    screamer Registered Member

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    I've got to disagree here: Several years ago I used PC Tools AV. I had issues w/ it and contacted support. They bent over backwards to fix my problems.

    I'm a past and current user of SWD. SWD ver.5 was released a wee bit to early. It should have remained in beta for a while until all issues were cleared up. But nonetheless, any issues that I reported in beta version or Release (or were reported on the forum) got prompt attention.

    ...screamer
     
  19. EliteKiller

    EliteKiller Registered Member

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    Anyone who is a malware removal specialist knows that SWD paid and free are extremely bloated with mediocre detection rates. As long as PC Mag's Rubenking and other mainstream websites/magazines keep pimping their software (along with SS) it's unlikely that we'll ever see any 'real' improvements. As long as their software sales are high and profits are plenty, who cares about detection rates?
     
  20. 19monty64

    19monty64 Registered Member

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    Version 5 came out just (2-3wks) prior to my license renewal. I had it installed for maybe a week and it just didn't "play nice" so it got uninstalled. I let my license lapse also. I received a couple eMails from them for discount offers on the Doctor (and the mechanic) but I decided to pass for now. There was no "accidental" charge to my credit card. Having TF on my 'puter will probably convince me to trial other PC Tools again! "Only time will tell!"
     
  21. Eldar

    Eldar Registered Member

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    Well, than that would be a big no-no for me.
    I'm the one who decides whether to renew or not. I certainly don't want to renew because I payed once for SD. :doubt:
    AFAIK Symantec, Webroot never renewed my license automatically.
    I surely never saw it on your website and it's not present in my confirmation email. I would however prefer to have control about that renewal and not because I automatically subscribe to it.
    Make it a checkbox, so a user may check it if he wants that kind of subscription. :)
    Sure, it's done by Digital River, but it's done for your organisation and the apps you sell.
    As I told before, I never saw anything about a subscription, so this transaction was done without my approval. :(
    That's what I did and I'm guessing those subscriptions won't do any good to your company either. You get disappointed/angry customers by doing so.
    Let the people decide whether they want it or not, but don't add it automatically.
    Hope you'll learn by not applying those scary marketing techniques. ;)
     
  22. ratchet

    ratchet Registered Member

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    I have a SD license from work, however, with other anti-spy apps running,I just enable it over weekends, update and maybe a few times a month I'll run a scan. Their GREATEST SIN was by far the release of SD v5. Literally for months it locked up pcs. I'd install it after an upgrade and the same thing would happen. I can't prove it, but I'd say from reading their forum it was occurring to 1,xxxs. Customers, including me, had to restore on occasion. IT pros were reporting losing dozens of pcs at a time, and then spending hours/days rectifying the problems, yet they continued to release some of the worse software I'd ever used or read about. I really felt for the little old ladies out there that had their pcs nuked and had no clue about restoring. Right now v5 seems to be reasonably stable, however, like I said I don't use it much. They should have at least added three or more months to everyones license for all the grief they created!
     
  23. Sportscubs1272

    Sportscubs1272 Registered Member

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    Threatfire so far seems better than Cyberhawk. I wish they list the processes like Sana Security Primary Response Safeconnect or Norton Antibot. You could at least find the offending program and put in quarantine or delete it.
     
  24. pctools

    pctools Registered Member

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    Have you tried Av 3.6 beta - http://www.pctools.com/downloads/avbeta.exe? AFAIK this issue it not outstanding in the new version but if it still occurs for you please let us know.

    Yep, stateful packet inspection is in v3.0 -- beta soon

    Both problems agreed. Out of interest NOD32 FPed on us as well and we fixed our FP in a day their's went on for a few weeks ... but again like I say FPs are an ongoing task and something that we don't like but it's a very delicate balance sometimes.

    I would politefully disagree here, there may be some magazine reviews that are not as deep as others, but we also win ones where they dive very deeply. e.g. the PC World test was done by AV-Test.org, who are not new to testing malware detection rates, and tested against 110,000 samples, not a small test - http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,136205/article.html. The VB100 awards are done also by experienced malware testers, as are a number of others.

    Would appreciate if you could send the logs to me via PM as this can't happen unless there is something funky on the machine.

    Regards,

    David
    PC Tools
     
  25. Alphalutra1

    Alphalutra1 Registered Member

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    While it may fail based on the ruleset, just because something does stateless filtering does not mean it will fail port scanning tests. It all depends on the users configuration, which should be to block all incoming TCP SYN connections unless they purposely want to open a certain port, in which case they would make a rule for it. Therefore, it is poor ruleset creation, not the lack of stateful packet inspection (stateful packet inspection is superior in almost every regard though, don't get me wrong)

    Cheers,

    Alphalutra1
     
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