Tag Archive | AntiVirus

Annual Antivirus Toplist Report – 2013 (premium & free)

Welcome to our second toplist of antivirus software. The following are independently reviewed security products, compiled from a list of average reviews for 2013 products!

Premium

Premium antivirus software provides the best antivirus protection and safeguards your computer, your identity, and all of your personal information saved on the computer. Some programs provide extra features, such as free online backup, auto-sandbox (which runs your programs in a safe environment to make sure they are not malicious), and social networking protection. The percentages in rank were based on an average of virus removal, protection, and overall performance. Note: only some testing data is available, here.

  1. Bitdefender – 95% – Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2013 builds on #1 ranked silent security technology to stop e-threats, secure online transactions, and defend your privacy on social networks.
  2. Kaspersky – 90% – The next recommended program, Kaspersky Antivirus, usually yields the highest results in antivirus testing groups, and is one of the most trusted. Its antivirus product is well worth its cost. What’s even better is the amount of features it has – and the strength of each feature. Each individual feature has a good amount of protection involved. It truly is the pro-active piece of software that every computer needs!
  3. Norton – 87% – Symantec’s awesome Norton products have grown up from a nice antivirus to a very awesome powerhouse packed with great features and a cool-looking interface. Although the interface is a little tough for beginners, it sure has the amount of protection-based features needed to keep the viruses out! With its new identity protection interfaces, it deserves spot two!
  4. F-Secure – 84.4% – F-Secure software has risen up to become a great competitor to other antivirus vendors. Its feature-rich interface and good heuristics, paired with lightweight performance, makes this program a star! Kudos!
  5. Trend Micro – 83.8% – This vendor has absolutely grown up lately, from a bit mediocre to a much better, more advanced antivirus program. They have truly made reviewers (like me) proud!
  6. G Data – 81% – This vendor is not exactly as we expected, when people were telling us how good they are. But, they did do a good job blocking threats, but removing existing threats took quite a while to do. I can understand being thorough, but being a bit more timely might be a good idea..
  7. BullGuard – 78% – This was unexpected. BullGuard, like Trend Micro, surprised us big time. The amount of effort the developers put into this program was unbelievable. We say kudos to the developers! Some improvement is still needed, but nonetheless, good job!
  8. AVG – 77% – AVG for years has provided good protection. It provides great feature rich software. The only takeaway, the problem of false positives, but more realistically – once a system has been infected, AVG software gets hostile (which requires complete uninstall and reinstall for it to work properly again). Their response on false positives is not quick enough, which can cause problems with trust. Trust is very important to PC users. This program came in spot eight, again, because of that!
  9. Avast – 76% – This antivirus program may very well be the feature-rich program of the year. Improving greatly from previous years, it shows each new year how much it has grown to be a beneficial program for almost any system. The only problem that was seen in Avast Pro Antivirus compared to other ones listed above this one, were the ability to stop a malicious download immediately in its tracks. However, with every new program update comes a much better way to block these infected sites.
  10. Webroot – 75% – Webroot has stepped it up with SecureAnywhere, after SpySweeper was retired, but they need to step it up more. Especially on the aspects of removal and protection. Antivirus software needs to be more of protecting and keeping the user safe, not just removing viruses.
  11. Avira – 74% – Avira provides social networking protection, anti-phishing, and pro-active HIPS protection in its newer versions of antivirus. However, it may not be as feature-rich as other programs in its class, and this may take away from the functionality of the antivirus engine (which failed to block a few threats) and does not remove some viruses very well (maybe lacking the proper tools to do it). It did not block 100% of malware, but came fairly – blocking approximately 96% of threats.
  12. ESET – 72.3% ESET has done a great job making NOD32 Antivirus in to a lightweight powerhouse! However, it lacks the ability to find all of the viruses on a hostile system, and the heuristics are a bit lacking. But, hopefully, next year will be much better.
  13. Panda Security – 71.9% – This one was a hard one to judge. When tested on many different systems in the past, it was recognized to provide good protection and great features, however, it lacked performance. Some of the performance lacks had to do with running on a hostile system around a lot of viruses: the program had slowed to a halt. However, the sandbox system, good heuristics, and overall complete protection is what makes it okay!
  14. GFI Vipre – 70.7% – no review written.
  15. McAfee – 66% – no review written.

Free

Free antivirus software provides a temporary means to safeguard your computer, while you can save money for a premium investment…

  1. Avast  – This is growing itself a trend for the best free antivirus. It is thought one of the best promotion techniques they have used in the recent year was contests for their users. From what was seen in our perspective, Avast has an awesomely fast antivirus engine. However, it barely slipped from first place due to its false positives and lack of stronger heuristics needed for the bigger threats. But, since it is free, it goes to show that users need a premium antivirus protection.
  2. AVG – Its good detection and smart heuristics allow it to be a powerful antivirus program, however, it has dealt with false positives on an uncomfortable scale before, so second place is where it sits this time!
  3. Avira  – What is good about Avira Free is that it continually shows good protection against all Windows platforms. What is bad is that it cannot run 100% on heavily infected systems. This is a common problem with antivirus software, but Avira Free has shown to not function very well. May be due to the lack of a well-coded self-protection driver, but nonetheless good luck in the future!
  4. ZoneAlarmIt is assured that ZoneAlarm’s new free program has what it takes to be a good antivirus program. However, due to a few false positives, it ranked 4th this time.
  5. Microsoft Security Essentials – This comes far as one of the most lightweight and simplistic antivirus programs on the market. Microsoft is the maker of the Windows operating system, of course, so it gave users a trustworthiness factor for Microsoft Security Essentials. However, due to the fact it has missed quite a few viruses and it does not remove viruses pretty well, it ranked last on the free list.

Thanks for reading this review. Feel free to comment below. 🙂

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Security Threats to Monitor throughout the beginning of the New Year

There is a lot to look out for this holiday season, and into the New Year…and many Grinches want to steal your joy. But, as long as you keep an eye on them, there shall be nothing to worry about!

 

  1. Spam – as always. Have you gotten emails from “FedEx” lately or UPS? You know, those fake emails stating you have a package to be tracked, but they need another payment method to process it? Or how about some free or cheap Rolexes? All of these are scammy spam, fraudulent, or just wanting to distribute malware! Remember, if you didn’t order it, don’t believe it! What is spam can also lead to number 2…
  2. Phishing attacks… as millions of people shop online and shoot up the revenue of online shopping to the billions of dollars, there are also tons of scammers and fraudulent websites wanting your personal data, credit card, or to waste your time. Remember, if it doesn’t look legitimate, or does not have a secure transaction process, it probably is not a good idea to make the purchase (no matter how attractive it looks). Usually, trusted stores are the best to shop from, and that’s all that’s best.

    When you go to check out and enter your personal information, first look at the address bar and make sure it highlights green in some area and has the following at the beginning of the web address: https://. By looking for that, or even looking for a padlock icon in the lower right or left corner of the browser will help ensure you have a secure connection where your personal information will be transferred privately.

  3. Social engineering attempts – you can find these on social networks. They attempt to entice you with different ads or offers, or show a shocking story in attempts to get you to click on it. Once you do, you may be asked to login to Facebook, verify personal information, or make a payment to get access to information.

    When it comes to shocking stories, safely ignore them if it didn’t come from what looks like a trusted source. Instead, stay out of trouble and don’t click. “If in doubt, throw it out”, perspectively can be used to help let you think about what you click on. Also, be careful about charity apps. On Facebook, and application called “Causes” is the only legitimately popular app to use for charity donations. Most correct charity ideas are routed through Causes because of how trusted the app is.

  4. TMI on social networks – be careful about how you tell others about places you’re currently staying, eating, or being by yourself (at the office or at home). Using apps such as Foursquare or related, don’t bother using. They are highly insecure to your personal privacy and can result in burglary or worse.
  5. ATM skimmers – fake debit or credit card readers are popping up in random ATM machines around major retailers everywhere. Always look closely before swiping your card, or pressing any buttons. If anything seems out of place, loose, or just doesn’t feel right…Don’t swipe your card, don’t press any pin number, etc. If anything seems funky, ask the cashier to run your card under the counter, or just go to a bank.

    It’s best also to either tell the bank owning the ATM or call the number on the ATM. Let them know the machine can be modified for illegitimate purposes. Lastly, always spread the word to the cashier that the ATM could be modified and to tell customers not to use it.

  6. Unprotected computers and tablets… here’s the solutions for those matters:

PC:

MAC:

ANDROID:

Buy Kaspersky Mobile Security and protect your Android smartphone for 1 Year – only $19.95

Facebook alliance with key antivirus companies continues, update enclosed

Facebook has announced the expansion of their alliance with antivirus companies in hopes to better secure its users and promote good privacy… here is a quick scope of the details:

Today, we are excited to announce the expansion of our AV Marketplace to include 7 new partners to our growing coalition of security companies. Starting now, Facebook users will be able to download software from – avast!, AVG, Avira, Kaspersky, Panda, Total Defense, and Webroot. Not only do we have new partners but also many of our existing partners – Microsoft, McAfee, Norton, TrendMicro, and Sophos – will begin offering anti-virus software for your mobile devices. You can visit the AV Marketplace now to download your free anti-virus software for PC, Mac and Mobile.

Our new anti-virus partners bring with them both the latest software and comprehensive intelligence. As with our existing partners, these seven companies will help protect Facebook’s community of over a billion users by improving our URL blacklist system. This system scans trillions of clicks per per day, and before each click, the system consults the databases of all our AV Marketplace partners to make sure the website you are about to visit is safe. This means that whenever you click a link on our site you are protected both by Facebook and 12 of the industry leaders in computer security. We will be cooperating with these partners more in the future, and look forward to announcing new tools soon.

Read more now at the Facebook blog

 

 

See more antivirus recommendations

Fall Malware Threats 2012

Latest release of Fall Malware for 2012 from seCURE Connexion

The goal in releasing a comprised list of threats that security companies will be dealing with the most this Fall is to help instruct users on the latest vectors, so that they know how important it is to maintain an updated antivirus program.

Most of the malware threats listed below are audience aggregated, which means what most security companies are dealing with currently, and there is no hope of it ending anytime soon. These are in order of the most distributed.

KEY: Vir=Virus, Rtk=Rootkit, Trj=Trojan, WM=Worm, Adw=Adware, Spy=Spyware

  1. Trj.ZeroAccess(Sirefef)
  2. Trj.Agent
    • The Agent trojan is a backdoor proxy trojan, that attempts to change the proxy on the target computer to help redirect search results and browsing activity in attempts to mine money or bitcoins.
    • Outlook: Seems this trojan is the most updated trojan ever seen, and will continue to be a problem with all of its low-to-medium risk threats.
  3. Vir.Sality
    • See Microsoft’s writeup
    • Outlook: Sality has been a problem for a few years now, and it still will be a problem. It infects almost every user/system file on the operating system.
  4. Rtk.TDL4/TDSS
    • See Microsoft’s writeup
    • Outlook: TDL4 has continued to be a problem and will continue to be a problem as long as computers have a working master boot record.
  5. Adw.FakeAV
    • See Microsoft’s writeup
    • Outlook: Fake or rogue antivirus has been a problem for over four years of scamming users in to buying antivirus software. It will continue to be a problem for at least the next six months to a year.

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Windows 8 Security Features Explained (mini-whitepaper)

Windows 8 is apparently more secure than Windows 7. Perhaps this is true, and it is best to learn what security features there are for the new operating system. Some of these security features are verified to help out very well in the security of Windows 8, and some may not be in time, or lastly some may not work at all.

One of the most discussed security features is Secure Boot. Now, Secure Boot is a Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) specified in the boot process to check cryptographic signatures of kernel-mode drivers, making sure they aren’t modified or corrupted. In other words, the boot process is now made to check if the operating system has been corrupted by malware or some other issue.

This is all part of a hardware restriction process called Hardware DRM. All non-ARM devices have the option to turn Secure Boot off, however ARM devices must keep it on. Experts state that it will be resistant to rootkits, since the MBR and BIOS cannot be accessed, unless if someone working on the computer penetrates it.

Next, Windows 8 features better built in antivirus software, with a much better improved Windows Defender. The software in Windows 8 is combined with the optional tool Microsoft Security Essentials. Now, with Windows Defender super-powered with MSE, it has much more anti-malware features.

With better anti-malware features, Internet Explorer is now made with better features as well. It has the ability to prevent zero-day exploits much greater than previous versions of Internet Explorer. With the challenges of exploiting Windows 7, there was the issue risen up again for Java and Flash Player, so hackers can gain control over the operating system. Those browser plugins are now easier to exploit than the Internet Explorer’s code.

A new application sandboxing environment called AppContainer provides the ability to run all apps in a controlled environment, where it controls how apps work. This prevents apps from disrupting the operating system. Of course, this is just supplemented by Internet Explorer’s SmartScreen filter, which prevents the download/install of known malicious software. However, Windows 8 now has SmartScreen available for any app, allowing even more prevention. Of course, this means Microsoft employees are going to increase in numbers, if they really want to keep up. Now that hackers know their new challenges, they will be relentless.

The questions are still played on whether Windows 8 will be a repeat of Vista or not. The reality of the situation, is if Windows 8 has big popularity, then the security issues will also light up big time. However, many will stick to Windows 7, so the security issues for Windows users are not close to be over. Feel free to take a look at related articles below for Symantec’s opinions, which aren’t too well on the new OS.

Added October 31, 2012: Trusted Platform Module, read more

Keep up with the latest security tips on our blog here. In addition, please donate to help us continue to write these awesome whitepapers.

Second Opinion Malware Scanners: Why buy one?

Second opinion malware scanners are the best key in managing vulnerabilities. What a regular antivirus or internet security program doesn’t find or catch, the second opinion malware scanner can catch. This is an integral part of a defense-in-depth method, which is a very good idea in maintaining the security of your computer AND your identity. ID theft is one of the biggest security problems on the internet today, but luckily thanks to many anti-malware companies, there are ways to avoid these types of problems.

Second opinion malware scanners do not interfere with other antivirus/internet security software. If they do, rarely, the support team at each company are dedicated to helping you solve that issue pretty fast. These types of programs are engineered to work alongside an antivirus and internet security program.

The following is a short list of second opinion malware scanners. I only recommend two of them, because they are the best, and because I’m an affiliate:

  1. Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware Pro (MBAM Pro)

    Overall, this program is a powerhouse against malware. It provides the best secondary protection mechanisms with IP blocking functionality. Also, allows you to protect the MBAM interface with a password. It keeps hackers out, and the user is allowed in. It also provides priority database updates, excellent customer support, and lightning fast scanning technology. This comes at a lifetime price of only $24.95 (USD), which means once you buy it, you don’t pay anymore fees ever again!
    Try Malwarebytes, the Leader in Malware Removal
  2. Hitman Pro by Surfright

    Now, this program, Hitman Pro, is a different story. It provides a behavioral scan for malware, which checks programs and files for typical malware/virus-like behavior. If it thinks it is a threat, the program alerts you asking you to remove it. It also uses the cloud to enable itself to scan your computer with the newest data from all antivirus companies about zero-day threats. This program is best known for its ability to find kernel-mode rootkits, and its ability to remove even some of the toughest malware. What could be better? Buy Hitman Pro Today!
  3. Zemana Anti-Malware
    This program is a bit newer in the market, and not as well known as the above two. However, it is a competitor in the anti-malware field, and deserves a mention nonetheless. From the vendor: “Zemana Anti-Malware is a second opinion scanner designed to rescue your computer from malware (viruses, trojans, rootkits, etc.) that have infected your computer despite all the security measures you have taken (such as anti-virus software, firewalls, etc.)”.

VirusTotal acquired by Google

Google has been improving its security arsenal for the past few years, especially with the development of its Chrome browser. The five star service (our opinion), VirusTotal, a product by Hispasec, is now going to be shared with Google.

The security intelligence from the Hispasec Sistemas s.l will be an awesome addition to the backbone of Google security. Although, terms of the deal between the two have not been disclosed. It’s important to note that the company was not acquired, just the product.

VirusTotal is a file scanning service, which checks files against a little over 40 anti-malware/antivirus scanners. In addition, it also provides a website scanning service, which is able to check sites for malware, among exploits, etc.

Much of the data that VirusTotal indexes and processes is also shared with the security companies, in a way to boost online security aggressively.

As VirusTotal said in their blog post on the acquisition:

  • The quality and power of our malware research tools will keep improving, most likely faster; and
  • Google’s infrastructure will ensure that our tools are always ready, right when you need them.  

“Security is incredibly important to our users and we’ve invested many millions of dollars to help keep them safe online,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. “VirusTotal also has a strong track record in Web security, and we’re delighted to be able to provide them with the infrastructure they need to ensure that their service continues to improve.”

The last awesome acquisition by Google was the reCAPTCHA deal.

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