More Paid Antivirus Programs
A number of readers commented on last week's Best Paid Antivirus Programs article. Most of them were saying, in effect, You forgot mine! Any short list of a half-dozen programs is going to leave out some worthy contenders. Here are some readers' favorite paid antivirus programs, and my comments on each...
Readers Recommend Their Favorite PAID Anti-Virus Solutions
Last week, I gave you my thoughts on the Best Paid Anti-Virus Programs, and plenty of you had something to say in response. Every time I write about computer security, whether it's the free or paid variety, I get an earful from people who want to tell me why their solution is truly the best. I do respect the real-world experience of my readers, so I've selected the contenders that were mentioned most often in the comments, and I've highlighted each of them below.
Some readers were surprised that AVG Antivirus Pro and AVG Internet Security Suite were omitted. I reviewed both of these paid versions of AVG in an earlier article. Briefly, AVG Free provides excellent protection against email-borne malware, drive-by downloads, and potentially malicious Web sites.
The Pro version ($35) adds protection to instant messaging, blocks rootkits, screens all downloads, and comes with tech support. AVG Internet Security ($55) adds a firewall and anti-phishing features. Although it is very popular, the latest AV-Comparatives test results show that the free version detects just 91% of all malware samples, one of the lowest scores of the 20 programs tested. But you can't rely on these numbers alone, because neither the paid version nor the protection offered by the AVG suite were tested. With over 100 million users, AVG seems to be getting the job done in real-world situations.
Vipre ($29.95) by GFI Software (formerly Sunbelt Software) has quite a few fans, apparently. Most of them cite Vipre's low impact on system performance, and in PC World lab tests it does scan hard drives speedily. It detected over 97 per cent of known malware samples and removed their active components 70 per cent of the time. That's about average for antivirus programs. But Vipre fully blocked only 60 per cent of brand new malware attacks, below the average of 83 per cent. Vipre comes with a firewall that blocks questionable outbound traffic as well as inbound. Currently, Vipre's $29.95 cost buys you lifetime updates; no annual subscription renewal required. Another plus is that they offer to clean your machine free of charge if anything does slip past its defenses.
ESET NOD32 Antivirus 4 ($72 for up to 3 PCs per year) is almost a mirror image of Vipre. In tests, it blocks brand new malware quite well. But it detected only 89 per cent of known malware samples, and removed all active components only 60 per cent of the time. Its speedy scans and low impact on system resources are good, but hardly make up for the poor performance of core antivirus duties. So I have to disagree with the reader who claimed that failure to use ESET NOD32 would "jeopardize your machine". But I do give them extra points for the cool robot theme in their packaging. :-)
Trend Micro was also nominated by several readers. Its PC-Cillin antivirus program is now called Trend Micro Titanium Antivirus 2011 ($60 per year for up to 3 PCs). Titanium's user interface is very simple, which is a plus for non-technical users but may be a bit too simple for power users. Titanium detected over 98 per cent of known malware samples in tests, a very good score. It also fully blocked 88 per cent of brand new malware, about average. It removed all active component of detected malware 80 per cent of the time. Its impact on system performance is about average.
Panda Antivirus Pro 2011 ($50 per year for up to 3 PCs) is another reader favorite. It detected 99.8 per cent of known malware samples, and fully blocked 84 per cent of brand new malware attacks. It was able to remove active malware components 80 per cent of the time. It scan speeds are relatively slow.
Drawing a Conclusion on Paid Anti-Virus
The PC World "Top Anti-Virus for 2011" study gave five products (Symantec/Norton, BitDefender, G-Data, Kaspersky, Trend Micro Titanium) a 4.5 stars rating, but they selected Norton as their #1 pick. I mention that for fairness, since I've often spoken ill of Norton security products. But on the flipside, PC World is a magazine, and they do have to keep their advertisers happy. I'm not saying the review is worthless, just that they could have selected any of those five to receive top honors. The AV-Comparatives report I mentioned above rates G-DATA (99.8), Avast (98.4), Panda (98.1), BitDefender (97.6), and Kaspersky (97.0) all above 97 percent at detection, while Norton ranked #12 at 95.5 percent.
Predictably, the antivirus programs that are best at detecting and removing infections are also the slowest at doing their jobs. Haste makes waste. It's also interesting to note that both the AV-Comparatives and PC World studies shows that NONE of the paid antivirus programs are able to block all malware samples, and 60% was considered an "above-average" score when measuring the ability to completely remove infections.
What does all this tell me? On a practical level, I believe that any of the top dozen or so commercial anti-virus suites will do a good job of protecting you, but none of them will protect all users in every circumstance. However, I'd say the same about the free anti-virus options that I've covered as well. The edge that the paid products have are ease of use, an all-in-one solution, and tech support when you need it.
Each user should make the call, depending on their comfort level with tech issues. But in many cases, it boils down to how much time and effort you're willing to put into choosing or customizing a solution. The old saying in the IT world, "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM" seems to apply here as well.
Your feedback is welcome! Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 13 Jun 2011
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- More Paid Antivirus Programs (Posted: 13 Jun 2011)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved