Friday, June 25, 2010

New Antivirus

The past two months have been pretty hectic for me, compounded by a large dose of bad luck. I think it started with the plumbing problems we had, and then my computer got hit twice, after which my cellular phone decided there's really no need for me to send or receive SMS messages, several kitchen appliances stopped working at the least convenient timing, our leased car started warning about an imminent brake fault, several light bulbs burned out, our water cooler/heater/purifier/dispenser combo stopped working, our kids caught a nasty stomach flu - one after the other, my wife was hit by a toothache and an even more painful filling treatment, and I suspect we haven't seen the end of it, yet.

So, when NOD32, the anti-virus software that's running on my wife's box, started complaining that its update subscription is about to expire, I wasn't pissed off, I was just too tired.

I've decided to ditch NOD32 in favor of a free alternative - Microsoft's Security Essentials. While it seems that NOD32 is ranked better by AV-Comparatives, I've developed my doubts about the ranking methodology in general and NOD32's rank in particular.

At least in one case, NOD32 missed an obvious worm (a file with an .exe extension that's auto-run from an autorun.inf file), that found its way to my wife's USB flash drive (and which was detected by ClamAV on my Debian box - one product that is not even considered by AV-Comparatives).

Furthermore, Microsoft's Security Essentials detected another worm, right there on the laptop's C drive root folder, during the first quick scan that's run as part of the installation process.

MSSE also flagged UltraVNC as a potential (medium-risk) malware, but it was easy to convince MSSE to permanently ignore it.

It seems that file scanning in MSSE is much slower than in NOD32. Other than that it seems to be doing a decent job - it updates regularly, doesn't seem to slow Windows more than NOD32, and it has already managed to protect the laptop from catching one of the Conficker strains that resided on an infected USB drive, that my wife got from a work colleague.

Well, that's all for now - I'm off to hang a Hamsa on our door.

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