Tag Archives: AntiVirus

Kaspersky Tops Antivirus Shootout, Windows Defender Worst of the Lot

Anti-virus software is no longer a catch-all solution for your security due to the multitude of new vectors. However, it still makes sense to have an effective anti-virus software installed on your system. Renowned security testing lab Av-Test put 25 consumer antivirus-solutions through the wringer to determine how well they perform in real-world scenarios on Windows 8.1.

All the security apps were graded on three criteria – Protection, Performance, and Usability. The first criterion is an indication of the detection rate. Each security software was tested on a system with 20,646 known (malware that have been widespread and prevalent in the last four weeks) and 138 unknown samples. The Performance score is based on the amount of impact the security software had on the system performance, while usability is determined by the amount of false positives.

The good news is that most of the antivirus suites performed pretty well, with only three tools ending up with a detection rate below 94% on unknown malware. The average detection rate for known malware was 98%. The bad news is that Microsoft Windows Defender, which ships with Windows 8.1 performed abysmally. It was the worse of the lot scoring 0 points in protection. The other two poor performers in the heuristics test were the Tencent PC Manager and AhnLab V3 Internet Security. Even popular third-party freeware products like AVG and Avast performed relatively poorly. Panda Cloud Antivirus and Qihoo 360 Internet Security were the top performing free antivirus software.

Windows-Defender-Detection-Rate
Windows Defender Protection Results

The overall top performer was Kaspersky Internet Security 2014, which obtained a perfect score of 18. Qihoo, McAfee, Bitdefender and Avira scored 17.5 points. As many as nine antimalware apps got a perfect score in the detection tests. The high score were undoubtedly influenced by Av-Test’s decision to use only widespread and prevalent malware for the known samples test, but it also makes Windows Defender’s mere 79% detection rate look even worse.

Antivirus-Shootout-Result
Av-Test Antivirus Shootout Results

Norton 360 Multi-Device Review

Most of you might be familiar with the Symantec’s popular anti-virus software, the Norton 360. I’ve been using the Norton 360 from the last 3 years and I never had a single virus on my desktop and laptop. Earlier this year, Symantec launched a new product, Norton 360 multi-device. It is nothing but the Norton 360 Premier Edition for PC, Norton Internet Security for Mac and Norton Mobile Security for Android devices packed in a single product. Norton 360 multi-device is also called as Norton 360 Everywhere in some countries. It allows you to protect up to 5 device with a single license.

I have installed the Norton 360 multi-device on my laptop powered by Windows 8, desktop PC with Windows 7 and smartphone running on the Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) OS. Some anti-virus software takes more than 10 minutes to install, but Norton didn’t take more than 2 minutes to complete the installation. The UI will be quite familiar to those who have previously used the Norton 360. As soon as you start the program, you will be greeted with a start screen as shown below.

The Norton 360 start screen has 4 sections – security, identity, backup and tuneup.

Security:

After installing the software, Norton will scan your computer and check for threats. If it does not detect any virus, spyware or other threats, then the security section will marked as ‘protected’. Norton 360 protects your important stuff from viruses, spyware and other threats. It not only detects any possible threats from your computer, but also removes them before they can cause problems for you.

The security section allows you to view details regarding the last time you have scanned your computer. It also checks whether the virus and spyware definitions are up to date. If you have not updated the program from a long time, then there is no need to worry. You can just hit the ‘Run LiveUpdate’ option and the program will automatically check for update and download it within a few seconds.

Norton 360 not only scan your computer for virus and threats, but it also scans your Facebook wall and check whether the shared links are safe from online threats. The ‘Quick Scan’ option allows you to examine only key areas of your computer. On the other hand, ‘Full System Scan’ allows you to examine your entire computer and run a file backup. You can also manage your firewall, create custom internet access for individual programs or block all internet traffic from the security section.

Identity:

The identity section lets you view whether your computer is protected from online threats. It come with the ‘Norton Identity Safe’, which is nothing but a password manager similar to LastPass and 1Password. It stores your passwords in a secure, cloud-based vault that can be accessed only by you. However, if you forget the password, then there is no way to recover it. We recommend you to use a password hint which can easily remind you of the master password.

Norton Identity Safe allows you to save passwords to the vault, autofill addresses, credit cards and save notes. It keeps your passwords synchronized across different computers, browsers, and mobile devices. It works with Google Chorme, Mozilla Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer on the windows platform. It is also available for OS X, iOS and Android devices. Norton Identity Safe warns you of unsafe sites in your search results and blocks them immediately.

These days identity thieves use SPAM, malicious Web sites, email messages and instant messages to trick people into divulging sensitive information, such as bank and credit card accounts. Norton’s Antiphishing component analyzes the security level of the Web sites that you visit and protects you from visiting unsafe Web sites. Norton phishing protection also blocks navigation to the Web sites that are confirmed to be fraudulent.

Backup:

Norton 360 offers 2 GB of cloud storage, however the Norton 360 Multi-Device comes with 25 GB of online storage. The Backup section allows you to backup all your important files and folders to other location such as external drives, DVDs, USB flash drives, etc. You will need to create a set by specifying the files you want to backup and the external location. The backups will help you to restore all your important files and folders in case your computer hard drive crashes or if you delete something by accident. To restore your files, just hit the ‘Restore Files’ option and follow the instructions.

Tuneup:

The Tuneup section packs some important tools such as Disk Optimization, File Cleanup, Startup Manager and Diagnostic report. The Disk Optimization defragments your hard disk and free up space, while the File Cleanup deletes the temporary files that are left behind after Internet browsing as well as deletes the unnecessary files that are left in Windows Temporary folders after a program has been installed or updated.

The Diagnostic report lets you view the details of the Norton 360 product version, details of the operating system, date installed, country code, version of Internet Explorer, Windows update setup, latest Windows Hotfix date, the operating system user language, system restore points and much more. The Startup Manager helps you to manage and control your startup programs. You can additional use the ‘delay start’ option to delay the start of a program when you turn on your computer.

Norton Mobile Security:

Norton Mobile Security is available Android smartphones, tablets, iPhone and iPad. It not only protects your smartphones and tablets from malware and viruses, but also protects all your data if the device is accidentally damaged, lost or stolen. We have installed the Norton Mobile Security on our smartphone running on the Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) OS and iPad 3 with iOS 6. You can easily download the lite version of this app from the Google Play Store and upgrade to the full version by using the same product key provided with Norton 360 Multi-Device.

The anti-Malware checks for malware on your device internal storage as well as on the SD card. You can schedule a daily, weekly or monthly scan to detect malware from time to time. The backup feature helps you to backup all your contacts to your Norton account. If your device is lost or the data is deleted due to the OS upgrade, you can easily restore your contact back to your smartphone. Other important feature is call blocking. You can add contact from your call log, sms log, contacts or directly input a phone number to block all the unwanted calls.

The Anti-theft is the most important feature of the Norton Mobile Security. If your smartphone or tablet is lost or stolen, you can easily lock your device to prevent strangers from using it and access your important files, pictures and videos. The Remote wipe feature lets you erase the information on your missing mobile device, including any data on phone memory cards. Sadly, this feature does not work with iPhone and iPad.

The Sneak Peek feature remotely takes a photo to help identify who has your missing device. However, you will need a device with front-facing camera to access this feature. Other useful feature is the Scream alarm, which activates a scream alarm, so you can quickly find your missing mobile device. Last but not the least is the Remote locate, which locates your lost or stolen Android and iOS device on a map to help you find it easily.

Conclusion:

I have been using Norton 360 from the last 3 years and I always recommend my friends to get this product as it have never failed to protect my PC. The Norton 360 Multi-Device takes the basic Norton 360 to the next level. I own a Windows laptop, desktop, Android smartphones and iPad. Previously, I had to purchase a seprate license for multiple devices on multiple platforms. However, Norton 360 multi-device solved this problem and allowed me to use a single product key for 5 different devices on multiple platforms.

Norton 360 comes with 2 GB of online storage, however the Norton 360 multi-device offers 25 GB of storage which is extemely useful if you accidentally lose important data from your computer. The only thing I didn’t liked about the Norton Mobile Security for ipad is that the Anti-theft feature is not available for Wi-Fi iPads. You are stuck with just contact backup feature. If you are someone like me who owns multiple devices, then I would definitely recommend you to get the Norton 360 Multi-Device.

Norton 360 Multi-Device for up to 3 device is available for Rs.2999.99, while you can purchase the license for up to 5 device at Rs.4189.99. To order the Norton 360 Multi-Device, head over to this page.

Rating: 4/5

Google Acquires VirusTotal, Online Antivirus Scanner

Google has acquired VirusTotal, an online scanner to detect viruses, trojans and other malware. The terms of the acquisition or the amount hasn’t been revealed yet, but it isn’t likely to be much. Following the acquisition, VirusTotal will be able to leverage Google’s massive infrastructure to improve the quality of its service and scale up operations.

We aren’t sure how exactly Google plans to integrate VirusTotal’s online offering into its search feature. For now, VirusTotal has announced that it will continue to operate independently and maintain its existing partnerships.

Here’s the official press release by VirusTotal:

“Our goal is simple: to help keep you safe on the web. And we’ve worked hard to ensure that the services we offer continually improve. But as a small, resource-constrained company, that can sometimes be challenging. So we’re delighted that Google, a long-time partner, has acquired VirusTotal. This is great news for you, and bad news for malware generators, because:

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.

VirusTotal will continue to operate independently, maintaining our partnerships with other antivirus companies and security experts. This is an exciting step forward. Google has a long track record working to keep people safe online and we look forward to fighting the good fight together with them.”

via VirusTotal

Norton 360 Antivirus Review

Since quite some time, Symantec’s Norton set of applications have been known to computer users — particularly the anti virus application. Over the past few years, Symantec has been bundling more and more applications into a single suite for Internet security. Recently I got my hands on a review copy of Norton 360 v6.0 and tested it on my system for a period. Lets’s see how it does.

UI

Norton 360 packs a simplistic UI. The application’s start page is divided into 4 sections; each highlighting the various areas of protection it offers — PC Security ( Virus/Malware  Prevention/Firewall), Identity ( Phishing Protection/Password Management), Backup ( file backup) and PC tuneup( general maintenance). Norton 360 also has a separate section for scheduling tasks and looking at the system performance. The start page also has an activity map of cyber-crime activity across the world.

Norton 360 Home Page

 

PC Security

Norton is quite well known for their anti-virus lineup. The PC security section handles tasks related to anti-virus, anti-malware, anti-spyware, intrusion prevention, incoming/outgoing email scanning and firewall.

The PC Security tab allows you to check on previous scan results, run scans on demand & check for updates to definitions. Clicking on “Run Scan” brings up the option to start an anti-virus scan. Like most anti-virus programs, there’s an option of running a quick scan which checks the most essential files, a full scan which performs a through scan and does a backup and a custom scan/task which allows you to customize what to scan and what to backup.

Norton Scan UI

Custom Tasks

The scan Facebook wall is a nice feature; it goes through your Facebook Wall and checks that the posted links are safe. With additional permissions, you can configure Norton Safe Web to automatically scan links and auto-post them to your if it’s not malicious — a nice way to keep your Facebook account clean.

Identity

The identity section manages the features in ensuring your online identity is not compromised. Features included in this section are

  • Norton Safe Web
  • Antiphishing
  • Identity safe

Norton Safe Web installs an add-on to your browser & uses Norton Safe Web service and looks up the site’s ratings and review, much like Web of Trust. Identify safe is Norton’s solution for a password manager, much like LastPass. In addition to passwords, Identity Safe also allows you to save Notes and Credit Card details — all behind a master password that you’ll need to enter to open the safe.
Identity Safe

If you login to a site that you haven’t visited before, Norton will offer to save your credentials, which can be autofilled in when you next visit the site. This is a nice and recommended way of password management since you’ll have to remember only the master password to unlock the safe — the others will be autofilled. You can also configure Identity Safe passwords to be transferred to your Norton account so that you can access it from any computer which has internet access.
Identity Safe Password Details
For all the nice things about Identity safe, I’m pretty disappointed because of a lack of Generate New Password option. A password manager without the capability to generate passwords is just flawed.

Norton 2013 Begins Public Beta, Introduces Windows 8 Support

Windows 8 is still several months away from being released; however, major software firms are already hard at work to ensure that their applications support the latest and greatest from Microsoft’s stables right out of the gate.

Earlier this month, Symantec kicked off the public beta testing phase of Norton 2013 series of products (Norton 360 2013, Norton Internet Security 2013, and Norton AntiVirus 2013). The biggest draw of Norton 2013 seems to be complete Windows 8 compatibility. In fact, Symantec has even tweaked Norton’s interface to make it better suited to Windows 8’s design aesthetics.

Norton-2013-Dashboard

Norton-2013-Protection

Norton-2013-Settings

Official changelog for Norton 2013 is yet to be published. The only new feature that is readily apparent is bandwidth monitoring, which can restrict the download of non-critical updates over expensive networks. However, there are quite a few other minor tweaks that Download Crew has managed to spot. Norton Insight is now integrated with the Firewall, and the Insight File Reputation database is updated more quickly. SONAR (Symantec Online Network for Advanced Response), which is Norton’s heuristics engine, now works even in safe mode. And finally, Norton now automatically downloads and installs Norton Power Eraser tool if any infection is detected.

Head over to the official public beta forum to download Norton 2013. However, keep in mind that using non-release build of security products is not recommended.

Microsoft Security Essentials: Microsoft’s Free Anti-virus Hits v4.0

Microsoft has released a new version of Microsoft Security Essentials, the free anti-virus/anti-malware program for Windows PCs. The MSE 4.0 release is available via the Microsoft Download Center and the MSE Web site and also made available to existing customers automatically through the Microsoft Update service.

image

Interestingly, this version has been in beta since late 2011, and the last released version was 2.1. There is no indication of the need to skip v3 and the jump to v4; the latest build being 4.0.1526.0. The participants in the beta program who are subscribed to automatic updates will be upgraded to the final release of the latest version of Microsoft Security Essentials after they agree to a new license agreement. You can also do a manual upgrade from v2.1 or the beta release without uninstalling the previously installed version.

Microsoft Security Essentials provides real-time protection for your home or small business PCs (up to 10)  that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. MSE is designed to be simple to install and easy to use. It runs quietly in the background without annoying notifications or interruptions. It is available as a free download from Microsoft for genuine Windows users, in both x86 and x64 editions.

G-DATA, Avira, and Kaspersky Top Performers in New Antivirus Shootout

Respected antimalware product testing lab Av-Comparatives has just published the results of their latest file detection shootout. The on-demand file detection tests used as many as 291388 malware samples on twenty different antivirus applications. The only big name missing from the tests is Symantec who didn’t want to be included in the on-demand comparatives.

Antivirus-Shootout

The top performers in the tests were G-Data and Avira. To anyone who follows antivirus shootouts from the likes of Av-Test or Av-Comparatives, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Both G-Data and Avira have been dominating the on-demand tests for the past several years. G-Data isn’t very popular in the US, but its dual engine antivirus product (BitDefender and Avast) has consistently been a top performer as far as detection is concerned. G-Data and Avira managed to identify 99.7% and 99.4% of the virus samples respectively.

Although G-Data and Avira have always been among the very best when it comes to detection rates, they are known to falter when it comes to removing malware. This makes them great choices for a brand new system, but not something you can rely on to heal infected systems. In such cases, you might want to look at the Kaspersky, which came in third with a 99.3% detection rate. It’s pleasing to see Kaspersky in the top 3, as the Russian firm had been slipping over the past few years.

The worst performer in the tests was Microsoft Security Essentials, which managed to detect only 93.1% of the threats. Sophos, F-Secure, Panda, BitDefender, BullGuard, McAfee, Fortinet, eScan, Webroot, and Avast managed to detect more than 98% of the threats. However, Webroot also had an astoundingly high number of false positives.
Head over to av-comparatives.org for the full report.

Total detection rates (clustered in groups):
1. G DATA 99.7%
2. AVIRA 99.4%
3. Kaspersky 99.3%
4. Sophos 98.9%
5. F-Secure, Panda, Bitdefender,
BullGuard, McAfee 98.6%
6. Fortinet, eScan 98.5%
7. Webroot 98.2%
8. Avast 98.0%
9. ESET 97.6%

10. PC Tools 97.2%
11. GFI 97.0%
12. AVG 96.4%
13. Trend Micro 95.6%

14. AhnLab 94.0%
15. Microsoft 93.1%

Scammers Using Antivirus Companies to Fool PayPal Users

Of late, scammers have grown smarter when it comes to conning people on the Internet. Several scammers have begun to use Word documents as attachments while sending out scam emails. However, they haven’t stopped there and are now using Antivirus companies to scam PayPal users.

A flurry of emails are being sent out by scammers with subject lines like “Receipt for your payment to AVG” or “Receipt for your payment to Symantec” or “Receipt for your payment to Norton“accompanied by a PayPal receipt which looks very genuine (see image below).

Paypal Antivirus AVG Scam

The email in question looks very genuine and the scammer asks you to confirm the payment and also includes a “Cancel Transaction” link. This would definitely make many people click on the link because they might not have made the purchase in the first place. Clicking on the link will take the users to a website which is similar to that of PayPal.

Fake PayPal Login Credit Card Hoax

The website in question will ask you for your username and password. However, DO NOT enter it. For testing purposes, I entered a fake username and password and it allowed me to access my false account. It then went on to tell me that my account is limited and that I need to enter my credit card, social security, banking and billing information.

This scam looks to be pretty widespread because not only is it farming your PayPal username and password but it is also stealing your credit card information, social security and banking information.

There are several ways in which you can protect yourself from such scammers like turning on the Anti-phishing feature in to know when emails from PayPal are genuine. You should also always have a good Antivirus and Anti-spyware or Anti-malware running on your system. You can find tons of free Antivirus software which you can download and use immediately. You can also read our earlier guide to Protect Yourself from Internet Threats.

AVG Premium Security Protects You against Identity Theft

AVG has launched a new product called AVG Premium Security, which boasts of an unique Identity Alert component. Over the past few months we have witnessed numerous large scale data thefts of varying severity. Although the Sony PSN hacking incident grabbed the limelight, there were numerous other small, but perhaps more damaging, incidents. A helpful netizen even created a service that can automatically alert you if your online identity is compromised.

AVG’s Identity Alert component also performs a similar function, but probably more thoroughly. AVG claims that it scours the web, including chatrooms, forums, and criminal webpages to check if your identity has been compromised by monitoring your e-mail address and debit and credit card numbers.

When you combine the shocking security lapses we have seen out of very high profile and respected brands such as Sony, Epsilon and Citigroup in the past few months with the liability shift toward consumers, it is clear that identity theft protection tools are no longer a nice to have,said J.R Smith, CEO, AVG Technologies. Banks and corporations are at an important tipping point, showing strong indications that they will no longer simply cover losses,- expecting the online users to share equal responsibility in taking appropriate security measures that ultimately protect each other from malicious attacks.

Besides the Identity Alert component, AVG Premium Security includes AVG Internet Security and AVG Quick Tune. Internet Security features anti-virus, anti-spyware, AVG Protective Cloud Technology, and the AVG Community Protection Network. Quick Tune is basically a stripped down version of AVG PC Tuneup. It offers disk defragmenter, junk file removal, registry cleaner, and broken shortcut remover.

With its new offering, AVG is hoping to compete with Kaspersky Pure, Norton 360 and other similar products. The Identity Alert module helps AVG differentiate itself from its competitors, and the suite itself is competitively priced at $69.99. However, it might also be an overkill for most users. In my humble opinion, as long as you take the basic precautions like not reusing passwords, a simple firewall and antivirus is likely to suffice.

Kaspersky Antivirus 2012 and Internet Security 2012 Released

Kaspersky-2012Kaspersky Lab has released the 2012 editions of its reputed anti-malware products – Kaspersky Antivirus and Kaspersky Internet Security. Kaspersky Antivirus is the base offering which offers file antivirus, web antivirus, cloud scanning and proactive defense. Kaspersky Internet Security offers a more complete protection and has several additional features like firewall, sandboxing, and parental control.

To be honest the biggest change in the new version is the new user interface, which is nothing short of stunning. There isn’t a lot of new stuff, mostly because Kaspersky products are already packed to the brim with features. However, there are several improvements.

Kaspersky-Antivirus-2012-Dashboard

The focus of this release is on offering hybrid protection that harnesses the power of the cloud along with the local database and heuristics based security technologies to reduce the average protection delivery time. Kaspersky’s cloud protection relies on the Kaspersky Security Network (KSN), which has been a part of Kaspersky’s offerings for quite some time now. However, in the latest editions of its products, Kaspersky has done a better job at highlighting the cloud integration. KSN currently has more than 30 million voluntary members from 213 countries, and is capable of tackling advanced threats like zero-day exploits, phishing and spam. It also includes a File Advisor and a URL Advisor, which provides ratings on the trustworthiness of files and websites respectively.

Kaspersky-Antivirus-2012

The proactive defense module has also been improved. System Watcher module should be more efficient than before at analyzing activities performed by various processes and detecting malicious intent. Kaspersky is also promising better performance and improved compatibility with its latest release.

Kaspersky-Antivirus-2012-Scan

As I mentioned earlier, the changelog is pretty short and mostly unimpressive. However, Kaspersky is continuing its tradition of offering free upgrades to existing license holders. Just key in your existing activation code into the trial version, and your license will be automatically upgraded. You can download the free 30 day trial versions of Kaspersky Antivirus and Kapsersky Internet Security from here.