Tag Archives: Free Antivirus

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%

AVG Announces LiveKive, Offers 5 GB of Free and Secure Cloud Storage

AVG-LiveKive-Cloud-Storage In a surprising move, AVG, the software firm behind one of the most popular free antivirus solutions in the market, has announced the launch of a new cloud based storage solution called LiveKive. While cloud-storage options are a dime a dozen these days, AVG plans on utilizing its expertise to give an edge to its offering.

With AVG LiveKive, AVG is taking its passion and expertise in free security technology to the cloud-based storage market,said J.R. Smith, chief executive officer of AVG Technologies. By storing information on our safe and secure servers, customers significantly reduce the temptation for thieves and hackers to attempt accessing files stored on an individual PC or mobile device.

During the beta testing phase, AVG will be offering 5 GB of free storage to all users. AVG is promising quick and easy access to stored content from any synced device. Although, the sparsely worded official announcement doesn’t specify which devices will be supported, given AVG’s presence in the Android Market, as well as its availability for Windows and Linux, we are anticipating these platforms will be supported (at the very least).

The beta testing phase was expected to have started from this week. However, it seems to have been delayed. I have reached out to AVG, and will update this post when I hear back from them.

Avast 6 Beta Released, Introduces AutoSandbox and WebRep

Although I normally recommend Avira Antivir and Microsoft Security Essentials to anyone looking for a free antivirus, Avast is another option worth considering. In fact, it is one of the most popular free antivirus utilities available in the market, and with good reason. Avast performed quite well in all of Av-comparative’s on-demand and performance tests carried out over the past year.

A couple of days back, Avast Software released the first beta of Avast 6. The biggest draws of the new version are:

  • AutoSandbox: Avast Pro already features a sandboxing option that enables users to surf the web and run applications in an isolated environment that can’t affect the rest of the system. In the new version, Avast has gone a step further and added auto-sandboxing, which can automatically run suspicious programs in a sandbox.
  • WebRep: WebRep’ is a browser toolbar, which is largely similar to WOT (Web of Trust). It is plugin for Internet Explorer and Firefox that displays the reputation score of the website you are currently browsing based on the feedback collected from the community as well as the expertise of Avast’s researchers.

Avast 6 also adds a SafeZone’ to the premium version, which offers a special virtualized area for sensitive transactions. Script Shield’ and Site Blocking’, which were previously available only in the Pro version, are now included even in Avast Free.

Avast-6

Head over to the forums to download the beta version. However, don’t forget to uninstall any previous version or other antivirus products before installing it. Also keep in mind that unexpected stability and performance issues might be present, since this is the first public beta build.

via DownloadSquad

Spybot Portable – a Great Way to Search and Destroy Spyware

spybot-sd-icoBack in 2000, a software engineer, Patrick Kolla, created the basis of a tool for dealing with spyware. This tool, later named Spybot Search and Destroy, was one of the first effective freeware apps for the removal of many kinds of adware and malware that were infecting PCs. Since then, millions of people all over the world have used it at one time or another. To this day, many people consider it an essential part of their PC defenses.

Patrick’s work on Spybot hasn’t stopped, and it’s been updated several times over the years. Today Spybot-S&D can repair or remove:

  • Bad registry keys
  • Winsock LSPs
  • ActiveX objects
  • Browser Hijackers
  • BHOs (Browser Helper Objects)
  • Tracking cookies
  • Trackerware
  • Homepage hijackers
  • Keyloggers
  • Trojans
  • Adware
  • Spyware
  • Rootkits
  • other kinds of malware

Here’s a screenshot of Spybot as it scanned my laptop yesterday.

spybot-sd-portable

Typically, I use Spybot as a secondary scanner, to catch things that my antivirus and other defenses have missed. However, the TeaTimer portion of Spybot can be installed to watch over your computer continuously in the background.

Another great feature of Spybot, is it’s ability to add immunizationsagainst some common weaknesses in Internet Explorer and other areas of your PC.

Spybot can be updated every time you use it, by clicking the update icon. Always check for new updates before running a scan.

I prefer to have most of the programs on my PC, set up as portable applications. I was happy to find that Spybot is also available as a portable app.

arrow-down-double-3Download Spybot S&D Portable

earth-globeSpybot S&D Home Page (full installed version)

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Spybot is one of those apps that have proved themselves over years and years of use. It’s always been free, and it’s probably saved millions of people headaches from re-installing their OS after an infection. It deserves to be highly recommended.

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Get AVG Internet Security 2011 Free One Year License

Quite recently, we told you about the new AVG 2011 Antivirus which is of course free to use. However, AVG also provides users with a more comprehensive security suite in the form of AVG Internet Security 2011.

AVG Internet Security 2011 Free

However, that product is not for free and requires users to pay. If you are sad about that, here is something that will make you glad you read us. AVG is giving out a Free one year license of the AVG Internet Security 2011 suite to users. The one year subscription for this suite is priced at $54.99 so you are saving quite a bundle there.

To get a free license of the AVG Internet Security 2011 suite, visit this link and fill out the form. You can then download the product and start using it. AVG will send you a license code that is good for one year which you can then use to register the software.

If you might want to try out other Antivirus, take a look at some of the Free Antivirus we have covered in the past. Many of those provide users with comprehensive online security software which are definitely worth using.

(h/t Jatin Sapra on )

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011 is Now Available

avg-logo On September 28th, AVG announced the release of their 2011 suite of anti-virus and anti-malware programs. Included with this release is the ever popular free edition of AVG Anti-virus and the free LinkScanner application.

Even though AVG’s offerings have slipped some in the AV testing results, it’s still a great option for protecting home PCs. The addition of the LinkScanner, which warns you about your current web pages, bad links in web pages and risky links in email, seriously improves your chances of staying trouble-free.

As an added bonus to the entire web community, AVG has also unveiled AVG Threat Labs, a search engine which gives short reports on the safety of any web site or link.

A quick look at AVG Anti-Virus Free edition:

While installing, watch out for AVG’s offer to install a toolbar and change your home page to Yahoo. I said no to that. Be sure to uncheck those check-boxes if you feel the same way.

avg-install-3rd-party-options

Next, be prepared to wait. After the initial agreements, AVG will download about 130mb of data, to finish the install. With lots of others downloading the same data, you may not get a good download speed. I was definitely bored at this point.

After the download and install, the last screen will ask for your name and email address. If you are shy, you could type anything you want in there. You’ll also want to be aware of the very last check-box, which is set to allow AVG to collect anonymous information to help them improve the product. Uncheck it if you are paranoid.

Finally, here’s your first peek at the new AVG interface.

avg-main-interface

As you can see, the main two functions, Scan and Update, are on the left. Naturally, a free product is an opportunity to advertise, and you’ll see an Upgrade button and a large ad at the bottom. I don’t mind, but some people might.

I’m not going to go into any details on how to use AVG, it’s like most other anti-virus apps. Install it, do a few scans now and then, but mostly forget about it until a problem pops up.

AVG LinkScanner

During the installation of the anti-virus, I choose the Quick Install method. If you choose to customize your installation, you can select not to install some of the services such as LinkScanner. In previous versions of LinkScanner, there were some problems in certain web browsers, but those issues have been largely fixed. I recommend allowing it to install with the anti-virus. You can always disable it later if needed.

If you are using some other anti-virus product, you can install LinkScanner all by itself. There’s also a version for the Mac now.

Here’s what AVG says about the LinkScanner:

LinkScanner ® keeps you safe wherever you go online by actively checking links and web pages in real time the only time it matters – before you click that link. LinkScanner ® also places safety ratings next to your search results, allowing you to assess the safety of a site before visiting it.

The service it offers is similar to that offered by McAfee’s SiteAdvisor and WOT (Web of Trust), which I also recommend. I don’t believe it’s necessary to run more than one of these at a time, so pick one and try it out.

Once you start seeing link ratings in a web search, you’ll understand how it can keep you out of trouble.

linkscanner-ratings

download AVG Free Download AVG Anti-Virus 2011 Free Edition

download LinkScanner Download AVG LinkScanner

arrow-right-double Visit AVG Threat Lab to find out if sites or links are risky


Techie Buzz Verdict:

AVG’s free anti-virus products have always been good. However, due to recent results in AV testing, I’ve lost some of my faith in it. It’s still good, but not as good as some of the other free AV applications. However, the LinkScanner tool and the new AVG Threat Lab site have my hearty recommendations.

On a final note, my wife is a loyal AVG user and it’s always kept her safe. If you’ve been using AVG, and it’s been working well for you, there’s no reason not to upgrade to the 2011 version right now.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)


What is the Best Free Online Virus Scanner?

[Windows Only]

security-high-2 The other day, I was reading a newsletter from Windows Secrets. At one point, Fred Langa recommended three different online scanners for detecting malware. He said Three free sites to try are: McAfee’s Freescan, Trendmicro’s HouseCall, and Symantec’s Security Check.

Fred is a trusted source to me. I’ve been reading PC advice from him since years ago, when he wrote the Langa List newsletter. However, I decided to try out Fred’s recommendations, because I’ve never been a big fan of online scanners. If there’s a good scanner out there, I want to know about it.

McAfee Freescan

First, I took a look at McAfee’s service. The foremost objection that I had to this service, is that it requires Internet Explorer. It also runs as an ActiveX application, which is another thing I’ve never liked. The scan seemed to be slow, but it seems to do a good job of detecting infections.

The last item that I believe it fails in, is that it can only detect infections. It cannot remove them. I wouldn’t waste my time here again.

mcafee-free-scan

Symantec Security Check

Next, I tried out Symantec’s service. You might be more familiar with their well known Norton security products. My initial impression of Symantec’s scanner suffered a big drop because it also requires Internet Explorer. However, I was impressed by the nice looking interface.

As nice as it looks, it can only detect malware, and you’re out of luck if you expect it to actually fix any problems. Adding to that, it gave me one false detection on a piece of software which I know is completely safe. Clicking on the Fix Nowbutton only sends you to Symantec’s site to read all about their premium anti-virus software.

The final failure that keeps me from returning, is that it told me that my computer had no antivirus software, even though I was using Microsoft Security Essentials. Hmmm, nice sales tactic, but it only works on foolish people. (Sorry! I mean those less knowledgeable about PCs.)

norton-security-scan6

TrendMicro Housecall

At last, TrendMicro has unchained itself from Internet Explore. It works in any browser, and the scanner is offered as an installer EXE file. The scanning is typically slow, just as I saw with the other two services. However, another bright spot is that it can actually FIXsome of the problems it finds. Housecall is actually a service I could recommend.

The only drawback is that you have to save the installer file, or go back to the website if you want to scan with it in the future.

housecall

Conclusion:

Of these three services, Housecall won easily. Some time back, I also reviewed ESET online scanner and it was just as good as Housecall, maybe better. Check it out.

I would only recommend an online scanner like these as a follow-up after cleaning a PC that was badly infected. Typically, I depend on MalwareBytes to clean up serious infections. If your current antivirus and antimalware software has failed, it’s not likely an online scanner will do you any good.

On the other hand, scanning with an online service like these won’t hurt, and it could pick up something your current software has missed. There are also several other online scanners that I haven’t tried yet. Do you use any online scanners that you’d recommend? Let us know in the comments below.

SpywareBlaster – Low Impact Malware Protection

[Windows – all versions]

spyware-blaster-icon

Way back in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, one of the first security apps I’d install on a PC was SpywareBlaster. These days, I don’t use it as often, however, it’s still excellent PC protection, especially if you are using Internet Explorer as your default web browser. Here’s what the website says about this application:

Multi-Angle Protection

Prevent the installation of ActiveX-based spyware and other potentially unwanted programs.
Block spying / tracking via cookies.
Restrict the actions of potentially unwanted or dangerous web sites.

No-Nonsense Security

SpywareBlaster can help keep your system secure, without interfering with the “good side” of the web. And unlike other programs, SpywareBlaster does not have to remain running in the background. It works alongside the programs you have to help secure your system.

spyware-blaster-main

Here’s a list of web browsers that can benefit from SpywareBlaster’s protection:

Internet Explorer
Mozilla Firefox
Netscape
Seamonkey
Flock
K-Meleon
and browsers that use the IE engine, including:
AOL web browser
Avant Browser
Slim Browser
Maxthon (formerly MyIE2)
Crazy Browser
GreenBrowser

SpywareBlaster does not have to run continuously in order to do it’s job. It simply applies a few registry settings to your PC and your browser that will help prevent drive-by downloads and bad ActiveX scripts. After you’ve installed SpywareBlaster, all you have to do is to enable the protection on the main screen.

spyware-blaster-all-protections

The free version of SpywareBlaster requires that you update it manually, however, there is a pro version that can update itself automatically. If you can remember to update it, the free version is fine for all users. The manual update process is very simple.

spyware-blaster-updates

There are a few other tools bundled in with SpywareBlaster, one of them is the System Snapshot. If you ever find yourself having a few problems with your web browser, restoring one of these snapshots may be an easy fix.

spyware-blaster-sys-snapshot

Another tool is Hosts Safe. Windows uses the HOSTS file to provide system shortcuts to various websites and some malware programs take control of this file to force your PC to places you’d never go on your own. You can create backup copies of your HOSTS file easily with this tool in SpywareBlaster and restore them later if needed.

spyware-blaster-hosts-safe

The last tool I’ll mention is a IE Settings section. As you can see, it offers two or three settings that can help you protect Internet Explorer.

spyware-blaster-ie-settings

Please note that SpywareBlaster is not a replacement for Firewall, Anti-Virus or Anti-Spyware tools. However, it’s normally quite safe to use it in addition to the tools you already have installed.


Download SpywareBlaster: Download.com

SpywareBlaster Website: javacoolsoftware.com

Techie Buzz Verdict:

SpywareBlaster is a great way to add an additional layer of security to your PC. I like the fact that it does not have to run continuously in the background in order to work. It’s been around for over 10 years and I’ve never seen any serious complaints about it. I can easily recommend it.

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Microsoft Security Essentials New Beta Download Now Available

Microsoft Security Essentials is one of the best free Antivirus and Anti malware solution available today. I have been personally using MSE for a while now and have found it to be the best security solution which is easy on system resources and does its job well.

Microsoft Security Essentials

Today, Microsoft released a new version of Microsoft Security Essentials for beta testing. Some of the new features in Microsoft Security Essentials Beta include:

Windows Firewall integration During setup, Microsoft Security Essentials will now ask if you would like to turn the Windows Firewall on or off.

Enhanced protection for web-based threats Microsoft Security Essentials now integrates with Internet Explorer to provide protection against web-based threats.

New protection engine The updated anti-malware engine offers enhanced detection and cleanup capabilities with better performance.

Network inspection system Protection against network-based exploits is now built in to Microsoft Security Essentials.

You will need to sign in to Microsoft Connect in order to download the latest beta of Microsoft Security Essentials. To download MSE beta, head over to this link. MSE beta is available in both 32bit and 64bit editions and also supports . More info and details on MSE Beta can be found at the Windows Team Blog.

Avast Free Antivirus is Updated to 5.0

shield-green-check-ico [Windows XP, Vista, 7] Back in 2004, I was a happy AVG Antivirus user. One day I heard a false rumor that AVG was going to end support for their free version. I searched around for a good replacement and decided to try Avast Home Edition (version 4). Here is what it looked like at that time.

avast-4

It looked like an audio player. I thought it was kind of cool, but many people thought it was a little childish. In any case, I used it for several months and was happy with it.

Now there’s a new version of Avast available. It’s been renamed to Avast Free Antivirusat version 5. Since the days I used it, there have been some drastic changes to the look and feel of the application. One thing that has not changed is it’s high ratings in effectiveness and it’s reasonable system requirements.

Version 4.8 of Avast was roughly a 40mb download and the new version 5 is around 50mb. So, it has apparently gained some weight. Whether or not this has slowed it down, has yet to be independently determined, as far as I know.

To see what the new interface of Avast Free Antivirus looks like, check out this video from CNet.

Link to video (if you can’t see it above)

Avast has over 100 million users, and late last year, they teamed up with Google Chrome. It looks like Google trusts Avast for Windows PCs. However, Google also mistrusts Windows and has decided to stop using Windows in it’s own offices.

The only things that this free version does not have, that their paid version has, is a Firewall, spam shield, script protection and a sandbox test. If you would like a free suite of Antivirus/Anti-malware tools and a Firewall, you may want to take a look at Microsoft Security Essentials. Many people believe that Microsoft’s offering provides a more complete protection solution.

Seth Rosenblatt, at Download.com, was impressed with the new Avast 5 and gave it a 5 star rating. The general user rating there is 4.5 stars, which is quite good.

Download Avast 5 from Download.com

Download Avast 5 from Avast.com

Download older 4.x versions of Avast

Techie Buzz Verdict:

I have not tried the new version, but I have used Avast many times over the last 6 years. I never found anything to complain about and I trust this company. I will not hesitate to give Avast Free Antivirus a thumbs up.

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5