Tuesday, May 9, 2006

What Anti-Virus Software Do I recommend?

Sorry for the long delay since the last post. I have been busy working on the website, and most importantly testing a few things here and there. One of the things I have been testing is different brands of anti-virus software so I will have my own opinion of what to recommend to you. I have tested Symantec's Norton Internet Security 2006, McAfee Internet Security Suite 2006, Eset's NOD32, and Zone Labs' ZoneAlarm Security Suite.

Why you ask did I try these? Because they seem to be the top rated ones out there. I have read so many reviews and other test's that are supposed to be independently reviewed, however I don't believe that some of them are. I can assure you however that my tests are absolutely done by Me, Myself, and I. No one compensated me to test anything, and I received nothing in return from no one to do them.

What I tested:

  • Ease Of Use
  • Reliability
  • System Load
  • Scan times
It should be noted that all tests were performed on a 1.6Ghz Pentium4 Processor system with 1Gb of RAM while all of the normal programs I use running i.e. Media Player, FireFox and Internet Explorer, mail checking software, and an RSS reader. Operating system is Windows XP Professional. At times the system was under severe load due to other programs running such as archiving software compressing huge files. All of the software tested was the latest versions with up to date definitions.

First on the list is Norton Internet Security 2006. I found it remarkably easy to use, and likewise for reliability, The scan times and system load are another story. The scan times for me lasted hours, and system load was near 100% during the scan.

Second was McAfees' Internet Security Suite. It was a bit confusing in some areas as far as easy to use. The default settings I fear may not be strong enough for general use by novices especially with today's always on highspeed internet connections, however it picked up whatever I threw at it. The system loads and scan times were pretty good too, About an average of 75% CPU Load and scan times at about and hour or less.

Third was Esets' NOD32. This is a pretty impressive piece of software at the core because it is very small in its file size, and its scan times were pretty fast. It however seems unfinished when compared to the others I tested, and did not alert me to a common Anti-virus test file, however it did clean the file immediately under heavy load. (maybe that was why It didn't alert me) The ease of use also lags behind due to its seemingly unfinished GUI and information it displays.

Forth on the list is ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite. It performed pretty well on this system as far as system load and scan times Its GUI (Graphical User Interface in case you were wondering) was fairly easy to understand and use, however its death nail for me was when I was trying to install loads of different software and it kept pausing to ask me whether I wanted to allow or deny what was taking place on my system. This action cause a lot of things to not install correctly and, God forbid you disallowed something and wanted to allow it later, I had to go to their forums and search forever and when I did find the answer it did not work on my system. I do have to give it a high mark for the information it gave me however, the novice user will get frustrated and lower the security and information levels thus defeating the purpose of the software.

The Round Up

I put the listed software in the listed order for a reason. Symantec came out on top and Zonelabs was last due to the problems I ran into. I was disappointed in Zonelabs product because of the things I have read about them and what I read from other users. The absolute bottom line is get The newest version of Norton Internet Security and sit back and enjoy your PC. I suspected at the get go that the rankings would go like this from what I have experienced in the past and what I have read except for Zonelabs. I thought it would rank maybe a second or third.

I have used Norton Internet Security since 2002 then upgraded to 2004 Professional then now the 2006 version. The few times that I have had a virus was because I did something stupid and downloaded something I shouldn't have, but Norton caught it and removed it, except for one time when I had to go to their website and follow some simple instructions on how to get rid of the infected file. The current versions of all these have antispyware built in them but Norton Internet Security 2006 is hands down the best in my opinion not only because of the Anti-virus software but also the firewall, antispam and Parental controls among other features this invaluable software includes. It is very easy to use, absolutely reliable, and it is very easy to navigate its interface. It really is install and forget! I cant recommend it enough, and I will tell you a little secret: If you get Norton Internet Security 2006 and the custom Host file that I recommend in the left column, You will not see an advertisement or a pop-up again unless you want to see it. Well, maybe one or two...

It also should be noted that the scan times I encountered by Norton and all the others will improve if you use a faster processor and faster hard drives. In forums I have been in, consistently the arguments and discussions are that Norton is a resource hog and my tests confirmed that, but you know what? I don't care! I want to be safe and secure while using my PC and I don't want someone hacking into my system or taking control of it to use for their purposes. The cost of the software and the time it takes to do its job is meaningless if it keeps you secure.

I can tell you horror stories about people running their PC and having their identities stolen by not having a firewall and antivirus software. It is a must to have updated internet security software running on your PC at all times, you don't have to do anything to get your computer infected. I invite you to take me to task! Get a brand new PC with no antivirus or firewall running, connect it to the internet for a day and at the end of the day run Antivirus and Antispyware scans and you will see for yourself.