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Reliable, Free Anti-Virus Software?

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the when's-it-positively-gotta-be-windows dept.

Security 586

oahazmatt writes "Some time ago my wife was having severe issues on her laptop. (A Dell Inspiron, if that helps.) I eventually found the cause to be McAfee, which took about an hour to remove fully. I installed AVG on her system to replace McAfee, but we have since found that AVG is causing problems with her laptop's connection to our wireless network. She's not thrilled about a wired connection as the router is on the other end of the house. We're looking for some good, open-source or free personal editions of anti-virus software. So, who on Slashdot trusts what?" When school required a Windows laptop, I used Clam AV, and the machine seemed to do as well as most classmates'. What have you found that works?

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Easy (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25512009)

Free antivirus [] , Hopefully I get my suggestion in before everyone else :P

Re:Easy (0)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 6 years ago | (#25512065)

Free antivirus [] , Hopefully I get my suggestion in before everyone else :P

Not only that, but it looks like you got Frist Psot as well. Good job.

Re:Easy (4, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 6 years ago | (#25512131)

Wow, I just tried it and not only did it get rid of my virus problem, but it made my computer run faster and more reliably.

Thanks again, anonymous coward!

Re:Easy (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25512269)

Not counting, of course, the abundance of total system freezes which require a hard reset -- something WinXP never has. Every version since Dapper Drake has this problem.

The Heron install CD is hopelessly broken and won't dynamically resize the NTFS partition to make room its install because it requires the NTFS partition to be mounted. and it also fucks up your boot sectors and leaves odd garbage on your hard drive.

So go ahead, use Linux. It's stable and reliable as long as you have a Beowulf cluster and don't use a GUI.

Mod Parent Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25512359)

Parent post is funny, insightful, interesting, informative and underrated and should be modded accordingly.

Re:Mod Parent & grandparent way down (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25512389)

Too bad he obviously never tried Ubuntu.

Re:Mod Parent Up (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25512395)

Parent post is funny, insightful, interesting, informative and underrated

Well, it looks like you should almost certainly marry it. Congrats.

For perverse definitions of Easy (3, Insightful)

Animaether (411575) | about 6 years ago | (#25512161)

Although I do applaud people moving to, say, Ubuntu (I'm playing with the Live CD and loving it), I don't think this is a Funny -or- Insightful reply any time the topic of viruses/trojans/etc. comes up (and this being Slashdot, it does seem to come up quite often).

Ignoring for a moment that Linux -has- its share of malware ( [] , cue "wikipedia is unreliable" and "all of those holes are already patched" and "but it's still much less than on M$ Winblows"), and ignoring for a moment that a lot of replies will be that Linux is more secure by design, that a virus can't get root, etc. (and automatically ignoring for a moment the replies -that- will generate on how that's little comfort when your files are gone, or your machine is a spambot all the same (the user does have rights to send e-mail, right?)...

Ignoring all those.. how *easy* is it, exactly, when there are still problems with Linux distributions on some notebooks (hers may very well be one), -and- you have to consider that she'll likely have to switch different bits of software she uses as well (or somebody would have to be willing to put in time to get her stuff working under a Windows emulator).

Getting that Ubuntu Live CD working wasn't *easy*... it took some poking about, and that's for something that should have been "pop into drive, reboot, and enjoy Ubuntu", I'd dread having to get all of my existing software running / switching.. eventually I will, but if anybody suggests that it will be *easy*, they're more than welcome to come figure that all (hardware drivers, software alternatives, methods in those alternatives to achieve the same (or better) as what I'm used to, etc.) out for me.

Don't get me wrong, "Switch to Ubuntu" (or some other linux distribution) may be the perfect answers for this woman, and that would be great - but let's be realistic here and not label that as an easy solution.

Just my 2cts.

Re:For perverse definitions of Easy (5, Funny)

blue l0g1c (1007517) | about 6 years ago | (#25512323)

I'm going to ignore for a moment that you are ignoring all logical arguments contrary to your opinion.

No Easy (5, Insightful)

Kludge (13653) | about 6 years ago | (#25512385)

Don't get me wrong, "Switch to Ubuntu" (or some other linux distribution) may be the perfect answers for this woman, and that would be great - but let's be realistic here and not label that as an easy solution.

Obviously if MS were "easy", this guy would not be posting a question to the this web site. Apparently neither he nor this woman know what to do about MS's glaring security holes.

I do not think that the parent post is saying Ubuntu will be easy. It was just easy for him to think of a solution.

Trite answer, but on-topic (1)

sk999 (846068) | about 6 years ago | (#25512273)

When I bought a friend her first-ever computer, I deliberately chose Linux (Xandros on eee PC) for exactly this reason. Rather bizarrely, Xandros comes with clamav installed, which seems rather pointless. At some point I will clean it off, mainly to free up disk space and cpu cycles. Oh, yes, she really likes the machine.

Re:Easy (4, Insightful)

Godji (957148) | about 6 years ago | (#25512401)

Posts like this lead to another, very important point. The reason we don't have a (good) free software antivirus program* is because that's a hard problem that the free software community does not have a large need to solve. The reason why there is no large need to solve the virus problem is, you guessed it, Linux. Every free software developer, given the choice of dedicating their free time on on antivirus or [insert cool project here], will certainly choose [insert cool project here].

You could use (0, Redundant)

ratzmilk (137380) | about 6 years ago | (#25512017)

Linux. Someone had to say it.

Re:You could use (3, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 6 years ago | (#25512077)

Linux. Someone had to say it.

Yeah. Frankly though, all I'm thinking about at the moment (this being Saturday night and all) as that free Linux beer you guys are always talking about. How does it stack up against the other imports?

Re:You could use (5, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 6 years ago | (#25512247)

In case you wanted an ACTUAL answer,and not just a bunch of geeks shouting Linux I would suggest either Comodo [] if you would like one with a built in firewall,or AntiVir [] if you just need AV. As a Windows repairman I have used both on many customers machines and they work quite well.

I know that shouting "Linux" is a great way to Karma whore here,but the simple fact is I'm sure he asked about Windows Av for a reason. Sometimes Linux simply isn't the right tool for the job,as anyone who has tried to get those damned Lexmark all in ones to work or run into one of the bazillion SMBs that have custom VB apps that are mission critical can tell you.

Re:You could use (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25512405)

> I have used both on many customers machines and they work quite well.

Isn't that bad for business though?

Clam AV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25512019)

Is there another open-source antivirus software for windows?

Re:Clam AV (3, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 6 years ago | (#25512097)

No, and besides being open source, ClamAV is rather unobtrusive, which is a feature I like. It doesn't get in the way. If I want it to scan something on-demand, it will through the shell extension it installs. I don't want something scanning every damn executable I click on.

Re:Clam AV (1)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | about 6 years ago | (#25512257)

Clam is great. I've been using it for a year or so now and it's caused the least issues of anything.

I also run A Squared as a trojan scanner, but it proudly proclaimed a file to be trojan free recently, and when I ran it proceeded to wreck my computer leading to having to use bloody system restore.

Re:Clam AV (1)

Godji (957148) | about 6 years ago | (#25512367)

Good, but you sound like a knowledgeable user who would know what to scan, and would actually remember to scan. Now, what's the least obtrusive app for the average idiot that will do things automatically?

Re:Clam AV (5, Insightful)

Epsillon (608775) | about 6 years ago | (#25512105)

ClamAV, as it stands, does not do on-access scanning. I quite dislike the way the Win32 version (ClamWin) installs a little Clam icon into the system tray, as a false sense of security is worse than no security at all.

MoonSecure is a scanner/heuristics engine that uses Clam's signatures and does perform on-access scanning but, when I last tried it, it had "issues".

Avast is my current recommendation of the freebies for personal use, followed by Avira, if you can stand the constant nagging about upgrading to paid versions. Avira's detection rate, last I looked, was slightly better than Avast's but the nag screens are a bone of contention. Also have a look at Comodo's offerings. Note that none of these are free software, just free to use. MoonSecure is GPL'd and may have become a little better since I tried it, so it may be worth a shot if freedom matters to you.

Re:Clam AV (3, Interesting)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | about 6 years ago | (#25512279)

I NEVER run background scanning on a virus program. It's a needless system overhead. When I get something new that might be suspicious, I simply run it on that specific program.

Only time I ever got a virus on the PC was about nine years ago when the virus program I used was running in the background, and let the CIH virus through.

Not to mention the many MANY issues virus programs cause with games. First thing any support message will tell you is make sure your anti-virus is disabled.

Re:Clam AV (1)

Puls4r (724907) | about 6 years ago | (#25512307)

I like Avira. Turning off their nag is as simple as putting a security policy to deny the .exe that runs that ads.

Avast (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25512025)

Free for personal use.

avast the best free one with no lock down like avg (5, Informative)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 6 years ago | (#25512027)

avast the best free one with no lock down like avg8 []

Re:avast the best free one with no lock down like (1)

etherlad (410990) | about 6 years ago | (#25512041)

I second this. I've been using avast for years with no problems.

Re:avast the best free one with no lock down like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25512089)

My brother is using avast and he recently got bitten by one of the many Antivirus2008/2009 variants.
So, I don't don't know what that says except that it isn't foolproof.
(I recommend malwarebytes spyware cleaner if you get hit by those things.)

Personally, I go with the "know what your machine is doing" system. Only been bitten once, and I knew it the moment it started installing.

Re:avast the best free one with no lock down like (1)

Kamokazi (1080091) | about 6 years ago | (#25512075)

I agree on Avast! if you have to be free, but my personal favorite is Eset's NOD32 ( $40 MSRP (but you can find it cheaper if you look around). This is the most efficient (very very small memory footprint) and effective antivirus I have ever used. We use Symantec Corporate where I work (but are switching once our subscription runs out) and this has picked up several viruses on PCs that Symantec missed. Not to mention the fact that Symantec likes to do in-depth scanning every once in a while in the middle of the day for no apparent reason and starts consuming 100MB+ of RAM and hits 50% CPU utilization.

Re:avast the best free one with no lock down like (1)

TheShadowHawk (789754) | about 6 years ago | (#25512185)

I was using nod32 as well. But the fact you can't renew your subscription with a web based email caused me to drop it.

Seriously, who these days is NOT using a web based email?

I now find Avira [] to be very good, but the nag screen a bit annoying. Also Avira found a few viruses that nod32 had missed to my surprise.

Re:avast the best free one with no lock down like (2, Informative)

Kaboom13 (235759) | about 6 years ago | (#25512235)

Most likely the console (the server that monitors and manages the clients) is scheduled to order a scan every once in a while. You should ask your admin to knock it off or reschedule it for a better time.

Re:avast the best free one with no lock down like (1)

Codex_of_Wisdom (1222836) | about 6 years ago | (#25512129)

I agree. I switched to avast from AVG, and it's so much better.

Re:avast the best free one with no lock down like (1)

ZosX (517789) | about 6 years ago | (#25512133)

I will also throw in a nod for Avast. I've used just about every free virus scanner out there and Avast seems to work about the best. I used to love AVG, but it has become the epitome of bloatware as of late. Avira is a close second, but the daily nag screen got to be a bit annoying. Avast found viruses that no other scanner had found on files that were years old. It did seem to have some false positives, but to be honest, I've always erred on the side of caution.

Re:avast the best free one with no lock down like (3, Interesting)

modir (66559) | about 6 years ago | (#25512187)

I would recommend Avira AntiVir [1]. It is free for personal use too. The was most impressed of the speed. I used Avira AntiVir all the time before I moved to Linux.

[1] []

Re:avast the best free one with no lock down like (1)

Vu1turEMaN (1270774) | about 6 years ago | (#25512381)

avast and avira aren't kosher for school/non-profit networks. comodo antivirus is, and offers active scanning. avira doesn't.

Re:avast the best free one with no lock down like (1)

DeadPixels (1391907) | about 6 years ago | (#25512201)

Avast is good, though I found the GUI to be very unintuitive. If you think it won't be a problem, then yes, I'd also recommend Avast. I also used Ewido Anti-Malware in the past with good results, though I believe they've been acquired by AVG.

Re:avast the best free one with no lock down like (1)

PHLAK (1054494) | about 6 years ago | (#25512213)

I also must agree with Avast. It's lightweight and unobtrusive, and does a great job at catching the little stuff. However, a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link. If you're user isn't knowledgeable enough to detect potential malware before installing most of the time, the antivirus software installed wont make much of a difference.

Re:avast the best free one with no lock down like (1)

M1000 (21853) | about 6 years ago | (#25512221)

Thanks, I'll look into avast; I wanted a free AV for virtual machines.
Personally, I would recommand f-prot [] . Small footprint and it saved me and friends many times.
I tried AVG, but that thing is big, complex and annoying.

Re:avast the best free one with no lock down like (1)

Commcd (1355441) | about 6 years ago | (#25512305)

Definately Avast is the best choice AVG just didn't agree with me.

Re:avast the best free one with no lock down like (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 6 years ago | (#25512399)

however, make a backup before installing it. It may be different now, but it was a bitch to remove from my old box.

I'd go with Clam (Clam Win) (3, Interesting)

mikesd81 (518581) | about 6 years ago | (#25512047)

Well you already mentioned Clam AV. I use that myself. I'd go with that. Some of my friends use Avast, and I don't have a problem w/ that either, but Clam works for me.

PEBKAC (0, Troll)

Gamma746 (1361063) | about 6 years ago | (#25512051)

Just teach your wife not to do run random .exes, to use a secure secure browser and email client (Firefox and Thunderbird would work) and generally exercise some common sense and you won't need AV software.


jep77 (1357465) | about 6 years ago | (#25512085)

Because no malware will ever come to you if you're smart. Because Firefox has never ever had a security hole discovered. Probably not very good advice to just train the user to be smarter. I've used AVG without any problem for a couple years. I prefer Ubuntu though.


Taelron (1046946) | about 6 years ago | (#25512117)

Firefox has never had a security hole discovered? Are you new to Slashdot? Just google Firefox Security holes... Not even 5 hours after Firefox 3 was released they announced a critical security hole was discovered...

Re:PEBKAC (3, Funny)

WTF Chuck (1369665) | about 6 years ago | (#25512137)

I think you need to tweak your sarcasm detectors.


ed.mps (1015669) | about 6 years ago | (#25512167)

anyway, I second the GP's advice


AceofSpades19 (1107875) | about 6 years ago | (#25512171)

But they get patched alot faster then internet explorer, which makes it at least a little bit more secure

Re:PEBKAC (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25512095)

... you don't need to surf on "weird" sites to get a virus. An unpatched XP machine gets infected within ~10 minutes of being online after a fresh install.

Re:PEBKAC (2, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 6 years ago | (#25512099)

Wow, someone has never been around someone who doesn't know much about computers. With Windows users there are two modes, either paranoid as in "OMG!!!11! I can't go to Google!1!1! It will give my computer a virus!11!1!" or "My computer has *insert program here* installed so I can do whatever I feel like and never, ever, ever get a virus, ever". The real ideal solution would be to switch to a different OS, either Linux or OS X, but a lot of Windows users will only use Windows and refuse Linux even when it is easier to do most tasks than on Windows.


Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25512181)

They're a dying breed... hahaha... some day we'll be able to say, "You *are* using Linux", and be right no matter what they're using on their dumbed down desktops...  They'll be running it on their mobile phones, harddisk dvd recorders, setup boxes, cars, fridges, you name it...

Perhaps it'll hit home some day...

Re:PEBKAC (4, Informative)

apathy maybe (922212) | about 6 years ago | (#25512183)

Indeed. When I run MS Windows (not very often if I can help it), I never use anti-virus. Indeed, I consider it a waste of time and money (not to mention system resources).

Of course, you should always make sure you have a working firewall before connecting to the Internet. I find that the built in MS Windows firewall works well enough, so long as it is enabled.

Then, make sure not to run MSIE (at all except on sites you control, and even then...), instead run an alternative (Firefox is popular for some reason, Opera I've heard is good, not that I use it). Another email client (instead of MS Outlook Express or MS Outlook) is also a must if you are using POP or IMAP.

As also mentioned, don't download and run random programs from the web. You have to know how to evaluate the trustworthiness or otherwise of the website. (One thing I love about Ubuntu is that there are so many programs in the repositories, I haven't downloaded a program from a website in over a year. Want a game, fire up Synaptic and browse the hundreds of free games available. Want a MUD client, there are at least five available. Etc.) Knowing how to evaluate the trustworthiness or otherwise of a website is a mix of common sense and understanding of security. It maybe better to ask your local computer geek before downloading random programs.

So, to sum up:

  • Firewall blocking all incoming connections
  • Alternative web browser (not based on MSIE) and email client
  • Don't download and run random programs (especially not from websites linked to from ads)
  • Learn about computer security

Considering that most people I know don't do much more with their computers then surf the Web, check their email and use some office software, you don't need much more than what I outlined above.


Goldberg's Pants (139800) | about 6 years ago | (#25512331)

The only problem with blocking ALL incoming connections is doing that WILL screw over some programs. I know in the past it's caused issues with Bit Torrent. And while I doubt the people you're talking about would be 1337 w4r3z downloaders, they may be World of Warcraft players at some point, and Blizzard use BT by default to distribute patches.

i have... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25512053)

avira, it works well and the only downside is that when it updates you get a popup ad window, but you can close it and it only updates once every few hours (and you can disable this if you want to update it whenever you want).

errr, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25512059)

are you one of this Computer Scientists who can't secure its own laptop, and always have "issues" with computers and programming?.

Make a Virus Proof choice. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25512063)

Mac OS-X
Or if you like stylish, Ubuntu Linux.

Re:Make a Virus Proof choice. (1)

nawcom (941663) | about 6 years ago | (#25512141)

Why is this modded down? Okay, so this doesn't answer the question directly but it definitely is a solution to running an anti-virus program. Personally I think Microsoft should be the ones securing their own operating system instead of some third party developer. But anyway, trying out a different operating system and (only when extremely necessary) run a Windows app through VMware Fusion. I've shown alot of computer-illiterate Windows users Mac OS X, and once they got the hang of it and its simplicity - they preferred that over the slow unstable Windows OS any day. So mods please mod the parent up - it's a legit solution to the issue.

Avast (4, Informative)

fishyfool (854019) | about 6 years ago | (#25512067)

Add me to the chorus of Avast. It simply works and works well.

I second the mention of ClamWin (5, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 6 years ago | (#25512071)

When school required a Windows laptop, I used Clam AV

I second the mention of ClamWin. The biggest missing feature in ClamWin is scanning every file on fopen(), and that's what usually causes the resource hogging behavior that some people believe to be typical of antivirus. In my experience, a computer user really doesn't need real-time operation unless he's looking at pr0n (erotic web sites), downloading w4r3z (infringing copies of proprietary commercial software), or doing something comparably dangerous. A weekly full scan is enough.

Re:I second the mention of ClamWin (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | about 6 years ago | (#25512083)

When I open Outlook, clam pops up it's splash screen for outlook. Other than that, I just use clam to scan files I download before I open them (zip files). I forget it's even running until it tells me it updated.

Re:I second the mention of ClamWin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25512109)

A weekly full scan? That's closing the barn door after the horses fled. avast and AVGFree offer realtime protection, so your sensitive data won't be jeopardized long, in contrast to your suggestion that being infected for an entire week isn't a problem.

Re:I second the mention of ClamWin (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | about 6 years ago | (#25512353)

A weekly full scan? That's closing the barn door after the horses fled.

Not exactly. My copy of Firefox 3 detected ClamWin and set itself up to call ClamWin every time a download completes, whether it be from a software download site or from my web mail.

Re:I second the mention of ClamWin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25512165)


Spybot Search and Destroy Immunize:

Mike's ad blocking hosts file:

Re:I second the mention of ClamWin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25512265)

Oh... So thats what pr0n is... I always though it was... uh... a misspelling of tr0n? ...

~ NVM ~

Moonsecure (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25512091)

Ran across Moonsecure recently. GPL'd AV software supposedly. Never used it myself though.

Reliable Free Anti Virus.... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25512101)


or /free


Nuff said

like wearing a condom 24/7 (1)

Phantom of the Opera (1867) | about 6 years ago | (#25512103)

My experiences with windows AV is pretty lame. At one job, I had to deal with huge numbers of reads and writes to the disk. The anti-virus software (Symantec I think) would bog things down, trying to check all these writes until the drive plain died.
We did not reinstall it when the new drive arrived and there were no problems.

That sort of cemented my idea that AV software was mostly worthless. Even with updates, it was still out of date where it mattered, and is such a resource hog as to make using windows unpleasant. Maybe things have changed somewhat, but I doubt it.

If you are a windows user, just browse smart, don't open up any unneeded services and get your ass behind a firewall. Oh, and backup your stuff periodically.

Re:like wearing a condom 24/7 (1)

prestomation (583502) | about 6 years ago | (#25512223)

If you are a windows user, just browse smart, don't open up any unneeded services and get your ass behind a firewall. Oh, and backup your stuff periodically.

I agree. I've never run an AV on windows. I've had some spyware problems in the past, but with some responsible browsing habits, there shouldn't be any reason to "contract" that stuff.

I've never understood how people accumulate all the shit that they do when they finally ask someone to "fix" their computer once it is unusable.

Re:like wearing a condom 24/7 (1)

tsalmark (1265778) | about 6 years ago | (#25512393)

They tend to get one adware spyware or whatever the AV companies call it so as not to have to provide protection, that then invites 40 of it's best friends in for the party.

Free AV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25512115)

I am using Comodo Internet Security Suite from

NOD32 (2)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | about 6 years ago | (#25512143)

Just sits there doing it's job, warning me when there's a virus. Never upsets other software, never prompts me to tell me that I don't have some other product of theirs like a firewall.

Try this: no antivirus (5, Insightful)

Matt Perry (793115) | about 6 years ago | (#25512155)

I'm serious. Stop doing the things that put you at risk for viruses and you won't have to run anti-virus. I don't run anti-virus or anti-spyware software on my computer and I've never had a problem. Occasionally, just to verify that I'm doing the right thing, I boot from a BartPE [] Windows CD and run anti-virus and anti-spyware tools against my hard drive. They never find anything bad. The last time I had a virus was in 1989 on my Amiga 500.

Re:Try this: no antivirus (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25512205)

Yea, but some of us actually connect our computers to a world wide network, you've might've heard about it. With shit like the recent all windoze versions spanning wormable vulnerability, common sense don't quite cut it...

Besides, you can never diagnose with 100 percent certainty that you don't have a rootkit...

Re:Try this: no antivirus (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | about 6 years ago | (#25512289)

I'd say that you're right, except that you're ignoring one source of problems: stupid people. Stupid people can't "stop doing things that put [them] at risk for viruses" because they aren't smart enough to understand the difference between risky behavior and safe behavior. Even if you explain it to them, they won't understand it, and they'll forget your instructions.

Ok, to be fair, it's not just stupid people. There are smart people who simply don't have the computer or security expertise necessary to be able to understand the difference between a safe download and a risky one. They don't understand, and they have other things to do besides spending all their time learning, investigating, and figuring it out.

For those people, it helps to secure the system through various methods, one of which might be an AV program.

Re:Try this: no antivirus (1)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | about 6 years ago | (#25512421)

What a pretty colour the sky must be in your world. "Stop doing things that put you at risk for viruses".

So that'd be unplugging your computer and never using it then. Seriously, what kind of crazy logic are you using here? There is ALWAYS a risk, however minimal.

Even if you're security conscious, you can wind up infected. I did recently. I downloaded something from a legitimate website. The site had been hacked and the exe trojaned, but there was no evidence to indicate this. And both Clam and A-Squared flagged the file as clean, and when I ran it what notified me something was amiss was Winpatrol telling me something had been added to my services.

And I'm someone who knows what they're doing. If a virus can get past MY defenses, when I deliberately follow the "stop doing things that put you at risk" policy, then really, what hope does the average user have?

On a sidenote, what Amiga virus was it? I had two encounter with viruses. One funny, one not.

Funny one: Lamer Exterminator. Archon would not run on my 1.3 Amiga UNLESS that virus was in memory! Chuck Archon in, you got a guru. When I loaded up my caged version of Lamer Exterminator, Archon would work.

Not funny: SADDAM virus wiped out over 100 disks in my collection in the early 90's. Only repair program at the time required an external drive to use, and I didn't have one. Came in on a dodgy copy of F15 Strike Eagle II.

trust ? trust nobody ! (1)

ericcantona (858624) | about 6 years ago | (#25512157)

trust ? trust nothing and nobody !, and encase your head in lead to prevent Van Eck Phreaking []

Get a Mac (0, Redundant)

Macgoon (608648) | about 6 years ago | (#25512191)

Well, you could switch to a Mac. Then, you wouldn't need any AV stuff at all. Or is that too easy? Some people seem to enjoy fighting with crapware and viruses.

firewall with av? (1)

Midicow (1393953) | about 6 years ago | (#25512193)

Another option could be "Comodo Firewall" [] It's free unless you pay for their tech support, some nifty extra features, and remote troubleshooting.. It is mainly a firewall.. and an extremely intelligent and well-written one at that (IMO). It's default settings are decent, and you can fine-tune the engine for more/less security. It also comes with a "defense+" module.. basically it's a firewall but for your local computer. It mainly monitors for changes and such to prevent the installation of rootkits, trojans.. etc.. and you can scan your computer for malware + remove it as well. I find that Comodo has a relatively small memory footprint.. on default settings (vista 32bit).. seems like both the kernel-mode drivers and and Ui top out at about 60mb combined max (with defense+ enabled) and 30mb max (with defense+ disabled and only the firewall running). I've also found that Avast and Comodo work perfectly together.. so if you do not like Comodo's built in Defense+ mode you can disable it and just use Comodo's firewall + Avast's system protection. ClamAV may be your best bet however if you don't want an active scanner.

Check (1)

c_oflynn (649487) | about 6 years ago | (#25512211)

You can check some of the ones listed at [] , which also qualifies them a bit!

I personally use Avira AntiVir and like it! I started with the free edition but quickly upgraded, it's pretty cheap and might as well support them...

PCTools Threatfire (1)

n0dna (939092) | about 6 years ago | (#25512215)

While not OSS, Threatfire and FireWall Plus from PCTools are both free for personal use.

AVG generates too many false positives, and has a really lame (sorry but it is) alert graphic and noise.

ClamAV works well provided you don't want the real-time monitoring, which is why I only use it as a portable app for disinfecting.

Avast is also a good choice if not anything special.

moonsecure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25512217)

the only(?) opensorce antivirus with realtime scanner

Free for personal use (3, Informative)

Timex (11710) | about 6 years ago | (#25512231)

I use Avira AV [] on the WinDOZE systems at my house.

It's free for personal use, and companies have to get a site license...

Re:Free for personal use (1)

dark whole (1220600) | about 6 years ago | (#25512373)

Same here. that + adaware and spybot

No anti virus? (1)

areusche (1297613) | about 6 years ago | (#25512243)

I personally run Windows XP sp2 and I don't run any anti virus software.

I use Firefox and a firewall and I'm never worried about getting into any problems. I don't install random EXEs from untrusted locations. The firewall tells me everything that is going in and out and how much. Adblock also does wonders for protecting oneself.

It takes a special person to surf the internet without protection, but then again after working in IT I realize I am smarter then most of the people I deal with on a regular basis!

Use Linux (0, Redundant)

standbypowerguy (698339) | about 6 years ago | (#25512245)

Easy! Use Linux. Not only is antivirus not needed, but it's free (as in libre and beer)! Most distros can also do much more than draw BMP files and typer TXT files out of the box. For a typical SOHO user, additional software isn't required.

Avira is awesome + Other important software (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25512259)

I use Avira + ThreatFire + Malewarebytes + Comodo Firewall
for antivirus/spyware/maleware/firewall and these combined do an outstanding job of protecting my system without slowing it down one bit. All are light programs, Avira is updated constantly, and comodo firewall is thought of as one of the best. Threatfire is great for making sure no program infects another, and Malewarebytes is doing good in checking for spyware.

Did you contact the AVG people? (1)

Animaether (411575) | about 6 years ago | (#25512285)

"I installed AVG on her system to replace McAfee, but we have since found that AVG is causing problems with her laptop's connection to our wireless network"

Just wondering if you contacted the AVG people. I know that, as a free (as in beer.. sort of) software user you're not likely to get priority support, but I'm sure they would like to know -why- their product appears to be messing with her wireless internet connection. I understand that you feel like it might not be worth messing with, but on the other hand it might be some stupid setting that's enabled by default, or some known issue that they have a workaround / fix for, etc.
For example.. if you have AVG's update configured to use a dial-up connection (for whatever reason), and for whatever reason it -does- actually go and use it (for example, if you have a VPN installed - which acts as a 'dial-up connection' in Windows), that might disconnect you from the internet connection you'd normally have.

Not dismissing the alternatives mentioned in the comments here (other than the "Switch to a Linux distribution".. see another reply of mine in there somewhere, but if nothing else it'd be nice if you could let them know.. can't hurt, can it?

Flu? (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 6 years ago | (#25512291)

What are these virus things that everyone is talking about?


Vu1turEMaN (1270774) | about 6 years ago | (#25512293)

I'd recommend. It's not the best. It freezes if you try to do anything during that initial first scan. BUT....

It's free (even for non-profits). After that first scan, it can do LIVE scanning (something that clamav can't), and it gets updates pretty damn fast.

avast every time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25512295)

without a shadow of a doubt, avast! is where it's at...

Kaspersky (1)

mfh (56) | about 6 years ago | (#25512301)

Why are so many people tightwads about anti-virus? Computer related infections could be very expensive, so I wouldn't go with anything but the very best money can buy and that is Kaspersky [] .

Also, I wouldn't advocate home dentistry, either. Although I'm sure many are trying to figure out how to do just that, these days.

free: Avast. pay: Kaspersky (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25512317)

for free. Avast. finds things that AVG misses.
for pay. Kaspersky. amazing stuff but expensive. $70.

Antivir (1)

Deathlizard (115856) | about 6 years ago | (#25512321)

I recommend Avira Antivir Personal [] . Very Lean, fast, customizable and through.

Only problems is it pops up an Ad to upgrade to the pay version every time you download an update and it can be false positive happy when turned up to it's fullest settings and definitions, but otherwise it's one of the best scanners I've seen.

Works well with Dell Inspirion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25512325)

Not free but works well with Inspirions

No antivirus catches everything. (5, Informative)

modzer0 (1366073) | about 6 years ago | (#25512329)

I'm a malware researcher by trade and as such I see hundreds of samples per day that all get ran through an gantlet of anti-virus system. As much as I support open source and use Linux workstations with Windows in virtual machines to do analysis in I have to honestly say ClamWin is pretty much useless except for very old samples. In fact most anti-virus software is useless against new threats until someone submits samples to them and then it doesn't matter anyway because the people who write that malware see the detection after a daily run through and then they use a custom packer or PE armorer to change that signature so it won't be detected anymore.

The most effective methods I've seen is the behavioral and heuristic based systems in Kaspersky and Norton AV 2009's SONAR. SONAR may not catch it on execution but it catches registry entries and it's caught 99% of the bot samples I have when they try to call home. The new versions are also fairly light on system resources.

It may not be the popular opinion but if you really don't want to worry about malware then look at OS X or Linux. Yes there is some malware out there but in comparison it's a minute fraction of a percent of the number for Windows based systems.

Snake oil (1)

fullback (968784) | about 6 years ago | (#25512343)

I'm a geezer who started writing programs on a keypunch machine in the early 1970s. I've been online as long as there has been a line to be on.

I've never had a virus or used anti-virus software. Disable ActiveX in IE (or only use it for updates) and scripting, and don't open attachments. It really is that simple.

Search for free antivirus download? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25512357)

Search for free antivirus download? []

AntiVir (1)

ohxten (1248800) | about 6 years ago | (#25512391)

I recommend AntiVir for Windows boxes... in a lot of tests (, it has the best detection rate, either for free AV's, or all AV's tested.

In fact, the other night AntiVir detected a trojan. It was named svchost.exe and by Googling the name I couldn't find anything. So before deleting it I uploaded the trojan (with the filename svchost.exe) to one of those websites that tests a file against a bunch of different AV's, and AntiVir, along with only one other AV (not a well-known one) was the only one that detected it as malicious.

Honestly, no AV is perfect, but I find AntiVir to be pretty darn good. Of course, moving to *nix is an even better choice but you can't always get rid of a Windows box.

Check your ISP (1, Informative)

danhm (762237) | about 6 years ago | (#25512411)

Many ISPs offer a free "security suite" to their customers, downloadable from their website. They are usually just a rebranded version of an existing antivirus program. I've been using that on my sole Windows machine and it works just fine. It's F-Secure, so your mileage will obviously vary depending on what AV software powers it.

No anti virus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25512413)

I have been a computer programmer for several years and have never run any anti-virus system on any of my personal computers. I have also never gotten a virus on any of my machines. The key to safety IMO is to only download freeware from sites that scan their freeware programs. I have quite a bit of freeware on my system.

Best AV/App-Watch/Firewall for 64 Bit Windows? (4, Interesting)

davidpfarrell (562876) | about 6 years ago | (#25512423)

I'm trying to move from 32-bit XP to 64-bit vista, and one of the things keeping me from making the switch is trying to find a good 64-bit virus program.

I'm using ZoneAlarm on XP and one of the things I like most about it is the applications watching and firewall.

Having it authorize net access and system access is a feature I find very nice to have.

Unfortunately, it looks like ZoneAlarm is not in the 64-bit game.

Correction: They were beta testing a 64-bit windows version sometime ago but have dropped it completely with no apparent mention of trying again.

Currently for firewall on Vista, I use the built-in firewall with full deny by default and then configure applications to go through on a one-by-one basis.

But I really liked being notified when apps tried to do any potentially dangerous activities like run each time the system is loaded or modify the hosts file, etc.

So anybody got a good replacement on 64-bit Vista for paranoid users like myself?

Thanks in advance for any replies.

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