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Can You Trust Anti-Virus Rankings? 258

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the of-course-not dept.
Slatterz writes "It seems nobody can agree on a universal set of tests for rating anti-virus software, with Eugene Kaspersky the latest to weigh in on the topic, criticizing the well-known Virus Bulletin 100. Kaspersky is one of several big anti-virus brands to fall foul of the VB100 tests, reportedly failing to pass a recent test of security software on Windows Server 2008, along with F-Secure and Computer Associates. At Kaspersky, bloggers have pointed out that they don't focus on detecting PoCs, calling it a 'dead end,' and saying their anti-virus database focuses on 'real threats and exploits.' 'I don't want to say it's rubbish,' Kaspersky told PC Authority. 'But the security experts don't pay attention to these tests. It doesn't reflect the real level of protection.'"
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Can You Trust Anti-Virus Rankings?

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  • No. (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Next Question
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Ok. Then what can we trust?

      The guy himself pointed out the issue at the end of the interview:
      "The problem is that in the industry there's no other complete tests," says Kaspersky.

      Without some sort of test, however imperfect, how is the average home user supposed to choose?

      • Re:No. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by A non-mouse Coward (1103675) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @10:09AM (#25481459)
        Anti-Virus is outsourcing the problem of deciding what is good to execute on your computer to a vendor who works backwards and blind.

        It's "backwards", in that you don't tell them what is "good". They try to guess what would be on your "bad" list. As everyone here knows, it turns out that the "bad" list is much, much longer than the "good" list. In 2007 alone, F-Secure added more virus sigs to their products than the totality of sigs accumulated from the previous 20 years! And last I heard from them, 2008 was projected to double 2007. That sounds almost like quadratic growth to me ... and keeping up with that growth rate is not a game I'd want to play! My list of "good" software doesn't increase on a quadratic growth rate, does yours? If this were any other field of computation, the signature approach would have been laughed off the planet by now.

        It's "blind" in that they aren't seeing what is actually running on your computer. For privacy (and performance) reasons, nobody provides metrics back to AV vendors about all of the executables that weren't labeled "bad", and rarely do the metrics about what is labeled "OK" actually go back to them. The AV vendors have to take a shot in the dark. They can simulate what they think your computing environment looks like, but it's just a guess. They cannot know if you have custom or proprietary software that matches one of their AV sigs unless they actually test that particular program against their sigs (and you don't let them do that, hence the "blind" remark).

        Backwards and Blind is very problematic. Every once in awhile, we hear about fiascos like Symantec deciding an asian language DLL is a virus, killing all of their asian customers' windows installs for a day or two.

        The question the benchmark is really trying to answer is: Which vendor's product is best tuned for the least amount of false positives and false negatives? When we should really be asking the question: Do I know what is good to run on my computers? And if the answer to that is "yes", then we should be asking the question: Why can't these vendors make a product that only allows my "good" programs to execute and nothing else?
        • Re:No. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) <.marc.paradise. .at. .gmail.com.> on Thursday October 23, 2008 @10:32AM (#25481743) Homepage Journal

          Do I know what is good to run on my computers? And if the answer to that is "yes", then ...

          The problem with that, of course, is that the answer is "no" for most people.

          • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

            Do I know what is good to run on my computers? And if the answer to that is "yes", then ...

            The problem with that, of course, is that the answer is "no" for most people.

            Not only do they not know - they likely don't have the wherewithal [wikipedia.org] to make that determination.

            • Indeed; nor should we expect them to. The vast majority of computer users want to use the computer in the same way that they use any other appliance; and frankly, they /should/ be able to. Unfortunately, the only way to give them that experience is to a) line up all malware authors and shoot them; or b) provide them with locked-down machines that can only run Authorized Content in an Approved Manner.
              • Re:No. (Score:4, Interesting)

                by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @12:40PM (#25483555)

                Indeed; nor should we expect them to. The vast majority of computer users want to use the computer in the same way that they use any other appliance; and frankly, they /should/ be able to. Unfortunately, the only way to give them that experience is to a) line up all malware authors and shoot them; or b) provide them with locked-down machines that can only run Authorized Content in an Approved Manner.

                The problem with that is we've just spent the last 20+ years going through massive innovation because there's no particular approval to how this tech is used. Bolting on Approval could have ugly effects. Unless, of course, that approval is from the end user. Which puts us in the same place we are now.

                The other issue is that we're not dealing with a toaster. Nobody expects their toaster to also become a calculator, telephone, and TV on demand. We're dealing with a complex and powerful machine. A computer is not a toaster (or a truck - but I digress).

                That doesn't mean we shouldn't be trying to simplify the tech. After all, an automobile is also a pretty advanced piece of machinery as well. But the key to this is making really intelligent and sufficiently paranoid choices on how to go about doing this so the end user doesn't have to. Part of the problem is that some aspects of the industry like to portray their products as toasters while making poor design choices; a customer base of monkeys with machineguns.

        • by Thelasko (1196535)

          Why can't these vendors make a product that only allows my "good" programs to execute and nothing else?

          I think you just described the Advanced Packaging Tool. [wikipedia.org]

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jimicus (737525)

          And if the answer to that is "yes", then we should be asking the question: Why can't these vendors make a product that only allows my "good" programs to execute and nothing else?

          Because such a product wouldn't need to be updated every year or require monthly subscriptions.

        • Why can't these vendors make a product that only allows my "good" programs to execute and nothing else?

          Hmm.. sell perfect AV solution once.. or.. sell imperfect solution on a yearly subscription.. let me think now.. no, I can't see why they wouldn't release a product based on white-listing at all!

          As thePowerOfGraySkull says though, trying this method with uneducated users doesn't really work anyway, as they tend to just white-list anything without caring. It would probably work quite well for your average geek though - especially when combined with a list of hashes for well known 'good' software. As you say,

      • by doti (966971)

        Ok. Then what can we trust?

        Free open source anti-virus?

        ClamAV is nice.

        • by Ilgaz (86384)

          Some white hat guy coded RemoveWGA.exe which uninstalls the WGA check installed by Microsoft claiming to be unremovable. When you check it with Kaspersky, it says it is clean. You run trend's 'hijack this" and see what it does manually, it is clean too. You send it to Kaspersky engineer to check it once again, guy says it is really, really clean.

          ClamAV detects it as a trojan, not a generic type, an actual one with name.
          RemoveWGA.exe: Trojan.RemovWGA FOUND

          I also took my time to tell them that it is obviously

          • This might have gone unnoticed to many, but nowadays most AV's block hacks, cracks and other Potentially "Unwanted" Software.
        • by dc29A (636871) *

          Ok. Then what can we trust?

          Free open source anti-virus?

          ClamAV is nice.

          How about common sense?

          Common sense allowed me to run Windows since 1999 virus AND anti-virus free.

          • Re:No. (Score:4, Insightful)

            by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday October 23, 2008 @12:43PM (#25483625) Journal

            Actually as someone who has been working in Win PC repair more years than I can count,I'd say the biggest problem would be a simple fix for MSFT,but for some reason they haven't. And that is that file extensions are all or nothing. What I mean is this: either they can see file extensions,in which case the user can fuck up EVERY single file they touch,because it lets them wipe the file extension when they go to rename the file. Or you can't see the file extensions,in which case the nontechnical user get bit by the "OMG watch Britteny suck teh titties!".avi.exe malware.

            There should be a way to show file extensions but not change them unless you right click and explicitly choose "change file extension for this file" which would give the user a warning,like "This can cause the file not to open correctly. Are you SURE that you want to change the file extension?". If you did that,a whole damned lot of the infected machines that cross my desk weekly wouldn't be filled with malware. I don't suppose anyone knows of a freeware solution that does what I just described,do you?

      • To have a "complete" test we'd have to know every possible vector of attack. If we knew that then couldn't we build a perfect AV system? I doubt that will ever happen.

        One man's virus could be another man's new fangled networked utility that could have similar characteristics to a virus. Wouldn't something like P2P clients or a busy SMTP server appear to be threats to a heuristic virus scanner? So you have to use black or whitelists rather than rely on heuristics. Whitelists are pretty good, but you still ne

  • I'm with Kaspersky (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LibertineR (591918) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @09:41AM (#25481115)
    I dont care about any tests, I care about what detects dangerous stuff on my network and what doesn't. Every client I have in on Kaspersky stuff, after Norton, McAfee, Trend and others FAILED to detect viruses that Kaspersky found straight away.

    Game over.

    • by AioKits (1235070) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @09:46AM (#25481171)
      I'm with you on this one. I have had good experiences with Kaspersky in the past and got the package with three user licenses for like $50 or so off the website (this was back towards the beginning of 07). Two licenses for me and one for a friend who just runs around all day with his laptop.

      The real fun tho is when I run WAR it detects 'keylogger like behavior' from the software. Heheee.
    • by quarrel (194077)

      If it didn't have so many false positives I'd agree with you.

      However Kaspersky seems far and away the most prone to them.

      From random image false positives, to objecting to "hacking" tools, otherwise known as network discovery tools...

      --Q

      • by AioKits (1235070)
        Not sure how this is a false positive as it did detect something that would usually be 'malicious' to the average user. How many average users pick up network discovery tools? That and trinkets like that can just be added to the exceptions list easily enough.

        Doesn't really matter tho, go with what works for you I say.
    • by CopaceticOpus (965603) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @10:55AM (#25482107)

      I don't care about tests either, I only care about anecdotal evidence in random /. posts. If Kaspersky worked for this one guy, it's good enough for me.

      (Actually my only anti-virus protection is not using IE, and not running things that shouldn't be run. I've had no problems.)

      • by AioKits (1235070)
        Well, if that's all you need for influence in purchasing decisions, allow me to make the following recommendations!

        - Suave Shampoo for Men
        - Reese's Cereal
        - SILK Soy milk (great for lactose intolerance)
        - Trinidad cigars (try the triple maduro!)
        - Arm & Hammer Natural Kitty Litter
        - Meow Mix (I tasted it, not too bad..)
        - Wolf Brand Chili
        - HEMP skin care products

        Lemme know if you need more suggestions, I use a ton of things in my daily life!
    • I've found that some AV scanners are too paranoid, they detect things that aren't really problems. Sophos, for example (which I pick on because it's an amazing piece of shit and we have it at work) gets all suspicious of the VMWare Tools client, and the Intel Audio Drivers because they modify the registry. Yes, really. It pops up a warning, though it doesn't stop them. I've seen other virus scanners that get set off by game trainers. They hook in to monitor key strokes, and the scanners think that's bad beh

  • No more.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheNecromancer (179644) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @09:44AM (#25481135)

    than I can trust the hackers that write these damn viruses that keep infecting my PC! Yeah, standards in this industry would be a start in the right direction, but right now ANY virus protection software is better than none!

    I use Norton Internet Security, and while it is passable, I find that it's a resource hog. I know there are other products out there that are less "intrusive", but I just don't want to take the chance (or time) with another product.

    • Re:No more.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AceofSpades19 (1107875) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @09:58AM (#25481317)
      Norton is an utter piece of crap, it would be advisable to get rid of it now
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by IceCreamGuy (904648)
        Wow, solid, well supported argument right there.
        • Re:No more.... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Ngarrang (1023425) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @10:14AM (#25481537) Journal

          Wow, solid, well supported argument right there.

          Indeed, it is. Norton really is a load of crap. It is a resource hog of cpu, memory and hard drive. I believe the only reason it is found on anyone's PC is because Norton pays PC companies to install it by default. Because, frankly, you would have to literally know nothing about AV to choose Norton. As in, you did no research and picked the shiniest box off the shelf. At which point, I have lost sympathy for the user.

          My company relies on SOPHOS. In 12 years of working with SOPHOS, never has a virus had a chance to spread...despite the users best efforts.

          • My company relies on SOPHOS

            Now that is something I would really love to use. I've read really great things about them, and their demo really impressed me. They even offered to craft a custom installer that would remove our current AV at no extra cost. Sadly, the higher-ups didn't go for the price because they're used to AVG. :`(

          • Re:No more.... (Score:5, Informative)

            by Welsh Dwarf (743630) <d@mills-slashdot.guesny@net> on Thursday October 23, 2008 @10:24AM (#25481641) Homepage

            Correction:

            The reason Norton is on any PCs is because Norton pays PC companies to install it by default AND IT IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO REMOVE.

            Cleaning viruses off by hand is easier than uninstalling Norton.

            • Re:No more.... (Score:5, Informative)

              by jimicus (737525) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @10:47AM (#25481979)

              May I recommend the Norton Removal Tool [symantec.com]

              It shouldn't need to exist in the first place, of course - the uninstall should work - but IME it works pretty well.

            • Re:No more.... (Score:4, Interesting)

              by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @11:01AM (#25482185)

              Norton is ... ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO REMOVE.

              Which I found especially hilarious/frustrating when I was required to upgrade the version of Norton on a bunch of lab computers. The upgrade wouldn't work, and told me I had to uninstall the previous version. Turns out uninstalling the previous version was unbelievably difficult. The auto-uninstall didn't work. The Norton removal tool didn't work. Finally I had to follow a series of manual step-by-step instructions about what files to delete and what registry keys to modify.

              And after all this pain and suffering to remove Norton... I had to install a new version. (That I knew would be a pain to eventually uninstall or upgrade.)

              Needless to say I now avoid Norton like the plague. Yet I would argue that Norton/Symantec is widespread not only because of default installs--but because they seem to do a good job marketing to the higher-ups. They win large-scale deployment contracts, where the software annoys end users and many admins, but looks good and secure on paper, I guess.

              • by laffer1 (701823)

                Many people had good experiences with their products in the past. I ran Norton since 1999 or so. At that point I was on NT4 and it worked better than the few alternatives for NT. You are also correct about marketing. Most products people mention now were not found in stores several years ago.

                I got rid of it because the lowend version started incorporating their POS firewall but without configuration options. I've had nothing but bad luck with that firewall. It often gets damaged during updates and I'd

            • by kimvette (919543) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @11:07AM (#25482279) Homepage Journal

              Oh come on who are you kidding? It is easy to remove:

              1. Log in as administrator
              2. Open command prompt
              3. cd \Program Files\ and rmdir /s Symantec
              4. CD Common Files and rmdir /s Symantec
              5. Open the registry and go to the SERVICES key and delete all the Symantec services
              6. Open the registry and go to the RUN key and delete all the Symantec entries
              7. Reboot
              8. Install and run ccleaner, run the registry tool and let it clean up the now-broken library registrations
              9. Use the uninstaller tool in ccleaner to remove now-broken uninstallers (that don't really clean up Symantec's poop trail ANYHOW)
              10. Now try removing the directories again (steps 3 & 4) to remove the remaining Symantec poop

              There, now Symantec PoopWare is now completely uninstalled. Now, wasn't that easy?

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by Anonymous Coward

                >6. Open the registry and go to the RUN key and delete all the Symantec entries
                >7. Reboot

                Norton likes to hook into stuff like the ATAPI drivers. If you kill all of the Symantec registry entries, neither Windows XP nor vista will be able to start. Easy fix with Vista, but on XP you're just boned. I know this from personal experience.

                Just use the Norton Removal Tool provided by Symantec. It works really well, assuming your Norton isntall isn't completely FUBAR. If it is, well, you were probably due for

            • by j79zlr (930600)
              Norton Removal Tool [symantec.com] has worked very well in my opinion.
      • by Rogerborg (306625)

        [Your implicitly suggested alternative] is an utter piece of crap, it would be advisable to get rid of it now.

        Citation required.

      • by RootWind (993172)
        In the past I would agree, but Symantec has really turned it around with their 2009 line. This is likely their first real overhaul in 7+ years, and they have come back with a vengeance. They finally fixed the two biggest annoyances of heavy resource use, and slow updates (pulse updates). Though I'm still an Avira, and Kaspersky guy, I can't recommend against Symantec any longer.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by UberMorlock (1391949)
          Sure you can. Just like a wife would recommend against trusting her husband just because he stopped cheating on her THIS YEAR, but had cheated on her in each of the last 6 years. Just because a change has been implemented does not mean that the change is permanent. Likely, this edition of Symantec is just a temporary reprieve from the all-consuming nature of Symantec products.
      • The new version is supposed to be an entirely new rewrite. Not to push it or anything, but I read an article where the Symantec executive admitted that their previous software was shit, and they were starting anew. You know what they say about admitting the problem to be the first step to fixing it.

        I hope Symantec goes back to writing their nice, clean antiviral software. I remember the good old days of Symantec not sucking.

    • Re:No more.... (Score:4, Informative)

      by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Thursday October 23, 2008 @10:03AM (#25481381) Journal

      Norton is itself a virus. It hogs resources, causes errors, and can't be removed without killing the host.

      For what you pay, you should get something that is better than cheaper or free products available on the web...I usually replace Norton with AVG, and while I'm not a huge fan of AVG, I've never had anyone complain.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        I've had a number of friends say this to me also, and I have been meaning to replace Norton with AVG (after my subscription runs out), but I haven't been able to get off my lazy ass and do it!

        I've had a good experience with Norton over the years, but recently the quality of their product (read: quality sucks now!) has gone way down. For me, I first noticed it when they removed parental control from their antivirus product, and made it a free "add-on" that you had to install separately. WTF??? Why did you re

      • by kesuki (321456)

        avg is a product that was last good in 2002. maybe it was still passable in 2003. but by 2006 it was so far behind everything except clam av that it was equivalent to not having any real protection from hackers.

        real security comes in 2 parts. 1 part firewall 1 part anti virus/malware/etc. if you're going to push a 'free' product at least pus one that includes a firewall, like comodo. version 3 of their firewall includes a very vistay popup style security against code execution. annoying, yes, but if yo

      • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @10:50AM (#25482017)

        It doesn't spread, so it's not a virus. More like a cancer. Or a birth defect, if it comes pre-installed.

    • by noundi (1044080) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @10:15AM (#25481543)

      but right now ANY virus protection software is better than none!

      That depends, do you walk around all day with a rubber on your weiner? No? Newsflash, niether does your computer, so stop putting it's dick everywhere.

      • by mhall119 (1035984)

        It's crude, but a wonderfully accurate analogy. These conversations are like arguing over which condom gives you the best protection when screwing hookers, when the right answer is to just stop screwing hookers.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kimvette (919543)

      Would you consider using ZoneAlarm for your software firewall (or get a "hasbro" level appliance for home if you don't have one and don't bother with a software firewall if the PC isn't mobile), and then a F/OSS AntiVirus package that does AntiVirus and ONLY antivirus? If so, then check out Moon Secure AntiVirus. [moonsecure.com] I run it on my Vista installation (which exists for gaming).

      On Linux, I don't worry about it. In fact, I submit bug reports to malware authors complaining that their crapware doesn't run on WINE

    • by antdude (79039)

      Have you tried 2009 versions? 2009 version is a total rewrite from scratch. Installs and uninstalls can take about a minute on a fast computer. Low memory usages (no hogs).

  • by PhYrE2k2 (806396) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @09:52AM (#25481243)

    Take crash tests on new vehicles. Name me one that doesn't have a 5-star crash rating? The rating system is too easy, and needs to constantly be moved to achieve a new level of betterness. Not everybody should get A's. Once the majority of players reach a standard, the standard should be moved to motivate advancement in the field and show the better of the pack.

    For example, the 5-star front-impact crash rating is par for the course now... but nobody seems to advertise the offset crashes, such as the right half of your bumper hitting the left half of your 'opponents' bumper. Why? Because it's sad in comparison. It's also not pretty to watch.

    So all the power to making the standards hard to achieve. Yes this may not be the 'real world' threat, but it's a threat nonetheless. They're basically saying "Since England isn't going to declare war on the USA, any preparedness for receipt of an attack by the USA shouldn't be considered in overall military preparedness". That's of course rediculous. Protect only against the popular virus and the unpopular virus will begin to spread.

    • by thedonger (1317951) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @10:03AM (#25481383)
      In an unusual parallel, world famous rock climber Chris Sharma wanted to downgrade a rating on a climb - one of the hardest climbs of its type in the world. From what I gather, the reason was that you reach a point where the rating system becomes meaningless as higher and higher ratings are made, and you lose the context in which the previous ratings were assigned, and the foundation on which the rating system is based.
    • by barzok (26681)

      Name me one that doesn't have a 5-star crash rating?

      Well, here's one [safercar.gov].

      Also keep in mind that when you see car ads saying "5-star saftey rating", the fine print typically says that it was for only one or two of the half-dozen test the NHSTA does. If you want a car that gets 5 stars across the board, that's not as common as cars which get a single 5-star rating.

      NHSTA has one set of standards that all makers must conform to. The IIHS is NOT a government entity and is much harsher on vehicles.

    • For something like crash testing, the ultimate limit is the human body. You can only survive an impact of so much. So if the car can survive more without a catastrophic failure, well it really isn't meaningful. So I can see having something like a 5 star rating meaning "The car can take more than you can." Basically that you are going to die from acceleration shock before something in the car would fail in such a way as to cause injury/death.

      Continual raising for the bar for it's own sake isn't always usefu

      • by kesuki (321456)

        5-point harnesses have been known to be safer than tri-point lap/shoulder belts, yet other than baby seats, where the size is age based, and which can be sold second hand at thrift stores.. the only people using a 5-point harness (and a whiplash restraint) is nascar/truck racing.

        the problem, adjustable 5-point harnesses are a real pain and so the big auto market 3-point 'height adjustable' restraints as an improvement over lap belts. when adjustable 5-point restraints become affordable for the consumer segm

    • by Vellmont (569020)


      Not everybody should get A's. Once the majority of players reach a standard, the standard should be moved to motivate advancement in the field and show the better of the pack. ...
      So all the power to making the standards hard to achieve.

      I find these to be odd statements. It was my understanding that the test is supposed to exist to give me an idea if I'm actually being protected from a threat, not as a giant dick-measuring contest. What you propose is an infinite "advance the field for the sake of advancin

  • by Kr1ll1n (579971) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @09:52AM (#25481247)
    What Kaspersky is bitching about is that the testing involves Proof of concept, meaning, if it is a known exploit, will your AV protect you, even without there being a virus payload. If they can't, I would hope that they would fail these tests. It all boils down to heuristics. If it seems malicious, block and/or report.
    • by Ilgaz (86384)

      I suspect the imaginary threats they fail is like the usual wintrolls argument "So do you think Linux/OS X is secure? Run rm -rf / and see what happens." They run a test which no actual virus/worm author (it is a money making industry) will bother to code and they blame real life solution failing to detect it.

      Couple of worms actually install pirate Kaspersky with a special setting to ignore them so they are sure they are the only malware they are running. That is the prestige of Kaspersky for you and state

    • by guruevi (827432)

      Technically, your operating system should protect you against that in the first place. I don't even know why there are still antivirus programs in this world. We had virusses back in the day of DOS when memory was accessible by anyone and everyone had the same permissions (even back then, OS/2 and other OS'es had better functionality without virusses) but nowadays, the only reason your box should be rooted is because of an exploit in a misconfigured box and nothing can protect you against that.

      I was going t

  • That's why I (Score:4, Interesting)

    by svendsen (1029716) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @09:53AM (#25481255)
    I have different Anti virus product on each of my machines at home. I figure the gap of what they won't detect is smaller then what just having one product will detect.

    Bullet proof? Of course not.

    So far with Avast, AVG, (mind you one virus product per computer only) ZoneAlarm, FireFox, and some basic sense I haven't been hit.

    My only issues (sad enough) is when a windows update broke Zone Alarm and when AVG detected Zone Alarm as a virus (cause a new version came out) and shut it down.

    Now that i really think of it all the products designed to protect me have been the ones giving me all the trouble. HAHAHA (as I cry)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by IceCreamGuy (904648)
      I deal with AVG Network edition (which is the same as the free edition but not free and with a semi-functional control center), and I can tell you that they put a lot of what I would consider legitimate software in their defs. Their newest version 8 does not remember your exceptions correctly, either.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ilgaz (86384)

      The new version of Kaspersky and couple of other vendors who spends money to development instead of animated ads tries to go with "white list" approach.

      For example, while it does very suspicious things (due to its function), Zonealarm is very known to the AV solution and once it is surely the ZA it trusts, it won't bother with it too much UNLESS it starts doing things which it isn't known to do. It adds lot to the performance and Kaspersky is the last vendor to blame about heuristics since its early version

    • by kesuki (321456)

      well, i like comodo as a firewall far better than zone alarm. there ARE ways zone alarm can be replaced with a trojan that simply turns off all the firewall abilities of zone alarm. I've seen it happen in the wild, and was the primary reason i stopped trusting zone alarm. that was when i learned about comodo. free as in beer, and it includes code execution prevention on top of inbound and out bound firewall. yeah i know vista has code execution prevention, but it just says 'program x needs to to be run as

      • by svendsen (1029716)
        off topic to the main article ...

        Comodo sounds really interesting will have to do more research. How is it telling you information about programs asking for internet access?

        For example in zone alarm it will say XXX.exe wants access. When you click for more info it tells you jack (except a program wants access...duh) and you have to research it yourself? Is comodo better at this (I hope so)

        The other thing I hate about zone alarm is every program gets added to the program list when you run it. So
        • by kesuki (321456)

          i'm not booted into windows at the moment, but off hand it tells you in flat percentages the amount of bandwidth used by each active process, it has a full process tree of every running process and every file it's got allocated in memory, sadly programs that use svchost.exe still show up as svchost.exe but with the process map you can tell if say rundll32 is running svchost.exe and that's a big red flag right there.

          it only warns you of specific ports when they're creating a 'listen' stack on the tcp/ip stac

    • by jimicus (737525)

      I have different Anti virus product on each of my machines at home. I figure the gap of what they won't detect is smaller then what just having one product will detect.
      [....]
      So far with Avast, AVG, (mind you one virus product per computer only) ZoneAlarm, FireFox, and some basic sense I haven't been hit.

      I bought a Mac.

      • by kesuki (321456)

        then you're even more in need of some basic security. webkit is a fork of khtml khtml is coded by KDE, you know, Linux Desktop KDE. yeah, that is this culture in linux that it's all about the firewall. i have to admit the firewall is crucial to internet security, but for desktop security dealing with 'the pc is an appliance' crowd, more than a firewall is needed. malware sites running cross browser clickjacking could be coded and debugged with 1 macbook and desktop multi booting linux and windows xp/vist

    • So far with Avast, AVG, (mind you one virus product per computer only) ZoneAlarm, FireFox, and some basic sense I haven't been hit.

      Somehow with some basic common sense, no antivirus software*, and a hardware router/firewall, the last time I was hit was in 1988 - a non-destructive variant of Stoned which was transferred to my PC by infected floppy. In my experience so far, Antivirus is only necessary if you don't verify your file sources; and/or are in the habit of opening things without thinking. (Or allowing applications to do so for you automatically.) Common sense alone suffices to keep you safe.

      I'm not saying that there isn't a

  • by olddotter (638430) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @09:55AM (#25481273) Homepage

    I'd just like to be able to trust anti-virus software.

    http://arstechnica.com/journals/apple.ars/2008/10/20/mac-malware-program-macguard-masquerades-as-antivirus-app [arstechnica.com]

    I'm getting really paranoid about things. I find myself avoiding any web service that wants me to download a app or plug in I'm not very familiar with.

    • by kesuki (321456)

      as a very paranoid person i have a few suggestions.

      first off, there is noscript, no script only runs on gecko browsers, so you really only have firefox, icecat, ice weasel, and ephiphany, and whatever other gecko based browsers are out there... noscript is sexy, and was the first program to protect from clickjacking.

      secondly i recommend getting a hardened firewall running on some cheap dumpster grade pentium 1-2,3 system, dumpster grade systems are easy to find, and if you cant' find one, there is always th

  • Not a fan (Score:2, Informative)

    by apharas (1258484)
    I have been solidly unimpressed with the results from most of the main stream anti-virus vendors. There are of course huge trade offs between speed, usability and accuracy. I also don't like having programs think for me without giving me a viable option to change the way it's handling a situation on the fly. For my machines I've switched all windows machines to ESET's NOD32. All my personal linux boxes I have on F-Prot. -- a
    • by b0bby (201198)

      +1 for NOD32. I've been happy with the way you never notice it, until it catches something. Just what I want from an antivirus program. We've been running it here for 3 years now, and no issues. It does help that we have a 3rd party scanning our email before it even hits our server, so we rarely get alerts.

    • NOD32 used to be good, until v3 came along. Seems they spend so much time coming up with a noob-proof interface and ironing out all the bugs in the v3 series, they forgot to maintain a proper virus-db. Submitted samples were normally included in days, now some just aren't included at all.
  • OMG - I really know lots of IT and CS related TLAs (and even longer ones, only very few are shorter AFAIK),
    but couldn't resolve "PoC" without RTFAing.

    WTF is this, some kind of trick to make us read TFA?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by SatanicPuppy (611928) *

      Proof of Concept; sad, but in Securityville this is actually used often enough that it would be considered a "normal" acronym. The debate usually revolves around the fact that a lot of PoC's are completely esoteric and can't be made into actual workable mass-market exploits.

  • I've had good luck with a combination of Firefox with the No Script addon and Clamwin, and maybe just a little common sense.

  • by QX-Mat (460729) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @10:27AM (#25481689)

    Proof of concepts are tangible vectors to infection. By not including and rigerously detecting such methods, they AV companies will allow more viral products into the market. This is a very self-serving stance.

    I actually see problem of trust emerging. Once upon a time KAV was a brilliant peice of software that ran in DOS well enough to remove the plague of Win95 Marburg infections that hit the UK gaming community after a bad cover CD. That was a time when viruses existed, and you had to stop them infecting you. The prospect of new and novel viruses infecting you wasn't really an issue as home Internet penetration was small. As such, AV software wasn't marketed as the only thing you needed to stop all viruses forever, but as a tool that will detect more than its competitor more reliably. The money you paid was for a good huristics engine that was fast, efficient and more importantly, updated reguarly.

    Now I see AV products as nothing more than 'ineffective-ware'. If AV programs claim to prevent the infection of known viruses, and reduce to risk of infection from emerging viruses, I'd probably have more faith in the industry. But they don't... in subscribing the "we can protect you from everything" marketing hype, almost every AV company has asked us to put faith in their product to stop "unknown" viruses... and we expect them to.

    They don't. It's a computational nightmare.

    KAV are in a past mindset. They have to change. They have to consider that what people really want is reliability - they want software guarantees. If any peice of AV software is going to help the market rather than hinder it, it is going to be reliable. What is the most reliable part of an infection? The vector, not the virus itself.

    The truth is really in the pudding. Viruses have changed. Almost all now are polymorphic and highly reentrant. A few lines of code will change a signature making it undetectable. Fnfection is detectable at the point of entry. If the research is put into proof of concept code in making a system vulnerable, then the AV response should be to track and thwart that success.

    Matt

  • by Exanon (1277926) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @10:29AM (#25481703)
    Call me a Schneier fanboy, but I practice security on my home network like a process, not as in buying a product and be done with it.

    Security for me begins with sensible configuration of the router and the PC's on the network, then it moves to access rights and regular patching of said computers.
    This includes regular checkups and glancing at logs every three days or so to look for obviously suspicious traffic. Finally, after all of these steps, I use Kaspersky (since I had heard good things about it) together with rootkit detector. (Oh, and Firefox with NoScript)

    All of this prevents pretty much all the scriptkiddies from getting in (I hope), but then again, the best thing you can do is to not download anything you don't know what it is.
  • It seems the industry still can't agree on the best way to rank AV vendors.

    That's like saying it's hard to rank which kind of banana, when put into your ear, is best at keeping elephants away.

    Ranking AV vendors is pointless, because the products are useless. If your policy is to download and execute random software, hoping that an AV system will filter out the malware, you are guaranteed to eventually lose, no matter how good the AV software.

  • The title should say "Can You Trust Kaspersky?" Since the article is basically Kaspersky complaining that the Anti-Virus test (that his software just failed to score 100% on) is flawed. It sounds like Kaspersky is just upset that his software didn't pass the test and he's now trying to dismiss the test as meaningless.

    Although if you look on the products page [kaspersky.com] you'll see they display the VB100 logo. Then in the article Kaspersky goes on to say - "The products which have a very poor level of protection, the

  • Unfortunately there seems to be some kind of inherent corruption in the way the antivirus industry operates. I'm sure that most of the individuals involved are as honest and honorable as they can possibly be. The problem isn't really in the people, it's the way they have to operate.

    But the result is the same. Anything that comes out of there has to be treated with extreme skepticism, whether it's antivirus software for operating systems where there's not even a credible infection vector, or attempts at taki

  • My Progression in AV software went: Mcafee-> Norton AV -> AVG -> AVG + No script + Zone Alarm -> Linux (Fedora 9)with Clam AV -> Linux F-Secure (trying it out) What sparked the changes in AV was always "Computer Performance". Some of the above devoured my computer and left me with little reasources.

I never cheated an honest man, only rascals. They wanted something for nothing. I gave them nothing for something. -- Joseph "Yellow Kid" Weil

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