back to article Sunbelt buckles up for anti-bloatware drive

The anti-virus bloatware problem is getting worse despite what some vendors may claim, according to figures from Sunbelt Software. The Florida based vendor's marketing claims tap into a deep well of discontent about anti-virus products but are not supported by the latest results from independent testing labs, such as AV-Test. …

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ESET

Two words... ESET NOD32

No bloat, no malware.

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FAIL

Really?

"Since Norton AntiVirus 2008, Symantec has developed technology so that its software uses less computing resources."

Having just been required to 'upgrade' to the latest Symantec Endpoint Protection, I can only assume that they may have developed the technology, but not yet used it in their products. Norton used to work well (cue freetards and McAfee fanbois...) but this latest release is a dog (on a 3GB core-2 duo!). And it breaks older releases of systemworks.

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WTF?

A Title

I used to be an AVG Reseller. Just after version 8.0 came out, I had a discussion with my marketing contact about how badly their software was performing on my client's PCs. I was rather surprised when the response that came back was "It's not supposed to work well on a four year old PC, tell your client to buy a new computer."

Eh? how out of touch are these companies? The average home PC is an under powered pile of rubbish, bought at a high street chain store, trying to run on a Celeron with 256MB of RAM. "Cheap" PCs are the norm in a family home.

My solution? I am now a NOD32 reseller instead as this works much better even on the low powered scrap machines. AVG's loss has been ESET's gain.

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WTF?

And..

NOD32?

What about this stellar program, updates once a day atleast! Never failed me in the year and a half I've had it, it automatically blocks any bad web connections too, not something from just the "anti-virus" program its advertised as. It also makes efficient use of assembly code so its scans are faster.

El Reg, what the f*ck, simply, the f*ck?!

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About time!

It's about time! Antivirus software has been increasingly engulfing workstations to the point where 3/4 of the RAM and CPU is dedicated to run the antivirus, expecially in older workstations, that could run just fine without one.

I'd really like to find an antivirus product that works (that is, it stops viruses) without clogging the machine it runs on. And as a bonus, does NOT come with all the bells and whistles (that is, no firewall, no antispam, no anti-phishing (what exactly is an anti-phising anyway? something like an anti-idiot-luser?), and so on). Or better, that comes with MODULAR bells and whistles, that I can install IF NEEDED.

Well, I run Linux myself, so I don't care, and even when I used windows, I could avoid viruses even without an antivirus, because I am not an idiotic luser, but anyway my lusers need an antivirus, and I am really disappointed by the fact that today every antivirus package that has been decent in the past is horribly bloated. Some of them are also not so good at stopping viruses, but this another issue to be discussed somewhere else.

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WTF?

I don't get it

Why are they talking about system slowdown while doing MANUAL scans? You'd expect it to be slow then...

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Unhappy

OK fine but...

what about in 5 years when there are 5,000,000 more viruses/worms/trojans to scan for? How long can we keep going down this road? I'd like my poor computer to do some work for me too.

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Bronze badge

Meaningless figures

This is the kind of hopelessly shallow and ultimately pointless analysis I would expect of a high school student rather than a company that really cared about efficiency. So Sunbelt's software uses 27% CPU when performing a manual scan. This is of course more CPU time than a system that uses 100% CPU for a quarter of the time. Without complete figures the results are meaningless and you are left wondering what the company is trying to hide, assuming that nothing critical has been lost in reporting.

The whole idea of measuring performance with manual scans is a naive one at any rate. If you start a manual scan do you really care what the CPU utilisation is? More important by far is on-access performance. How much longer does it take to open a given file, or start a given application, with this software over no AV software at all? How does this compare to competitive products? I refuse to listen to the claims of a company that cannot devise a fair, accurate and meaningful method of evaluating performance. I determined the limitations in two minutes: it _must_ have occurred to someone in the company over the course of the months or years they spent developing the software.

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FAIL

Its about time.

In addition to bloat .. I'd also like to see them do something about their crappy uninstallers.

Half the time the trailware that gets install on new PCs won't uninstall cleanly. Sometimes even after you run their special removal tools .... other security products wont' work properly because of the mess the installer left behind.

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NOD32?

How can you have a conversation about the speed of virus scanners and their system utilization without including NOD32?

There is a fair amount of research done by West Coast Labs and AV-Comparitives on this subject.

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sunbelt has misled about a/v in the past

A year or so ago their anti-spam hardware devices started developing troubles detecting viruses.

Questions were asked and answered on the Sunbelt mailing list; Alex Eckelberry stated "It (one of the viruses not caught by the product) is recognized by Bitdefender, but due to the nature of this trojan, I would trust defense in depth more than I would trust any AV engine."

What he meant to say was "your expensive antispam and antivirus product is currently unable to download a/v updates. Our admins have already been on yoiur system but are not permitted to tell you we have ID'ed the fault."

Also, the company issued a press release advising everyone using either its appliance or its software antispam tools to block all ZIP files at the gateway.

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try comodo.....

Not in scan mode just (sic) siting there. memory run away just like a memory leak than resets in a loop from 6k to 120k as Borat would say Nice.

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FAIL

Dead end

AV software running on the client like this is a dead-end model. It's a bit like chopping down the rain forrests - at what point do you stop? When you've finally eaten ALL the resources in the machine? When there are no more CPU cycles left? When there is no more memory and the disk drives are knackered? the programs just get bigger and bigger each time they are updated.

Having to run a program that eats up 50 or 150MB of memory just to ...well ...keep the machine running (AV software doesn't actually do anything "productive" does it? It doesn't do any real "work") is just plain stupid and shows that something is very broken indeed.

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Another voice for NOD32

We're ditching Symantec for Eset. I considered Vipre briefly, but the detection rates were just too low.

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Unhappy

the modern AV scanners ARE slow

I was doing some work on one of my older machines (It's an Athlon XP 3000+, 2gb RAM, Nvidia 6800 series so hardly ancient) and was noticing that simple operations such as SVN checkouts were taking forever. At first I thought it was a bad wireless connection or similar (connection was 'average'), but the problem persisted even when connected directly.

Turns out it was AVG eating every last bit of CPU time and bringing the machine to a standstill during checkout. I made sure it wasn't just the windows 'drop down to PIO mode' issue with one of the drives (which could result in any process accessing the drive using excessive CPU time) and confirmed that it wasn't. The real-time scanning engine was simply killing the CPU. Switching it off brought the checkout time from half an hour back down to 5 minutes.

On recommendation and based on personal experience with other machines I tried Avast! which was no better (about 25 minutes to checkout) and in the end concluded that the machine will just have to run without AV during checkout.

It seems the modern versions of these AV packages don't care much for single core processors, and with the increase in popularity of low-powered netbooks I don't see how this bodes well for their performance or security.

The only other time I've seen AV products have such a negative effect on performance and productivity was with the horribly bloated Norton and McAfee crapware which thinks it owns your PC. I might have to give that NOD32 thing people are mentioning here a run because all the other options are looking very poor indeed.

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FAIL

Vipre???

Vipre's detection rates are crap, which is probably why it doesn't use any resources because it lets everything in. Having had the misfortune to use it for a few weeks, I can safely say that I won't be using it again. And what is more, one of my friends tried it on a netbook and opening certain programs made Vipre use 100% CPU for about 10 seconds, so it's not much good for netbooks either.

Norton Internet Security / Norton Antivirus 2010 is very easy on CPU and RAM btw, extremely good detection rates also and very fast scanning speed.

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