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back to article Bummed-out users give anti-virus bloatware the boot

One in four users turned off their anti-virus protection in response to performance problems after they installed security software, according to a survey by security software firm Avira. The poll of users of the German anti-virus outfit, which like AVG and Avast offers free security software to consumers, also found that more …

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It's

It's becoming almost impossible to find AV/AM software which isn't bloated. I'm using AVAST at the moment which is nice and invisible (once you turn off the "I've updated" voices). I used to swear by AVG but that went real nasty, performance wise. Before that (a long time before) it was Norton - and we all know that that was the first performance killer.

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AVG is a goner

Too true.

Used to use AVG myself. In fact, when someone in the family inevitably bought a peeceewurld laptop, my first job would be removing Symantec/Norton and installing AVG.

However, ever since AVG started causing my old Toshiba "Centrino" laptop to emulate Vista performance in XP, I used Avast as an alternative and found it to be much less bloated.

The "Avast Virus Database has been updated!" sound makes it sound like a computer out of 24, or one of those mission-critical systems :)

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Consider Eset

You should try Eset NOD32. It isn't bloated at all. And it is very good on malware and worms. It does have a problem cleaning viruses, although it has no problem detecting viruses. NOD32 also doesn't detect rootkits. Despite those problems, it has been my experience with all malware and worms that if NOD32 doesn't stop it right away, it will remove them within two days when the definitions update. The nice thing about NOD32 is the on-access scan is as good as the on-demand scan, which really means you never need to schedule an antivirus scan.

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Agree

Recently replaced AVG with Avast on all the family and friend computers I look after - much improved performance, certainly on the older boxes.

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Re ESET

I'm puzzled why one person has chosen to downvote this post. I agree, Nod is brilliant. If someone has had a problem, please share it with us.

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Gates Horns

Not surprised...

every time my pc stops responding I look at the anti-virus and usually find it's updating. Some of the fingers should be pointing at corporate IT departments if they're anything like ours - every desktop (500+) attempts to update itself between 14:00 and 15:00. Network is swamped and no-one can do anything!

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FAIL

Linux

'no-one can do anything' - if your IT dept. was up to the job they'd bang linux on an old server and use it as a caching server. However, with 500+ seats your AV client should be network aware and be updating locally from a master LAN server and not t' tinterweb.

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WTF?

Ummm...

Scratching my head about why the downvotes on the above - is it because it mentioned Linux or am I missing something?

Anyway

SHRUBBERY

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Flame

Users are too trusting...

...of the shit that comes bundled with their machines. I have seen McAfee cripple machines to a crawl but people like my parents are so stuck in their ways, they sooner buy a new machine than switch anti-virus software. I really despair at this widespread false belief that computers get slower with age. Even after telling my Dad repeatedly that McAfee does more harm than good, he still not only uses it but gives them money for the "privilege" !

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Silver badge

Yup, too trusing

Sadly I have seen this sort of behaviour as well.

Currently Tux is my answer as its harder to subvert and much less of a target. Sometimes I contemplate taking away admin rights, as even a hypothetical 'perfect' system is only as secure as the fool, er family/friend, who is able to make system-wide changes.

Much as I dislike Google's power-grab of the net, there is a lot to be said for ChromeOS for users who just want web/email and light wordprocessing as you don't get the option of local store/changes.

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Go

Naaawwww .....

... not too trusting, just ignorant. Most I know install a program and never tweak it in any way. They simply have no concept of tailoring a product to their needs. They think the box is like a hammer and works only one way. Can you imagine that ... so stupid and backward that they actually expect the machine to operate as depicted on TV and on various forums they may mistakenly visit.

They also are so boorish as to never clean and dust, defrag or scan for spyware. Such dolts, they think the things actually are simple and all you have to do is keep it plugged into the wall socket like a radio.

But then, they do know the location of every computer mechanic and fixit shop within a 10 mile radius so they don't worry. "Taking my kid to ball practice; I'll be back in two hours to get it. Thanks for the help. Yeah, it's not working right. See ya."

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Headmaster

Slower with age

A mate of mine had his PC die a few years ago, so I rummaged around through his assorted piles of crap and found a decade old pentium running windows 95. From switching it on to running office was literally about 10 seconds. The thing was like shit off a stick compared to what we put up with now, and as far as my mate was concerned he had a brand new PC.

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only now they notice?

AV software that causes more damage than the average virus gets rejected by users. Who'd have thought?

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Gav
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It's all true

I'm on my third anti-virus software this year. First one was way too much hassle to install, maintain and update. Second one attempted to police too much, whined continually about being the free version and I should upgrade, and was a resource hog.

Latest one is Microsoft Security Essentials. Early days yet, but it could be that finally Microsoft have got an anti-virus package worth using.

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Just a Guess

Was the second either AVG or Zonealarm?

I've always found Clamwin to be more than adequate, although configuring on-access scanning can be a pain at times

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Hmm...

...I have a bad feeling about Microsoft AV. I really don't like the way IE has its tendrils embedded in deep my system, so I don't use it. I'm wary of MS's own AV offering just in case it becomes ubiquitous (like IE used to be), and hence very popular with security software disabling/hijacking malware writers. With its tendrils potentially penetrating the inner sanctum of my OS, I'd be happier with a third party- probably just paranoia, but it doesn't feel right.

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Gates Halo

Re: It's all true

Seconded / thirded / whatever.

I'd like to think that the advent of MSE would be a massive boot up the backside of the A/V vendors to slim down their bloatware, improve efficiency and eliminate the upgrade nagging on the free versions.

However, it looks like they are going for "Plan B": Cry foul, moan about anticompetitive practices and sue MS for daring to park its tanks on their lawn. Bastards and they deserve to fail.

Note to the incumbant market leaders: MSE is actually taking your market share by the simple expedient of being a damned sight better at what it does than your shit is.

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> MSE is taking your market share

By using a whole lot of undocumented hidden and ultra fast API calls which give it performance no competitor can match...

Well I don't know that's the case, but lets face it it wouldn't be the first time...

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Anonymous Coward

How did you forget to mention WindowsUpdate?

Or hasn't the check been credited to your account yet?

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Stop

<title>

I installed MSE on my old lappy which runs XP, is a bit long in the tooth but runs pretty well for the use I put it to, IE a bit of web serving and the occassional torrent.

I found that MSE increased the boot time of this machine from a sprightly 2 minutes to an amusing 45 mins.... yes you read that right!

Currently using Avast free on it and all is well in the world.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: JimC

From what I read - can't seem to find the article now - part of the reason MSE has been doing so well in the AV testing is that it's able to hook deeper into the OS and is more difficult to disable.

Disclaimer: this is not a "dey took our jobs" post. Proprietary protocols and APIs in Windows has been a gripe of mine or years (ref: Samba and AD)

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Another vote for MSE

After finally giving up on AVG after many years due to excessive bloat (the 2011 Free version involved an enormous additional download) I switched to MSE, and am quite happy so far (this is of course only a solution if you have a valid Windows install).

Of course, when I must use Windows I surf from a limited user account and never use IE or OE, which helps a lot to start with.

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FAIL

re: valid Windows install

I thought MS made security enhancements available regardless of "Genuine Advantage" status, as a part of their anti-malware initiative, but strangely this doesn't appear to be the case with Security Essentials.

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Grenade

They discover this NOW!?

Anyone would think they NEVER have to use a machine with an AV installed!

We have Kasp installed at our place and it does exactly what it says on the tin... while at the same time making the machine run like an utter dog.

Like the article says, most people end up disabling it, which has been the reason for the last four outbreaks...

morons!

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Very badly run corporate network...

...where it's possible for users to turn off the AV. Are some of you idiots out there _still_ giving users local admin?

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VIPs

In some companies (like the last one I worked for) IT don't get much choice, "VIPs" demand and get local admin, and write access to stuff they don't need write access to...

The three outbreaks we had came from the President (2), and the VP, who's full write access to everything caused the loss of that days work for a lot of people when all their data was deleted and I had to restore from the overnight backup.

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Coat

Some...

... users just need local admin rights. Most of them in software development or validation. You just need an AV that cannot be turned off without a master password known to the IT dept only.

For personal home usage I had no problems paying for an AV, being ESET NOD32, which comes out of tests as thrustworthy and is blazingly fast.

Mine's the one with the money those friendly people at ESET gave me in.

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Go

So? What's Your Point?

You got paid. That's your job. If you don't like your job, leave. If you're going to take their money, do your job, make your eight hours (or whatever) and then go home to your real life. Of course if your real life IS your job, weeeellllll, you have a far larger problem than stupid company officers.

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Happy

RE KarlTH

It's like Tom 35 says, we don't have any choice - management demand that level of access.

Plus much of our infrastructure is old and we cannot afford to replace it in the current climate, so whilst the likes of the AV is new the hardware it runs on could use an update.

It comes down to the age-old battle between security and usability.

Are you one of the "idiots" who puts that much crap into builds that NOBODY can use it?

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FAIL

Admin rights..

If you have admin rights it doesn't matter that theres a "master password", that just means you cant go into the av program frontend and turn it off...

You can still disable it manually, even if you just boot from a livecd and delete the binaries.

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"management demand that level of access"

Can't you tweak their profile using policy manager or somesuch to allow them to do what they think they should do without being admin-level access?

It is my experience that management (especially the more clueless higher uppers) ask for the moon on a stick because they think they can. The P and VP probably want full access because "it is their company" without entirely understanding what this means (and, as demonstrated, the exact reasons why they shouldn't have that access). It'll be a delicate juggling act between restricting their access while permitting what they think they want to do.

And remember, as the IT guy, not only are you treading on eggshells with them, the rest of the company will be pointing their fingers at you the next time they screw up and a restore from backup nukes a day's work. <sigh>

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@C Yates

No. Why do you imagine I am?

The solution with "need admin access" people is two accounts. FredBloggs and FBAdmin. FBAdmin is either a local account on the box or a domain account that is a member of no groups beyond Domain Users and a group called "Local Access Only" which has deny privs on all shared libraries, printers etc.

Fred therefore _has_ to use the FredBloggs domain user account to access network resources. He can use FBAdmin, possibly via runas, when he needs to do admin-y things. He cannot claim he doesn't have full control of his box because he does, just not when wearing his network user hat. You will of course need to use Group Policy to control the local admin group so that FBAdmin can't add FredBloggs to the local admins group...

You justify this by saying it's not about not trusting him to run his own computer, but _protecting_ him against zero-day malware attacks.

Developers running as local admin all the time are a menace - it's this practice which is responsible for half their crap not working properly for limited users once they release it. Definitely should have the FredBloggs/FBAdmin setup. If it doesn't run as FredBloggs you haven't got it working yet.

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Coat

I haven't ran AntiVirus for over 5 years

of course, I don't run Windows either.

/mines the one with the hackers guide to OSX in the pocket

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penguins don't catch cold either

But I have to:

1) Have a copy of clamav on linux to check and scrub any files I give to or get from windows victims.

2) Same on bootable linux usb for scrubbing infected windows systems

3) MSE on the dual booted systems that I run windows on for my own purposes

I share the general tech consensus that MSE is as good as anything, better than most, but any monoculture is dangerous. But windows itself is a monoculture.

MSE is a damn sight better than the 90's MS Anti-Virus product.

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Boffin

Me too

Run windows in a VM. Never use it for browsing. Why bother using AV?

It's a standard risk assessment. Probability x Consequences. If you don't have kids, don't use Microsoft, don't surf dodgy sites, distrust all attachments, ensure you've regular backups, have the skill to deal with the consequences and have fallbacks... the risk is low enough to consider acceptable.

All depends upon your numptie quotient.

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MSAV nostalgia

Ah yes the old MSAV. Used on the old 3.11 / Dos 6.22 machine to scan floppy disk games from "untrustworthy" friends.

Never got updated, but did manage to find the occasional baddie! :)

Came in 2 flavours - vanilla Dos and a Win16 executable.

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Highest Performing Packages

In my opinion, the highest performing free AV is Ariva. Any of the other free offerings, including MSE, will bog your system down. Avira also consistently has one of the best detection rates.

The highest performing paid AV I think is either Avira Premium and Norton AntiVirus (not Norton Internet Security). Symantec have really reduced the footprint and increased the performance of their client with the 2010/2011 offerings.

However, Avira Premium is cheaper and tends to consistently score higher than Norton on AV Comparatives tests.

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WTF?

Avira?

How much have they paid you to post that?

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Troll

How much was he paid? Probably nothing.

Try checking out various different industry AV tests, and see where Avira Personal Edition comes in those tests. In most of them, it's normally damned near the top in terms of raw detection/removal/lack of false positives.

On top of that it's straightforward, fairly light and fast, and nags you *once* a day about the full version.

I used to use it all the time before I switched to Linux, and I used to keep tabs on the AV comparison tables back then quite regularly.

Not everything is the cause of fanboys and shills, you pleb - some products are actually just rather good.

Steven R

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Anonymous Coward

Ariva?

That's a bus company, isn't it?

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Joke

Isn't that a bus company?

"In my opinion, the highest performing free AV is Ariva"

If you use a bus[1] company for your Audio/Visual needs it's really fast. On a big six-wheeler, scarlet-painted, London transport, diesel-engined, 97-horsepower omnibus...

[1] As long as you don't get a SIGBUS error, of course...

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Avira ain't too shabby

Another thumbs up for Avira, it's a default install on my own machines if they dropped the nagging about the full version I'd be installing it everywhere but MSE is just too easy. And I'll be Avira recommending it next time I'm involved with a corporate purchasing policy.

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Coat

On a big six-wheeler, scarlet-painted, London transport, diesel-engined, 97-horsepower omnibus...

Hold very tight please! ting! ting!

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High performing?

I recently discovered a malware on my system. Some sort of dormant IRC controlled trojan that had spread to, like, three programs in the unknown time it was on my system. Avast didn't notice it. My FTP host did.

I chucked the file to http://www.virustotal.com/ and of the 40-or-so products that eyeballed the file, only THREE recognised it.

I have given my system a once over with ClamAV (which is intolerably slow) and then back to Avast.

There's more to life than scanning speed.

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Stop

@heyrick: You Have Understood Only Half Of The Story

..what you should have realized is that Virus Scanners are very much like a Bank Without Locks on the Doors and Safes with a company of Security people checking every person against a bible of criminals. If a new criminal shows up or if one of them has a new haircolor, they are stuffed.

That's why banks use locks. And Unix. Like Linux or MacOS X. And they don't run as Admin if they ever use Windows.

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Joke

I tried turning of my AV once.....

...and I never had a problem.

@@@ buy meds - send credit card details - girls @@@

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AV gets bloated? Join the club!

All software does, doesn't it? In general the motivation to upgrade to the new version of anything is driven by new features rather than cleaning-up and enhancing the raw performance of the existing version - cf. Office, every print-driver I've ever seen, WiFi helper apps (50Mb+ for the drivers for mine? Come on..)

Perhaps the best way to reduce the need for complex AV is to reduce the chances of the bad guys to get in and do something. Of course, this means we should consider a more secure environment - but we all know that every time Windows gets more security conscious, users bypass the model because it's a pain to live with!

You pays your money and you takes your choice. Yes, I'm frustrated with my AV dragging my machine down - but no more than Office et al for doing the same!

Imagine: a s/w industry that releases new versions with the promise that 'nothing added but we've removed all that legacy code that made it run like a pig'. Good luck selling it 'cause very few consumers will 'upgrade' without seeing new features they (mostly) don't need.

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Sir

<quote>

Imagine: a s/w industry that releases new versions with the promise that 'nothing added but we've removed all that legacy code that made it run like a pig'. Good luck selling it 'cause very few consumers will 'upgrade' without seeing new features they (mostly) don't need.

</quote>

and thats exactly what Apple did with Snow Leopard over Leopard. Admittedly their was "much" behind the scenes work stuff like Grand Central, but it wasn't a major UI overhaul like the previous point release versions, it did however remove a lot of legacy code.

Noe i just wish they'd finish the job and get iTunes into better shape.

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Printer Drivers and Office

Installed a Printer Driver for a certain brand recently (rhymes with Pewlett Hackard), the install of the printer driver took longer than the install of Windows 7 or Mint Linux!

It also consumed a good few hundred MB!

Also, the difference in space between the usable Office XP and the latest Ribbony nonsense!

I remember the day an office 4.3 install seemed almost apologetic for hitting the 100MB complete install mark!

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Gates Horns

bloatware

i dont remember which version it was, but MS Office went from being on 3 or 4 floppies per product to being on 100+ for the full suite.

My memory says it must have been around the time of Win95.

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