Anti-Virus Answers

October 14, 2006

There are more and more viruses and malware that anyone can get hidden away in the Internet, installation files, emails, and more. Recently, two major security flaws were detected on Microsoft products. One pertained to Internet Explorer 6.0, and the other on Windows XP. Malware and viruses can range from just annoying to devastating. Some uploads you documents onto a server. Others corrupt your system files. And even others play around with your firewall making you more vulnerable to viruses and hackers.

There are also many anti-virus programs available for you to use. Among the two most advertised are Norton AntiVirus and McAfee VirusScan. (Just because they’re advertised doesn’t mean their the best.) McAfee certainly isn’t your answer. (Read my last post.) Norton AntiVirus 2007 is much lighter than its predecessors.  But there are two other applications which prefer: Windows Live OneCare and Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6.

Windows Live OneCare
Microsoft’s OneCare is better defined as a PC tuner than an anti-virus program. It offers three services: Protection Plus (virus protection), Performance Plus (system tune-ups, such as defragmenter, temporary files cleaner, and Windows updater), and Backup and Restore (back-up and system restore wizards).

  • Protection Plus offers a strong virus scan and cleans out the infection promptly. It also offers a firewall and notifies you if a unknown process connects to the internet. It allows you to easily scan a specific file through integration of the Windows shell. It also specializes in scanning attachments with Windows Live Messengers and MSN Messenger.

  • Performance Plus works on a schedule which defragments your disk, removes uneeded files, and download and install critical updates for your system.

  • Backup and Restore helps you store your important files on CDs, DVDs, and/or flash drives in case your computer crashes or your files get deleted.

All in all, OneCare isn’t such a bad choice for virus protection. To learn more or to buy the product, go to http://www.windowsonecare.com/.

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6 is a wonderful anti-virus app. With very frequent updates, it will keep you safe from the latest threats. Anti-Virus 6 can search within a variety of files, such as, but not limited to, .zip, .rar, .ut!, .dll, and even .exe. Kaspersky supports many installers and can search MSIs, InstallShield, Setup Factory, NullSoft, and even custom made ones, too! This makes it vitually impossible for a virus or Trojan to hide within another file. Here re some facts that may amaze you:

  • Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6 has a 99.57% chance of detecting viruses. Norton AntiVirus 2007 has a 97.61% chance, and McAfee VirusScan has a 96.41% chance.

  • Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6 can add a definition for a new threat in 0-2 hour(s). It takes Norton 10-12 hours and McAfee 8-10 hours.

  • Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6 is the only anti-virus software that offers hourly updates!

  • Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6 supports spyware and adware protection, real-time protection, and on-demand and scheduled scanning.

  • Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6 supports more archives than its competitors (.zip, .ari, .rar, .cab, .lha). Norton only supports .zip, and McAfee supposedly supports none.

  • Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6 has an option to scan only new files, as Norton and McAfee don’t.

  • Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6 has a proactive anti-virus protection, can detect harmful Microsoft Office macros, and disinfect SMTP and POP3 email. It is the only software of the three that has a proactive behavior blocker, proactive rootkit removal, and supports system restore after a malicious attack.

  • Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6 is the only one that disinfects IMAP4 email, scans HTTP traffic on-the-fly, optimizes protection level with scan speed, suspends scanning during increased usage, and supports power-saving for laptops. It is also the only one where the user can change the interface appearance.

As you can see, Kaspersky definately outmatches its rivals and goes on to show you that just because a product is advertised more, it doesn’t mean it’s the best, and sometimes even reliable. For more information about Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6, go to http://usa.kaspersky.com/products/anti-virus.php.

Get it from CNET Download.com!

Yesterday, I installed McAfee VirusScan Plus 2007, the latest software for antivirus by McAfee. To begin off, I’ll tell you how other people think about VirusScan. CNET’s Reviews rated it 6.0 out of 10.0. The review itself is negative, too.

“Despite a face-lift, the redesigned McAfee VirusScan Plus continues to consume system resources and leaves its customer support lacking.” —CNET Reviews

But, the user ratings at http://reviews.cnet.com/ are even worse. It’s rated 3.9 out of 10! Now that’s bad.

Now let me tell you my story. It’s more of an epic, like The Odyssey. Here’s my epic, my story of the struggle with McAfee VirusScan Plus 2007. Enjoy!

It all started one Tuesday. I was anxious to install my McAfee VirusScan Plus 2007 on my 6-month-old PC. No antivirus application had ever found it’s home on this PC. I first tried a Norton AntiVirus 2006. Too bad it never installed. It always came up with an error. Maybe Norton wasn’t the right one for my PC. I then moved to Windows Live OneCare. It worked great! Too bad it lasted only 90 days. I didn’t want to buy it then, so I uninstalled it. But since OneCare locked my firewall so it can monitor it itself, it never unlocked it. To this day, it’s still open. But, I thought my search was over. McAfee VirusScan was the one…the deliverer…the Messiah!

Or so I thought. Well the installation went great. It scanned the computer before installing. After a quick installation and the mandatory reboot of my PC, the Security Center was up and running. I fiddled around with a few of its tools. Then, I went for the kill…the scan. Let me tell you this. My baby brother can count faster than the rate VirusScan scans files. Consequently, I cancelled the scan. (I don’t have a baby brother.) By that time, it was getting late, so I called it quits.

The next day, I had to type up something in Word. So, I turned on the computer, clicked on my name on the XP welcome screen, and waited for my desktop to load. That’s where the problem started. I stayed there. I never got to go to Word. I usually start the program I want to use before Windows actually finished loading when I turn the computer on. I did likewise this time, too. But instead of it slowly opening Word and building the menus, toolbars, and objects one by one, I got a great white box! I clicked on it. (Oops!) The title bar turns from “Document 1 – Microsoft Word” to “Document 1 – Microsoft Word (Not responding…). My reflexes cause my fingers to stumble and type “Ctrl + Alt + Del”. Great, I’ll just end this task and reopen the application. That was, if Task Manager ever poped-up. Instead, I got a small intro box with big, red letters spelling “McAfee – Loading…” The McAfee active protection had just started now. So, I waited for the computer to calm down. I waited………and I waited………and I waited………until I couldn’t wait anymore.

So, I forcely turned the computer off and tried again. The result was the same as the first. I guessed it was McAfee that was causing this problem.

Therefore, I once again turned the computer off and opened it in safe mode and logged in to “Administrator”. This time, the computer was as fast as normal. The start menu actually opened when I clicked on it, not 30 seconds later. I went to “Start > Run” and typed in “regedit” to open Registry Editor. I went to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run” and deleted the McAfee’s startup entry. That had to be it. McAfee couldn’t start up now.

Again, I was wronged. On my restart, I was struck again by the McAfee-ian blow. But, the battle wasn’t over yet. I went to the Control Panel. It loaded after a few minutes. I clicked on Add/Remove Programs. I waited 5 minutes only to find out the computer had been frozen for a while. Sigh.

I turn it off. I turn it on. This is like my fifth restart so far. So I open Windows Explorer and I find the uninstallation executable. I click on it. Again, no response.

On my next restart, I open the computer in safe mode again and I ran the uninstallation, only to remember you can’t run executables in safe mode.

What now? Was my PC forever doomed under the tryantry of McAfee. I had to do something. I was the American George Washington, the Jewish Mattathias, the French Joan of Arc. I was the deliverer, the Moses of my peopl—er, my PC. I had to use my wits. I noted that whenever I turned on the computer, all the startup programs worked great. But, when you wanted to run another program after the startup, the computer will freeze or the program would be unresponsive. So, in safe mode, I added a new value under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run, the location of the uninstallation file.

I restarted the computer normally and the uninstall poped-up. After about an hour under the slow circumstances, it finally completed. After it prompted restart, I had won the battle! The conflict ended! I was the victor! I had taken back my PC! McAfee was defeated! Ahh…the satisfaction of a job well done.

True story, I may add. The bottom line? Don’t get McAfee VirusScan Plus 2007!

Spyware is any software that covertly gathers user information through the user’s Internet connection without his or her knowledge, usually for advertising purposes. Spyware applications are typically bundled as a hidden component of freeware or shareware programs that can be downloaded from the Internet. Once installed, the spyware monitors user activity on the Internet and transmits that information in the background to someone else.

Some spyware, like Toolbar888, are hard to remove and some tend to regenerate, lock system restore, or disable the firewall.

Fortunately, there’s a way to fight back. I will give you three applications which are very helpful in fighting attacks.

Microsoft Windows Defender – freeware

Microsoft Windows Defender
Microsoft’s Windows Defender has one advantage over the other applications. Since this is a Microsoft release, it is very much integrated into the Windows ShellMicrosot Windows Defender screenshot than the other applications. However, studies prove that it doesn’t identify all infections and is sometimes incapable of completely removing some infections. However, Defender will inform you of known infections as soon as it detects it, and will ask you if you want to remove it or ignore it. Defender has a couple more neat tools inside where you can monitor your computer.

Get it from CNET Download.com!

Lavasoft Ad-Aware SE Proffesional Edition
Lavasoft Ad-Aware SE Professional Edition Lavasoft Ad-Aware SE Proffesional Edition is a great choice for complete control over attacks. It scans pretty good, even though it eats up a lot of CPU. You can monitor active processes. But my favorite feature is the Active Protection. On Windows startup, a lightweight app pops up which will inform you of changes in the registry, tracking cookies, and harmful processes. I find this very helpful.

Although, I couldn’t find a trial or demo for the professional edition, there’s one for the personal edition.

Get it from CNET Download.com!

CounterSpy – shareware
Sunbelt Software CounterSpy CounterSpy has to be the best anti-spyware. It has a low-weight scanning ability and has a good number of tools, like PC Checkup, File Eraser, and the ability to monitor processes, BHOs (Browser Helper Objects), startup programs, and much more. It got a #1 Editors Choice on Download.com. I use this the most.

Get it from CNET Download.com!


If you’re serious about protecting your computer, I would first install Microsoft Windows Defender. Then, I would install the trial for both Ad-Aware SE Professional and CounterSpy and decide for yourself which one is better for you. If I were you, I would choose the light-weght, yet powerful CounterSpy. After you make your decision, buy it the official site (through Download.com) or another trusted site.But, this is only a small step in protecting your computer…there’s virus protection, firewall protection, etc to worry about.

Hello world!

September 29, 2006

In the computer language world, the phrase “Hello world” is used basically for testing especially when using an echo function. For example, in Javascript you would write this:

document.write("Hello world!");

For PHP, it would be this:

<?php
echo("Hello world!");
?>

It is even used for markup languages like HTML:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd&gt;
<html>
<head>
<title>Hello world!</title>
</head>
<body>
<p>Hello world!</p>
</body>
</html>

If you really want to know all of them, Wikipedia actually has an article for them properly called “Hello world program“.

Nevertheless, the real point of this post is to say hello to you (even though you’re probably the only person that ever read this). Hopefully, this blog will grow and accumilate hundreds of posts. But as the old saying goes, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.