"Anti-virus" packages

My Norton package expires soon, my provider is John Lewis, who offer the complete Bullguard package free of charge.

Does anyone have experience, I found a couple of online reviews that rate it at 3 out of 5 stars, but then seem to say it does everything right.

Original Post

 There is a recent comparative review in a UK PC magazine available online (Nov 2018).  This is very helpful, but not sure how comprehensive it is. A word of warning though, some, perhaps most, companies selling these products lure you in with a cheap offer for the first year. Thereafter you find you have signed up for automatic renewal after 12 months, sometimes referred to as 'ensuring your continuous protection'. Unfortunately the renewal price is very much greater than what you paid in the first year and renewal is automatic so the first you hear of it will be in your credit card statement at a later date. I was badly stung in this way. So beware! 

 

 

notnaim man posted:

My Norton package expires soon, my provider is John Lewis, who offer the complete Bullguard package free of charge.

Does anyone have experience, I found a couple of online reviews that rate it at 3 out of 5 stars, but then seem to say it does everything right.

Many many years ago Norton produced well regarded antivirus software and utilities.  Originally used Norton on my PCs, later Avast and AVG.

Over 10 years since I migrated to Macs now and it's a delight not to have to faff around with antivirus software, though I'm unlikely to be 100% protected just due to the platform.

Macs of course are far from immune to malware/viruses/trojans, it's just that the majority of malicious software is targeted at PC users, or is linked to iffy software downloads or unscrupulous sites that repackage genuine software including 'helpful tools' you'd rather not have.

I believe Avast or AVG (maybe both) were hacked in recent years themselves, so I'd certainly check out good quality online or magazine  reviews as the landscape for PC antivirus changes quickly.

Two products which might be worth a look and potentially complementary are Sophos and MalwareBytes.

https://home.sophos.com/free-anti-virus-windows

I only mention Sophos as my corporate IT department use it, and a few years ago they offered free software for Mac, seems they do for Mac and PC with ransomware and other things in the premium product, still potentially good.

notnaim man posted:

I use John Lewis Broadband, the actual provider is Plusnet

Well, according to the Plusnet website, they offer customers a product called "Plusnet Protect" which is McAfee and available free for Unlimited and Unlimited Fibre customers. If you have good old common or garden Unlimited Fibre you get the first 3 months free and then it's £2 a month which isn't unreasonable. I find it to be very good.

https://www.plus.net/home-broadband/protect/

Another option, though more drastic, would be to switch Broadband providers to BT and you get McAfee for free. Plusnet is actually owned by BT though operates autonomously.

Been using Windows Defender on Win 10 and all the previous win versions for donkeys years with no issues and it's free. It's also very important to use a liberal amount of common sense at all times whatever AV you use. Tongue in cheek, the best AV is to disconnect from the net if you're not using it! Rich 

I'm another one using Windows Defender on Win 10 - I found the McAfee product via BT and independently to slow my lap-top down to a crawl on occasions - and I also take the view that if anything nasty and dangerous which is new comes along the anti-virus providers are always one step behind. There were also occasions where some site dedicated security (IBM Trusteer IIRC) 'conflicted' with my security and I had to seek WIndows Help Team advices to address, as it wasn't obvious why issues were arising.

Windows Defender is a minimal AV package and is only intended as a stop gap measure until a more complete package can be installed or to provide a minimal level of herd immunity when people are unwilling to install proper software.  It's not as a complete or permanent operational solution.

Hmm. Let’s start with the basics. Your experience of such software depends on both the spec of your device and the activities you undertake which might be impacted by such software. Without both of those pieces of information the advice thus far is neither here nor there. If you just write and email then pick any of the above. If you record music or do intensive graphic based work then think much more carefully. Frankly though if any AV is causing an issue then the real message is that you need a new device as the overhead is negligible nowadays. 

Let’s also dispose of the “it’s free therefore it’s great” argument. Er, no. It’s generally free because it’s serving other purposes. At least 1 if the above has been in the news for crippling Windows 7 onwards (no, not Norton) and 1 has had its security compromised several times. Another 1 has been rumoured to be a tool of a hostile nation. Yes the likes of Norton do elevate prices for renewal but it’s painlessly easy to buy new versions for 50% less via Amazon etc. so that’s a tired old argument being peddled too. 

Statements like “I’ve used x for years” or “I think you only need x” should also be disregarded as they also lack the context of what the device and what it’s doing.

Huge posted:

Windows Defender is a minimal AV package and is only intended as a stop gap measure until a more complete package can be installed or to provide a minimal level of herd immunity when people are unwilling to install proper software.  It's not as a complete or permanent operational solution.

That's not really accurate. Windows Defender has gone from strength to strength and is now considered one of the most comprehensive packages and is used by a lot of service providers as a professional end point package.

It's very full featured, has recently included sandbox protection which usually you'd pay a small fortune for.

There's no need for anything paid, they're no better (in fact, often a lot worse).

My favourite paid for package is Kaspersky (don't believe the rubbish the American Government tell you about them, they don't understand AV suites).

I agree with the posts from Huge and Mike Hughes above.

Windows Defender remains a pretty minimal AV package although it has improved significantly over the past year or so and is probably likely to continue to close the gap on the best products on the market over the next year or two. I also agree with Mike Hughes that comments such as "I've used xxxxx for years without any problems", "paid versions are often a lot worse than free versions" or "Norton is worse than a virus" (this last one a patently ludicrous assertion) are at best naive or at worst (in the case of the comment about Norton) deliberately antagonistic and misleading.

As Mike says above, the overhead of AV packages on systems nowadays is relatively insignificant.     

 

SpyderTracks posted:
Huge posted:

Windows Defender is a minimal AV package and is only intended as a stop gap measure until a more complete package can be installed or to provide a minimal level of herd immunity when people are unwilling to install proper software.  It's not as a complete or permanent operational solution.

That's not really accurate. Windows Defender has gone from strength to strength and is now considered one of the most comprehensive packages and is used by a lot of service providers as a professional end point package.

It's very full featured, has recently included sandbox protection which usually you'd pay a small fortune for.

There's no need for anything paid, they're no better (in fact, often a lot worse).

My favourite paid for package is Kaspersky (don't believe the rubbish the American Government tell you about them, they don't understand AV suites).

Windows Defender can be perfectly adequate in a corporate environment where there is a very robust DMZ between the internal and external systems and introduction of data form local services (e.g. via. disks or USB) is robustly prevented.

On personal systems, I do use Kaspersky and Windows Defender (& Malwarebytes in non-realtime mode) working in co-operation with each other.

To answer some questions, it is a basic Win 10 PC, Norton came installed and was updated free but now it is renewal time and there is a cost, which I know I can beat by shopping round. The PC gets used possibly once a week, mainly for photos, downloading emails to Outlook,  banking, shopping. I do not stream, downloading music tends to be limited to the freebies when buying vinyl or the occasional album from Bandcamp. On a daily basis internet access is by android phones or tablets. They all have included avast, mcafee or norton.

I have stuck with John Lewis Broadband because I have no needs above what the package provides, the price is comparable and I like the customer service. JL provide the full Bullguard package at no cost, but I was confused by a review that only gave 3/5 but the write suggests it is as good as any other.

I have used Avast free for more years than I can count along with Malwarebytes Pro and Superantispyware Pro. I use Mailwasher for my emails. Never had an issue apart from Malwarebytes reporting some false positives.

We use AVG Pro at work and it slows our systems down.

Avast own AVG in any case so it is debatable if overall they are that different apart from their interface.

I’m BT & use their McAfee based system included in the BT package,  & suspect it is much the same as Plusnet’s security package   It seems to be reliable & is certainly trouble free as it just runs & does its job & auto updates as needed sometimes numbers of times per day.   It’s fit & forget & it’s been that way for many years.   I also have Windows-10 Defender set to running on “periodic scans” which I believe just monitors for the bandits.  

Prior or early versions of Defender were below par apparently. However most recent reviews place Windows offering high in the pecking order of AV products. You pays your money (or not) and takes your choice. Do a Google search for reviews etc., before committing. Rich 

My son's day job is design, install, support of computers systems and networks, a combination of domestic and commercial. When troubleshooting a PC the first two steps he executes are:

1) Check for McAfee and if present remove it.

2) Check for Norton and if present remove it.

That's not to say that you can't have a trouble free experience with either of these AV apps it's just that they are, in his experience, more likely to give bother than some of the others. His current preferred AV app is Kaspersky. I've been using it for some years on a number of PCs (currently 7) without any issues. Recently 10 device 1 year licence was less than £20.

Willy.

Not recommended.

I used Bullguard for two years. It was efficient and well specified. Then, despite me having a fully registered, multi user licence, they took it upon themselves to start putting pop up adverts on my screen. 

Got off to two false starts with Ariva, who sold me a fully featured suite, half of which stopped working after six months because I didn't read the small print, and Bitdefender, which I found difficult to configure and flaky in operation.

I'm on my second year of Webroot now. So far, so good.

I've almost completed migrating software and applications from my - about to be retired - Mac Pro (Early 2009) to a new Mac mini (2018) so have been following this thread with interest. Having spent my entire career in enterprise class IT, I'm particularly tuned to security considerations and personally would never run a system without protection.

I've used BT NetProtect Plus for many years and additionally now run BT Virus Protect without any system performance or resource issues, as confirmed by the Mac System Monitor. I'm always puzzled as to why some users report concerns about the impact on system performance but maybe this is a function of system configuration or headroom?

After reading a zillion software reviews my decision was to continue with the BT offerings and use the Mac firewall which is a zero incremental cost option but am always receptive to fresh insight. 

After reading the security software review in the Jan 2019 issue of PC Pro I decided to bin Windows Defender and install Plusnet's, my internet provider, McAfee package. Free for 3 months then £2.00/mth. McAfee didn't have the highest rating, 4/5 overall, but it was considered to be a lot better than Windows Defender (1/5 !?!).

BT Virus Protect is developed in conjunction with McAfee and is probably the same as used by Plusnet.

Dave

Many years ago after some trying of different things I settled on Norton, which was great - easy to use, seemed effective, and provided some additional tools that were useful. However over the years it not only got more expensive, but it also got less friendly/flexible, and more and more wanting to control what I did and how I did it (rather reminiscent of Windows). I switched to Kaspersky, which I have found better than Norton had become, though it also is annoying at times.  

Using these I’ve never knowingly had a virus or other malware: but of course that doesn’t prove effectiveness as on the one hand I might not necessarily be aware, and on te other I may just have been lucky - I’ve known some people with no AV software who have said the same.

dave4jazz posted:

McAfee didn't have the highest rating, 4/5 overall, ...

BT Virus Protect is developed in conjunction with McAfee and is probably the same as used by Plusnet.

Dave

That was pretty much my finding too dave4jazz but it's not bottom of the pack by any means. As they say though, "other offerings are available."  Yep, unsurprisingly the McAfee branding is right on the BT offerings, good that you mention though it in case some may not be aware.

It's interesting to see the wide variety of products being used by forum members. There doesn't seem to me to be one clear market winner in this space but I personally like the simplicity of plug 'n play with the BT offerings and no incremental cost is a bonus.

I help a number of people maintain their computers (6 + my 2); in each case when they've been lax in their AV protection their computers have rapidly become infected with spyware and trojans.

I did have an instance of a virus infecting a Linux partition in a VM on my machine, but it couldn't survive me rebasing the VM (which is why I was using a VM for that particular project).

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