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Antiviruses Un-plugged : SD USERS` CHOICE VOTE, 2009.

An unprotected computer is a vulnerable computer, plain and simple. Every year there are hundreds of viruses, Trojans, worms and other malware, released into cyberspace designed to harm your computer. Most people don't realize that malware is everywhere and avoiding a malicious computer invader is very difficult. And usually, you won't even know you've become a victim.

Malware is an umbrella term for all malicious software. The most common are viruses and spyware. There are many different types of viruses floating through the Internet. Consider yourself lucky if you have never been the victim of a virus. There are a number of talented programmers out there with a lot of time on their hands writing software programs intended to harm your computer or your reputation.

If you have ever come back to your computer and found it won't start or all your files erased and unrecoverable, you know exactly why you need to protect your computer. A typical virus will essentially wipe out the master boot record (MBR) of your computer, making it completely unusable. In some cases, the only thing left to do is to reformat your hard drive and reinstall your operating system losing all your pictures of the kids, work-related spreadsheets, email and more. The best antivirus programs will stop viruses before they ever reach your hard drive and keep your computer safe, usually without you even noticing.

A recent study found that more than 80% of home computers have spyware installed on them and the users don't even know it. Sypware, or sometimes called adware, is a small, seemingly innocent piece of software that embeds itself in your Internet browser. As you surf the internet, signing into email, social networks or bank accounts, the spyware program reports back to home base with all your personal information. Before long, your resources are drained, your computer slows down, and some stranger knows everything about you.

Rootkits are also a type of spyware. In this case, a hacker takes control of your computer, without you knowing, and uses your hard drive and IP address to infect others. This type spyware is difficult to detect on your own, but top antivirus software will detect a dangerous download and immediately delete the file.

Computers are expensive pieces of equipment. For the same reasons you lock your home and car (to keep others out), you need to have some type of antivirus protection on your computer. There is an arms race out there between malware producers and antivirus software producers. And it escalates daily. Remaining unprotected is a sure-fire way to become collateral damage in this war. The cost to prevent and protect yourself is much lower than the cost of replacing your computer and restoring your identity.

At SOFTDISK, we do the research & survey, to know the Users' perception, so that you don't have to gamble with your gadget and take appropriate & correct decision on the product you want to choose.

What to Look for in Antivirus Software

All antivirus software is not created equal. Like any other category of consumer goods, it has its good, its bad and its mediocre. The choices are broad and wide. Software offerings from around the globe grace the surveys & reviews of antivirus software giving you the end-users' perception.

Top antivirus software should be easy enough for a computer user to both install and install. The software should effectively seek out and identify virus threats, as well as clean or isolate infected files. There should be understandable reporting available for each scan and plenty of help support available, so you can be well-informed of the software's activities and capabilities. Below are the criteria SD calls for Users' opinion on and evaluate antivirus software.

Ease of Use - Exceptional antivirus software is simple to use, regardless of a user's computer experience or knowledge of viruses. The software should be easy to install and configure. If you need to use the interface to change settings, it should be intuitive and non-threatening to beginners. Ideally, most features will be enable/disable toggles with the power to fine-tune if desired. The best antivirus software is the kind you simply install on your system and then let it do its work.

Effective at Identifying Viruses and Worms - The best antivirus software identifies infected files quickly through realtime scanning, searching for viruses in a multitude of sources, including email, instant message applications, web browsing, etc. Scanning speed is also important. Slow antivirus software will tend to interfere with your work or gaming, and if it's very slow or you are particularly impatient, you might have the tendency to stop or pause the scan, rendering the software useless. Generally, antivirus software scans your hard drive and files looking for known viruses.

Effective at Cleaning or Isolating Infected Files - Truly capable antivirus software thoroughly cleans, deletes or quarantines infected files, keeping them from spreading throughout the hard drive or network. Proactive/heuristic testing enables the antivirus software to detect and quarantine code that looks and acts like a virus even before it has been reported. This could be critical in protecting you on a "Day Zero" attack and spare you from being one of the first casualties.

Activity Reporting - Antivirus programs should give immediate notification of viruses found by real time scanners and should provide an easy to read report of scan results, including what was found and what was done with infected files.

Feature Set - A well-rounded feature set allows antivirus software to provide absolute protection. The best programs are those that offer a wide variety of tools, from basic realtime scanning to more advanced heuristic scanning and script blocking. When it comes to virus protection, the more options the better. Many of the best antivirus packages now include multiple protection schemes at no extra cost. These include antispyware, antimalware, rootkit detection, parental controls and email screening, as many of the new threats are not literally viruses, but rather a variety of malware.

Ease of Installation and Setup - Antivirus programs should be a breeze to install, making it easy to go from installation to initial scan in just a couple clicks of the mouse.

Help & Documentation - High-end antivirus software comes with plenty of help, including support via email, online chat or via telephone. There should also be online resources, such as knowledge bases and FAQs available for quick and convenient help.

Based on above points SD went about asking its users' their rating of Top 5 Antivirus Software for Stand Alone Systems (Desktops & Laptops). In all 2682 users voted for their favorite Antivirus Software. K7 Total Security reaped 21.70 percent votes to win the coveted SD's No. 1 Anti Virus Product of the Year Award. Followed by Quick Heal which was favored by 20.58 percent users, this enabled Quick Heal to clinch the 2nd spot in a close finish being rated SD's No 2 Anti Virus Product of the Year. Next in rating was the Kaspersky having raked 15.88 percent votes to get rated as SD's No. 3 Antivirus product of the year. McAFEE VirusScan was rated SD's No. 4 Anti Virus Product of the Year to be followed by Norton Anti virus having been judged SD's No. 5 Anti Virus Product of the Year gaining 9.40 & 8.50 percent votes respectively. The voting pattern was interesting Norton & McAFEE had scattered votes across the country while K7, Quick Heal and Kaspersky have big patches of presence across different areas of the Country.

There is huge potential for each of the anti virus product to grow, Softdisk believes that it is more a case of PC User Education to Use Licensed Software and not a case of fighting for space to survive. Especially at as low a price Anti virus software are available now.

Above ratings are based on SD's Users' Choice Poll carried between 1st April 2009 thru 30th June 2009 and purely reflect the percentage of Users Perception in regard to the software they use and does not necessarily reflect SD's opinion.

Editor.

SIDE BY SIDE COMPARISON & RANKING

 

K7 TOTAL SECURITY

QUICK HEAL

KASPERSKY

McAFEE VIRUS SCAN

NORTONANTIVIRUS

Ease of USE

EXCELLENT

EXCELLENT

EXCELLENT

VERY GOOD

GOOD

Effectiveness

EXCELLENT

VERY GOOD

VERY GOOD

EXCELLENT

EXCELLENT

Updates

DAILY

DAILY

DAILY

SCHEDULED

SCHEDULED

Feature Set

EXCELLENT

GOOD

VERY GOOD

EXCELLENT

VERY GOOD

Ease of
Installation

EXCELLENT

VERY GOOD

VERY GOOD

VERY GOOD

GOOD

Pre Install Scan

YES

NO

NO

NO

NO

Other
Application
Usage while
scanning

EXCELLENT

GOOD

OK

OK

OK

Speed of Scan

VERY FAST

FAST

FAST

DUAL MODE

OK

Activity Reporting

EXCELLENT

FAIR

GOOD

VERY GOOD

VERY GOOD

Multi OS
Support

AVAILABLE

AVAILABLE

AVAILABLE

AVAILABLE

AVAILABLE

Technical
Support

EXCELLENT

VERY GOOD

GOOD

OK

OK

Remote
Monitoring

AVAILABLE

NOT
AVAILABLE

NOT
AVAILABLE

NOT
AVAILABLE

NOT
AVAILABLE

Pricing

EXTREMELY AFFORDABLE

EXTREMELY AFFORDABLE

AFFORDABLE

ON THE HIGHER SIDE

ON THE HIGHER SIDE

Voice
Assistance

AVAILABLE

AVAILABLE ONCONDITIONS

NOT
AVAILABLE

NOT
AVAILABLE

SCARCELY AVAILABLE

SD's TOP 10 ANTIVIRUS RANKING

#1 K7 Total Security
#2 Quick Heal
#3 Kaspersky
#4 McAfee VirusScan
#5 Norton Anti-Virus
#6 BitDefender Anti-virus
#7 AVG Anti-Virus
#8 Webroot Antivirus
#9 F-Secure Anti-Virus
#10 F-Prot
K7 Total Security
SD's #1 Antivirus Software of Year 2009.

 

For those seeking the best antivirus software for the money AND an "install and forget" proposition, K7 Total Security is the right choice earning the "SD's No.1 Antivirus Software of Year 2009." Not only does it protect your computer and files, but K7 Total Security is easy to use, light on your computer and (maybe most importantly,) light on your pocketbook. K7 Total Security Antivirus offers comprehensive protection from viruses in an easy-to-use solution. Striking the perfect balance of powerful features and usability, K7 Total Security provides a unique Pre Installation Super Scan. K7 Total Security is a great antivirus solution in all regards, delivering the best in protection, performance, and price. K7 Total Security Antivirus provides comprehensive protection, takes up little space on your computer, costs less and requires little maintenance. For LapTops and workstation protection, consider K7 Total Security Small Office Security. With more then 9 million desktop users world-wide no wonders, K7 Total Security Antivirus has come up trumps in all aspects of our survey, that you need securely covered. More importantly while scanning K7 Total Security does not slow down other application software on which you are working while scanning proceeds on the background.

K7 Total Security Standout Features

  • Effective antivirus protection

  • Light footprint on your computer

  • Instant Spyware Protection

  • Advanced heuristic protection

  • Excellent value (Three user license for one year at $24.95.)

  • Remote Assistance.
Quick Heal
SD's # 2 Antivirus Software of Year 2009.

 

Quick Heal Antivirus with Firewall is a solid product from Cat Computer Services Pvt. Ltd. This competent antivirus earns our "SD's No. 2 Antivirus Software of Year 2009." because it not only includes sophisticated antivirus components but also includes a full version of complete internet protection. The speaciality of the Software is to dynamically alter itself to fight emerging threats that hit the World Wide Web every second of the day. The internet provides unlimited opportunities for communication, education, commerce and entertainment; however, it also provides opportunity to malevolent programmers and pranksters to distribute their viruses, spyware, worms, keyloggers and more. It is absolutely necessary that all internet connected computers have a serious, up-to-the-second form of protection, like Quick Heal Antivirus with Mail Protection. Putting advanced antivirus software on your computer is not a sign of paranoia, it is smart. All computers that are connected to the internet without some sort of protection will acquire some kind of virus, spyware, adware or worse. Take proactive action and defend your personal information and your computer with a program like Quick Heal Antivirus.

Quick Heal Antivirus Standout Features:

  • Uses DNA Scan Technology.

  • Integrated Scanner capable of detecting all virsuses in the wild.

  • Advanced spyware protection

  • Free 4 months update for all registered users.

  • 30 Days of tele-support.

Kaspersky
SD's # 3 Antivirus Software of Year 2009

 

Kaspersky Labs has been one of the best antivirus software developers in the world for over a decade and now Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2009 only strengthens that reputation. Founded by Natalia and Eugene Kaspersky in 1997, this Russian company is often the first to find and identify new viruses. Long used in Russia and Europe, Kaspersky is now making inroads in the North American market. Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2009 is one of the most effective antivirus packages in the world today and boasts a great interface with easy to use and intuitive controls.

Like so many of the other antivirus packages including K7, Kaspersky Anti-Virus comes with an antispyware component. Kaspersky's software is among the best products in the world, but at $39.95 for a one-user for one-year license, it's on the high-end of the software we reviewed. There are no complaints about Kaspersky's effectiveness or ease-of-use. As a result, Kaspersky Anti-Virus is the "SD's No.3 Antivirus Software of Year 2009" winner. If you're looking for antivirus protection for small business, you might be interested in Kapersky Anti-Virus for File Server or Kaspersky Business Space Security, one of the best small business antivirus software suites available.

Kaspersky's Standout Features

  • Highly Effective antivirus/antispyware protection
  • Light on computer resources
  • Nearly all features are configurable
  • Great interface, easy-to-use and intuitive
McAfee VirusScan
SD's # 4 Antivirus Software of Year 2009

McAfee is an industry leader in computer protection and VirusScan is their #1 defense against viruses. This software comes with a ScriptStopper to prevent viruses from propagating from one computer to another via email, and WormStopper. Some downsides to the program are that it doesn't provide instant message protection, P2P/file sharing protection or registry startup protection. This makes it the "SD's No. 4 Antivirus Software of Year 2009" . What McAfee lacks is the Sizing of the Software, the Software has comparively larger footprint however it has improved considerable on Scan speed. McAfee has an Antivirus Emergency Response Team that continually monitors the worldwide virus activities to provide you with the utmost safety. The always-on protection guards against viruses, spyware and other Internet threats that may enter your PC via e-mail, instant message attachments, Internet downloads, and web browsing. One of the newest features is also one of our favorites. It's the QuickScan feature, which basically narrows virus scans to the most vulnerable and frequently attacked parts of your computer. This makes scanning much faster, although we still recommend doing a full scan periodically. Another great feature that can save you some time is SiteAdvisor. This system automatically gives you a visual signal in your browser telling you if the link you are about to click on will send you to a malware site. This can significantly decrease your infection rate, if used properly. However the Software Developers have not yet started tele-response & remote monitoring.

 

Norton Anti-Virus
SD's #5 Antivirus Software of Year 2009

 

Norton Antivirus 2009 is a full-featured antivirus and antispyware product. It includes several options that are commonly passed over by other suites while still leaving many out that would be useful. The Norton scanning engine is one of the most complete on the market, but suffers from issues with system resource usage and overzealous integration with your computer that can cause freezing or simple hanging application. As a result the Software was voted "SD's No. 5 Antivirus Software of Year 2009".

Norton Antivirus 2009 includes an antispyware scanner, Instant Messenger protection for MSN, Yahoo, AIM, and Trillian, as well as the ability to lock down program settings to help prevent other users on the computer from changing your settings. Symantec has still neglected to include parental controls with Norton Antivirus. One of the greatest benefits of Norton Antivirus 2009 is the improved installation time. Previously, installation was a long process. But now Norton installs in less than one minute. At least that's what the box says. The actual install time you experience may be longer than that, but it's still a significant improvement over past versions. One additional thing to note is that uninstalling Norton Antivirus did not remove everything that was installed. There are several registry entries and directories left behind as well as the Live Update program that has to be removed separately. Although good in security there are several issue left behind by Symantec that needs to addressed.

 

BitDefender
SD's #6 Antivirus Software of Year 2009

 

BitDefender Antivirus offers comprehensive protection from viruses in an easy-to-use solution. Striking the perfect balance of powerful features and usability, BitDefender provides a unique security solution. BitDefender is a great antivirus solution in all regards, delivering the best in protection, performance, and price.

BitDefender Antivirus provides compre-hensive protection, takes up little space on your computer, costs less and requires little maintenance. If you're a gamer you should consider the special GameSafe edition of BitDefender Antivirus. For workstation and server protection, consider BitDefender Small Office Security.

 

AVG Anti-Virus
SD's #7 Antivirus Software of Year 2009

 

AVG Antivirus has been an up and coming virus scanner for many years. Its free version is one of the most downloaded files on the Internet in the Computer Security sector. The new interface is clean and intuitive while still remaining useful.

AVG went through a re-write of their virus scanning engine and included two of their stand alone products with AVG Antivirus as well. AVG Antispyware and AVG Antirootkit were both integrated with the virus scanner. Also revamped is the way AVG Antivirus uses the hardware within your computer. It has been changed to make better use of the multiple cores which are common in today's computers. This should speed up scanning as well as reduce slowdowns.

 

Webroot Antivirus
SD's #8 Antivirus Software of Year 2009

 

Webroot Antivirus with Antispyware and Firewall is a solid product from Webroot Software. It not only includes sophisticated antivirus components but also includes a full version of Spy Sweeper anti-spyware software. Both programs can dynamically alter themselves to fight emerging threats that hit the World Wide Web every second of the day. The internet provides unlimited opportunities for communication, education, commerce and entertainment; however, it also provides opportunity to malevolent programmers and pranksters to distribute their viruses, spyware, worms, keyloggers and more. It is absolutely necessary that all internet connected computers have a serious, up-to-the-second form of protection, like Webroot's Antivirus with Anti-Spyware. Putting advanced antivirus software on your computer is not a sign of paranoia, it is smart. All computers that are connected to the internet without some sort of protection will acquire some kind of virus, spyware, adware or worse. Take proactive action and defend your personal information and your computer with a program like Webroot's Antivirus with Anti-Spyware.

 

F-Secure Anti-Virus
SD's #9 Antivirus Software of Year 2009

 

F-Secure Anti-Virus is a great product that offers many of the standard functions associated with antivirus software, but also goes above and beyond the bar set by others with efforts by F-Secure to educate the people that use F-Secure Anti-Virus on general security practices as well as specific threats. For business workstation and server protection, consider the F-Secure Small Business Suite. F-Secure Anti-Virus comes with the standard protection you would expect from any modern antivirus suite. Both on-access and on-demand scanners are included as well as a spyware scanner that runs with both. An email scanner is also included for those of us using local email clients like Outlook or Thunderbird. One feature we especially liked about F-Secure Anti-Virus was the integrated news on the home menu. The Security News section is full of useful information about which new security threats are out and whether you are protected from each threat.

With one of the most thorough antivirus engines available, F-Secure Anti-Virus provides good protection against viruses, spyware and many other security threats. The added benefit of the support and education portion of their website adds to the overall feeling of protection while using this product.

 

F-Prot
SD's #10 Antivirus Software of Year 2009

 

F-Prot from Frisk Software International is easy to install and use. This antivirus program has a nice interface, although it would be more user-friendly if the options were available from the Taskbar instead of from the Start Menu or desktop. All of the options are straightforward and practical. Some of these options include right-click, on-demand, on-access and scheduled scanning. F-Prot claims their scan engine uses very low system resources and therefore runs under Windows 2000, XP or Vista.

The RealTime Protector scans all files your system accesses for viruses. The built-in Scheduler automates tasks like updating the virus definition files and scanning. The program is simple to configure, but still gives you plenty of options. The on-demand Scanner is used to manually scan your files, folders and drives. You can also scan a file, folder, or drive from within Windows Explorer by right-clicking and selecting "Scan".

 

   

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