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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Why I use the VIPRE to protect my PC against malware


Following the news about a "pig virus" or "swine" as the media call it, I want to share my experience on protecting my home PCs against computer viruses and various spyware.


All of you use PCs on a daily basis and if you work for the company, it is not your headache to protect the end-user PC. Your headache is at home (PC or laptop).Since the viruses/spyware penetration level got to the degree when one anti-virus program installed on PC is ABSOLUTELY not enough, I usually recommend installing 3-4 programs.


  • 1. Free ZoneAlarm Desktop Firewall

  • 2. Free AVG Anti-virus software

  • 3. Free SpyBot anti-spyware software

  • 4. Free AdAware Personal anti-spyware and ad-watch software

Note the word "Free". Until recently, I was pretty much happy with it - what is better than free? The AVG Anti-virus program delivered great results by discovering the spyware like Trojans, key loggers, etc. I use the P-2-P networks as many of us (Torrents, eMule, and similar), browse hundreds of web sites, and download various small and large programs for testing/implementing. As you may guess, I am getting enough of "bad stuff" on my PC that must be cleaned every day.


How do I use all these programs? First of all, two programs are running permanently (Firewall and AVG). Also, I use the other 2 programs weekly to verify how good AVG on removing viruses/spyware. Of course, you have to be very careful about timely updates since the number of viruses/spyware is growing on a daily basis. So, the update check is setup on "every 4 hrs".


As my hard drive grows in capacity, the time to clean up that "bad stuff" is becoming an issue. My AVG Anti-virus program takes about 22-23 hrs to scan both of my drives taking often up to 95% of the CPU cycles and slowing down my PC to the degree that I have to pause the scan when I need to use the PC. I also want to mention that the sizable chunk of memory used by AVG is taken away from my applications.


Recently I got an e-mail from Sunbelt Software Company about their new and advanced product called VIPRE. This product has a combined protection: AntiVirus + AntiSpyware. Isn’t it a time to check what is better than AVG? I have downloaded the PC version of the software for one month of evaluation (try before buy).


To my absolute surprise, the very first time the software ran on my PC, it has discovered 11 spyware programs hidden on my hard drive (and it is after AVG + Spybot + AdAware said that everything is clean!). Needless to say, I have begun respecting this software from the first day. The fact is that it is amazingly FASTER than any other protection program I ever tried (Avast!, Kaspersky, McAfee, Symantec, etc) and takes less PC memory resources.


I am at this end of my evaluation, and I will buy this software without hesitation. I believe that $29.95 is justifiable spending to protect my PC against the "bad stuff".


I have restricted my wife against using the commonly used "social networking" web sites from the PC where she does an online banking to pay for our bills. Why did I do it? I spent totally 9 hrs to clean up her PC from multiple variations of spyware (in spite of installed AVG)!


The problem is that many known "good" web sites are the source of as we call it "malware" (or malicious software). The primary example is a Facebook, not to mention several others. The hackers inject malicious software into the known and respectable web sites such as business or entertainment sites. When you point your browser to one of infected web sites you automatically download the malicious software that silently does its damage. The Antivirus program itself cannot protect you against this type of infections even with a real-time monitoring mode enabled.


I am sure you heard about "confiker" virus (see my blog at http://securecyber.blogspot.com/2009/04/what-to-do-if-you-are-infected-with.html). The millions of PCs worldwide are infected with this virus. It may sit on a hard drive for a long time doing nothing, however, when the hackers want they may upload to your PC any other malicious program (such as password stealers, other viruses, spyware) using the confiker virus as a carrier. Total damage of confiker is already estimated by 9.1 billion dollars worldwide, and this is not the end.


I have compiled the page about VIPRE. You can find it here:


Use it at your own discretion. My slogan is: "It's better to be cautious that sorry later".

Word of caution:
When you use multiple anti-malware programs, make sure they don’t conflict with each other. First of all, they may recognize the competing program as a malicious. Secondly, they often use the same areas of memory or control the same important files of your desktop operating system. If you do not temporary disable other anti-malicious programs while you ran the anti-virus or anti-spyware software your PC can be locked or even worse - the files will get corrupted.

If you want to install VIPRE, please UNINSTALL and REBOOT your PC or laptop before installation; and don’t forget to perform the regular backup of your important files (I hope you do it periodically, don’t you?).

7 comments:

LyndaDi said...

I already have AVG. Does VIPRE conflict with AVG? Would it be helpful to run both?

kingsclear said...

Very good advice. I am also extremely impressed by ESET Smart Security. It uses NOD32 antivirus/antispyware which is also top knotch and adds effective firewall and spam protection with virtually no resource hit. These units are designed to work together without conflicts.

When Sunbelt comes out with a complete suite I will look at it again.

Anonymous said...

Sunbelt Software also sells licenses for the Sunbelt Personal Firewall (SPF) for $20/year. Their anti-virus and anti-spyware program VIPRE is designed to work with it. You can run SPF in "simple mode" if you really do not want to bother with configuring and _implementing_ its advanced features. :-)

Regardless, please be aware that there is no anti-malware software known to the human race that can and does detect the presence of every piece of malware known to the human race. No one anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-malware software "suite" does that. VIPRE may detect malware that AVG Free cannot (note: you get what you pay for). But I can guarantee you that VIPRE doesn't detect everything that is out there, and sooner or later AVG is likely to find malware that VIPRE doesn't find. (My computer has been running SPF for over three years and VIPRE since November 2008.)

Anonymous said...

LyndaDi,

Do NOT run VIPRE while AVG is also loaded and running. In my own personal experience, they are not "compatible". As the fellow says in the blog, it is not a good idea to run multiple anti-malware programs simultaneously. In most cases, it is not advisable to even have more than one of them _installed_ simultaneously.

Conflicts occur because almost all of them want to load a "service" that is always running, even while the software is not scanning files that are stored on disk drives to see whether the files are infected by malware. Both AVG and VIPRE run such services, because they are always "actively" scanning e-mail messages and their attachments, and incoming network packets, for malware. In that context, two such services can conflict with one another.

cyberteacher said...

Guys, thank you all for comments! Surely, VIPRE is the Antivirus+ Antispyware product, so, there is no reason to leave AVG running. As an exclusion, you may leave the AVG installed but make sure you will disable auto-start in the Services. Otherwise, it will lock your PC down or even may corrupt some file since all anti-malware programs can use the same area of memory, and it's a big No-No for any PC. Then, if you will want to run AVG to complement VIPRE, you have to disable VIPRE the same way before you start running AVG manually.

As for the Sunbelt Personal Firewall, I did not try it and have not seen the comparison vs. ZoneAlarm's firewall that is installed at all my PCs, laptop, and many clients' PCs. It would be nice to have all the anti-malware products from one vendor but I want to test it first.

Maarten said...

Hello,
I have also converted to VIPRE before I even came across this post. I have uninstalled AVG but installed the AVG Linkscanner as I find it invaluable when using IE. I just found out however that none of the programs I've ever used block http://topantimalwarescan7.com (don't go there)which is the site that causes the most headaches for those on social networking sites. I've added it to my hosts file to redirect to 127.0.0.1 (blocking the page) and I've added it to my IE blocked sites list. This should be a default blocked site for all software but Spybot, AVG, VIPRE and many others don't catch it!
I hope this helps many out there!
Cheers.

cyberteacher said...

Since I use Firefox in 95% of the cases, I have the add-on to Firefox that immediately shows the pop-up message as soon as I mouse-over the link. Your suggestion about malicious web site blacklisting for VIPRE is worth considering. By the way, they are ready to release the firewall+anti-virus+anti-spyware product. If the firewalls is good, I will replace my free ZoneAlarm firewall (that is not compatible with Windows 7, so far).
VIPRE proved to be the top product. It saved my PC from a number of Trojans safely resided inside of my ZIPped files.