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Monthly Archives: February 2018

Norton Security Deluxe Antivirus

Norton by Symantec is one of the most famous names in the antivirus industry. You’ll find it among our pick of the best antivirus 2018. We’ve been using the latest version of Norton Security Deluxe to bring you a full review of the latest security software.

After a few weeks of use, it’s clear that Norton Security Deluxe is a discreet product, with few pop-ups appearing at all. Occasionally, you’ll see a message about the background scan completing, but as it was running because you’re not using the computer, it’s hardly intrusive. In fact, one of the only times you’re guaranteed to see a pop-up is when Norton analyses downloaded files for you, which is a good thing.

Norton benefits from technology and cloud support provided by parent company Symantec, including SONAR Protection, which detects malware by examining the behaviour of running applications. The dedicated Intrusion Prevention module also blocks attacks from infected computers connected to your network.

This is particularly welcome given last year’s NotPetya attack, which not only infected systems with ransomware but also spread to other computers. Norton also makes a “100% virus promise” that an expert will help keep your devices virus-free or your money back if you run into trouble. Backing all this, the new Norton Studio app allows you to control all protected devices from a single Windows machine.

The price of this protection weighs in at £69.99/US$97.95 for 5 devices, though hefty discounts are available throughout the year from the Norton website so it’s worth a check even if the RRP is out of your budget.

 

With drive-by web attacks, including crypto-mining, becoming ever-more prevalent, good web protection is essential, and Norton provides plenty of cover.

There’s Browser Protection, for example, which prevents web-based malware exploiting known browser vulnerabilities as you surf, and sites are flagged by reputation in search results. As mentioned above, web downloads are analysed, and after scanning, a report on their safety pops up.

Passwords are protected by the integrated Identity Safe password manager, which helps secure your ID with one click. This saves login details in a secure cloud-based vault, which in turn means that if you download the Identity Safe app for iOS or Android, you can securely access your accounts on your mobile devices.

Another nice feature is Scam Insight, which uses reputation data to identify potentially dodgy sites that ask for personal information, such as your Social Security Number or payment card details.

Performance tools include a disk optimiser, which defragments data on the disk to make access more efficient. This is something Windows already does, but apparently not consistently.

Likewise, the File Cleanup facility will free up space from forgotten temporary files, which is a problem particularly for older computers where disk space is at a premium.

Topping off the performance features are the startup manager, which enables you to delay some services so that you can log in and get going faster, and a useful graph showing all major events by month, including malware detections, scans and security alerts.

In terms of configuration, plenty of options usually means plenty of confusion, but here everything is laid out in a logical manner, and help is available for every setting.

The report card facility gives you a summary of what the product did for you in the previous 30 days. This includes the number of WiFi networks protected, file cleanups performed, analysed downloads and the amount of disk space cleared of temporary files.

The app version (Norton Mobile Security) runs on iOS and Android, also contains a plethora of useful modules. Along with antivirus and anti-theft, there are also modules for web protection, privacy and wifi security. This latter module will automatically scan your wireless network to check for encryption and password strength.

Our toughest ever antivirus software test reveals new Best Buys Read more:

Protect your PC or Mac from the worst nasties the internet can throw at it with simple, effective antivirus software

Cyber threats now regularly hit the headlines. Hackers and virus-writers aren’t bored teenagers in hoodies – they’re organised groups able to cripple NHS computers and even allegedly sway presidential elections. With more than one billion Windows PCs running today, it’s perhaps unsurprising that volumes of malware worldwide have more than tripled over the past five years. Despite such digital doom and gloom, there’s no need to panic about your home computer. All you need to do to protect your PC or Mac is install a Best Buy antivirus package. It will run in the background, zapping nasties without you even knowing. Plus, with some great free packages available, all that protections could cost you nothing.

A global security problem, a global solution

As cyber security is a global problem, we need to think globally for the best solution. We’ve joined forces with other consumer organisations around the world – including in the US and across Europe – to create the most rigorous antivirus test we’ve ever conducted. When we say tough, we mean it. Each package is bombarded with more than 10,000 samples of malware. We test how well they work while your computer is online, and offline, too. As the world of cyber threats never sleeps, testing only once a year isn’t good enough. We’ll fire new malware at the programs every three months to ensure their standards haven’t slipped, and update our reviews accordingly.

In search of the internet’s worst nasties

Unlike most computer users, we’re constantly searching for the world’s worst computer bugs. To test antivirus programs, we need plenty of the internet’s most destructive nasties, whether that may be viruses, ransomware or fraudulent phishing messages. Our specialist lab operates what are called ‘honeypots’ – think of these as digital fishing nets designed to capture thousands of strains of murky malware, viruses and other online undesirables. We have more than 60 honeypots around the world, capturing and storing up to 400,000 files every day.

Britain Issues Warning Over Russian Anti-virus Software

The National Cyber Security Centre’s (NSCS) is understood to have been in dialogue with Kaspersky Labs and says it will explore ways of mitigating the risks to see if a system can be developed to independently verify the security of its products.

London: The British government has issued a fresh warning about the security risks of using Russian anti-virus software.

The National Cyber Security Centre is to write to all government departments warning against using the products for systems related to national security, BBC reported on Friday.

The UK cyber-security agency will say the software could be exploited by the Russian government. Security firm Kaspersky Labs, accused in the US of being used by the Russian state for espionage, denied wrongdoing.
Kaspersky Labs is widely used by consumers and businesses across the globe, as well as by some parts of the UK government.
Around the world, 400 million people use Kaspersky products.
For it to work, anti-virus software like that sold by Kaspersky Labs requires extensive access to files on computers and networks to scan for malicious code.

The NCSC is understood to have been in dialogue with Kaspersky Labs and says it will explore ways of mitigating the risks to see if a system can be developed to independently verify the security of its products.
It comes amid heightened concern about Russian activity against the UK.
Last month, Prime Minister Theresa May warned the Russian state was acting against the UK’s national interest in cyberspace.Following her warning, Ciaran Martin, chief executive of the NCSC, said Russia had targeted British infrastructure, including power and telecoms.

Officials stress they are not recommending members of the public or companies stop using Kaspersky software.
“Beyond this relatively small number of systems we see no compelling case at present to extend that advice to the wider public sector, more general enterprises, or individuals,” Levy added.
“Whatever you do, don’t panic. For example, we really don’t want people doing things like ripping out Kaspersky software at large as it makes little sense.”

 

Still not on Windows 10? Fine, sighs Microsoft, here are its antivirus tools for Windows 7, 8.1

Microsoft has back-ported its Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) antivirus tool from Windows 10 to Windows 7 and 8.1.

The release will allow those holding out with older versions of the OS to get some of the same exploit and malware-infection prevention and event reporting features it offers on Windows 10, particularly when used with Windows Defender.

For enterprises, the extension to Windows 7 and 8.1 will, more importantly, allow admins to bring their older machines under the same security management and administration tools they use for Windows 10 PCs.

This is where Microsoft is focusing its pitch: by adding ATP to Windows 7 and 8.1, Redmond hopes it will convince sysadmins to add those machines to the Windows Defender monitoring systems they use for Windows 10 devices and, in the process, prod companies towards migrating the older PCs to Windows 10.

“We hear from our customers security is one of the biggest motivators for their move to Windows 10,” wrote Craig Lefferts, partner director of security and enterprise for the Windows and Devices group, earlier today.

“Meanwhile, we know that while in their transition, some may have a mix of Windows 10 and Windows 7 devices in their environments.”

Microsoft noted that Windows 7 is still slated for retirement in January of 2020.

Meanwhile, the software giant is also looking to extend ATP support for non-Windows devices by signing up another partner for its security push. SentinelOne will be adding ATP support to the EndPoint Protection Platform security tool it sells for Windows, Mac, Linux, and VDI. This means administrators can set up SentinelOne to automatically pass alerts along to management consoles via ATP.

Avoid this Mac Antivirus software

As the audience for macOS grows, so too does the amount of malware on the platform. That’s not as much of a problem as it once was, since there are now at least eight antivirus products that can repel almost anything a malefactor can toss your Mac’s way.

Testing lab AV-Test evaluated nine Mac home antivirus programs, and found that no matter which one you use, your system is probably pretty safe — unless you use Comodo, that is.

AV-Test is a Madgeburg, Germany-based lab that periodically evaluates antivirus software for Windows, macOS and Android. The old canard that Macs don’t need antivirus software has by now been (we hope) thoroughly debunked, but if not: AV-Test measured more than 12 million attacks on Macs and 38,000 new Mac malware samples in 2017, peaking in December.

If you buy a Mac and don’t use some kind of antivirus product on it, don’t be surprised if you find yourself facing down a very complicated — and costly — repair.

First, the good news. Avast Security 12.9, Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac 6.1, Kaspersky Lab Internet Security for Mac 18.0, Sophos Home 1.2, Symantec Norton Security 7.5 and Trend Micro Antivirus 8.0 all earned perfect scores in system protection. They caught all 514 pieces of Mac malware that AV-Test threw at them. If you have one of these programs, you can rest easy.

On the other hand, Comodo Antivirus 2.2 caught only 38.1 percent of Mac malicious software. Even by AV-Test’s relatively lenient standards (it will recommend anything with a 10 out of a possible 18 points in its Windows AV evaluations), the company called this performance “unacceptable.”

Somewhere in the middle were Intego Mac Security X9 10.9, at 99.4 percent efficacy, and F-Secure Safe 17.0, at 93.8 percent. The former is close enough to 100 percent to be safe; the latter is better than not running any security software, but still leaves a higher margin of error than it really should.

AV-Test also evaluates a program’s impact on system resources, as well as whether a program finds false positives during its scans. None of the programs added more than a second or two to everyday functions, and none of them pegged legitimate programs incorrectly.

AV-Test also looked at four business-oriented Mac antivirus programs — ESET Endpoint Security, McAfee Endpoint Security for Mac, Sentinel One Next Generation Endpoint Security and Sophos Central Endpoint — and all did well. ESET, McAfee and Sophos also make home Mac antivirus, which use the same detection engines as the enterprise products.

The lesson here seems clear enough: If you have a Mac, don’t protect it with Comodo, and maybe think twice before protecting it with F-Secure or Intego. Beyond that, exercise some common sense online, and your Mac will purr like a kitten, until Apple kneecaps it to extend battery life.

Slow Computer? Feel Free To Blame Your Antivirus Software

You might be blaming and cursing Intel CPU bug patches for the slowness of your computer or frequent reboots. But there is a piece of software that might make your computer more time-consuming when doing tasks: your antivirus.

AV-Test regularly examines antivirus software for different operating systems and provides a summary every month. Other than the level of protection and security provided, they also test how different antivirus software affect the performance of your computer.

As per the numbers released for December 2017 for Windows operating system, antivirus software could slow down (average numbers):

  • Loading time of websites (Standard PC: 11%, High-End PC: 16%)
  • Download of apps (Standard: 4%, High-End: 3%)
  • Launching of apps (Standard: 15%, High-End: 9%)
  • Installation of apps (Standard: 26%, High End: 35%)
  • Copying of files (Standard: 7%, High End: 18%)

The configuration for AV-Test’s standard PC included an Intel Xeon X3360 (2.83GHz) with 4GB RAM and 500GB storage. Their high-end PC packed an Intel Core i7 3770 (3.40GHz), 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD storage.

If we talk about individual numbers, Avast which is a known name in the security market did fine with its numbers tending towards the average. Windows 10’s built-in security software Windows Defender seems to slow down the app installation for standard machines by up to 42%, but it doesn’t affect the download of apps at all.

In a nutshell, almost every security product could have an impact on your system performance in one way or the other. But this doesn’t mean you should start avoiding AV software. The digital world is full of malicious stuff.

Windows 10’s antivirus will start removing PC ‘optimizer’ scareware next month

Microsoft’s built-in antivirus software for Windows 10, Windows Defender, is getting an important new feature next month. Microsoft has announced that Windows Defender will start removing software that has “coercive messages” or “misleading content to pressure you into paying for additional services or performing superfluous actions.”

This type of software is commonly known as scareware, and is typically found in cleaner apps that will supposedly optimize your registry on a Windows PC or promise to otherwise speed a machine up. “There has been an increase in free versions of programs that purport to scan computers for various errors, and then use alarming, coercive messages to scare customers into buying a premium version of the same program,” says Barak Shein, from Microsoft’s Windows Defender team. “The paid version of these programs, usually called cleaner or optimizer applications, purportedly fixes the problems discovered by the free version.”

Microsoft finds these apps “problematic” for regular Windows users, so Windows Defender will now classify these apps as “unwanted software” and remove them from PCs. These types of cleaner apps and crapware have been available for years, but it’s good to see Microsoft act to remove them. Microsoft will start removing the apps on March 1st, and developers can test their apps over at the company’s Windows Defender portal.

Windows Defender, McAfee Antivirus Move Up in Rankings

Here’s what you probably already know: Bit defender, Kaspersky Lab and Trend Micro topped the latest AV-Test evaluations for home antivirus programs running on Windows 10. That’s no surprise; they’ve been doing that for years. But what you might not know is that Microsoft Windows Defender has continued to make great strides — and McAfee has absolutely topped the charts after struggling for many years.

AV-Test, a Madgeburg, Germany-based testing lab, evaluates antivirus programs for Windows, Mac and Android every few months. For Windows 10, the trend was pretty clear for years: Bitdefender and Kaspersky top the charts, some of the Chinese programs bring up the rear, and Windows Defender and McAfee Internet Security fall pretty close to the bottom.

Over the last few test periods, however, both Windows Defender and McAfee have bucked the trend, moving up in the world by offering better and better protection with less of a drain on system resources. AV-Test measures a program’s protection (how well it secures a machine against both known and zero-day flaws), its performance (its impact on how well a computer runs) and its usability (interface and navigation), and assigns a possible six points to each category.

AV-Test awards a “Top Product” badge to any program that scores either a 17.5 or a perfect 18. This time around, there were a whopping seven winners of that badge: AhnLab V3 Internet Security 9.0, Bitdefender Internet Security 22.0, Kaspersky Lab Internet Security 18.0, McAfee Internet Security 20.5, Trend Micro Internet Security 12.0, VIPRE Advanced Security 10.1 and Avira Antivirus Pro 15.0 all earned top marks.

Interestingly, there wasn’t really an ignominious low score this time around. The very lowest score was a very respectable 15, earned by ESET Internet Security 11.0.

Products with similar ratings included Avast Free AntiVirus 17.7 & 17.8, AVG Internet Security 17.7 & 17.8, BullGuard Internet Security 18.0, Comodo Internet Security Premium 10.0, F-Secure Safe 17, G Data InternetSecurity 25.4, K7 Computing Total Security 15.1, Microsoft Windows Defender 4.12, MicroWorld eScan Internet Security Suite 14.0, Norton Security 22.11, Panda Security Free Antivirus 1.0 and PC Pitstop PC Matic 3.0.

Based on the above evaluation, it may seem like Windows Defender is just another me-too, good-enough security program — and it is. That’s remarkable, given how subpar it was, even just a year ago. Then again, if every single program tested protects Windows 10 fairly well, that could also speak to the relatively resistant nature of the Windows 10 OS itself.

The bottom line is that you should use an antivirus program on Windows 10, but as long as you exercise some common sense online, it doesn’t matter tremendously which one you choose.