Results 1 to 20 of 20
  1. #1
    Lesser Hivemind Node
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    803

    The additional features in paid antivirus - useful?

    This is mainly just out of idle curiosity, but I was wondering if anyone had any experience with the paid versions of AV like Avast, AVG, Bitdefender, etc..

    I've been using the free versions for years, and never seen much point in getting the paid versions.

    As later versions of windows seem to have secured things and reduced the need for Firewalls and AVs, I've noticed that the marketing has shifted more to focusing on things like "Social Network Protection" and "Secure online banking" and "privacy protection" etc.. but it's not usually clear from the marketing what these actually do.

    I switched from Bitdefender back to Avast after an annoying bug, and now they've offered me a few years of their full paid AV free.. but I'm not sure if I can be bothered to switch back. I'm not sure how useful / effective any of these additional features are. Though it might be nice to avoid the pop-ups trying to get me to upgrade to the paid version.

    Anyone have any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Boris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    1,375
    I use Microsoft Security Essentials. It's free, it doesn't nag, it doesn't hog the system. It's good.

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    1,301
    If you want privacy protection, FOSS is very capable. I'd say it's probably the one area where FOSS is the most developed and has the most market share.

  4. #4
    Lesser Hivemind Node
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    803
    It's not so much that I want it. I'm just interested in what they actually do and whether it is actually useful.

    Firewall has become less on an issue. All the top AVs are pretty much of a muchness for detection and performance. Most experts seem to be saying that signature based virus detection is of limited use these days (due to windows being more secure and other things). Browsers are more secure and updated. Windows has things like smartscreen, etc..

    So it's clear that AV companies realise that their days of being able to sell 'Anti-virus' and 'Firewall' are running out.
    These days if you look at their websites, these features are often well down the list of marketing points.
    Now it's all 'secure online banking' and 'social network privacy protection' etc..

    But as someone who doesn't tend to fall for spam / phishing (touch wood!) and who uses adblock and a couple of other browser extensions, I'm just genuinely wondering if all those features actually add up to anything, or if it's just marketing bullet points?

    But my PC is running ok right now (touch wood!) so i don't want to mess it up by installing a new AV just to find out.

  5. #5
    Network Hub
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    126
    Most malware can be avoided by being a little more consious about your browsing/downloading activities (Don't click the NEKKIDGIRLS.EXE your annoying uncle forwards to the entire family, don't follow anonymous links, don't use open torrenttrackers, etc etc). You say you're savy to this already, so there's no need to burden your machine with a very resource intensive application that runs in the background. Like someone already said, Security Essentials should do the trick, and if you want to control what goes out, either the Windows Firewall or some other open-source thingy (NAT prevents people on the Internet from looking into your network).

  6. #6
    Network Hub
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    432
    Quote Originally Posted by BillButNotBen View Post
    But my PC is running ok right now (touch wood!) so i don't want to mess it up by installing a new AV just to find out.
    I realise that this contrary to all good advice but I haven't run any real-time AV protection on any of my PCs for several years now, including my 24/7 HTPC. I periodically run scans with Security Essentials and Anti-Malware and have yet to find a single nefarious item.

    I honestly think that provided you're reasonably careful and security concious that is enough these days, though if any of these machines contained critical information I would probably be more careful.

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    4,587
    I'm a fan of MSE - most of the 'paid' AV programs offer little or no extra protection, just a lot of gimmicks and some are actively unpleasant (AVG still runs ads and plugs products even when you've paid for the fucker).

    If you're the sort of person who regularly 'plays' with dangerous files - e.g. pirated materials, files sent from untrusted sources etc. - then you may want to invest in one of the "good rep" commercial AV packages, check the usual AV success-rate sites for a tip as to the flavour of the month.

    If not. MSE uses few resources and guards against the obvious pitfalls for no monies at all.

    Running with no AV is kinda risky by comparison - but I've done it on older systems which were nearing their end-of-life as it usually frees-up some resources and if they get infected - well, they're nearly dead anyway...

  8. #8
    Lesser Hivemind Node L_No's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    774
    Quote Originally Posted by BillButNotBen View Post
    This is mainly just out of idle curiosity, but I was wondering if anyone had any experience with the paid versions of AV like Avast, AVG, Bitdefender, etc..

    I've been using the free versions for years, and never seen much point in getting the paid versions.

    As later versions of windows seem to have secured things and reduced the need for Firewalls and AVs, I've noticed that the marketing has shifted more to focusing on things like "Social Network Protection" and "Secure online banking" and "privacy protection" etc.. but it's not usually clear from the marketing what these actually do.

    I switched from Bitdefender back to Avast after an annoying bug, and now they've offered me a few years of their full paid AV free.. but I'm not sure if I can be bothered to switch back. I'm not sure how useful / effective any of these additional features are. Though it might be nice to avoid the pop-ups trying to get me to upgrade to the paid version.

    Anyone have any thoughts?
    Like you, I've been using the free version of Avast for years now. As far as I can tell, the paid versions of such programs usually offer little more than a false sense of security by adding "special" social media features for example.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Terra Australis Incognita
    Posts
    4,365
    Quote Originally Posted by trjp View Post
    If you're the sort of person who regularly 'plays' with dangerous files - e.g. pirated materials, files sent from untrusted sources etc. - then you may want to invest in one of the "good rep" commercial AV packages, check the usual AV success-rate sites for a tip as to the flavour of the month.
    Most of them are going to report any sort of crack or keygen as infected through heuristic scanning methods (or blatant blacklisting) so they're not going to be much hope. Also I'd imagine that infected releases would get nuked pretty quickly.


    To OP - I'd echo trjp's suggestion, MSE is ample protection. The age of the worm and virus has more or less passed, it's the age of ransomware these days, and you're smart enough to recognise those threats so why burden your box? A lot of the 'paid' features are designed to stop social engineering attacks - a safeguard for stupidity or ignorance - rather than actually fighting subversive software threats.
    Nalano's Law - As an online gaming discussion regarding restrictions grows longer, the probability of a post likening the topic to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea approaches one.

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    4,587
    I ran into AVGs charming habit of trying to extort more money from PAYING CUSTOMERS again today - they cannot get any less honest if they try now - they even leave stuff like 'switched search engines' and browser plugins when you uninstall...

    Scumbags...

  11. #11
    Lesser Hivemind Node
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    803
    Quote Originally Posted by trjp View Post
    I ran into AVGs charming habit of trying to extort more money from PAYING CUSTOMERS again today - they cannot get any less honest if they try now - they even leave stuff like 'switched search engines' and browser plugins when you uninstall...Scumbags...
    Yeah. I installed it on my parents PC last time I was there because it seemed simpler for them to deal with. But within a week it had tricked them into installing a demo of the paid version. which then expired. Which didn't then downgrade to the free version. They're stuck with it for another few years though.. as i won't be able to go back and fix it. ------Ok, put it another way: Has anyone ever found one useful additional feature in a paid version of an antivirus?

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    4,587
    For a while, Kaspersky came with a halfway useful anti-malware tool for browsers - I say 'for a while' because

    a - malware became aware of it immediately and they didn't update it to be smarter about that
    b - they added a tonne of other junk which just got in the way (honestly, the last time I used Kaspersky it threw-up a box asking me if I really meant to hit every key or if I really wanted to breathe in - and then out!!)

    As someone already said, the solution to most 'malware' these days is in the "don't install the fucker"

    The message people must understand is this

    "If you did not pay for it, you are not a customer you are the product. Anything which costs nothing is being paid-for by someone else - you are being "sold" in that respect - nothing for nothing and all that".

    Honestly tho, you ask people time after time how 20-30 bits of junkware got onto their PC and they're like "I didn't install any of those - I don't know where they came from"...

    Most ironic is that the majority I see now are "PC Optimisers" or "Registry Fixers" or "Network Performance Enhancers" - all of which are doing the complete opposite - and given the number I see, they're doing that for a LOT of people :)
    Last edited by trjp; 17-11-2013 at 09:27 PM.

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus rockman29's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    1,380
    Most ironic is that the majority I see now are "PC Optimisers" or "Registry Fixers" or "Network Performance Enhancers" - all of which are doing the complete opposite - and given the number I see, they're doing that for a LOT of people :)
    The radio in the US regularly has adverts for these, TV too.... and people actually do buy that shit it's insane.

  14. #14
    Lesser Hivemind Node
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    803
    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    A lot of the 'paid' features are designed to stop social engineering attacks - a safeguard for stupidity or ignorance
    I'm wondering how they do that though, not having ever used one.

  15. #15
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    4,587
    Quote Originally Posted by BillButNotBen View Post
    I'm wondering how they do that though, not having ever used one.
    I wrote one of the first ever browser malware toolbars - it was pretty primitive but it trapped rogue requests made by webpages for content which wasn't something you'd have asked for (e.g. popups, downloads, files with dodgy extensions etc.) and it tracked places such things happened to pre-warn other users in future.

    I quickly realised it'd entered into an arms-race I couldn't win and so I left it to the professionals to improve the idea (mine was effective for maybe 3 months tops before malware writers worked-around all the obvious traps) - but the idea is that you keep an online database of pages which may contain 'rogue' content and warn people when they go there (crowdsourced malware detection - if you like)

    Google does this of course - AVG has a similar tool - there are 100s of others. Problem is, people often ignore them completely - the psychological effect of 'installing anti-malware' is that you can click anything you like and someone else will wipe-up the mess...

    Big companies like Adobe and Oracle packaging "junkware" in their downloads is also desensitising people to the idea that any "optional" content is a bad thing - then there's the Sourceforge debacle and CNET's downloading tricks and - fuckers the lot of em...

    THEY are the reason I'm pushing people into using iPads - they "are the cancer that is killing the home PC market" ;)

  16. #16
    Lesser Hivemind Node
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    803
    What happened with sourceforge/cnet?So, basically, they're things like Smartscreen or adblock/scriptsafe? That's kind of what I expected, but I wondered if they had any cooler tricks up their sleeves.

  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    4,587
    Quote Originally Posted by BillButNotBen View Post
    What happened with sourceforge/cnet?So, basically, they're things like Smartscreen or adblock/scriptsafe? That's kind of what I expected, but I wondered if they had any cooler tricks up their sleeves.
    Sourceforge/CNET and other sites now pre-bundle your 'free' download with other junk they want you to install - as do Adobe and Oracle (with Java).

    The ONLY way to prevent web-borne malware spreading is by using the same tricks they want to use (BHOs, Toolbars) to trap their junk tho - and it seems everyone who does it (e.g. AVG) then get tempted into using their 'foot in the door' to foust crap of their own.

    It's rather similar to my situation with my broadband/phone provider. I'm registered with everything I can be registered-with to avoid getting cold calls/marketting calls but my own phone provider actually sell-on my details under the guise of my being 'their customer' as if that gives then permission - if I changed my number they'd just resell that one.

    Mobile providers have also been caught offering to sell their subscribers in the same way INCLUDING GPS locations (Orange/EE in the UK were caught red-handed offering this to an ad/marketting agency) - fairly soon our main concern won't be rogue malware but malware we get from companies we're paying money to!!

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus alms's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    3,727
    I only use ClamWin and Defender myself, but install MSE on computers other than mine. Browser extensions might be more useful to stop users from shooting themselves in the foot.
    Looking for you daily bundle fix? Join us on The onward march of bundles
    Stalk my Steam profile, or follow my fight against the backlog on HowLongToBeat.

    "You take the Klingon's detached hand"

  19. #19
    Lesser Hivemind Node
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    803
    Quote Originally Posted by alms View Post
    I only use ClamWin and Defender myself, but install MSE on computers other than mine. Browser extensions might be more useful to stop users from shooting themselves in the foot.
    I thought so. But the problem is that the more you install on their PC, the more chance of something going wrong and it being a pain to fix. I set a family PC up with AVG, Chrome + Scriptsafe + Adblock + Disconnect 2. (with scriptsafe set in allow mode, but with malicious content blocked). But now I keep getting emails everytime a web page doesn't work right, and then have to remotely work out which extension is blocking it, and walk them through how to overcome it. Plus each time something updates it causes hassle/confusion. I'm starting to see the appeal of an 'all in one' solution, even if it means an annual subscription. (for family members at least).

  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus alms's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    3,727
    Quote Originally Posted by BillButNotBen View Post
    I'm starting to see the appeal of an 'all in one' solution, even if it means an annual subscription. (for family members at least).
    I'd get rid of ScriptSafe, when you've got Adblock properly set up, the return is minimal compared to the potential for problems: the effects of script blocking extensions can be sometimes tricky even if you have a clue.

    As for the all-in-one solutions, I have a suspicion they might not necessarily be headache free either, let us know how it turns out.
    Looking for you daily bundle fix? Join us on The onward march of bundles
    Stalk my Steam profile, or follow my fight against the backlog on HowLongToBeat.

    "You take the Klingon's detached hand"

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •