Sunday, November 27, 2005

Here are Eight Anti-Virus Programs

Command Anti-Virus
Command Software Systems
(800) 423-9147 · (561) 575-3200
http://www.commandsoftware.com/products

Command Anti-virus may not have the name recognition other consumer anti-virus programs do, but its easy-to-use interface makes it a good option for the home PC user. Like most anti-virus programs, it provides several layers of protection. For example, you can schedule daily, weekly, or monthly scans in a process called on-demand scanning. (If you download numerous files over the Internet or often copy files from diskettes or CDs, we recommend that you schedule more frequent scans.) You can specify the exact time you want the scan to occur, or if you prefer that the scan occur without interrupting your daily routine, you can schedule it to take place after your computer has been idle for an amount of time you specify.
Command Anti-virus also includes a quick scan option. Simply place a shortcut menu on your Windows Desktop and then choose the file or files you wish to scan. Or, you can use Command Anti-virus’ drag-and-drop utility. Drag the desired file onto the user interface, and the software begins the virus scan as soon as you release your finger from the mouse button.
Most important, in our eyes, is the fact that Command Anti-virus also works behind the scenes, thanks to its on-access scanning DVP (Dynamic Virus Protection) feature. On- access scanning goes to work when the user opens the file. Each time you insert a diskette and instruct your computer to read it, DVP scans the boot sector to make sure that no viruses are lurking on the diskette. And each time you open a program file, DVP scans it before it executes.
You can disable the DVP feature, configure it to take action upon select portions of your hard drive (or network drive, if you’re connected to one), and choose the action DVP takes when it encounters malware. For instance, you might instruct it to quarantine rather than delete files.
Command Anti-virus’ signature technology is the HoloCheck technology. This technology uses signature files and behavior monitoring to determine whether you’ve encountered malware. In other words, it looks at distinct strands of code unique to malware and compares the code to a catalog of known viruses to see if the signature (the obvious signs of malware) matches a specific virus already on record.
Its HoloCheck technology also looks at how a file behaves (such as whether it starts deleting portions of your hard drive), which helps to identify malware that may not yet appear in the database of known viruses.
The Command Web Site carries all the information you need to get the most out of Command Anti-virus. There, you can read the manual, view the Readme file, or launch the Quick Start Guide, which shows you how to quickly get Command Anti-virus up and running. It also provides you with a way to submit a suspected malware sample to the company for analysis.
eTrust EZ Anti-Virus
Computer Associates International (800) 225-5224 · (631) 342-6000
If you have any experience in the world of business security, you may already be familiar with the name Computer Associates. The company first made its mark by providing a type of business technology that more than 95% of Fortune 500 companies used. One product line is eTrust, which developers designed to help IT (information technology) professionals guarantee the security of large enterprises.
Now consumers can take advantage of this technology. Developers took out the features designed specifically for enterprise users (such as management components that let one user set preferences across a large network of computers) to create eTrust EZ Anti-virus. Although you can purchase EZ Anti-virus as a standalone product, it’s also part of the EZ Armor Suite, a set of utilities that contains EZ Firewall, a program that helps keep would-be hackers (savvy computer users who break into systems for illegal and/or malicious purposes) from infiltrating computer systems; and EZ Deskshield, which detects and blocks unusual email behavior.
EZ Anti-virus is easy to install and use, and Computer Associates claims it has the smallest footprint (amount of space it consumes on your hard drive) of any leading anti-virus software. Its Real-time Monitor setting automatically scans each file you introduce to the system, including word processing documents you open from diskettes, email attachments, and more. We recommend you use this setting, but you also can deactivate it if you prefer to manually scan files.
To manually scan files, use the Shell Scanner tool, which scans single files. Or you can manually scan multiple files in one step via the My Folders feature when you introduce new files to your system. To do this, choose one or two folders in which to save the files, and before executing these files, perform a scan on the entire My Folders section.
When EZ Anti-virus encounters malware, it presents the user with a message box that explains what the program did. (Typically, it will delete the threat.) You then click OK and continue with your work.
EZ Anti-virus has an AutoDownload feature. When you connect to the Internet, the program automatically checks a designated web site for updates to virus definitions. When it finds new updates, it downloads them onto your computer.
Another notable feature of EZ Anti-virus is its web site. The virus information center on the left side of the home page has dozens of resources. It also carries short alerts regarding new threats, such as a recent warning about the “friendly greeting” phenomenon. For those of you unfamiliar with this virus-like activity, you should know that Permissioned Media is a company that distributes online greeting cards, but when you receive a greeting card from a friend, you must install a program on your hard drive to see it.
While installing this program, however, you must agree to Permissioned Media’s license conditions for the program or you won’t be able to see the greeting. One of these conditions is to let the company send email to all the contacts in your Outlook address book. Unfortunately, it’s easy to skip over this condition during installation, not realizing what it really means. By doing so, many users are unwittingly giving Permissioned Media permission to send email messages to all their contacts. As a result, EZ Anti-virus now blocks this application’s installation process altogether.


F-Secure Anti-Virus Personal Edition F-Secure
http://www.f-secure.com

For proof that our world is shrinking, all you need to do is look at how a virus that originates on the other side of the globe can cripple computer systems across the United States. Consider, for instance, the Love Bug virus, which began in the Philippines and caused billions of dollars of damage worldwide. The good news is that solutions to malware are originating across the globe, as well.
F-Secure, based in Helsinki, Finland, are the maker of the F-Secure Anti-Virus Personal Edition program. As a combination of personal firewall software and anti-virus software, F-Secure Anti-Virus Personal Edition protects your system from both malware and would-be human intruders.
Developers designed F-Secure Anti-Virus Personal Edition so it can work entirely behind the scenes and be nearly invisible to the home user. When you first install the software, it scans your entire system and looks for any possible infections. Then, several times a day, via your Internet connection, the software checks F-Secure’s virus signature database and sends updates to your computer, typically once or twice a day. (If you’re on a dial-up connection, it does so when you first log on; if you’re on a broadband service, it does so about every half hour by default.) Whenever you open a file, the program runs that file through its scanners, looking for known matches.
F-Secure Anti-Virus Personal Edition relies on three scanning engines, each of which specializes in identifying a different type of malware. Each time the software accesses a file; it loads the file into its memory and goes through the bit pattern, looking for indications of malware. For example, one engine is heuristic, meaning that it looks for virus-like activity, such as code that instructs your email program to send messages to a large portion of your address book. Another engine scans the file and looks for matches against known viruses.
When F-Secure Anti-Virus Personal Edition finds an infection, the software will disinfect the file and delete it from your system by default. If you wish, you can customize the software so that it presents you with a pop-up message asking you what you’d like to do with the infected file. This option is popular with corporate users, who may want to quarantine the file so the system administrator can look at it later.
You also can instruct F-Secure Anti-Virus Personal Edition to scan a file manually. Simply right-click the icon in the System Tray (also called the Notification Area) and select the desired option from the menu: Scan All Hard Disks, Scan Diskette (the floppy or A: drive), or Scan Target (which refers to another target you can select, such as an optical drive). During such a scan, the dialog box will display a progress indicator and scan statistics, including how many files F-Secure Anti-Virus Personal Edition scanned, disinfected, and deleted.
Kaspersky Anti-Virus Personal 4.0
and Personal Pro 4.0
Kaspersky Labs
http://www.kaspersky.com
F-Secure Anti-Virus Personal Edition isn’t the only anti-virus program from overseas that is worth a look. Kaspersky Anti-Virus Personal is an anti-virus program from Russian company Kaspersky Labs. One of its distinguishing characteristics (in addition to letting you perform many of the tasks other anti-virus programs do) is that it’s actually several programs rolled into one, and you can choose to download and/or run one or multiple programs.
Kaspersky Anti-Virus Monitor is one such program. When you open a file, this program automatically scans for malware. Then, if Anti-Virus Monitor finds an infection, it will try to clean it up, but if it cannot do so, it disables or quarantines the file. The scanning tool relies on several detection methods, including using heuristics and comparing files against a database of known viruses.
If you wish to run manual virus scans, use the Kaspersky Anti-Virus Scanner. This program scans your drives and system memory for malware, either on a schedule you determine or when you instruct the program to do so manually.
There’s also the Kaspersky Anti-Virus Mail Checker, which looks for viruses in both incoming and outgoing email messages, as well as in formats and programs including Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, Exchange, Pegasus Mail, Netscape Mail, JSMail, and MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions). When the Mail Checker finds a piece of malware, it removes the offending code and attempts to restore the rest of the message. Plus, you can configure the software to disinfect or delete an email attachment.
Granted, anti-virus software would be ineffective if it didn’t include the latest virus definitions. The Kaspersky Anti-Virus Updater lets you update the program’s anti-virus databases. You can configure Updater so that it adds updates automatically each day or manually when you click a button, and the program uses the Internet to access the database on the Kaspersky Labs Web Site. It then downloads the updates to your computer. In addition, Updater downloads software package components.
Kaspersky Anti-Virus Personal also includes a Rescue Kit, which lets you create a set of startup diskettes. That way, if a virus damages crucial system data on your hard drive, you can insert the startup diskettes and restore your PC. The diskettes are based on a Linux kernel, which, according to Kaspersky, allows a “clean boot” and helps you restore numerous Windows file systems, including FAT32 (file allocation table, 32-bit version), which keeps track of hard drive contents.
Both the Personal and the Personal Pro editions include all the features we already mentioned, but the Personal Pro edition also includes an integrity checker called Inspector. Inspector looks for content modifications on your PC. If it finds unauthorized changes in files or the Registry, it disinfects and recovers your system.
McAfee Virus-Scan Home EditionNetwork Associates (972) 308-9960
http://www.mcafee-at-home.com

Although you may not be familiar with some of the other anti-virus software titles we discussed so far, odds are good that you’ve heard the name McAfee, especially if you work for a large corporation. Network Associates, the parent company of McAfee Consumer Products Division, has been in business since 1989. And, according to the IDC 2001 report, “Worldwide Anti-virus Software Market Forecast and Analysis,” McAfee’s anti-virus software is the most popular anti-virus program for corporations.
But McAfee software isn’t just for businesses. Its consumer offering, the McAfee Virus-Scan Home Edition is a robust piece of software that’s easy to use. A primary component is its VShield scanner, which monitors hard drive files, scans floppy diskettes and other media, and scans email messages and attachments—all behind the scenes. It compares your files against a database of known computer viruses that it downloads each day from the McAfee Web Site (when you’re connected to the Internet, of course). When the McAfee Virus-Scan Home Edition finds a threat, it alerts you through a written message or audible signal.
The new version of McAfee Virus-Scan Home Edition offers users some enhancements they didn’t have in previous versions. The HAWK (Hostile Activity Watch Kernel) watches for behavior that indicates a new virus might be on your computer. It isolates a file that fits this category, prevents it from spreading, and then cleans the file. HAWK works with any email client that supports SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol), but it doesn’t support web-based email programs. HAWK relies upon another new feature, Script Stopper, which looks for potentially malicious scripts and stops them before they can cause damage to your hard drive.
The U.S. and Canadian versions of McAfee Virus-Scan Home Edition incorporate the McAfee Firewall. Like the eTrust EZ Firewall, the McAfee Firewall limits certain kinds of computer access from a network or other outside sources and thwarts would-be hackers from infiltrating your computer. But, unlike eTrust, McAfee includes the firewall for free in its consumer anti-virus software.
Other McAfee Virus-Scan Home Edition features include Safe & Sound, a backup utility for Windows 98 Second Edition and Windows Me users, and PDA (personal digital assistant) synchronization protection. Each time you exchange data between your PDA and your PC; the PDA synchronization protection feature scans the files on your wireless device and prevents viruses from downloading to your PC.
For more detailed information about McAfee Virus-Scan Home Edition, see “The Big Guns”.
Norton Anti-VirusSymantec (800) 441-7234 · (408) 517-8000
http://www.symantec.com

The other “big gun” in the consumer anti-virus software market is Norton Anti-virus from Symantec. If you’re considering investing in this product, you’ll have plenty of company, as about half of the individuals worldwide who have installed anti-virus software use a program from Symantec.
Norton Anti-virus runs automatically in the background on your system, without much input from you. You need to do little more than walk through the installation wizard to get the program up and running. The Auto-Protect feature monitors all incoming files and checks them against its database of virus definitions. (It also scrutinizes email that you send to others.) When the Auto-Protect feature finds a match, it presents you with a message describing the action it took, such as whether it deleted or quarantined the file.
You also can conduct manual scans. The full system scan option lets you manually scan your entire computer or individual floppy diskettes, drives, folders, or files. And Microsoft Scheduler users have the option to schedule weekly scans.
Norton Anti-virus keeps its known virus database current with Live Update. When you connect to the Internet, Live Update checks for updates to virus definitions every four hours and downloads and installs them on your PC.
If you use an instant messaging program, you’ll want to take advantage of Norton Anti-Virus’s new instant messaging function. The program scans and cleans incoming attachments from instant messaging applications such as Yahoo! Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, MSN Messenger, and Windows Messenger.
Norton Anti-Virus has a heuristics-based, worm-blocking technology that keeps worms from spreading through outgoing email. Its script-blocking technology detects fast-moving, script-based viruses, which helps to protect your PC from unknown threats even before anti-virus software developers can create new virus definitions.
Other features include free online technical support and Rescue Disk, an option for Win98 SE and WinMe users that records a duplicate set of system startup files and disk partition information.
The Professional Edition of Norton Anti-Virus includes all the features we’ve mentioned here, plus data recovery and data cleaning features, such as a digital “shredder.”
For more detailed information about Norton Anti-Virus, see “The Big Guns”.
Panda Anti-virus Titanium and PandaAnti-virus Platinum
Panda Software (800) 603-4922 · (818) 543-6901
http://www.pandasecurity.com

If you’re looking for a clean, easy-to-use anti-virus program, Panda Anti-virus Titanium fits the bill. The interface has a typical Windows look and feel, so new users should feel comfortable right away while learning to use features such as its full system scan.
For the most part, however, Panda Anti-virus Titanium users won’t even realize that the software is running on their system. That’s because it works primarily behind the scenes. When you install the program, it begins working automatically, scanning files entering and leaving your system, such as when you send email attachments to friends over the Internet.
The software also updates itself and its virus definition database automatically. Each time you log on to the Internet, the program looks for updates and then downloads them to your PC. Then, the next time you open a file, the software compares the file to the latest definitions. If it detects a match, it eliminates the file so that you may not even know malware was trying to enter your system. The scanning engine, known as the UltraFast scanning engine, is proprietary technology from Panda that works by comparing files to a known virus database and using heuristics to identify files that carry code that may induce virus-like behavior.

Panda Anti-virus Titanium includes a number of manual features, as well. Simply open the software and locate the Scan menu. This lets you scan an individual folder or file or the full contents of your computer.
After a manual scan, Panda Anti-virus Titanium will present you with a scan summary. View a detailed report of any incidents the software detected during its most recent scan or view the entire log in which Panda Anti-virus Titanium stores the incidents from all of its scans. Even though Panda Anti-virus Titanium has detected and deleted a virus, it will still appear in the scan report.
Panda Anti-virus Platinum carries all the features of Panda Anti-virus Titanium, but Panda designed Platinum for the more sophisticated PC user, and therefore, gives you a bit more control over the software. For example, during installation, you can choose an installation procedure for more advanced users, which lets you change scanning options. Plus, you can configure Platinum to update the virus signatures daily or on a more or less frequent schedule. The Platinum version consumes twice as much hard drive space as the Titanium version (after all, we’re talking about a difference of 40MB vs. 20MB), but the interface is just as easy to use and works almost as seamlessly in the background, provided you configure it to do so. Panda Anti-virus Platinum also has a fully integrated firewall.
PC-cillinTrend Micro (800) 228-5651 · (408) 257-1500
Last but far from least, PC-cillin is to your PC what penicillin is to real-world contagions: the cure for a wide range of infections. PC-cillin keeps your system safe from malware that attacks it via email, instant messages, downloads over the Internet, and file sharing.
PC-cillin has many of the same features other anti-virus programs covered here offer. It has both automatic and manual scan capabilities, the ability to easily download the latest virus definitions, and an activities log that shows which files the software has deleted, quarantined, or otherwise cleaned.
PC-cillin’s scanning technology has several components. One component is ScriptTrap, which detects not-yet-defined malware by looking at how the script behaves rather than whether the file matches a known virus definition. Another component of the technology is what Trend Micro calls “Rule-based Virus Traps.” The Rule-based Virus Traps feature monitors a computer’s behavior and collects all incidents of malware activity. Then, when a program begins exhibiting that behavior (for instance, renaming a file on your hard drive), PC-cillin alerts the user. And, of course, before you open a file, the scanner compares it against the database of known viruses.
PC-cillin includes Trend Micro’s Personal Firewall with adjustable security levels, a trusted site list, and port-blocking capabilities. It also includes PC-cillin for Wireless, a form of anti-virus security for a PDA that both protects important information on the PDA and keeps malware from infecting your PC during synchronization.
PC-cillin also protects you from downloading malware through email attachments, but it doesn’t scan outgoing email messages. In addition, PC-cillin supports many POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3) email clients, including several versions of Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express, Netscape Messenger, and Eudora Pro.
In the unlikely case that malware does sneak past PC-cillin and affect your system, Win98 SE and WinMe users can use its Emergency Rescue Disks to restore their systems. Just visit the Trend Micro Web Site and follow the instructions listed for downloading and installing the Rescue Disk Builder.
Representatives from Trend Micro say PC-cillin, the new version of PC-cillin, will include additional features such as enhanced wireless Internet protection, improved email security, toll-free support, and an advanced warning service that informs users about new malware outbreaks.

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