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Ex-Mozilla engineer warns against third-party antivirus

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It was mentioned on here awhile back in a topic, where he stated to just use Windows Defender ("Security Essentials"). Personally if Security Essentials was still made for XP and if it had optimized scanning which it doesn't even seem to have in Win10 I'd use it over Panda Free Antivirus.

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I do this: 

- have backup images,

- run the os virtualized (like timefreeze or Shadow Defender),

- run a sandboxed browser,

- run a real time antivirus, and

- run an on demand anitmalware checker (MBAM v.2).

This cuts the chance of sustaining permanent damage to just about zero. 

 

The antivirus is there to catch any problems as they emerge.  When Avast alarms, I do a restart. 

If they already did the dirty work on C: drive, a restart will fix it. 

If some unprotected partition has been affected, a restored image will fix it. 

If none of that works, there is no reason to think windows defender would have.

 

Just my 2 cents.

 

Still, for folks who are too busy or don't know how to secure their systems, it SEEMS that win 10 has improved quite a bit in security. 

 

Edit:  That last line is not about you, but rather about my family members, who don't have the time nor the desire to carefully maintain their systems.  For me personally, I wouldn't trust microsoft for anything. 

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Personally if Security Essentials was still made for XP and if it had optimized scanning which it doesn't even seem to have in Win10 I'd use it over Panda Free Antivirus.

 

I had somehow got the impression that you were using Avari Free Antivirus.

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Avira Free Antivirus if that's what you meant to type instead of "Avari" doesn't work on XP anymore. Sure you can grab an old version online and allow it to update the program via updates but it will cause random system freezing after a program update it had in August 2016. It actually worked alright for 1 or 2 years after they officially ended support for XP, but not anymore.

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Avira Free Antivirus if that's what you meant to type instead of "Avari" 

 

Yup, that's what I meant, just a typo   :(

 

How do you like Panda in comparison to when you had Avira?

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Panda has more bugs and issues, note that some of them may be XP specific.

 

Panda Protection (aka "Panda Free Antivirus") version 18.0.1 has some serious issues that aren't immediately obvious since you really have to use it on your computer for a few days or weeks for them to become something you'll notice. For instance the .EXE file for the GUI which I think is PSUAConsole.exe takes forever to load and it has allot of silent crashing/hanging and will sometimes cause the computer to freeze/lock for several minutes while Windows restarts the service or program, and this info is only found out when looking at the Windows Event Viewer logs.

 

When I had the buggy version 18.01 installed I posted on their forums these annoying bugs listed here. Yesterday I found another USB related bug where it wouldn't let Paint.net and Microsoft Paint communicate with my scanner, I had to disable the real-time protection to scan an image, having to disable the real-time protection to do something was becoming a very regular task. So being fed up and tired of dealing with issues specifically with PSUAConsole.exe I used my disk image from about 3-4 weeks ago that had Panda v17.0.1 already installed. Although 17.0.1 has bugs itself there's just less bugs in it on my XP system.

 

In my experience Panda is an every other version antivirus, meaning one version will work good on my system and the very next version is rather unusable. If/when they release a version 19 and if it's still XP compatible I'll try it but until then I'm sticking with 17.0.1. I've been thinking of finding an old version of Avira maybe 14 or a very early compatible version 15 and disabling the program updates in it and only allowing definition updates, however I'll keep thinking about that a bit longer.

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It sounds like Panda has been a real pain for you.  Is there a reason why you haven't tried another free antivirus that runs on XP?

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As mentioned, he does advise that those on older operating systems may feel more benefit, although his phrasing isn’t exactly positive even then: “If you're on Windows 7 or, God forbid, Windows XP, third-party AV software might make you slightly less doomed.”

 

"God forbid, Windows XP"!!

 

I don't feel slightly less doomed in the least. In fact I feel more secure than you guys with your Windows 10 systems.

 

And I don't believe any of these merchants of doom are completely impartial in their advice. Look deep enough and there's usually a vested interest lurking in there somewhere.

 

If you take notice of all these different "experts", usually with differing opinions, then take your computer, mothball it or sell it, and give up on the internet. Otherwise you'll take all the pleasure out of what it has to offer and spend your time mopping your brow and losing sleep.

 

All just my humble opinion of course, still surfing anywhere and everywhere with my still clean, humble and unsupported "free of MS" XP system.

 

Oh woe is me!!!!!   pulling-my-hair-out.gif

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If you take notice of all these different "experts", usually with differing opinions, then take your computer, mothball it or sell it, and give up on the internet.

Oh woe is me!!!!!   pulling-my-hair-out.gif

 

pulling-my-hair-out.gif How did you get this image of me?  I thought I had my laptop camera turned off.  Oh wait, not quite, I have grey hair.

 

I ignore a lot of so-called "expert" opinions.  I decided to post the link to the article because I had never seen anything so exact opposite to anything I've read.  I certainly don't agree with his comments.  Who on this planet would agree?

 

still surfing anywhere and everywhere with my still clean, humble and unsupported "free of MS" XP system.

 

"free of MS" - YAY!   

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And I don't believe any of these merchants of doom are completely impartial in their advice. Look deep enough and there's usually a vested interest lurking in there somewhere.

 

Couldn't agree more.  Here is Mr. O'Callahan's original blog post:

http://robert.ocallahan.org/2017/01/disable-your-antivirus-software-except.html

It seems that his main justification for criticizing antivirus software is that it "poison(s) the software ecosystem because . . . invasive and poorly-implemented code makes it difficult for browser vendors and other developers to improve their own security." 

 

Mr. O'Callahan is for sure very knowledgable about such matters, and his opinion deserves great deference.  But if the problem is that developers have to work around the safety mechanisms implemented by antivirus software, that's OK with me. 

For sure, AV softwares have false positives, and sometimes miss a bad guy, but ther track record is much better that any windows OS I know of. 

 

I don't mean to seem so negative, but it irks me when writers state opinions as fact, in ways that might cause great harm. 

 

Also, Razz, fwiw, that little set of protections I outlined above has protected win xp for years, here and for DennisD, and it will work for win 7 too.  I have begun the process of migrating to win 7 because it won't be too long until xp won't work on any hardware, and the available browsers for it won't connect to many sites. 

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Is there a reason why you haven't tried another free antivirus that runs on XP?

 

Yes, there's always a reason specifically performance related or bug related issues, while Panda has bugs they're less of a problem than I've had with other free av's. Specifically:

* Avast - incompatible with the Sentinel HASP License Manager which is required to run an expensive software on my machine. Install Avast with Sentinel HASP License Manager also installed and enjoy an unbootable into normal mode system (safe mode works to uninstall Avast however), been that way since 2007 I think.

* Avira - incompatible with XP.

* AVG - heavy and my system doesn't hasn't liked it since 2012, and I agree with my system I don't like it either.

* Comodo Cloud - Looked very promising, too good to true however since it has constant issues connecting to the "cloud", wait forever performing that first time scan which seemingly never ends as the "cloud" connection fails over and over, and trying to uninstall it like all Comodo security software is nearly impossible without a disk image to restore from.

 

I'm actually tempted to give Norton Antivirus Basic a trial run (oh I must be very ill to even think of going that route, but it's true). :wacko:

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I do run Avast on win xp and win 7. Win 10 uses the native firewall and AV with MBAM.  If I had constant access to it, I would run avast on it too. 

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Yes, there's always a reason specifically performance related or bug related issues, while Panda has bugs they're less of a problem than I've had with other free av's.

 

In that case, going with Panda certainly makes sense.

 

 

* Avast - incompatible with the Sentinel HASP License Manager which is required to run an expensive software on my machine. Install Avast with Sentinel HASP License Manager also installed and enjoy an unbootable into normal mode system (safe mode works to uninstall Avast however), been that way since 2007 I think.

 

I didn't know Avast had that problem because I've never run expensive software so I never encountered this problem.  You would think the company would rectify this issue.

 

I'm actually tempted to give Norton Antivirus Basic a trial run (oh I must be very ill to even think of going that route, but it's true). :wacko:

 

LOL  -  I gather you had tried Norton at some point in the past and was not too pleased.

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I gather you had tried Norton at some point in the past and was not too pleased.

 

It's been 17 years since I bought a copy on Amazon and that year 2000 version other than messing up the system clock by changing the time was exceptionally good in my opinion and well worth the money, things later on changed as we all know.

 

Fast forward a few years later and it was the "free" add-on from my ISP, installed it, and rather immediately got rid of it. Supposedly they've gotten their act together the past few years, and there's only one way to find out and that's a trial.

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I have begun the process of migrating to win 7 because it won't be too long until xp won't work on any hardware, and the available browsers for it won't connect to many sites. 

 

Not sure if you have used Windows 7 much, but I've had Windows 7 on two PCs for many years and find nothing wrong with it.  Our laptops have WIndows 10 and we actually like it.  We've had no problems with it at all, compared to some people who seem to be having some ssues.  I tried to upgrade our PCs to Windows 10 but was not able to do so, apparently because of not having the proper hardware to do so.

 

Anyway login, I guess where I was going with this is: have you considered going to Windows 10 instead of 7?

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Supposedly they've gotten their act together the past few years, and there's only one way to find out and that's a trial.

 

Let us know how it goes, I'd like to know your opinion on Norton.

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It won't be anything soon though because I'd need a solid week to test it - that is if it doesn't immediately put me off.

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that is if it doesn't immediately put me off.

 

:D

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Not sure if you have used Windows 7 much, but I've had Windows 7 on two PCs for many years and find nothing wrong with it.  Our laptops have WIndows 10 and we actually like it.  We've had no problems with it at all, compared to some people who seem to be having some ssues.  I tried to upgrade our PCs to Windows 10 but was not able to do so, apparently because of not having the proper hardware to do so.

 

Anyway login, I guess where I was going with this is: have you considered going to Windows 10 instead of 7?

 

Thanks for that.  No, haven't used win 7 very much to date but am starting to and am much encouraged what you say. 

 

I very much want to be able to shut down the computer and know that C: drive will revert to the state it was in when I logged on. Recently Hazelnut put me on Shadow Defender (paid).  It works almost like Powershadow.  Since then I have using win 7 more.  You and she are right, win 7 is quite good. 

 

The reason I don't use it more is just laziness. It is soooo much easier to use an OS you are familiar with.  Also, maybe a bit of stubbornness is at work, I wanted to prove the doomsday crowd wrong.  That is, win xp will not burn your house down.  I always suspected it, and the last few years seem to have proven it.  :D

 

Win 10 is just too snoopy to suit me, but it is installed on my family's computers and they like it.  If it keeps itself clean and updated, that's good enough for me.  

 

Thanks for information.  Great thing about this forum, folks will share and are not too judgemental. 

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for those thinking Win10 is a little too chatty back to MS, I have started using a free utility called ShutUp10, by O&O and avail here; https://www.oo-software.com/en/shutup10

it doesn't do anything that you couldn't hunt down the sections and tweak yourself, it just puts them in one simple GUI.

I like it as it allows you to export your settings, then simply use those settings on other PC's with the import function.

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Just something to check:

 

In my experience many of the big ISPs provide antivirus software to their customers for free. I know comcast gives out Norton, the one I use gives out something called Total Defense (which I've never even considered installing). If your looking for a "free" premium AV you may want to check what you can get from your ISP.

 

I tend to agree with the Mozilla guy. I remember the days when you could just get viruses from general internet use. Now I'm not so sure thats something you have to really be concerned with. I haven't had a real virus on my own machine in years and I don't really do anything except use chrome with an adblocker to make sure I don't click on any ads. I do let defender scan downloads and my system periodically but its all automated. I get those who use image back ups but I choose to rely on google drive to back up my important stuff (pictures, documents) and then I keep a external drive that I only plug in periodically to add stuff too. Off site back ups are important! 

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Win 10 is just too snoopy to suit me, but it is installed on my family's computers and they like it.  If it keeps itself clean and updated, that's good enough for me.

 

All I do on it is a once a month maintenance for my mother's Win10 laptop but only when there's a new CCleaner version I use it to:

Update CCleaner, look for any newer version of AnyBurn, update Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, update Firefox because she says she keeps mistakenly using Edge.

Then run a monthly full scan with Windows Defender (which is getting slower and slower every month), then run a monthly scan with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, and turn it off, and go running back to XP heaven. :)

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Thanks for information.  Great thing about this forum, folks will share and are not too judgemental. 

 

Best forum on the net - great members!  I've certainly benefited from this forum over the years.

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Let us know how it goes, I'd like to know your opinion on Norton.

 

I got bored last night, and so I tried it. And I didn't need a week to make up my mind!

 

I test on my actual system, I do not use any malware samples, and I don't use any Virtualization software for an antivirus test because in my views it gives a false representation of how an antivirus will work and live sitting alongside other software. I do however have disk images to restore from after the test.

 

They didn't have a trial for Norton Antivirus Basic, the smallest one they offer is Norton Security Deluxe (not what I wanted to test at all I could careless about their firewall that's included). It contains; antivirus, antispam, antispyware, disk defrag/optimizer, disk cleaner, firewall, identity protection, and a browser toolbar (didn't like that, the sneaky basta....).

 

The installation was easy and everything downloaded and installed at a very acceptable speed, and that there was the only good thing about it in my opinion.

 

It's a false positive machine, just like it's been for years! it flags a ton of UPX compressed files (actually according to VirusTotal results allot of av's currently are), and Nirsoft software (gotta feel for the Nirsoft author so many av's falsely detect his useful small tools). It doesn't help when it classifies things as the same type of infection and stating it was first made 1 week ago which wasn't true, and stating only 5 Norton users have the file - when in fact all of the files were several years old with one being nearly 15 years old - it evidently didn't like some of my very old portable legacy audio software.

 

How the system operated I'd compare it roughly to how AVG Free is - a bit bloated (but not the fattest thing around, but still chubby) with some slowdown, although it uses less memory when idle compared to AVG Free. One thing though when in Explorer and single-clicking a small setup file (not running it) it locked my whole system while it was scanning the file, and then it unlocked the system when finished, I didn't like that kind of behavior it seemed as if Windows froze.

 

The Full System Scan scanning speed out of the box was ok at 66 minutes, I was expecting something at the minimum of 90 minutes but I don't think it scans everything in order to achieve the speed - although how it displays the on-going scan makes it look like it would take forever.

 

The quarantine isn't intuitive at all to get falsely detected quarantined files out of it. One would've thought they'd just have something logical like a Delete button and a Restore button in clear sight, but no they had to go and make things complicated since you actually have to double-click upon a quarantined item to get at the Restore option - it becomes a chore too because it immediately scrolls back to the top of the long list which is frustrating with all the false positive quarantines it did.

 

The settings would probably have some inexperienced users going to the support pages to learn what allot of it was mostly due to their trademarked names they use for calling things entirely different when compared to almost all other antivirus. Mostly the default settings don't need to be messed with, especially since it wholly ignores when you set it to Ask Me, it just goes ahead and does whatever it wants anyways without asking you anything, so why have the option. I didn't like all of the settings they have, they literally need to have a toggle button/switch to have the settings be in a Basic form (not showing much since most of it doesn't need messed with), and Advanced (show everything the way it is now by default), or they just need to seriously cut down/dumb it down on having so many settings in my opinion.

 

For me I wouldn't personally buy it, and I'll likely never install their software again.

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