Monday, May 30, 2011

Top 10 Antivirus Software review

10. Trend Micro Titanium Antivirus +

Trend Micro Titanium Antivirus + (formerly PC-cillin) is another great antivirus software, combining good security with simple usability. The software is well equipped to protect your computer from a number of threats, and has made several improvements this year. The most noteworthy new feature is the addition of cloud-based security, specifically designed to improve detection and resource usage. By running most of the security processes online, Trend Micro Titanium antivirus software detects threats before they make their way to your computer. Furthermore, since most of it is hosted online, you don’t have to waste your hard drive space to store it yourself.

Unfortunately, while Trend Micro’s newest antivirus software is better, it still isn’t up to par with the competition. Their foray into the cloud is impressive, but not innovative when compared with the several other security companies that did so a year (or more) ago.

Scope of Protection:
Trend Micro Titanium Antivirus + provides a good deal of protection for your desktop PC, including care-free protection from viruses and spyware as well as keyloggers, hackers, OS exploits, dialers, malicious cookies and scripts, Trojan horses, rootkits, and worms. The software isn’t as comprehensive as other multi-layered antivirus software products, but is adequate in scope and level of protection.
Trend Micro is an effective antivirus solution, combining traditional signature-based security with real-time protection. The new cloud-based antivirus element improves the level of protection and overall potency.
The software has been tested, approved and certified by the West Coast Labs as an effective solution for antivirus, antispyware and anti-Trojan.
Ease of Installation:
Installing Trend Micro Titanium Antivirus + is straightforward and easy, only taking a minute or so. The program is designed to work effectively and efficiently, and for the most part it does. One benefit of the integrated cloud security is that it helps keep the software lean and quick. Because several of the processes are performed online in the cloud, the software doesn’t require as much of your PC’s resources.
Ease of Use:
This antivirus software is remarkably easy to use thanks to the straightforward interface. Some users will find the interface to be pretty bare-bones. To their credit, however, Trend Micro is designed to be installed and forgotten about, keeping users safe in the background. The main console is very direct and provides your current security level at-a-glance and quick access to run scans or tweak settings. The software is designed to scan for threats in real time, but you can always perform a manual scan directly from the software. You can choose from a quick scan, a full in-depth (longer) scan or create your own custom scan.
Trend Micro clearly focused on speed and not on adding new tools or features this year. It isn’t missing any truly essential antivirus software features, but is seriously lacking in some of the advanced tools that have been implemented by competitors. We would like to see a laptop battery saving mode and gamer mode added, as well as the option to create a bootable rescue disk.
Though not technically a dedicated part of the antivirus software, TrendProtect is a free feature worth mentioning. TrendProtect is a browser plug-in tool that gives you warnings and security ratings while you use search engines (similar to McAfee LinkScanner or Norton Safe Web). This utility is a great tool for proactively protecting you while you surf the web.
With new threats and variations being created every minute, updating virus definitions every hour just isn’t enough. Titanium Antivirus + takes advantage of cloud security to provide realtime protection without the need to constantly update. More than just making the software more secure, it also makes the upkeep pretty much automatic.
Help & Support:
Trend Micro has a good mix of help and support options online, including general customer service and technical support. They host a searchable knowledge base, or you can look for help in the discussion board. Personalized assistance is available by submitting a case online or getting in contact directly over the phone or even live chat. Premium support is available (for a fee) for such issues as PC tune-up, malware removal or emergencies.
Overall, Trend Micro Titanium Antivirus + is good, but not great antivirus software. The addition of cloud security definitely enhances the product, but the competition still has more to offer. The level of protection is compelling, but we’d like to see Trend Micro get on board with some additional features. For now, the software is fine, but we recommend looking at alternative antivirus solutions to find a few superior products.

9. Vipre Antivirus 4 

Vipre Antivirus has a great combination of features, and though the company is relatively new on the security scene, their antivirus software is one of the best. It’s not a typo, ‘VIPRE’ stands for Virus Intrusion Prevention Remediation Engine. The software includes antivirus and antispyware protection, as well as a number of additional compelling features.
Probably the most unique offering from Vipre is their unlimited home site license option. With the unlimited license you can run the software on as many computers (as well as laptops and netbooks) that you have at home. For families with three or more PCs, this is a very affordable option.
Scope of Protection:
Sunbelt Software’s Vipre Antivirus + Antispyware doesn’t just protect from viruses and spyware, but also covers rootkits, Trojans, worms, keyloggers, dialers, adware, malicious scripts, and a number of other malware threats. Vipre’s big push is to keep your computer protected from viruses that may not be on traditional signature databases yet.

This proactive protection is made possible by incorporating advanced heuristic detection, including the MX-Virtualization. This technology allows Vipre to run files in a sterile Windows-like emulator and observe how it behaves. If the files act up, they are appropriately identified as malware. Combine this with real-time, kernel-level antivirus security, and Vipre is well equipped to guard your PC from threats from different angles.
Vipre is an effective antivirus (and antispyware) desktop solution. Powered by Sunbelt Software, the software has received the checkmark certification from West Coast Labs as an effective antivirus software. The antivirus software has also been evaluated and certified by ICSA labs, and has received the VB100 award.
One feature that helps keep Vipre on top of protection is the advanced heuristic technologies, Genscan and Cobra. These advanced features help Vipre dynamically locate malware before it even has the chance to cause any problems on your PC.
Ease of Installation:
Vipre Antivirus has a fairly thorough installation process, but it’s not overwhelming. It’s not super quick, and requires a restart, but it’s not hard by any means.
Vipre was engineered from the bottom up, and specifically designed not to be a system hog. And while there are trimmer antivirus applications, Vipre Antivirus holds up to their promise to deliver a resource- efficient program. Vipre certainly has one of the most efficient antivirus scanning engines available, and should leave users pleasantly surprised with no PC slowdown.
Ease of Use:
Vipre’s antivirus software is quite simple to use. The simple user interface and navigation make for a pretty intuitive experience. Setting specific scans on a schedule or adjusting settings are no trouble. Even better, for the most part Vipre runs seamlessly in the background, requiring very little user input.
Vipre Antivirus has a number of useful tools that ensure security, and are just plain convenient. The secure file eraser lets you completely and permanently remove sensitive files from your computer. The software also includes an integrated history cleaning utility (to cover your tracks online), and simple access to some PC tools that normally are hard to find.
Vipre is also fully equipped to protect your computer from email-borne threats. The active email scanning will keep your inbox free of malicious files, and even scans outbound mail so you won’t pass any viruses on to your friends/coworkers/family by accident.
Vipre has all the essentials, but we would have liked to see an integrated silent ‘gamer’ mode and password-protected settings.
As with almost every antivirus software, updates from Vipre are set up to run automatically (but can also be performed manually if needed). The program is set by default to run updates every few hours, but can be manually set to run every hour if desired. More importantly, Vipre utilizes a security network that enables them to deliver updates to your PC immediately as the need should arise.
Help & Support:
Sunbelt’s support for Vipre Antivirus is pretty good, and includes in-program help files, and additional assistance online. Most common issues can be fixed by taking a look at the KnowledgeBase, user guide, or support forums. Individual questions can be directed to their service department through email, phone, or even online chat (all U.S. based).
Overall, Vipre Antivirus is a very good security solution. The software has all the essentials, and several advanced features (heuristic, behavioral analysis, real-time protection) that work efficiently to deliver a fairly complete antivirus package. The unique “home site license” allows you to install the software on as many computers as you have at home (a valuable solution for many home users).

8. Avira AntiVir Premium 

Avira AntiVir Premium box shot 
Combining excellent efficiency and advanced technology, Avira AntiVir Premium is one of the best antivirus software available. With over 20 years under their belt, Avira continues to gain new users worldwide. Their free antivirus software is very popular, and the extra protection from the paid solution is certainly worth it.
The new version 10 introduces ProActiv behavior scanning and automatic Generic Repair technology. There are a few features like a gamer mode and rollback functionality that we’d still like to see added, but overall Avira AntiVir Premium 10 is a good antivirus application.
Scope of Protection:
Avira’s antivirus software has you covered, protecting from malware and its various forms (dialers, spyware, rootkits, worms, adware, malicious scripts, etc.). The paid version includes advanced protection from a number of online threats, including phishing scams and drive-by downloads.
Avira AntiVir also has an integrated email scanner that checks for viruses and other malware in sent and received emails.
Avira has proven time and time again to be one of the leaders when it comes to thorough and effective antivirus scanning. Virus Bulletin not only approves Avira as completely capable of protecting your PC from 100 percent of in-the-wild viruses, but also found Avira AntiVir to be the most effective in their recent test.
AV Comparatives also found Avira AntiVir to be at the top of their class in recent tests, catching 99.3% of the malware they threw at the software (second only to the marginally higher 99.6% from G DATA). The software has also improved on their false positive score, and was only “tricked” with 11 false positives (files that Avira deemed malware that in reality were not).
Ease of Installation:
Setting up the software is also simple, and will have you up to date and running your first scans in no time. Version 10 features a new express installation method that will have you downloaded and installed with just five clicks.
Avira isn’t just one of the most effective antivirus software, they are also one of the most efficient. AV Comparatives’ test of scanning speed clocked Avira AntiVir Premium at the high scanning rate of 17MB/second. Avira is a fairly resource-conscious antivirus software, and shouldn’t result in any noticeable slowdown for most users (especially if you schedule the deep scans to run when your computer is not in use).
Ease of Use:
Avira’s antivirus software features a decent interface with pretty simple, easy-to-use controls. Setting up scheduled scans or customized scanning parameters is no problem. Avira is a good antivirus program for beginners and experienced users alike. Previous users won’t find much of a difference in the new interface, but it has been slightly updated. The software does include a one-click fix button anytime there is an issue that needs to be addressed.
Better than being easy to use, Avira doesn’t actually require you to regularly “use” the program, but basically runs itself, keeping your computer protected without you having to constantly update or monitor the software.
Avira AntiVir Premium is filled with great features that enhance security, performance, and convenience. One important feature is that the scanner works in real-time. Avira scans all files as they are accessed, in the split second before they are opened and have the chance to infect your PC.
Another great feature is the ability to create a bootable rescue disk. This often overlooked feature gives you the ability to burn a disc that can be used in the event of an emergency. If your system crashes and won’t restart properly, simply run the bootable rescue disk, which preempts the OS and walks you through the process of cleaning the deeply rooted malware so you can get back up and running.
The software also incorporates advanced technology that protects from the constantly changing virus landscape. With the proactive AHeAD (Advanced Heuristic Analysis and Detection) technology, Avira dynamically analyzes files for particular characteristics or behavior that “give it away” as malware, and then neutralizes the threat before it has the chance to infect your computer. This proactive approach effectively stops viruses that traditional signature-based detection often misses.
The major new feature is the ProActive scanning and community network. AntiVir ProActiv is a behavior-based scanning technology that monitors your system’s behavior (as opposed to file behavior). Certain events may signify that your system is under attack, in which case the software can remedy the situation. The new community (also called ProActiv) takes advantage of the software’s strong user base to provide strength in numbers. If you choose to participate, anonymous data from your computer is collected by the company so they can provide better awareness and quick protection from new attacks.
Avira knows that timely updates aren’t just essential for security, but also efficient and less invasive. The updates are small (don’t require a lot of resources) and regular (the default is every 2 hours, but it can be set to as often as every 15 minutes). Proxy users will have no problem updating, and the updates can even be specifically scheduled (just like virus scans).
Help & Support:
The online support for Avira is decent, but not great. The support center features an in-depth FAQs section and knowledgebase. You can also find additional support in the support forum. Unfortunately, Avira doesn’t offer help through email or online live chat, and there isn’t a U.S.-based phone number.
Avira AntiVir Premium is one of the best in the business, and has several compelling features that make it a great choice for antivirus software. And while the software didn’t offer some convenient features (like a silent gamer mode) that others have, the effectiveness is second to none. We look forward to seeing Avira work on adding new features, but can certainly recommend their antivirus software.

7. G DATA AntiVirus 2011 

G DATA AntiVirus 2011 box shot 
With over 20 years in the computer security business and continued growth, G Data is one of the best antivirus programs in the industry, and it shows with their simple and valuable security software. G Data AntiVirus 2011 continues the trend, delivering a high level of security and an easy-to-use product. With their new version, they have simplified the interface and navigation, and optimized the software for better overall detection and protection.
Scope of Protection:
G Data’s AntiVirus software isn’t a full internet security suite, but it comes pretty close with comprehensive protection. Antivirus and antispyware protection are combined with complete web protection. The software is equipped and armed to protect your computer from any number of threats (online or off), including phishing scams, dialers, adware, malicious scripts, Trojans, rootkits, worms and more.
The software also incorporates advanced protection from malware spread through email or IM. The software goes as far as scanning outbound email (messages you send) for viruses and other malware, so you won’t accidentally pass along a threat to your friends or coworkers.
G Data’s protection level is second to none, delivering consistent maximum protection. One way they do this is with their DoubleScan technology. By utilizing two distinct virus scanners (don’t worry, you still won’t notice any slowdown), one can pick up anything the other might have missed. The 2011 edition incorporates the scanning engines from BitDefender and Avast!
AntiVirus from G Data continues to perform remarkably well with third party testers. AV Comparatives found the software to be in tip-top shape. While the software wasn’t the fastest, the 10.6MB/sec scanning speed was more than adequate, and G DATA came away with the highest total detection rate: an almost perfect score of 99.6%. (Needless to say, the software came away with the coveted Advanced A+ certification).
Virus Bulletin also found this antivirus solution to be more than adequate, and certified the software with the VB 100%.
G Data has outperformed most if not all other antivirus programs. The general consensus is that while they might be a bit slower (keyword being bit) than some, it is certainly one of the most thorough and effective at detecting and removing viruses and malware. And when it comes right down to it, isn’t that the most important?
Ease of Installation:
The whole installation process took under 10 minutes, and only required one restart. All things considered, the software was straightforward to download and install.
While you can simply install the software and forget about it, additional setup is pretty quick and will help you schedule scans and customize settings.
G Data AntiVirus uses two scanning engines, but certainly doesn’t take twice as long as other security software. In fact, the program is actually fairly fast and resource efficient. While it’s not the most efficient with your system resources, it certainly is better than most antivirus software (and shouldn’t cause any system heartburn).
Ease of Use:
G DATA’s antivirus software is remarkably simple to not only implement, but use. Advanced users or the overly cautious type should have no problem manually using the program and monitoring performance. More importantly, beginners and users who just need the software to work without much intervention will also have no trouble simply letting G DATA run in the background.
The new simplified interface brings most of the functions right to the front, easily accessible on the main dashboard. The main screen hosts a quick security status overview, and if there are any problems, you can fix them with one click.
G Data AntiVirus comes equipped with all the essential tools to keep your computer safe. And while it doesn’t have some of the additional features that add convenience (silent gamer mode, password protected settings, laptop battery mode), the software has a healthy dose of extra features.
One feature that can’t be overstated is the unique integration of two separate scanning engines. Running an antivirus scan using both engines increases efficacy, and won’t considerably slow you down. And while there is plenty of overlap with 2 scanning engines, the virus signature database is the heart of any security software (and getting two for the price of one is great).
Another impressive feature is the self-learning fingerprinting and whitelisting. Basically, the software is able to automatically analyze files and determine if they pose a threat (or will in the future).
Especially good for the set-and-forget user, updates are performed automatically, and in the background. Both virus signature definitions and actual program updates will run automatically, or can be updated manually.
Regular updates are performed every hour, and are small enough that they won’t affect regular computer use. If you’re using G DATA at work, you can easily set up the software to update with your proxy server.
Help & Support:
G DATA AntiVirus has the typical in-program help files and traditional help (searchable support section and online support form). They also have an emergency phone line for immediate assistance. Noticeably missing from the support lineup was the ability to chat with support online, or a support forum.
Overall, G Data AntiVirus is one of the best desktop antivirus solutions available on the market. We’d still like to see a few more features added to the lineup, but we can confidently recommend the software as one of the most effective and resource-friendly antivirus software.

6. AVG Anti-Virus 2011 

AVG Anti-Virus 2011 box shot 
AVG Anti-Virus 2011 offers a number of compelling features and the right technology to keep your PC protected. As one of the best antivirus software products reviewed, AVG offers a great solution that delivers advanced protection and simple use. AVG’s free antivirus software is one of the most downloaded files for computer security, but for the most benefit it’s definitely worth paying for the full version.
With innovative new features and improved performance, AVG 2011 is better than ever. The new social networking protection and LinkScanner up the ante with proactive web protection, cloud antivirus and a security network. And while there are a few antivirus software products that slightly surpass AVG in security and performance, AVG Anti-Virus is definitely among the best antivirus software available.

Scope of Protection:
AVG Anti-Virus is fully armed to protect your computer from threats from a number of angles. The software includes antivirus and antispyware protection, as well as complete online protection from harmful sites and downloads.
AVG protects from hackers, phishing scams, adware and malware that come through email or IM. AVG even scans outbound email to make sure you don’t accidentally pass a virus along to others. And of course the software protects from other forms of malware, including worms, keyloggers, Trojans and rootkits.
AVG Anti-Virus has also upped their arsenal for online protection, using advanced shields to protect you from threats wherever they come from. The AVG Online Shield includes web security from viruses, spyware and even phishing attacks, as well as protection from files shared through IM chat. Basically, AVG is equipped to protect you from malicious files regardless of how they are sent, downloaded or accessed.
AVG is perfectly adequate antivirus software, and is certainly effective. Their detection rates aren’t as impressive as some of the other antivirus software we reviewed, but the security software is by no means ineffective. Recent tests from AV-Comparatives, Virus Bulletin and others show that AVG uses one of the most effective antivirus scanners, and has pretty good performance. The one area where they struggle is in “overprotecting” at times, flagging safe files incorrectly (false positives).

AVG’s strength comes from the multiple layers and advanced technology they utilize. Their core scanning engine is great, but it’s also backed up by proactive heuristic detection, cloud security and the AVG Protection Network. The community network lets AVG take advantage of their user-base by collecting anonymous data to detect new threats and protect the entire community. Combined with proactive behavior analysis and realtime cloud antivirus protection, AVG Anti-Virus is robust and comprehensive.
Needless to say, you don’t need to worry about the effectiveness of AVG Anti-Virus.
Ease of Installation:
AVG Anti-Virus is easy to download and install. The installation is straightforward and doesn’t require a restart. And while it’s not the fastest, it’s relatively quick and performs an update immediately. After the antivirus software is installed you can pretty much sit back and let it do its business.
During the installation you have the option to download the AVG internet toolbar and make Yahoo your default search engine, so if you’re not interested make sure to uncheck the boxes. The AVG browser toolbar is pretty nice though, featuring at-a-glance webpage security status, new mail notifications, a variety of shortcuts and more.
Ease of Use:
AVG Anti-Virus is straightforward to use and simple to navigate. The streamlined user interface hasn’t dramatically changed for a couple of years (which isn’t a bad thing), but has been slightly updated, now including a one-click scan button and one-click fix button. Beginners and expert users will both appreciate the easy-to-use antivirus software with simple yet powerful controls. One thing that is noticeably missing from the scanning screen is a dynamic status bar to let you know how long that scan will take. Luckily most scans will occur in the background so you won’t care.
AVG utilizes optimized scanning to increase performance and overall efficiency. For starters, the antivirus software is designed to only scan files that have been changed, significantly speeding up scans by excluding known, trusted files. AVG Anti-Virus also utilizes smart scanning to optimize your resources. When you are working on your PC, AVG de-prioritizes active scans so they won’t slow you down. When the antivirus software notices that your computer isn’t active, it takes advantage of the opportunity to use the resources while you’re away. Adding even more flexibility, you can manage the resources used dynamically during the scan, using a slider to control the priority of the scan.
Another new feature specifically designed to make the antivirus software easy to use is the AVG desktop gadget. The small widget/gadget docks on your desktop and provides quick access to scan or update and a simple overview of your security status.
AVG Anti-Virus is loaded with features, including new tools that improve security and usability. Continuing from last year is the gamer mode, which allows you to enjoy full-screen games (or movies, presentations, etc.) without interruptions or popup announcements, and still maintain security.
AVG Anti-Virus even includes a PC system optimizer utility. The PC Analyzer scans your system and locates registry errors, junk files, disk errors and broken shortcuts. You can fix these issues, but note that you can only fix errors once for free. Subsequent use requires that you purchase AVG PC TuneUp.
Another great feature that only a few of the best antivirus software vendors have is internet link-scanning. AVG LinkScanner brings a whole new level of security to your online activities, and won't seriously impact your browsing speed. LinkScanner provides small color-coded security icons next to every search result from Google, Yahoo or Bing. These unobtrusive icons are provided in realtime and display an at-a-glance notice to let you know if each website is fine (green), bad (red) or should be approached with caution (orange). If you want more specific information, you can hover over any of the LinkScanner icons for more details.
New this year, AVG Anti-Virus also includes Social Networking Protection, an innovative tool that scans in real time any link shared on Facebook or MySpace.
Keeping your protection up to date with AVG Anti-Virus is no problem. Regular definition updates are checked for automatically and can be set to perform every hour (every 4 hours is the default). AVG’s new cloud antivirus technology also helps maintain to-the-minute protection as new threats are identified and the solution delivered almost immediately.
Help & Support:
The support staff at AVG is anxious to help users with any problems they have with the antivirus software. In-program help is available with a user manual and links to additional resources online. The online support center has the usual FAQs section and knowledgebase. AVG offers email support for specific inquiries, but no phone support. More options and professional assistance with virus removal are available by paying for premium support.
AVG Anti-Virus has a robust set of features and a broad scope of protection, making it one of the best antivirus software applications we reviewed. The 2011 edition brings new features that improve the solution, and it maintains the level of protection and ease of use we’ve come to expect from AVG. We particularly liked the addition of cloud antivirus technology and the progressive web protection from LinkScanner. While not quite the overall best antivirus software, we can definitely recommend AVG Anti-Virus 2011.

5. ESET Nod32 Antivirus 4 

ESET Nod32 Antivirus 4 box shot 
Eset Nod32 Antivirus is a great desktop security solution, complete with effective protection and advanced features. Eset Nod32 is particularly useful for home users looking for a simple “down-to-earth” security software that they can simply install and let the software do the work for them. Eset has proven to be one of the best overall performing antivirus software, and continues the trend with their most recent installment, Eset Nod32 Antivirus 4.
Scope of Protection:
Eset Nod32 Antivirus certainly isn’t as far-reaching as the upgraded Smart Security, but the scope is definitely on par with other leading antivirus competitors. Eset Nod32 is equipped with all the essential technologies and features to keep your PC protected from traditional threats (viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, and even rootkits), but is also fully armed to completely protect you while you’re online. Eset works behind the scenes to deliver protection from dialers, adware, and keyloggers.
Eset Nod32 integrates email protection to scan email (inbound and outbound) for viruses and other malware. The antivirus software also protects users from auto-running external media (like USB jump drives) by scanning files when the external medium is plugged in.
While Eset Nod32 isn’t the most effective, the software is consistently near the top in independent antivirus tests. Eset certainly holds its own with competitors for efficacy and efficiency. In the recent test from Virus Bulletin, Eset performed right on par with most of the competitors for overall reactive and proactive antivirus scanning, and came away without any false positives.
The recent evaluation from AV Comparatives showed some false positives (12), but Eset still scored at the top of the class for overall detection rates (with an impressive 97.2%), and garnered an overall A+ (Advanced Plus), the highest rating from AV Comparatives.
Ease of Installation:
Antivirus from Eset Nod32 is certainly easy to install and implement. The software is ready to run from the get-go. Setting up manual scans and scheduling specific scans is straightforward, or you can simply let Eset work in the background and take care of itself (and your computer) automatically.
Eset Nod32 Antivirus is equipped with the ability to create a bootable disc (or USB drive) in case of emergency. Working with the Microsoft Windows Automated Installation Kit, users will then be able to clean an infected or otherwise unstartable computer.
Ease of Use:
Eset Nod32 Antivirus is one of the easiest antivirus programs to use. The whole program is designed to accommodate beginners, and doesn’t require a lot of tweaking and/or manual maintenance to keep running properly.
The user interface is simple, but completely straightforward. Users will have no problem navigating the program with the simple graphic user interface and logical setup. The default setup is for beginners, and the advanced mode adds some functionality without completely alienating standard home users.
Scheduling, report logging, and adjusting settings are all easy tasks. For the most part, Eset works on its own and doesn’t require much intervention from you the user. You can even set Eset Nod32 to not ask for your input, and automatically take care of most security issues. Furthermore, Eset has implemented some new keyboard shortcuts for easy navigation.
Eset Nod32 Antivirus is engineered for speed, and the software didn’t disappoint. Eset has traditionally been one of the few companies that mastered the most advanced scanning technologies but didn’t take a serious performance hit. Eset Nod32 Antivirus maintains utmost security and advanced protection, but not at the expense of your speed or processing power.
In fact, Eset Nod32 has incorporated a specific mode that can be turned on for laptops to optimize performance. This “energy-sipping battery mode” delivers top-notch protection without draining your laptop battery.
Part of Eset’s strength is found in their comprehensive feature set. Eset Nod32 Antivirus has all the right features (but they haven’t tacked on useless bells and whistles). The features are specifically designed to enhance protection and ease of use.
Current top of the line antivirus software providers like Eset Nod32 have implemented heuristic technology to help catch viruses that are so new traditional signatures haven’t been developed yet. Eset’s refined ThreatSense technology provides proactive protection from malware, protecting you from viruses that would otherwise sneak past solely signature-based solutions.
Eset Nod32 Antivirus is equipped to scan files in real-time, or “on-access” as they are opened or executed. And while this ensures malicious files don’t cause any problems, it doesn’t mean you have to wait around and wait for Eset before opening a file. The real-time scan happens almost instantaneously, and happens in the background, so you won’t even know it’s happening.
Another innovative approach that the best security software companies are using is to take advantage of their large community of users and find strength in numbers. Eset’s ThreatSense network gives users quicker protection by having each (participating) user serve as a “watch guard” for other users. When a virus is detected on one PC, Eset is notified immediately to help get protection out to everyone.
Eset doesn’t rely solely on virus signatures, but it’s still an essential part of the multi-layered security approach. As such, they have regular updates set to run automatically to keep the signature database current. These updates occur in the background for the most part, because they are often enough and small enough.
Help & Support:
Eset stands by their products with additional help and support as needed. The software is complete with a fairly in-depth product manual, and in-program links to additional support resources. Online you can find answers to questions by searching the product-specific knowledgebase, or from the forum. We also liked that the product manual was available online.
Specific questions can be requested by submitting an issue with their online form, which will be responded to over email or the phone.
Overall, Eset Nod32 may not be the most popular antivirus software, but their antivirus software is certainly among the best. Eset Nod32 Antivirus 4 delivers comprehensive antivirus protection, with an impressive track record for speed and effectiveness. There are a few better antivirus solutions out there, but you really can’t go wrong with Eset Nod32; a refreshingly simple approach to antivirus.

4. Norton AntiVirus 2011 

Norton AntiVirus 2011 box shot 
Norton AntiVirus 2011 is a very impressive security solution, offering a complete lineup of robust features and a whole new approach to online security. As one of the best antivirus software available, Norton AntiVirus continues to improve their software, and in turn- improve your security. With continued innovation and effective implementation, the 2011 installment should keep Norton customers happy (and give reason for the disgruntled nay-sayers to reconsider).
Let’s face it, Symantec/Norton has been a huge player in the antivirus market, pioneering the software from the get-go. And with popularity comes extra critics. Norton has suffered with several complaints in years previous about software bloat and overzealous resource usage. But the last few years have turned that complaint completely on end, offering a speedy solution with a focus on efficient resource management. Norton AntiVirus 2011 remains an impressively lean and quick program, while adding some compelling features specifically engineered to catch the most lethal viruses (the ones that aren’t found by traditional security signatures).
Norton AntiVirus 2011 does a great job of balancing system resources, simplicity, and (most importantly) security. The protection level is second to none, and new features continue to set the standard for antivirus software. Norton has managed to use their unique strengths to deliver an excellent antivirus program with a great overall user experience (whether you’re a security pro or you just need software that does the hard work for you). Long story short: Norton AntiVirus 2011 has all the right features (plus some), the software works, works well, and doesn’t require you to seriously sacrifice resources.
Scope of Protection:
The strength of the software comes from the comprehensive coverage provided by several layers. Each component is thorough, and combine to provide protection from all angles. And while last year’s newest features were only available to customers using the most popular web browsers, Norton now supports a large number of browsers (Chrome, Opera, Safari), email clients (Outlook and Outlook Express) IM clients(Yahoo, AOL and MSN Messenger), download managers (FileZilla) and even P2P sharing clients (Bittorrent, Limewire).
Traditional Signature Based Protection is the first line of defense. And while other technologies are being developed to get the viruses that signatures can’t, fingerprinting and signature protection are still essential. Norton’s huge (and growing) database of known malware will keep your computer safe from threats. One of the best parts about AntiVirus 2011 is the continuation of Norton Insight technology. This feature allows Norton to only scan the files that might be at risk, bypassing the trusted files and files that haven’t changed, so the scans don’t waste time and run significantly quicker (not to mention smarter), even getting quicker over time.
SONAR 3 is Norton’s next iteration of the advanced heuristic protection technology. SONAR stands for Symantec Online Network for Advanced Response, and takes a proactive approach to detecting malware by observing file behavior in real-time to monitor malware-like behaviors to stop viruses (that either manage to bypass other methods or are new enough that they haven’t been tagged as malware) before they have the chance to infect your computer.
Traditional signatures and advanced heuristics are great (and Norton does a great job with them), but one thing that really sets Norton apart is their technologies that are attempting to find that last 1% of viruses that are so new or tricky they can’t be caught by other methods. This unique and innovative approach is based on reputation scanning, and the two main features in this endeavor are Download Insight and Reputation Technology.
Norton Reputation Service is the proactive security measure from Symantec. Basically, it involves a special algorithm to analyze files and determines their relative threat based on reputation, based on their source, digital signature, age, and popularity. This innovative technology isn’t a specific tool or feature, it is an overall approach that works in conjunction with several Norton technologies to deliver a more balanced, efficient security solution.

Download Insight is specifically designed to stop new malware before you accidentally/mistakenly download it. Basically, Norton provides you with necessary information on any file (obtained from years of research and anonymous information provided by the Norton Community Watch) immediately when you attempt to download it, so you can make an informed decision. This happens in real-time, so you don’t have to wait. The File Insight gives you access to a good deal of information (number of users, reputation, where it came from), but if you don’t want it you can configure the software to only show you when a risky file is found.
More than just offering you reputation insights when you are about to download something, NAV 2011 now includes a special reputation scan to search all of your current files and give you info on each one. The utility can also help improve awareness by offering insight on how your individual PC and computing habits compare to the network of worldwide users.
The only time a warning popup appears is if you’re attempting to download a file that hasn’t been deemed trustworthy yet. For example, let’s say you go to facebook (but in actuality it is a fake malware trap) and are prompted to install a new codec to view some video. If Download Insight warns you that the download isn’t trusted and may be harmful, you might want to reconsider (after all, what are the chances that you’re the first to try and download this codec?).
Norton AntiVirus is certainly effective at protecting your computer; now more-so than ever. AntiVirus 2011 is equipped to protect your computer from viruses, Trojans, worms, bots, spyware, rootkits, hackers, and other malware threats, whether they’re online or in emails or IM messages. The traditional virus detection method of matching signatures is robust, and constantly updated to protect your computer. Advanced heuristic detection has become the standard in antivirus software, and Norton does a good job of proactively analyzing files and their behavior to stop suspicious malware. But the technology that directly addresses the newest threats is the reputation scanning.
Norton's antivirus software is effective, and professional testing organizations agree. Norton has been recognized as one of the most effective antivirus software available, and with their focus on speed and efficiency, they’re also rated among the fastest. Let’s just say that with the 2011 version you certainly don’t have to choose between efficacy and efficiency; with Norton AntiVirus you get strength, speed, and security.
Ease of Installation:
Norton AntiVirus has been designed to be fast and straightforward, and that starts from the second you download the program. Direct download of the software means that you don’t have to wait for the boxed copy to show up, and can install immediately. The whole installation process is straightforward and quick. In fact, Norton’s installation process actually abandons the traditional Microsoft Windows installer and uses their proprietary technology for an even quicker installation that takes less than a minute.
Ease of Use:
Norton AntiVirus 2011 is completely easy to use, and even easy to understand. The straightforward interface is easy to navigate and makes it simple to get the most out of the program. The whole program is streamlined and intuitive, which makes it easy to navigate the software, even performing some advanced functions without professional know-how or techno gymnastics.
The software is actually quite flexible, and is quite capable of accommodating a variety of users. If you’re looking for a set-and-forget security solution, Norton AntiVirus is a great solution (you can set the software to run automatically and only require user input as a last resort). Of course the software is also robust enough to satisfy the security pros, and provides a wealth of stats and behind-the-scenes information to help experts completely control the software.
The updated interface design features a global threat map with continuously updated locations of detected threats (where they were found, NOT where they originated) and localized information on current security news. There is also a dock at the bottom of the main dashboard where you can access and manage additional Norton web services like Online Family, online backup or Safe Web.
Continued from last year, the System Insight feature allows you to “look under the hood” of the UI to see the performance from the back end. This tool lets you monitor not just Norton’s impact, but your entire computer performance. You can see when you (or more likely the software) ran scans, found security threats, or downloaded/installed programs. The graphs are informative in and of themselves, but you can also scroll over and/or click specific events and view additional details and information.
But you will also see detailed graphs and information that can help you see which programs are slowing down your PC the most. In fact, if an application is causing some serious slowdown, you can see an alert letting you know what’s happening and which program is the culprit.
Furthermore, you can optimize the system to increase speed and overall performance (memory, applications, startup time) with a single-click optimization button. Or you can let the software optimize your PC automatically when the computer is idle (like the auto scans).
The 2011 edition of Norton AntiVirus is feature-filled, but not at the expense of sacrificing speed and performance. Each feature works towards the ultimate goal of complete PC protection.
One great feature is the additional vulnerability protection that Norton provides. Since so many security threats infiltrate through specific “holes” in applications, browsers or the OS, Norton proactively helps you stay on top of the most recent patches and security updates.
Another really nice feature is the “Silent” gamer mode. When you’re in full screen mode (for a game, movie, or presentation), the last things you want are annoying popups or other programs to hog your PC resources. If you use the Silent Mode, you don’t have to worry about either. Furthermore, Norton AntiVirus is setup with a Smart Scheduler to automatically delay routine scans to only perform when your PC is idle (and you can adjust how long of idling is really “idle”).
If you’ve ever had a completely crashed computer, you know how important it is to have a bootable recovery disc available. Norton 2011 comes with a bootable recovery tool to create an emergency disc (CD or USB drive) to effectively boot and fix a crashed PC.
One new tool is the Norton Power Eraser. This tool is specifically designed to locate and remove fake AV programs that are notorious for being hard to remove. Even better, this tool is available for free to anyone, not just paying Norton users.
Another free tool that anyone can take advantage of is Norton Safe Web for Facebook. Tons of users are already enjoying the security from Safe Web while using search engines, and now that protection is available for Facebook. The free tool scans your wall and flags every link as secure or dangerous, so you don’t have to worry about clicking on that virus hidden under the guise of “a video your friend posted of you.”
Norton updates are quick and easy (and don’t require you to do anything). Updates are delivered every 5 to 15 minutes. These Pulse Updates have two distinct advantages: they’re often enough that you’re always up to date with the most current patches, and they’re small enough that they deliver quickly and seamlessly, without any noticeable slowdown (or annoying announcement) for the user.
Of course you can also run a manual LiveUpdate at any time.
Help & Support:
Norton products from Symantec have a number of outlets for getting additional help or product support, and Antivirus 2011 is especially loaded with resources since it’s one of their flagship consumer-level products. In-product help includes a thorough user’s manual, quick access to online help, and an innovative integrated auto-fix feature (self diagnoses and fixes common problems).
Online, you can find support in the forms of FAQs, tutorials, product comparisons, and a professional support center. You can get personalized help with problems running the software, or even assistance with viruses and malware removal. Help is available (and free) over the phone, email, or online live chat.
There is also an active community of Norton users, and a variety of forums, blogs and additional resources that are available to get help or just more information on a number of security topics.
Overall, Norton AntiVirus 2011 is one of the best antivirus software for any user. More than just popularity, Norton delivers solid performance and protection. Norton AV 2011 has all the right features, innovative technology, and it’s easy to use. The software is easy on resources, and specifically engineered for optimal protection.
Whether you’re looking for one of the most powerful antivirus software, or simply need an easy to use security solution, Norton AntiVirus 2011 is a great way to go. We were very impressed with the overall performance and exciting new features.

3. Webroot AntiVirus 2011

 Webroot AntiVirus with Spy Sweeper is the perfect virus/spyware combo. The software is easy to use, and features effective protection and performance. AntiVirus with Spy Sweeper combines all the right components to deliver one of the best antivirus software programs available. With just a few features missing (battery saving mode and a rescue CD), Webroot AntiVirus is among the best security software, and our TopTenREVIEWS Bronze Award winning 2011 antivirus software.
The only thing keeping this software out of the top slots is the lack of a few features like a battery saving mode and rescue CD.
Even everyday computer users need advanced protection from the prevalent computer threats. From viruses to rootkits, to malicious hacking tools and vulnerability exploits; a multi-layered approach is almost essential for everyday protection. Webroot’s antivirus/antispyware software has all the right features and more. The new 2011 version features all the power of previous versions with an updated interface and new optimized scanning.
Scope of Protection:
Webroot AntiVirus with Spy Sweeper is a very comprehensive desktop antivirus package. The software protects from threats from several sources, and the several layers of protection keep your computer safe. Webroot protects PCs from viruses in all forms, as well as worms, Trojans, malware, and rootkits.

Webroot monitors and detects all sorts of malicious files and just plain unwanted programs like adware, dialers, cookies, and keyloggers. The integrated Spy Sweeper is an amazing standalone anti-spyware software that in itself protects from a variety of computer threats.

The software is completely armed to not only detect, but effectively remove malicious files, even ending running processes and removing associated registry entries. Webroot’s defensive technologies help keep your information protected from hackers and identity thieves.

But more than just being on the defense, Webroot AntiVirus with Spy Sweeper also features proactive technology to find malware before it even has the chance to hit your computer. With today’s newest threats being designed to bypass traditional signature-based scanning, advanced protection is so important. Webroot’s “zero-hour” protection analyzes files for malicious behavior and other incriminating behavior, and blocks files that might prove to be a virus in disguise.
Webroot AntiVirus with Spy Sweeper revolves around 13 protective “shields” that cover your network, web browsing, Windows, startup programs, email and more.

The web browser shields keep you safe online, blocking from Internet Explorer hijacks, exploits, tracking cookies and even unwanted browser “helper” objects. The email shield works for both emails you receive (Pop3 port 110) and messages you send (SMTP port 25), so you won’t accidentally forward along a threat to your friends, family, or coworkers.

Webroot AntiVirus with Spy Sweeper is comprised of two powerful components (antivirus and antispyware, obviously). The desktop antivirus component is powered by business security experts Sophos. The antispyware element is managed by Webroot’s own Spy Sweeper.
The antivirus protection is certainly up to par, earning several recent Virus Bulletin VB 100% awards. These certify that the antivirus engine is completely capable of protecting from 100% of known in-the-wild viruses.
The software is also ICSA approved, and certified from the West Coast Labs as an effective solution for desktop antivirus, anti-trojan, anti-malware, and antispyware.
The antispyware software included is second to none. Webroot Spy Sweeper provides an impressively high level of protection from spyware and other identity-compromising malware. Combined with antivirus protection from Sophos, Webroot AntiVirus with Spy Sweeper is certainly effective.
Ease of Installation:
Webroot AntVirus with Spy Sweeper is easy to install and implement. It doesn’t require a restart after installation, but definitely recommends a full scan immediately after you install.
The installation process introduces the WARN (Webroot Automated Research Network), the proactive network approach that (if you give permission), allows Webroot to gather anonymous information that helps them keep on top of new threats.
Ease of Use:
Webroot AntiVirus with Spy Sweeper features an intuitive interface and simple tools to accommodate any user level. The new 2011 interface is definitely more modern with updated graphics and icons, and organized with tabs for simple navigation and quick access to all the major components of the software.
The best part about the software is that it is designed to run smoothly without much supervision. Scans and updates occur automatically in the background. Of course you can also always run a manual scan or schedule a specific scan. Viruses and other malware that are found are immediately moved to the secure quarantine, where you can decide what to do with them.

As is customary with antivirus software, Webroot utilizes the classic “stop-light” color-coded theme. If the interface and at-a-glance status icon are green, everything is secure. When a threat is detected the icon may change to a yellow color, or red for an issue that is more critical. However serious the issue may be, the software provides a quick way to solve it and carry on.
Scans are no longer separated between quick sweeps and full scans. Instead, scans are optimized to check what they need to and run at more appropriate times. The software is equipped to scan all drives, including external media, as well as the Windows registry, compressed archive files and executable applications. You can also easily scan a single file from anywhere on your computer by simply right clicking on it and sending it the software to check for viruses.
Webroot AntiVirus with Spy Sweeper has several integrated features that add security benefits as well as convenience. Probably the best feature is the full inclusion of Webroot’s Spy Sweeper. This component takes care of the annoying (and often dangerous) adware, pop-up and rootkits. But more than just locating and removing the threats, Spy Sweeper helps spread awareness by letting you know what the dangers are so you can make an informed decision.
Another nice feature is the gamer mode. You can turn this feature on with the click of a button, and it will let you enjoy full-screen computer games, videos, presentations and more without annoying interruptions from the software. And while this mode isn’t as secure as having the full system enabled, you don’t have to worry about forgetting to toggle back to full protection because the software will do it by default after 4 hours.
Keeping your security up-to-date is easy with Webroot. The software is setup to automatically check for updates regularly (every hour if you want) and even initiates updates delivered immediately to your system if needs be, with Webroot’s VersionGuard technology.
And even better than constant updates, Webroot AntiVirus with Spy Sweeper includes real-time proactive protection, analyzing files and keeping an eye out for malicious behaviors that “tip-off” the software that the file is a virus. The software is armed with proactive technology that stops new threats even if they haven’t been identified as such. File behavior is monitored to make sure stealth viruses don’t slip past.
Help & Support:
Webroot’s antivirus software is very easy to use, but you can also get extra help if needed. In-program help is available, as well as additional resources online. Free phone support is available on weekdays, and they now have online live chat, or you can send a request via email at any time. The online support center also has product-specific user guides and a FAQs section. There are also helpful videos for product installation and getting familiar with the application and features.
Premium support is also available for security optimization, virus removal, and even PC tune-ups, but cost extra (prices vary per type of assistance).
Combining a good antivirus scanning engine (from Sophos) and the best antispyware protection available, Webroot AntiVirus with Spy Sweeper is a great security solution. The software combines all the essential features and includes added value with beneficial tools and simple usability. Overall, Webroot AntiVirus with Spy Sweeper is one of the best antivirus programs, and a valuable security solution.

2. Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2011 

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2011 box shot 
Kaspersky Labs continues to gain popularity in the security software industry, and it’s easy to see why. Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2011 continues the legacy of providing rock-solid security without sacrificing performance, making it one of the best antivirus software solutions available. Kaspersky Anti-Virus earns the TopTenREVIEWS Silver Award for providing excellent security in an antivirus application that is both professional and easy to use.
Kaspersky Anti-Virus is a comprehensive program, protecting users from a number of threats including bots, worms, Trojans, rootkits, spyware, viruses and other malware. More than just traditional virus scanning, the software includes advanced technologies implemented to detect and prevent new threats.
Some of the new features for 2011 include the new Desktop Security Gadget, System Watcher technology, and additional improvements throughout the software.
Scope of Protection:
As far as desktop antivirus software, Kaspersky Anti-Virus is as all-encompassing as they come. The software is designed to protect users from several angles, effectively detecting, preventing and removing all forms of malware. The antivirus software is equipped to protect users from traditional viruses, but also has advanced technology to protect from even new unknown threats. Furthermore, there are a couple of tools and web-specific features that Kaspersky includes that are normally only found in more comprehensive Internet Security Suites.
Kaspersky is known for their quick response to new viruses, and they’re often among the first to detect new viruses in the wild. One reason the software is so effective is because it is updated regularly and is proactively looking for new security threats. The malware landscape continues to change, and Kaspersky adjusts to address the threats.
One new feature worth noting is the System Watcher, which monitors and logs application activity and behavior. If something suspicious is detected, the software stops the process and informs the user. But more than just uncovering stealth threats, System Watcher can rollback your system and actually delete any malware that was created or spread in the process.
The software works in real-time, protecting you as you surf the web, download files, send and receive emails, and access files and documents. Third party testers and security organizations collectively approve and recommend the software as well. Kaspersky has received top marks in recent VB100 (Virus Bulletin 100%) tests, and certification from ICSA. AV Comparatives has awarded the software with an A+, and West Coast Labs has verified the software for anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-Trojan, and anti-malware. Overall, this software is one of the most effective available, and has the experience and accolades to prove it.
Ease of Installation:
The software is available as a box copy, or you can download the software online and install immediately. The product includes three licenses, and the software works on laptops and netbooks as well. Installation is quick and straightforward, and doesn’t require a restart.
But what if your system is already infected to the extent that you can’t install antivirus software, or even start the computer? If you aren’t able to download the software because of malware, you have the option to download a specialized tool used to preemptively scan your PC and remove the threat to accommodate a clean install.
If your computer is dead, you’ll need the Backup and Rescue Disk, which you can either purchase or create yourself (so remember to do it before your computer dies). This bootable recovery disk can rescue your computer by booting prior to the OS to detect and remove malware, and is a great tool for emergencies.
Ease of Use:
This antivirus software is designed to be simple to use. The software has traditionally been geared towards expert users, but we’ve seen a definite shift to a consumer-level approach in the last few years. The advanced tools are still there (and still plenty strong), but beginners won’t be intimidated. Whether you’re an advanced user looking for intensive controls, or a laid-back user who simply needs protection without constant supervision, Kaspersky will work for you.

The interface is effectively organized and user-friendly. The interface features a color-coded graphic so you always know your security status (the traffic-light color-coded security status is actually bold enough that “at-a-glance" is an understatement; more like “can’t miss it”).
The dashboard is similar to last years’ interface, with left nav tabs and quick access to the quarantine, reports and settings. Accompanying icons and the graphical user interface add accessibility, and are applicable and appealing.
One of the best parts of this security program is that you can set your preferences and let it protect you without constantly monitoring it. Scans and updates are set by to occur automatically by default, and the software includes real-time security as you surf the web, download and open files, or communicate with email or IM. In the event of an infection or potential threat, the software immediately lets you know and provides quick access to identify and fix the problem so you can move on.
Of course even though the software is easy to use, it is also very customizable. Users can control just about every component of the software to schedule scans, adjust security levels, toggle specific features and even change the appearance of the software. There are several improved features and a couple new ones, all included with the intent to provide better security and overall performance.
Introduced last year, the Kaspersky URL Advisor continues to protect users while online. The browser plug-in is available for IE and Firefox, and stops you from navigating to infected websites. You’ll also be protected from phishing scams.
The software also still utilizes the proprietary iChecker and iSwift scanning technologies to keep you protected without hogging your resources. iChecker makes it possible for the software to identify files that have been opened or changed since the last scan, and only scan them, effectively speeding up scans. iSwift keeps an eye on resource usage and can throttle the resource demand as needed to optimize performance to run faster if the system is idle (or slower if you need the PC resources for other programs).

Some other continued features are the virtual keyboard and gamer mode. While the efficacy is debatable, the virtual terminal lets you input sensitive information (credit card numbers, passwords or other personal information) by clicking on the digital “keyboard” with your mouse. While it’s no way to type an essay, the virtual keyboard does avoid key loggers and keystroke recognition malware attempts to steal your information. The game mode makes it possible to enjoy full-screen video games (or movies) without interruptions.
One new feature that we’d like to highlight is the desktop security gadget. The sleek gadget docks on your desktop and provides better access and awareness to your system security at all times. The antivirus widget will change color if your security is at risk, and includes quick links to the most important aspects of the software. You can even drag and drop files directly to the gadget for an immediate manual scan. The buttons and even the appearance of the gadget can be changed (and if you don’t like it you can always disable it).
Frequent updates are essential for effective antivirus and antispyware protection, so Kaspersky Anti-Virus updates on a regular basis for continual security. Updates run in the background automatically, and are frequent enough that they aren’t very big, so you shouldn’t notice any slowdown.
The software isn’t just equipped to keep itself up to date, but can also help you identify and locate essential updates for your system and other applications. The vulnerability scan checks for outdated drivers and can keep you on top of crucial security updates. The tool also identifies settings (like if your computer is set to autorun external media) that you might want to adjust for optimal security.
Help & Support:
Kaspersky offers some great support for all of their product. Technical support comes in the form of a searchable online knowledgebase, FAQs, product manuals and an active form. You can easily access these resources online or from the program itself.
The software also includes context-sensitive helps. Not only are the included help files complete, but they open to information that corresponds with where you are in the software. For more personalized issues you can connect with a support team member over the phone or via online live chat.
Overall, Kaspersky Anti-virus 2011 continued to deliver superb protection and security. As one of the best antivirus software, it is robust and integrates innovative technologies to defend from even the newest threats. It’s a great option for protection and PC peace of mind.

1. BitDefender Antivirus Pro 2011 

BitDefender Antivirus Pro 2011 box shot 
If you’re looking for a security solution that is comprehensive yet comprehendible, BitDefender Antivirus Pro is the way to go. Offering rock-solid security, simple usability, effective resource usage and an enticing pricepoint, BitDefender Antivirus Pro 2011 is the best antivirus software on the market, and our 2011 TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award winner. The newest installment takes their established expertise to the next level with new features and advanced technology. More than just keeping your computer safe from threats, the antivirus software also helps to optimize your PC. Overall, it’s a top antivirus solution that offers superior protection, performance, and price.
Traditional viruses are showing no sign of slowing down, and new online threats continue to emerge and target different vulnerabilities. Luckily, this antivirus software continues to grow their arsenal to meet (and beat) the threats, whether they be viruses, worms, Trojans, or any other type of malware.
One of the best aspects of this software is that it is so flexible. Whether you’re an advanced user looking to control the whole process manually, or an average user who simply wants a set-and-forget solution, this software can match your workflow. Advanced users will love how robust the features are and the customization and overall control. Basic users will appreciate the fact that they can set up their preferences quickly and simply let the software protect them with little intervention.
In short, this security software provides protection and peace of mind, without upsetting your PC performance or paycheck.
Scope of Protection:
BitDefender Antivirus Pro protects you and your PC from a number of online threats, including viruses, spyware, phishing scams, and more. The software basically covers you from every angle, protecting you from threats on the internet, email, and even instant messaging. The program scans all web, IM, and email traffic for malware. The software is even equipped to encrypt your IM chat conversations.
One of the new features that further improves the scope of protection is the Search Advisor. This tool is built-in to the internet browser and provides protection while surfing online (similar to Norton Safe Web or McAfee SiteAdvisor) . It used to be that if you only clicked on the top links from a search engine result, you were pretty safe. With SEO-poisoning and targeted attacks (particularly on popular search terms), even the top results in Google can be dangerous. Enter Search Advisor. The tool provides at-a-glance icons next to each search result to let you know it’s safe before you click. Simply hover over the icon for more information. The little green checkmarks provide peace of mind, and don’t interfere with your internet speed or online experience. Most users will get used to them almost instantly.

Another feature designed with protection and performance in mind is the Active Virus Control. This feature was introduced last year and is specifically designed to detect and demolish stealth threats. The software has been using advanced heuristic detection for a while now, but new malware have taken steps to avoid being analyzed by these technologies. Active Virus Control uses proactive measures to continually monitor all application activity, keeping an eye on file behaviors that look suspicious. One minor discrepancy won’t stop the file in question (thus avoiding false-positives), but if enough malware-like actions are detected, BitDefender Active Virus Control will lock it down.
We Found the antivirus software to be extremely effective, successfully blocking, removing, neutralizing and (better yet) preventing malware infections. Third-party industry testers and reviewers (Virus Bulletin VB 100% Certification, ICSA Labs, Consumer Reports, West Coast Labs, AV-Comparatives) agree that BitDefender is one of the best on our comprehensive list of the top ten antivirus applications, and continue to award the company with certifications, approval and recommendation.

Another benefit of the software is that you can ensure security without sacrificing speed. The improved Smart Scan technology takes advantage of your PC processing power without being a burden. Depending on what other tasks you have running and what resources are available, BitDefender Antivirus Pro can adjust accordingly to optimize operations and maintain maximum speed.
Ease of Installation:
The software is available as boxed software or via online download, and both are easy to install and implement. Installation is actually very quick, and includes step-by-step instructions for initial setup. The process includes a pre-installation scan, and doesn’t require a reboot before you’re up and running.
Ease of Use:
One thing you’ll be prompted to choose during setup is which user profile you prefer (don’t worry, you can always change it later). The personal profiles and associated interfaces were introduced in last year’s version, and they’ve made them even better. They’re specifically designed to meet your level of experience and desired level of interaction. The basic interface focuses just on the essentials, and is ideal for anyone who just needs the software to work without constant supervision.

The intermediate and expert interfaces bring more advanced features to the forefront, allowing users to adjust security levels or tweak as needed. Though to be quite honest, even the expert user profile wouldn’t be confusing for most users, it just makes advanced features more accessible.
The antivirus software as a whole is well-designed and effectively organized. The new Windows 7-esque interface is sleek (aesthetic even), and features useful graphics and sensible tool-tips throughout the software. The dashboard varies for each user profile, but makes it easy to get in and do what you need, whether that is running a manual scan or update, scheduling a scan, customizing alerts, managing quarantined files, setting up a proxy connection or tweaking settings.
The best aspect of the software is its unmatched level of security, but there are also several features that back up the end goal of security while adding better performance, optimization, flexibility and general ease of use. The 2011 edition of our best antivirus software includes all the capabilities from the already powerful previous version, including the ability to configure (and actually use) a home network.

One special tool that is worth mentioning is the secure gamer mode. Whether you’re playing a video game or in full-screen mode for a presentation or video, the gamer mode turns off any interruptions, but doesn’t sacrifice security. You can even setup a list of your games or other applications that will require gamer mode for a completely automatic solution.
Another specialty mode available is the laptop mode. This feature can also be setup to run automatically, and will take special care to save resources when your laptop is unplugged.
While the proactive heuristic detection and real-time prevention technology fight off new threats, timely virus definition updates are still an essential part of any antivirus software. BitDefender is set to perform updates automatically, and run in the background without slowing down your computer. You don’t have to manually update (though you can if you want), and more importantly, you don’t have to worry about updates slowing down your system.
Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about updates causing problems or losing program files. If file damage does occur (rare), BitDefender is setup to automatically repair itself with the newest working update.
Help & Support:
The top antivirus application is designed to be easy to use, and is fairly intuitive. But for those times when you need additional assistance or support with a specific problem, help is always close at hand. Live help is available 24/7 via phone, email or online live chat.

The software has helpful (but non-obtrusive) tips and directions scattered throughout the program, but the 2011 version also includes a specific in-product help application. The dedicated help section includes articles, a knowledgebase, help files, troubleshooting and a variety of video tutorials. Best of all, the integrated help is completely searchable, helping you locate relevant answers and information.
We’ve been impressed with BitDefender Antivirus for years, and they continue to innovate and improve year after year to maintain their status as the best antivirus software on our list of top ten antivirus programs. The software is well-balanced and provides all the essential security without some of the gimmicky features we’ve seen elsewhere. This year’s installment maintains security and speed while adding some new valuable features, including the improved Smart Scan and new Search Advisor.

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1 comment:

  1. I have used Kaspersky protection for many years, I recommend this product to you all.