Posts Tagged ‘Virus’
Viruses, Worms and Trojans
This week I found out that running Virus protection on everything Microsoft seems to be essential. My main system was rebuilt a few months ago and I decided that I’d not install AV right away or any kind of protection. I found out this past week that it’s not a wise move. While I wasn’t infected with a virus or worm (typically choosing to open a document from an unknown source) I did find I had a trojan that was wreaking havoc on gaming. I typically have issues with Unreal Tournament 3 and crashes since they can’t seem to fix the OpenAL issue that plagues the game on SoundBlaster X-Fi cards or it bounces back and forth between them and Creative. Regardless I started having frequent crashes in Call of Duty 4 which has never happened. I did some reading and found that people were reporting issues and the answer was a trojan.
I initially thought that I hadn’t done anything to warrant the concern but downloaded and installed a few spyware apps and Spywarefigher found an executable residing in my Program Files that looked like an MS patch that it reported as a trojan as well as a few tracking cookies. I did the clean up and viola the crashes went away. While it wasn’t a hard lesson learned, it was a lesson learned that running Virus protection is vital for the integrety of even gaming.
Thought I’d post that even if you think you’re privy to something like this, you may want to think again. I’m still not sure what I did that allowed this to happen but I went ahead and installed AV even with the hit it takes on resources.
Norton 360 v2 and Yearly Subscription Scams
Norton 360 v2 … same as the old …
I received an e-mail that Norton 360 v2 was available since I had bought the first one last year and long ago stopped using it. So many had taunted how it uses less memory, etc. etc. etc. but I found it wasn’t the case (they just distributed across more process from what I could tell) and they removed any kind of usefulness that SystemWorks had in the past. I posted this sometime last year but a quick overview… They made defrag a click and run program with no customization for files, the backup tool requires you to have 360 installed to restore it, meaning if you want to use it to sync multiple PC files, you need to make sure that 360 is installed and they took away countless other customizable features.
So we come up to 2008 and there’s a new version. I figured it wouldn’t be much better but gave it a shot on a fresh system. I added a few essential apps to get back up and running and then installed 360 v2. This install lasted 2 weeks. The first issue I started seeing is a ccvhost.exe (recalling from memory) crash on almost every shutdown which was associated to 360. Not soon after this I started seeing applications not exit memory. I started to notice the system would start to slow way down after being up and running, slow start-ups and shutdowns (with the above error). I found that if I ran something like Word, exited normally it would stay in memory and using a nice size footprint depending on what I was doing. Same thing with Excel, Nero, PS, Flash and other higher memory demanding apps. Small apps like ccleaner exited fine. After seeing this and associating it to the shutdown error, I un-installed and re-installed 360 with their cleaning utility. I didn’t initially see any issues but low and behold it started again. I did find some information while looking for a Symantec cleaner that this apparently happened on the previous version as well and re-installing fixed it, which is the only reason it got a second chance. So I’m officially done with this product and probably any other home based Symantec apps. They made no improvements to allow customization and apparently have some major bugs.
AVG works fine and I really don’t think the corporate edition of SAV is that bad even though it takes up a bit more memory and if your company can provide it to you. One of the things that somewhat tied me to it before was also having the Anti-Spam as a free add-on which I think is still a decent product (not sure if they updated it for the 2008 version since I didn’t install the add-on pack) but I found SpamFighter as a free replacement. I haven’t had a need for the whitelist/blacklist feature so I’m not that interested in buying it. I probably will at some point as support for the product but it works great without purchasing it. So if you’re looking for a good Anti-Spam and not interested in a $50/year (unneeded) Internet Suite, check out SpamFighter!
The Yearly Subscription Fee Scams:
I want to get a page up of free software soon that covers how you can save cash by using some basic tools that do a good job without dropping yearly subscriptions. I have no issues with buying software but this “yearly full priced subscription” scam these companies are running is worthless. Looking around, I could hardly find anything that was really a spam tool on it’s own. All of them are “Internet Suites” and charge a premium YEARLY for these additional unneeded apps to eat memory. My Windows firewall and a decent router covers me on about everything but AV and Spam. Hell, I’d have no problem with some of these products if I paid $50 for the package and chose to keep that version and paid $10/year for the definition updates. If it works, I could care less about a new version every year. All they’re really doing is repackaging essentially the same product with fixes, changes to the interface and shovel it out the door to consumers as a new version and charge a full price. Some of them aren’t even new versions, just a way to charge a premium yearly. I only hope that these free utilities can get enough steam to start making companies like Symantec rethink their strategy.
Symantec has some serious issues with e-mails. I had attempted the download link several times from the Yahoo offer and never got an e-mail (that is until today). So weeks later they decided to send me the details of the offer, even after sending an e-mail to support as well that was never responded to.
I was able to get the software from another link to do the trial that I’ve posted about.
After the trial was over, I decided to go ahead and purchase it for the $49.99. If you’re interested in it, do a few searches and you should find a 10% off that apparently applies to already discounted software.
So now after using it even more and purchasing it, I’m not happy with it. It’s a nice package and would work great if I installed it on my mom’s PC or someone who doesn’t mind giving up all control of how it works. Yes, there’s settings you can change at an “overview” or “high level” but no detailed changes. I loved the old defrag program that allowed me to keep highly used items, such as specific games, at the front of the drive. Won’t find that here.
I also found that certain files that it may detect as viruses that are false have no options to set them as exclude. It moved a file, I found where to restore/undo it and it immediately quarantined it again. There’s a nice option for “exclude” but it won’t allow me to do that. You also can’t get any details on the file when you view the virus it reported. If you click on the virus it has a message about “restricted access” and needing rights to view the file.
So if you want something that monitors your system so you can brainlessly stay safe, it’s a nice program and there’s nothing wrong with that… exactly the type of protection most users need. However if you’re a techie type it’s not for you. It’s too bad because it really is nice on resources but Symantec thinks everyone needs their hand held and doesn’t seem to care if you want more detailed or higher level interaction.
Day 6 With Norton 360
OK, I’ve not posted much on this but it seems to work well other than the annoying freakin’ messages that you’ve not bought it. Give me 15 days to try it, on day 12 start telling me ONCE per day. Instead it tells you multiple times per day that you’ve not purchased it… Wow, I didn’t???? Stop telling me that it’s not purchased, i know it. When I’m ready, I’ll buy it and until then, leave me the hell alone!
It seems to be doing OK but the training on the mail is poor…seemed that the older version caught a lot more spam than this thing does. Even something coming in that says [SPAM] in the subject it still allows it through.
Also the backup piece works fine unless you have your mail prog open and it errors out saying that all files were not copied, so you have to make sure you have mail (Outlook/Outlook Express) closed.
That’s all for today on Norton 360 for day 6 (I think it’s day 6…hehe)
Day 1 With Norton 360
So I have read great things about Norton 360 and thought I’d give it a try, so I downloaded it and giving the 15 day trial a run. So far it’s hit and miss for a tweak junkie. There are no install options, it just installs, I remember the previous version of Norton System Works kind of “hid” the options on install and if you clicked too quickly you got it all. This time, as far as I can tell, there is no hidden “options” and when you do a change in “Add/Remove” it asks to completely uninstall. I hate this because I don’t necessarily like all of it installed or at least I want to see what is being installed.
The nice thing is on reboot, the ccSvcHst.exe was running at around 20kb, a big improvement over previous Symantec products, even Corporate AV which was at 77kb. This was at least some great news.
I began the configuration. I first began with the backup/restore using default options, chose a network drive and it failed. Apparently the Norton Firewall disabled all access to my network drives. I disabled the firewall to test out the backup. Ran the default settings and it didn’t grab anything in “My Documents”. I have all my data on a separate drive so that if I rebuild, I lose nothing that I would cry about. So changing the location of your “My Documents” doesn’t seem to matter to the Backup/Restore program and it ignores the location. I added folders manually but I’d assume that it would at least grab your special folders such as “My Documents”, “My Images” but no such luck on either.
Configuration is a bit confusing to change options and I loved how defrag worked but not sure how to update settings. Again, this is day one. As I play with 360 more over the trial period I’ll update my findings. This is a blog entry so it’s posting discoveries as I go for the program.
Additionally if you want to add Anti-Spam (actually one of my favorite Norton products in the past), you have to download an Add-On pack that contains Anti-Spam and Parental Controls. But it worked like a charm once it was downloaded and installed. It’s also a pain in the ass to find it on the site but when I do find it again, I’ll throw it in my next entry.
We’ll see how this journey continues. 😉
Also, if you are looking to buy Norton 360, I found a Yahoo promotion here for $49 and it expires on 6/14. Good deal considering it’s $69 everywhere else and will apparently go up to $79 for all promotions soon. This also protects 3 machines for one year. Not tried the multiple PCs yet but I believe you need to download it directly to that PC for it to be protected based on some reviews at Amazon.
If you’re looking for a box version, Amazon does have it for $56 and some change.