Dodge Retort: No one PC security program best at doing it all


By John Dodge

PC Pitstop has published the results of a pretty interesting PC security survey and found the two least effective anti-virus programs are the ones many of us use – McAfee and Symantec Norton. I use McAfee and as far as I know, there’s nothing sinister on my PCs.

That’s not to say McAfee and Symantec Norton don’t have their strengths: Symantec was tops in Spyware protection and McAfee was second. The most prevalent threat is spyware. But the pair didn’t distinguish themselves like Kaspersky, which ranked first in protection against viruses and rogue security software.

In other words, no one program does it all. Here’s Pitstop’s conclusion:

“No one security provider is good at protecting against all aspects of security. As the analysis suggests, each vendor has some strengths and some weaknesses.”

A whopping 23 percent of the 50,258 PCs that Pitstop analyzed had no security protection at all and 14 percent had some sort of ”high level security threat.”

I’ve always found it annoying that I have to pay close attention to viruses and spyware that are so prevalent in the Microsoft Windows world when Macintosh users get off scot free. But the delta between Macs and PCs remains so great that I’ve stuck with the later (I am typing this post on a very good HP Pavilion dv4 that I bought for $290).

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6 thoughts on “Dodge Retort: No one PC security program best at doing it all”

  1. Let’s not forget that any security system is a virtual waste of time and money if tech support is not there to help you with problems. When reading this article or any of this nature I instantly recall to mind the execrable experience I had in 2003 with Kaspersky, that Russian company who boasts about all the awards they have won for their anti-virus products and that by paying $100 US every year you are supporting them in keeping it that way. With that you get the promise of top notch 24 hour tech support via email or phone.

    What they don’t tell you is they are all morons. If your problem extends beyond how to turn the machine on, forget it. They run you around in circles asking you to repeat things (they insist you create a thread but never read it) and repeating items they have already given that you have told them do not work. No matter how many times I wasted rewriting in the simplest form they pulled this insanity. I even contacted them via phone — guess what? It’s the same idiots who answer the email and they insist you send them your problem via email!

    Even though the U.K. support is better, they are limited in their knowledge often having to contact the Russian support and getting the same service you get. When they cannot get the answer then they leave it up to you to contact Russia personally. I sent missives electronically and via postal system to a dozen people in their organization including the creator of the product Eugene Kaspersky and his CEO wife — ALL were ignored.

    After six months I asked for a refund. Got the run around there too so was stuck with it and never used them again. I then put my trust in CA, ZoneAlarm and Iolo but over the years their tech support has become what the aforementioned’s has. They also design it so you don’t bother them. Pages that promise contact information but don’t or lead you through more until you finally find it. ZA limits you to the telephone between YOUR working hours or time consuming instant chat and the knowledge received from either company is on par with a rodent’s. I sent letters of complaint to ALL, their president’s too in the hopes they would try to win me back; no surprise I was ignored. Obviously they make so much money they can afford to lose customers. Piraters take note: you’ll never go out of business and they DON’T care, despite what they claim: and I told the companies that!

    How can you then trust that the product does what it is supposed to do or that they provide you with the updates they promise? After this horror I don’t despite independent tests from magazine or website reviewers which convinced me to purchase in the first place. Who can trust them? They have ad revenue to consider.

  2. I think you should include in your test/investigation the COMODO Internet Security (google it), and then BOOM you got the best free protection thats better than expensive one. I have been using it since last year and I haven had a single virus yet. It has so many options and protections that I don’t think you will need anything else. Good luck with your COMODO test.


  3. Unfortunately, the industry constantly pushes the concept to use only 1 form of protection. I assume they do this for marketing purposes, to imply that their solution is the best and all you’ll ever need. That myth is responsible for as much malware on people’s computers as anything else.

    While its true that as PC should only have a single AV solution installed (they all run active protection and which can interfere/conflict with each other), its far from the truth with anti-spyware solutions. Again, the active protection on only 1 AV + 1 antispyware solution should be running at once, but a person can have as many antispyware solutions as they want downloading updates and scanning their systems, as long as the active protection is disabled on all but 1 program. 🙂

  4. If you don’t mind the extra work Linux is safer than Mac and will run on your $293 computer. I personally use windows most of the time but I have Ubunbtu running in a virtual machine. I’ll soon convert my netbook to Suse Linux and if that works, I’ll close the Windows and switch over permanently to the Penguin.

  5. Ah, my friend you are too logical and sane. Yes, segregating OS, subsystem, middleware, applications, etc storage and executable code by Protect Key would work nicely….BUT with these kiddie-toy computers we are forced to work with, any/all software executed must be able to run in any/all Protect Keys made available, just in order to function. The results wouldn’t allow anything to execute properly. No “0C4’s” in this environment. However, it would be interesting to see the fallout from implementing a structured Storage and Instruction level Protection Key to see what the fallout would be….Probably like turning off all cookies…damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Go subpool 254.

  6. I’ve worked with computers since 1972. Microsoft created a standalone operating system in DOS, Win 31, Win 95 without ANY provisions to protect itself. The web just hooked all these poorly protected machines together and that is the current status.
    I know of a number of solutions at the operating system level that would ELIMINATE viruses, spyware, keyloggers completely if Microsoft and Intel/AMD/??? got together to architect hardware protection for the operating system. One such solution is putting the operating system into protected storage (storage key) and/or run the operating kernel at a unique interrupt level. Bottom line: The major players COULD fix this problem if they wanted to. Somehow they don’t seem to want it…

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