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Information Security - Information Security Center - Information Security

Can you afford to lose your information?

How Much Network Security Is Enough?
Firewalls Ready for Evolutionary Shift

McAfee Warns on Holiday Shopping Scams

Norton Smartphone Security from Symantec Corp. with AntiVirus, Firewall and Antispam Technology

Bleak Outlook for Information Security, According to Researchers

Study finds China lags in data security

Kaspersky Internet Security 7.0
Reviewed by: Matthieu P. Raillard (Portland, OR USA)
Very, very capable virus and spyware detection, and a strong firewall. Kaspersky has long been one of the best performing suites, and at the end of the day, that's what you get it for- to prevent bugs from getting into your computer in the first place. The interface is also better than a lot of other suites, and while it's not perfect, it's easy enough to navigate and use. The memory footprint is also better than most suites, which is nice. Kaspersky also features the most regularly updated virus and spyware definitions- every couple of hours! The ability to scan all sorts of processes and also scan for rootkits is great to have. It comes with a thorough paper manual.

CONS: The "training mode" for the firewall is a bit arcane and takes some getting used to, and might confuse a lot of users. The only other downside I've noticed is that the startup scans/downloads when you first boot your machine take a little bit longer than I'd like. That said, the performance of this software more than balances the extra few seconds I have to wait when booting up.

Bottom Line: I feel much, much more secure with Kaspersky. It's been called "The experts' antivirus of choice", and I can see why.

Norton Internet Security 2008
Reviwed by Stanley M. Rose (Lawrenceville, New Jersey USA)
I've been a user of the Norton product suite since the DOS days when Peter Norton was the actual author. There have been some good years and some bad years, but, in general, my system has remained virus free with no break ins. Since I have been an early adopter, it seems that every year I am forced to upgrade a week or two earlier than the previous year. It would be great if the subscription, at least for the initial purchase, were 13 months and not 12.

So, my subscription to NIS 2007 ran out last week and I had to either renew or upgrade. Since, with rebates, it isn't much more expensive to upgrade, I, as usual, went that route.

I have had it installed for a week and my first impressions are that it is much improved. My system seems to boot faster and also seems a little more responsive. MS Word, that used to have a noticeable delay when starting, now pops open. I don't have any empirical evidence, just anecdotal impressions, but so far I am very happy. (I just hope I haven't jinxed myself with the review.)


Trend Micro Internet Security 2008
Reviewed by Patrick Madigan (Mesa, AZ USA)

I've used prior versions of Trend's internet security (or simply anti-virus) products, and I've found them to be excellent for home and small office use. I have computers running Vista Premium, XP Pro, and XP Home, and easily loaded this version on all three machines. Ignore the reviewer who said it only worked on one computer, that's horse hockey.

How does it compare to the others? Well, most of my other experiences have been with Symantec, and I prefer Trend over Symantec. Symantec's corporate edition is excellent for the workplace, and it's saved my bacon numerous times in my past roles as a network administrator. But the home version of Symantec is just too piggish, and the latest version of Symantec's product is just plain annoying (I received a trial version with my Vista machine). I found the Symantec interface to be very unintuitive, like a badly designed web page. That finally blew itself up after 1 month, not because the trial period ran out, but because it's junk software. That inspired me to stick with the tried and true Trend Micro, and I was impressed with how much better the interface was for Trend. Incredibly easy to use and install. I recommend this to all of my friends who seem to think that internet security software is "optional" (then they call me up to come over and fix their computers).


McAfee Total Protection 2008
Reviewed by M. Totoritis

I've used previous versions of McAfee and Norton's but I find McAfee easier to work with. Usually I stick with the basic Anitivirus programs but with the total protection only being an extra couple of dollars I decided to give it a try.
It has installed seamlessly on all three of my computers (2 XP running previous versions of McAfee, 1 Vista with a trial version of Nortons). The installation process took care of the pervious versions of McAfee Antivirus which were installed. However, it would not install as long as Spybot Search and Destroy was still installed. Once it was uninstalled McAfee continued its installation. One feature which I liked was that you could install from the CD or from the internet. Installing from the internet gave you the most up to date version so you did not have to worry about updating it as soon as you got through the install.

You are given the option of what features you would like to install which is nice if you do not need the extra resources being used for a service you don't want.

Overall the installation went smoothly and I'm not seeing a change in the amount of resources required for this version of the simple Antivirus version from 2007.


Zonealarm Internet Security Suite
Reviewed by S. Rosenberg (Teaneck, NJ) "Best firewall you can get"

I first started using ZA Security Suite 2 years ago, after having started with Norton, and then Trend-Micro. After getting infected with drive by trojans by hitting seemingly valid web sites, I decided to use some of the free online firewall testers, and guess what. None of the Symantec or Trend products provided you with real protection. Slam bam, the testers showed me a complete list of My Documents on my PC.That's where I discoverd ZA, as one of the few Software Firewalls that locks down not only network traffic out of your machine (inbound is not important, asmost cable modems contain a DHCP server to do network address translation, so that your PC is hidden to the outside) but locks down any screwing around with the Windows Registry. Thats where all the action is. It even detects messages from my canon printer telling them when I print! No other product triggered that kind of stuff.

ZA had a few versions that were problematical, two years ago, but it was worth working through the issues, because I have never gotten junk on the machine from any source since then. It uses Kaspersky AV and AntiSpyware in conjunction with its own Firewall. If you have been having problems, they most likely have to do with vestiges of other AV and Firewall software that has not been cleaned out. You cannot have more than one AV/Firewall product locking down your machine. You can however, use Webroot Spysweeper, as I do, as an additional layer of protection against adware and spyware. Furthermore, if you are using XP with less than 512 MB of RAM, you asking for trouble.

The ZA alerts, allow you to easily see the full path and file name of the object it is asking you about, and if it contains the names of any vendors you recognize, then you allow it. If you dont, its garbage and you deny access. Nothing difficult about that. If you dont know, Google the file name, and within 5 seconds you can find out who published that piece of software and whether you want to allow or deny access.

I recommend the latest version of ZA highly, if you don't want to suffer identity theft.


BitDefender Total Security 2008
Reviewed by Roger Jones (Texas) - "I'm very impressed so far"

The virus scan is fast and seems to be very effective. The backup tool works as well as any I have used - I haven't used the restore feature so can't comment on that. The rest of the features are pretty generic and seem to work well. BitDefender Total Security runs circles around Windows Live OneCare which I dumped as soon as BD arrived.

Installation was simple. Hourly antivirus updates make me feel comfortable with security issues. I have kept Spyware Doctor in case BD lets me down on the malware front.



Panda Internet Security 2008
Reviewed by J. Durkin - "Works great with both Windows Vista & XP"

This is the fourth time I've purchased my Internet security solution from Panda and each version has gotten better and easier to use. It is the most unobtrusive Internet security solution I've ever used. I've been using the 2008 version for about a month now and it installed easily and runs flawlessly on both Windows XP and Windows Vista.

I originally tried it after seeing a great review of it in PC World magazine. I had been using Norton Internet Security until then, but I became frustrated with Norton because, in most cases for my PCs, Norton would identify a virus on my PC, but would not clean it. (And yes, I had it set up to automatically disinfect if a virus was found.) I nearly always had to go to their website and follow their instructions to manually delete the viruses, including deleting the registry keys manually. Since tinkering with your registry can cause disastrous results, I really hated having to do that.

Panda, on the other hand, has disinfected every virus it has ever detected without my having to lift a finger beyond the initial set-up. And when I run online virus scans from other vendors as a backup, I have never had any of them detect any viruses or spyware on any of my Panda protected PCs. When I was using Norton, they nearly always detected viruses that Norton somehow missed or failed to clean.

Some of the other things I like about Panda Internet Security 2008 are that each package includes licenses for 3 PCs, so one package will likely cover every PC in your house. Also, it updates daily and you can enable heuristic scanning to identify possible viruses that are currently unknown. You can choose what you want to be notified about or let Panda do its thing without bothering you at all. You can also choose to make the notices semi-transparent, so they don't block out what's on your screen when they pop up.

I have only ever had one problem with any Panda product and that was several years ago. I was using Panda Antivirus/Firewall, not Panda Internet Security, and I had one game file that I knew was legitimate, but Panda kept identifying it as a virus and renaming the file so that the game was unusable. I e-mailed Panda about it and they told me that the Antivirus/Firewall program did not have the capability to allow the user to exclude certain files from their scans, but that the Internet Security package did. I upgraded to the Internet Security solution and have never had another problem with Panda. (I don't know if the Panda Antivirus/Firewall program has since been changed to allow the user more control, since I've only used the Internet Security package since then.)

I am extremely happy with Panda Internet Security 2008 and intend to make Panda my Internet security solution from here on out.


Net Nanny 5.5 " The world's leading parental control software"
Product Description
Net Nanny is a powerful filtering tool that allows you to determine what Internet content enters your home. It comes with maximum protection and pre-set monitoring functions, which you can easily customize to meet your family's unique needs

Net Nanny 5.5, the world's leading parental control software, provides customers with the broadest set of Internet safety tools available today. The award-winning software gives customers control over what comes into and goes out of their homes through their Internet connection, while respecting their personal values and beliefs. Net Nanny 5 is easier to install and configure than any similar product available today. Dozens of new features and improvements. Vista Compatible - Net Nanny 5.5 fully integrates with Microsoft's new Windows Vista Free Phone Support - Net Nanny versions 5.1.2 only receive tech support via e-mail, but beginning with version 5.5 Net Nanny users receive all the benefits of ContentWatch's renowned support team by phone or e-mail!

Grisoft AVG Internet Security
Reviewed by Steve H (San Jose, CA USA) - "Best protection with least system impact"

Best protection with least system impact

I have been using AVG for a few months now with excellent results. There is much less impact on system performance than with Norton Internet Security. Norton requires manual downloads of software updates (not virus definitions) that require a system reboot. AVG updates their software and virus definitions and rarely requires a reboot.

A friend was having problems with his computer and was running Norton Internet Security 2007 with up-to-date definitions. I pulled the disk and hooked it up to my system to scan it with AVG. It found and cleaned the bugs that got through Norton.

To sum it all up AVG has less overhead, requires fewer reboots, offers better protection and with the 2 year license costs less to own. It runs on XP and Vista.


Webroot Spy Sweeper Antispyware
Reviewed by Robert I. Hedges - The Best Spyware Removal Tool Yet

I have used several different spyware removal tools; before Spy Sweeper my favorite was Ad-Aware by Lavasoft. While I still use Ad-Aware, I depend on Spy Sweeper for the heavy duty work of removing spyware that is tough to ferret out. I generally run all the anti-virus and spyware detection tools installed on my computer (after updating the definitions, of course) and then run Spy Sweeper. I am always amazed at what Spy Sweeper finds left over after the others say my machine is clean.

This program is very comprehensive, and is updated very frequently. It is easy to use and features generally easy to grasp deletion options (much easier than most competitors.) Even a PC novice can use this program successfully.

I have found Spy Sweeper to be robust and to consistently catch more spyware traces than any other product, though I believe it's wise to use multiple products for the best possible protection.

I highly recommend Spy Sweeper. I can't imagine owning a computer and not having this installed on it. It is, by far, my preferred anti-spyware solution.

Lavasoft Ad-Aware Plus Edition
Product Features

Computer-protection software for safely detecting and removing spyware
Detect and completely block further threats with Ad-Watch
Automatic updates; extended registry; disk scanning
Detailed scan statistics; removal and quarantine logs
Real-time scanning and protection; easy to install and use


PC Tools Spyware Doctor 2008
Product Description

Winner of multiple awards from leading tech magazines, PC Tools Spyware Doctor provides the best protection against unwanted spyware and other privacy threats. Millions of people worldwide trust the Spyware Doctor brand to protect their identity and PC security.
A recent anti-spyware product comparison found Spyware Doctor to be the most effective in blocking spyware. The advanced tools work intuitively to block potential threats from entering your computer, while allowing trusted software and Web sites to run without unnecessary and intrusive alerts.

Spyware Doctor can quickly and seamlessly update all critical aspects of the program, along with the threat database, through the proprietary update feature. You get the latest tools and signatures without waiting for a new version release or the need to reinstall the program, giving you the most up-to-date protection available.

Spyware Doctor employs advanced technology that can safely go deep into your computer to detect and destroy spyware. Multiple and specialized scanners are designed to identify a wide range of privacy threats while intelli-signatures catch known and new, yet-to-be-defined threat variants.

Spyware Doctor is designed to quickly install and run without interrupting your computer activity. The straightforward interface walks you through the program where you can choose to easily customize the expert settings yourself or have them run automatically.

Spyware Doctor protects up to three PC's.