Anti-Virus Software

Antivirus software consists of software algorithms that attempt to identify, defeat and eliminate computer viruses and other malicious software. Anti-virus software usually uses two different methods to achieve this:
1) Examining (scanning) files to check for known viruses matching binary definitions in a virus dictionary
2) Identifying suspicious behavior from any software which might indicate infection
Most commercial antivirus software uses both of these techniques, but primarily relying on the dictionary approach.

Below is a short list of some of the most popular antivirus software solutions, with a short summary of their benefits and drawbacks. You are encouraged to try these tools for yourself before buying, as most vendors have a free trial download available and AVG actually offers a free virus scanner that individuals can use without charge.

McAfee VirusScan 9.0
VirusScan is a still very good choice for anti-virus protection, especially for people who are using other McAfee products (due mainly to its integration with McAfee Security Center). It performs well in testing and goes beyond simple virus removal with its behavior-based WormStopper and detection of "possibly unwanted programs."
Certified by ICSA, and reports 100 percent detection. Easy scheduling. Blocks unknown e-mail worms. Scans inbound e-mail, outbound e-mail, and IM attachments. Has detailed virus database and world map.
WormStopper blocks suspicious e-mails based on preset limits, but generates a pop-up for every single e-mail outside those limits. No log of viruses repaired or deleted.

Norton AntiVirus 2005
Norton AntiVirus 2005 continues to be one of the top choices for virus protection, and a new "Internet Worm Protection" function provides added security to those not yet using firewall software. The only complaint is that it does not distinguish between actual "live" viruses and those that have been "killed" by server-side anti-virus software.
Certified by ICSA, and reports 100 percent detection. Easy scheduling. Scans inbound e-mail, outbound e-mail, and IM attachments. Detailed virus database. Logs viruses. Includes inbound firewall protection.
Flags viruses even when already neutralized by server-level antivirus. Response of configuration module can be sluggish.

AVG Antivirus with Firewall
Combiness solid anti-virus protection with robust firewall functionality, but with no / little sacrifice in system performance. Extremely flexible settings for controlling access for programs and system services. A configuration wizard helps even novice users setvup the firewall effectively and simply. It supports mutli-user log function in Windows XP; automatically preventing access if no user is logged in.
Update alerts give notice when essential updates are found. Highly customizable settings; can also be password controlled to disallow changes. The integrated firewall gives the user permission-based control of many Internet applications. Supports a popular selection of languages. Basic and Advanced configuration settings cater for novice and experienced users.
Tech support is offered by email only and not telephone.

Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security 2005
Combines a good set of tools including antivirus, firewall, antispam, anti-spyware and a range of other security tools. Very low system overhead and good performance for the core tools.
Interface is clean and easy to navigate, in contrast to many other security tools. Summary screen presents effective summation of system conditions. Fast scanning, very low system overhead. Free technical support via telephone which is rare in this class.
Limited installation options do not allow the control over the installed features as well as other products in this class. Spy-ware feature is off by default and no indication is given to indicate this at all. No automated scan once installation is complete.