Monday, September 10, 2007

Trying a new Security Software Suite

Although I'm not a big fan of Windows, I still have a couple of Windows computers that I use. Well, there's my wife's laptop and one of my desktops (that I dual boot into Windows every now and then). Anyways, whether you've one Windows desktop or many, you need security software. There are just too many viruses, trojans, etc. out there to avoid it. I had been using Microsoft's Windows Live OneCare but I just switched to Kaspersky Internet Security Suite. Why? I'll tell you.

Windows Live OneCare is not a bad system as far as usability goes. It installs easily, isn't intrusive, and has a neat color-coded icon in your system tray that shows the level of protection you've currently got. I found it easy to use and it didn't bog my system down. As much as I dislike Microsoft, I've got to give them an A+ on their user interface. It's great.

Sure, it's not perfect. On one of my computers, it always showed that I was only partially protected because I didn't upgrade to IE 7 (the reason I didn't upgrade is that I use IE 6 for testing the web sites that I develop). That's annoying. It also would give confusing messages every now and then. Also annoying. It also disabled by VPN client so I could only log in to work with my Linux client.  Annoying but not too bad since I almost always VPN from Linux anyway. However, for the most part, it performed well and I didn't have to watch it to know it was working. Very nice for me.

In fact, it's so great that it was hard to leave. However, when looking at recent reviews of security software, I found that OneCare just doesn't measure up to other suites. For example, tests run by av-comparatives showed OneCare only catching 90.37% of the security threats while Kaspersky caught 98.46% (even worse was cnet which had OneCare only catching 82% of the threats they tested with it). In fact, over the last year, I wasn't able to find a single review that thought OneCare was top tier in terms of effectiveness. So I reluctantly went shopping for another security suite.

I looked at Norton but it has so many negative reviews. Yes it's effective but it seems to lock up peoples machines, use huge amounts of system resources, and it's almost impossible to remove. Not good. McAfee seems to have useability issues as well as effectiveness issues (although still better than OneCare). Then I found Kaspersky.

Kaspersky rates highly in effectiveness (as I mentioned earlier, it found 98.46% of viruses, etc. in a recent security review) and I never found the mass of complaints that seem to plague the other major security vendors. So when I found a copy of it for free (after mail-in rebate), I decided to go for it.

I have found in the last week of using it, that Kaspersky is easy to use, gives a lot more detail than OneCare ever did and it doesn't break my VPN client (which is very nice).  I do miss the color-coded icon but apart from that, I'm quite pleased.  We'll see how it does long term but, so far, I'm encouraged.  

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