ESET NOD32 Antivirus
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View All 11 Photos in Gallery Just about every antivirus program includes the ability to detect and remove potentially unwanted applications PUAs —programs that, while not actively malicious, cause problems that outweigh any virtues they may have. Some default to removing these PUAs, while others default to leaving them alone. I enabled PUA detection, and I advise you to do the same.
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View All 11 Photos in Gallery Just about every antivirus program includes the ability to detect and remove potentially unwanted applications PUAs —programs that, while not actively malicious, cause problems that outweigh any virtues they may have. Some default to removing these PUAs, while others default to leaving them alone.
I enabled PUA detection, and I advise you to do the same. After installation, NOD32 launches a scan; for testing purposes I halted this initial scan, saving a full scan for later. The main window includes plenty of whitespace, along with a picture of ESET’s blue-eyed cyborg mascot.
To launch a scan or an update, you can use either the left-side menu or a pair of large blue panels near the bottom of the window.
If there’s a configuration problem, the green security banner goes red. And if ESET needs your attention—to show the results of a completed scan, for example—you see a little number next to the corresponding menu item. And as with Norton, you don’t have to page through all those options to find the one you want; you can just start typing in the search box. This may not become an issue, though, as the product’s default settings are set for optimal security.
This lab’s broad malware protection test offers Level 1 certification to products that completely prevent all attacks, and Level 2 certification if the product misses some initially but eliminates them within 24 hours.
All products passed the latest test; NOD32 earned Level 2 certification. Avira, Bitdefender, and Kaspersky Anti-Virus are the only products to both pass the banking test and receive Level 1 certification in the general malware test. Researchers at London-based SE Labs capture real-world malicious websites and use a replay system to give all tested products the same malware attack experience.
Products can receive certification at five levels: At AV-Comparatives , testers don’t assign numeric scores. Still, having current tests from three out of four labs is quite good. For each product that received scores from at least two labs, my scoring algorithm maps all the results onto a point scale and generates an aggregate lab score.
ESET’s 9. Tested by all four labs, Avira scored 9. Scan Choices I timed a full scan of my standard clean test system and found that NOD32 finished in 66 minutes. That’s longer than the current average of about 45 minutes, but not terrible. Also, during that initial scan, NOD32 optimizes for subsequent scanning, marking known good programs that don’t require another look.
A second scan finished in just seven minutes. NOD32 doesn’t offer the quick scan option found in many antivirus products, but it gives you several custom scanning choices.
You can drop suspect files or folders on the scan page for a quick checkup. It offers to scan each removable drive you mount. And from the custom scan menu you can scan memory, boot sectors, or any local or network drive.
The UEFI scanner also runs in the background, making sure no malware has subverted your firmware. I assume it works; I have no way to trigger its protection for testing purposes. And it’s important. Any malware that weaseled into the firmware would have total control over your computer. Very Good Malware Protection I’m always happy to have results reported by the independent labs, but not every product makes it into those reports.
Even when results are available, I still run my hands-on malware protection testing, so I can see the product’s defenses in action. When I opened the folder containing my current collection of malware samples, NOD32’s real-time protection gave them the once-over. However, it only eliminated 31 percent of them at this point. Continuing the test, I launched the remaining samples. Clearly the antivirus applies a tougher standard to programs that are about to launch; it prevented quite a few samples from launching at all.
It did flag some as potentially unwanted applications PUAs ; I chose to delete all of those. In other cases, it caught a malware component during the installation process.
However, the fact that it let several samples install executable files brought its overall score down to 8. Tested with this same sample set, Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus managed percent detection and a perfect 10 points.
G Data came close, with 97 percent detection and 9. Malware Protection Results Chart It takes me quite a while to collect and analyze a new set of malware samples, so those necessarily stay the same for months. To check a product’s protection against current in-the-wild threats, I start with a feed of malware-hosting URLs detected in the last few days by researchers at MRG-Effitas. I launch each URL in turn and note whether the antivirus prevents access to the URL, eliminates the malware payload, or utterly fails to detect the threat.
I observed that when the web protection component detected a dangerous URL, it both replaced the page with an in-browser warning and displayed a popup notification.
If a non-browser program attempted to access such a site, you’d just see that popup, and indeed, I ran into that situation in testing. In some cases, NOD32 described a site as potentially unwanted, using a yellow banner rather than red, much as it distinguishes potentially unwanted applications from undeniable malware. I counted these as successful detections. NOD32 protected against 95 percent of the malware downloads, leaning heavily toward blocking at the URL level.
That’s an impressive showing. However, others have done even better. So-So Phishing Protection Writing code to evade antivirus tools and steal people’s passwords is tough. Fooling people into just giving you those passwords can be much easier.
Phishing websites imitate secure sites of all kinds, from online banking systems to dating sites. The netizen who logs in to one of these frauds has just given away access to the real account. It’s possible to spot phishing scams if you’re alert, but having help from your antivirus means you’re protected even before you’ve had your coffee. To start my phishing test, I scrape reported frauds from websites that track such things, making sure to include ones that are so new they haven’t yet been analyzed and blacklisted.
Phishing sites are ephemeral, and the very newest ones are typically the most effective. I launch each suspected URL in a browser protected by the product under test and simultaneously in instances of Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer protected only by the browser’s built-in phishing detection.
If a URL doesn’t load properly in any of the four test systems, I discard it. If it doesn’t fit the profile for a phishing site, meaning it’s trying to steal login credentials, I discard it. Analyzing those that remain gives me a window into the product’s phishing protection skills.
It earned a lower score overall. That’s not uncommon, but in recent tests McAfee and Webroot performed precisely the same on the two platforms. To test the mettle of this component, I hit the test system with 30 exploits generated by the CORE Impact penetration tool. The HIPS detected and blocked many of the malware payloads that the exploits tried to drop.
None of the exploits penetrated security, since the test system is fully patched. NOD32 detected 55 percent of the attacks, identifying about half of those by the official exploit number. That’s a better score than many, though not at the top. Tested with the same exploits, G Data caught 68 percent and identified almost all of those by name. Kaspersky and Norton detected 85 percent and 82 percent, respectively.
Out of the box, this feature is disabled; to enable it you must reboot the system. With Device Control active, you can prevent the use of a wide variety of device types, while making exceptions for trusted devices. The purpose is to prevent anyone from stealing data by copying to unauthorized external drives, and to prevent infestation by USB-based malware. ESET isn’t the only security company offering such a feature.
Device Protection in Avira Antivirus Pro lets you whitelist or blacklist specific devices, and you can password-protect settings so nobody can mess with the lists. However, even when password protection is active, any user can whitelist a new, unknown drive. G Data Total Security offers more advanced device control, and it can prevent others from adding exceptions.
Note, though, that this is a top-tier mega-suite. ESET puts device control in its basic antivirus. You can create rules for a wide variety of devices, including card readers, imaging devices, and Bluetooth devices, as well as more traditional external drives.
Each rule sets an action for a device type, an individual device, or a group of devices. You can also configure NOD32 to give a warning when someone plugs in an unknown device, letting them know that if they create an exception the action will show up in NOD32’s log.
Knowing the action is logged should make the user think twice, and possibly cancel. As with G Data and others, using this system is a game of rules and exceptions. On top of that, you might create an exception allowing you, but nobody else, to burn disks. Or you could ban removable drives but permit specific authorized ones. In a super-techie household, you might set different access levels for different user accounts, with full access for you but limited access for others.
Note, though, that NOD32 relies on the awkward Select Users or Groups dialog to pick user accounts rather than providing a more user-friendly account list.
Yes, even less technical consumers can probably manage to configure NOD32 so the kids can’t corrupt the system with infected thumb drives, but it’s not easy. Most users should leave this feature turned off.
There’s a whole page of tools to enhance your security experience. Some are useful to all; others require a technical mindset. Several of the tools give you views of what NOD32 has been doing for you. The Security Report displays statistics on how many applications, web pages, and other objects NOD32 has scanned, along with a world map showing the current malware situation.
You can peruse logs of malware detections, HIPS events, and more. And a link to the Quarantine area lets you see the threats that NOD32 has neutralized.
As the name suggests, this is just an antivirus which will protect you against viruses, trojans, malware, spyware and other similar threats. NOD32 lacks advanced features like firewall, spam, and browsing protection. The Internet Security will include additional features like inbound and outbound firewall, anti-spam for mail protection, network attack protection, anti-theft, and network monitoring. It will not only protect your system from threats but also monitor the network as a whole for threats.
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