Those of you who’ve read my earlier columns about various virus issues and the different programs I’ve tested will notice a running theme: that my eldest daughter isn’t tech-savvy enough to be trusted to virus and spyware protection on her own.
I wish it weren’t so but she’s almost eighteen and I fear I’m not going to teach her to stay off certain sites at this late date.
So it’s either let viruses kill her computer — which would negatively impact her schoolwork — or purchase real-time protection. Luckily, as a blogger, I received SuperAntiSpyware free for review. Being a GeekDad/GeekMom does have its perks.
Previously, I’ve reviewed BullGuard, which worked nicely to keep my daughter virus free, cleaned the gunk up in her computer and served as a partial back-up for her hard drive. I’ve kept BullGuard on my desktop computer because I’m happy with it and also because my computer isn’t much of a test case for virus software. On her computer, I could really see what SuperAntiSpyware could do.
This program stacks up nicely with BullGuard and I might rate it slightly ahead in spotting spyware. “Super” is a big word to live up but it’s certainly eliminated immediate threats without interfering with the operating system. It also doesn’t conflict with other programs, such as Ccleaner, and seems to be catching items that slipped past them.
I asked Mike Duncan, the Director of Business development for SuperAntiSpyware, how the program was designed and what he thought made it unique from the host of other anti-virus/anti-spyware programs out there.
“We’re firm believers that a single security solution will never be enough, so we work hard to make sure our software will peacefully co-exist with other security solutions you want to employ. You mentioned that the software seems to be detecting stuff not found by other solutions. That’s no knock on the other solutions, rather it underscores the need to run redundant software to catch everything. There are simply too many infections and the universe for infections moves much too fast for it to be practical to assume any single solution will catch them all every time. We work hard to keep conflicts with other solutions to a minimum and to resolve them quickly in the unlikely event that they occur.”
Duncan also said that constant updates to Super AntiSpyware is essential to the program’s success.
“Our developers work tirelessly to locate new infections quickly and respond to them as quickly. We’re part of several networks of spyware sample resources, as well as having our own internal resources, that helps us locate the infections. Finding them and responding to them quickly is something we take very seriously and a critical part of our software’s effectiveness.
“We also concentrate on finding executable files, which are the heart of the infection. Infections are typically divided into two categories – ‘executable files’ and registry/folder/file ‘traces.’ The executable file is the ‘heart’ of the infection, while the traces are part of the infection, they are not the culprits that are actually doing the harm. You can think of it this way — a bank robber his/herself would be the “executable file” and their tools would be the ‘traces.’ Essentially the ‘traces’ (tools) would be useless without the bank robber him/herself. SUPERAntiSpyware focuses on the ‘heart’ (executable files portion) of any infection as this is where the damage is being done. While registry traces are not ‘harmful,’ SUPERAntiSpyware does detect traces as well, but that is not our focus.”
Several times, I’ve had computers in the house infected by the “Anti-Virus” virus that masquerades as a security program. Each time, the computers were protected by free versions of excellent anti-virus programs. It became clear, though, after trying a system restore and running anti-virus programs in safe mode that while they could handle the traces of the infection, they didn’t stop the virus from rising from the dead. I eventually ended up taking the computers to my local repair shop for a thorough system cleaning and reboot.
A program like the paid SuperAntiVirus, which offers the real-time protection and the ability to detect the executable files is definitely worth purchasing because of this. I just checked their website and the professional version was on special at $19.95 for a lifetime license. The normal price is $39.95 for a lifetime license or $29.95 for a year’s license and a $14.95 renewal fee.
For me, especially with the number of computers that my kids are using and their forgetfulness in updating virus programs and running virus scans, it is worth the price for the lifetime license. It’s one less concern and would save trips to the repair shop. The professional version is available on a trial basis as well if you need to test it out first.
Those of you who are more careful or have the children trained better could probably stick to the free versions of programs like Malwarebytes or what is available from your internet provider. But I haven’t found any free anti-virus effective with some of the more persistent viruses or spyware.
It also occurred to me that a SuperAntiSpyware lifetime license would be an excellent investment for senior citizens or those getting onto a computer for the first time because once it is set up, it will continue to run and update itself for as long as needed.