Tales of the antivirus forest

“Pay or not pay for antivirus?” According to some, this is precisely the question facing millions of users. For example, in an article by Vladimir Bezmalyi in the 12th issue of the PC World magazine for 2014, a whole “study” is devoted to this topic. The results of his doubts do not leave: "avaricious pays twice." However, the arguments in this article are so controversial that I cannot help speaking out on this subject. After all, we live at a time when many manipulate information in order to earn more money. The effectiveness of this system can be judged by the fact that several state organizations purchased “Babushkina Anti-Virus”. This, of course, is an extreme case, but it shows that when paid products are praised, it is worth considering how disinterested these praises are.

Now let's look at a few myths, the free or involuntary victim of which, apparently, was Vladimir Bezmalyi.

Firstly , about stinginess. Many users have dozens of programs installed on their computer. Some of them are used daily, others once every six months, but all of them, of course, are needed. The problem is that even small utilities such as an archiver cost $ 20-40, and the price of large packages (office programs, video editing packages, etc.) is hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

As a result, if you use only paid versions of all programs, you will have to spend more than one thousand greenbacks. Moreover, the authors of many programs live abroad and they do not care about fluctuations in the ruble exchange rate. I don’t know how much you bought your computer, but I’m sure that you didn’t plan such additional expenses. But most importantly, all these programs have free analogues. And very often they are in no way inferior to paid products. Therefore, the use of free software is not stinginess, but completely normal behavior, due to common sense.

SecondlyLet's say we agreed that if security is so important to us, then you can probably pay once for an antivirus, because the mean "pays twice"? However, if you decide to use a commercial antivirus, you will have to pay dozens more than once. Antivirus - this is the type of program where the payment is for an annual license. Accordingly, you have to pay constantly all your life. Suppose a one-year license is inexpensive, for example, they ask 1600 rubles for Kaspersky Internet Secirity, but this means that for 10 years of using my laptop worth 16 thousand rubles, I will have to pay the same amount. I am not a businessman, but an ordinary user, and giving such a ton of money for a single program - a paid antivirus - seems crazy to me.

Thirdly, for many users, a computer is generally just a platform for games. And why should they be afraid of viruses that can physically damage a computer today in the afternoon with fire not to be found, a good firewall will protect against password theft. In addition, accounts are often tied to a phone number. And if the system crashes, you ask? For example, on my laptop, restoring to the factory state is done with just one click of a button. If you do not have one, then just make a backup copy of a special program.

Fourth . For some reason, the author claims that many manufacturers of free antiviruses are not “experts in the field of information security,” he cites Microsoft as an example, which, in his opinion, is a leader among manufacturers of free antiviruses.

Here we see several controversial statements at once.

To begin with, Microsoft has been releasing information security products for a long time and it is incorrect to consider Microsoft an amateur in this area. Moreover, the company’s own full-fledged antivirus “Microsoft Security Essentials” appeared after the purchase by them in 2004 of the recognized authority in this field, the Romanian antivirus developer GeCAD Software, which has existed since 1992. Now Microsoft, of course, lags behind the leaders, but she did her job. As once the appearance of the free Internet Explorer browser led to the transformation of paid browsers of other companies into free ones, the appearance of the free Microsoft antivirus made it possible for even more antivirus manufacturers to release free versions of their products, which is good news us with you.

And if we talk about other manufacturers of free antiviruses, then most of them are not just professionals, they are leaders in the antivirus market. In fact, we are seeing a new trend when well-known anti-virus companies release free versions of their products for home users. Of course, this is not done disinterestedly, but the fact remains that free antivirus for home is already the norm. And two well-known domestic companies, in which there are no free versions for protecting home users in real time, now look like an anachronism.

Further, the popularity of Microsoft antivirus is already in the past. Another Microsoft product, Windows Defender, is built into some of its operating systems and is often installed as a recommended update. But to say that “Windows Defender” is the leader of free antiviruses is like saying that “Notepad” is the leader of free office suites. No one today seriously considers "Windows Defender" as a competitor to other antiviruses. Its task is to provide basic protection for the freshly installed "Windows" from the most common threats, until the user puts something else.

Fifthlytalk about security. Here is the author of an article in the PC World magazine that cites test results where Kaspersky Internet Secirity is ahead of AVAST, AVG, and Microsoft Security Essentials.
To begin with, we note that the author does not at all what will give an answer to the question in the title of his article. Speaking of tests, he should have compared free products with paid ones of the same company. Instead, we slipped with it to the usual showdowns of "which antivirus is" cooler ", which is full of any forum. Well, apparently we will have to play by its rules, but to begin with, we note the fact that most of the free antiviruses are released by the same companies as paid ones. There are few tests where they compare paid and free products of the same companies, but they are.

So let's take a look at them.

Here, for example, “AV-Test: The Best Antivirus for Windows 8.1 (64 bit)” for September-October 2014.


In it, the free anti-virus “AVG Free” shows exactly the same result as the paid product of the same company “AVG IS”. But the VB100 test for August 2014, in it the paid product “Panda Internet Security 2015” in the test on the WildList-set showed the same results as the free “Panda Cloud Antivirus Free”, and in the test “Reactive and Proactive” it generally came out case: a free product showed better results than a paid one.

If we look at the comparative antivirus testing on the COMSS.TV channel for the first quarter of 2014, here we see that the paid Avira Internet Security Suite and the free Avira Free Antivirus do the same for virus detection.

I think that I gave enough examples to confirm another fact - free antiviruses in detecting viruses are no worse than paid ones. This is logical, because many companies have a free product - it’s the same as a paid product with reduced capabilities that do not affect security. Of course, in some ways free products are inferior to paid ones, otherwise then no one would have paid for anything at all, however, these differences are often offset by the installation of additional programs.

Now back to our author, who, instead of actually comparing various products, is engaged in actions more similar to advertising a product of Kaspersky Lab. For some reason, the author compares only three other antiviruses with Kaspersky. I’ve already spoken about Microsoft Security Essentials, he has long been an outsider, and in tests he is used as an indicator of a basic level. “AVAST” and “AVG” are good antiviruses, but this does not mean that you should definitely choose them. For example, I personally use the free AVIRA antivirus, and it often shows better results than AVAST and AVG. There is also a very good free cloud antivirus from Panda Software and an excellent comprehensive product from Comodo. But for some reason, we do not see these products in the test results. Either the tests are not complete, which is unlikely, whether the author of the article cited only those results that confirm his ideas. That is, of all the free antiviruses, I chose only those that in this test were inferior to the Kaspersky product. This is no longer an innocent prank, but an impermissible oversight, unacceptable for professional research. Based on this biased selection, one cannot draw any far-reaching conclusions about the insolvency of free antiviruses.

Let us find and see the full results of these tests and find out how other free products showed themselves in them.

Here, for example, the first test “AV-Test. Testing results for home antiviruses. January-February 2014 ". What do we see? "Microsoft Security Essentials" protection test did not pass at all, zero points. AVAST and AVG did show below average results. But the reason is simple, these two free antiviruses were compared with products of the Internet Secirity class, that is, the test is not entirely correct. Nevertheless, the test shows that many manufacturers of free antivirus software are in no way inferior to Kaspersky Lab. For example, Avira Internet Secirity, Bitdefender Internet Secirity, and Qihoo 360 Internet Security scored the same points as Kaspersky Internet Secirity in security tests. Both Avira and Bitdefender have free products in their lineup, and Qihoo 360 Internet Security is initially free. Other free products from Panda Software and Comodo succumbed to them a little. It was a test under Windows 7.

In the tests for September-October, the results are different, but note how many products in the protection test scored a maximum of 6 points. There is no reason to talk about any superiority of paid products over free ones on this indicator, they have exactly the same results.

In addition to protection, self-defense of the antivirus is of no small importance. According to the AV-Test self-defense tests published at the end of 2014, the Kaspersky Lab product is only in 7th place, and among the leaders of AVIRA with its paid product (but it’s easy to guess that its free antivirus would take same place), overtook Kaspersky and the free AVAST, and the free AVG gave it a little.


However, the wedge did not meet the “AV-Test”, let’s look at other tests. The author presents the test results of the independent laboratory AV-Comparatives for March-September 2014. But now is December and let's take a look at more recent results. So, «the AV-Comparatives: Dynamic testing of antiviruses: August-November 2014" . What do we see? In the test of detection level, the second place is a free product from Qihoo. Kaspersky is only in third place, and shares it with two more manufacturers of free products, AVIRA and Bitdefender. "Panda", "AVG" and "AVAST" are a little behind, but at the same time bypassed the paid product from the eminent company "McAfee". “Comodo” did not participate in this test. The product from Microsoft took the last place, showing a protection level of 83.5%.

Here is another test of this laboratory - a test for the treatment of active infection, which was carried out in March-October 2014.


The AVG product is rehabilitated and shares 1st place with Bitdefender. The latter, by the way, not only has a free product in its lineup, but supplies its engine to a huge number of others, both paid and free antiviruses. But “Kaspersky” only in 2nd (or 3rd place, depending on how you count), along with the Indian anti-virus “eScan”, they are followed by “Panda”, “Avira” and “Avast” behind, but not by much.

In early 2014, the Softonic portal, based on the authoritative tests of the VB100 laboratory of the Virus Bulletin laboratory, prepared its 2014 antivirus rating. And in it, in the total ranking, the product of Kaspersky Lab took only third place. At the same time, in the security rating its results are even lower, it even got ahead of AVIRA with PANDA.

In the VB100 testing for August 2014, in the Reactive and Proactive test Kaspersky has 88.5%, AVAST - 91%, AVG - 94.4, Quihoo 360 - 95.9, and Avira -96.2. Panda failed part of the tests. Comodo did not participate in these tests. The product from Agnitium was slightly inferior to Kaspersky. In the same test for December 2014AVG antivirus took first place, followed by many other free products, and paid products Agnitium and Kaspersky Lab are at the end of the list.

Sixth , let's continue with the tests and devote some lines of performance. The author of the article cites the results of the AV-Test, in which Kaspersky Internet Secirity is ahead of the AVAST, AVG, and Windows Defender products.
That's right, only half a point backlog is about nothing.

Let's take a look at the results of antivirus performance tests of the independent Polish laboratory “AVLab” for November 2014:


Kaspersky Internet Secirity did not rise above the middle of the list. But supposedly bad “AVAST” and “AVG” took the first 2 places (paid products), the free “AVAST” was only one point behind them, and the free “Panda” and “Avira” also outstripped the Kaspersky product. Only free “AVG” let us down, losing 3 points to “Kaspersky”.
In the performance rating of the Softonic portal at the beginning of 2014, the Kaspersky Lab product is also not the best. For example, AVG has a rating of 7.08, while Kaspersky has only 6.2 (the more, the better).

Seventh , the author of the article, referring to the results of the proactive defense tests of the Matousec laboratory, writes that:
A) Kaspersky Internet Secirity is the best;
B) Free products tests failed.

To put it mildly, the assertion that "all products distributed mainly free of charge have failed" is simply not true.

Take a look at the Matousec tests. "Mothers", as many users affectionately call them. Honestly, I did not begin to find out which, most likely, the author used very ancient tests. Moreover, he generally cited the wrong link on which the page with the performance test is located, and not the proactive defense tests. It is not clear whether this is a mistake or a forgery. But let's just go to the Matushki website and see the latest ones .

So, in the first place in the test "Comodo Internet Security Premium 7.0.317799.4142FREE" the word "Free". Have you noticed? So it is, a free product in 1st place with a rating of "excellent"! But “Kaspersky Internet Security 2015” noticeably lagged behind the leader and took only third place with a rating of “very good”. The free product “Privatefirewall” lost only one point to “Kaspersky” and followed it with the exact same mark “very good”. As a result, it is the free product that provides the highest protection. But if for any reason you don’t want to install the comprehensive package from Comodo, you can choose the free antivirus you like (for example, the well-proven AVIRA) and add it with the free Privatefirewall firewall, getting protection at the best level paid products. Personally, I did it.

Eighth , the author, as a terrible lack of free antiviruses, points out that an extension to the browser is often bundled with them. But as he himself, he also admits that no one forces the user to install it forcibly, it can be abandoned at the installation stage. The question is, and now that you have read this, do you still want to give tens of dollars every year for a paid antivirus, instead of once making two extra mouse clicks? Or maybe you have nothing against advertising, and you will not refuse it? In any case, the argument against free antiviruses is very dubious.

Ninth, the author points out that free antiviruses are updated once a day as a drawback. This is simply not true, for example, Microsoft Security Essentials is updated three times a day, which, however, does not help much. But in principle, the argument itself is ridiculous. A regular user comes home in the evening, turns on the computer for a couple of hours, and it is at this point that the antivirus is updated. If he has a paid antivirus, he will also be updated once a day for the simple reason that the computer will be turned off most of the time. Of course, there is a chance that the paid antivirus signatures will be fresher. But this grandmother said in two, who knows where at what time the antivirus company posts a new update, and at what time you most often turn on your computer. Anyway, it’s not a problem to puzzle about it. If you do not have a server connected to the Internet around the clock, but a regular home computer, then updating once a day is enough. By the way, as I wrote above, in tests, free and paid antiviruses of the same company usually show the same results, so frequent updates are more of an advertising move than an urgent need.

Tenth , at the end of the article, the author finally admits that ordinary antiviruses are not a pair of Internet Security products and uses this as an argument in favor of paid products. However, for some reason he forgets to say that it is worth supplementing your free antivirus with a free firewall and you will get the same “Internet Secirity” without spending a penny. Moreover, often Internet Security products are not optimal, in them either an excellent firewall is combined with an average antivirus, or, more often, on the contrary, an insufficiently good firewall is bolted to an excellent antivirus. By installing these components separately, you can tie the best free firewall (one of the really best in the tests) to the best free antivirus and get protection at the level of the best and most expensive paid products.

Moreover, free Internet Security class products not only exist, but also show good protection, and the best of them by Comodo in the same Matousec tests generally defeats the Kaspersky Lab product. Another free package of the domestic company Agnitium, unlike its paid counterpart, Kaspersky product does not win, but the majority of many other applicants for our wallet, including the famous Dr.WEB, win.

Eleventh, a couple of lines about technical support for paid products. Think for yourself, is it worth it to give back more than a dozen dollars every year for the fact that someday you will probably be given some useful tips on the phone? Often the same advice will be given to you for free at any computer forum. After all, even if you have a paid product, no one will come to your home to treat the infected computer, you still have to do it yourself or hire someone.

Twelfth, or in conclusion, I want to say, there are a huge number of computer tests and everyone will find arguments in support of a particular product. One thing is clear: if an ideal free antivirus does not exist, then there is no ideal paid antivirus. The same Kaspersky Anti-Virus, as we saw, in many tests showed far from the best protection and far from the best performance. Moreover, this company has the most inflexible position with respect to home users, wealthy companies such as Gazprom receive fantastic discounts, and unhappy buyers of a cheap laptop should pay the maximum.

The problem, of course, is not in one unprofessional article. The problem is that Kaspersky Lab is not shy about intimidating users of free products in order to increase their sales. Even the video on youtubelaid out where some freaks mocking the patient, in their opinion, should symbolize free antiviruses. Imagine that a guy gave a girl a dog, and then a marketer comes and starts to pour mud on your dog, they say your dog’s shit, her paws are crooked, her tail is short, the color is not fashionable, and most importantly, it protects you poorly. In general, the guy didn’t give it to you unselfishly, he hopes for something. Urgently hire a bodyguard in our company, he will follow you like a shadow, even sleep with you in the same bed, it is much more reliable than a dog - and this is only 4 rubles a day. The desire to sell the goods is understandable, but how much longer should we tolerate such impudent behavior, how much should we forgive such an insult to our pets and the unceremonious intrusion into our personal relations with donors?

Everyone can draw conclusions for himself, but the number of downloads of free products suggests that if millions are still puzzling over the question “To pay or not to pay for an antivirus?”, Hundreds of millions have already found the answer to this question.

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