The earlier post on Antivirus (All about Antivirus products & beyond in 2009) touched upon the available products from an overview. In this post, we would look at the offerings of major vendors in this space and compare them based on the features and pros and cons of each which would help you get better understanding of the products.
The antivirus space could be bifurcated into two broad segments, one with players like Symantec and McAfee while the other populated with the likes of Quick Heal, Kaspersky, BitDefender AVG, K7 and others alike.
Symantec in the consumer space has Norton bouquet of products comprising Norton Antivirus 2010, Norton Internet security 2010 and Norton 360.
Norton Antivirus 2010:
This is the basic offering from Symantec’s Norton stable and comprises features such as blocking viruses, spyware, Trojan horses, worms, bots, and rootkits. Apart from this feature, it provides pulse updates of 5-15 minutes, protection against web attacks and keeps a tab on PC activities preventing it from slowing down.
Symantec’s earlier offerings were ‘accused’ of consuming resources and slowing down the PC but in the latest release they seem to have addressed that aspect. Noteworthy is the fact the features present in Norton Antivirus are also present in Norton Internet Security and Norton 360.
So, Norton Antivirus 2010 offers basic protection and users with minimum exposure levels to threats and attacks could think of this solution. A free trial is also available for those who wish to try the product and be satisfied with the protection offered.
Norton Internet Security 2010:
Apart from the above mentioned features, Norton Internet Security has a two way firewall, anti-spam, blocks phishing websites, secures login information and indentifies unsafe websites. As can be seen, the features are tailor made for internet and web related threats. Most of these features are available in Norton 360 along with those present in Norton Antivirus.
Norton 360 has a few other features on file management and does not have spam filtering aspect in it. Barring that it is an extension of Norton Internet Security.
For those having a fairly high exposure levels to the web, Norton Internet Security or Norton 360 could be an option to consider.
McAfee too has three offerings on similar lines like Symantec.
McAfee Virus Scan Plus 2009:
This is their basic offering. It has four features namely, Anti-virus, Anti-Spyware, Firewall and Websafety Rating. It offers a basic firewall which is not provided in Norton Antivirus. But the basic version may not have enough punch in it to secure users from complex nature of threats arising from web.
McAfee Internet Security 2009:
This offering looks to be loaded in terms of its features which has Anti-Phishing, two way firewall, identity protection, Parental controls and Data backup apart from those offered by McAfee Virus Scan Plus. So, this is more tuned for threats and attacks from web and hence provides greater security than Anti-virus.
McAfee Total Protection 2009:
Over and above the features offered in McAfee Internet Security and McAfee Virus Scan Plus, McAfee Total Protection provides advanced home network protection for users having more than one PC in the house along with management of the network.
Users looking to derive protection from web related threats could opt from McAfee Internet Security 2009.
Advantages of Symantec and McAfee
The ‘pros’ of using product from vendors like Symantec and McAfee is the resource base in terms of honey pots placed around the world for sample collection of latest viruses along with research and development in labs for updates to its users.
Disadvantages of Symantec and McAfee:
The ‘cons’ of using Symantec and McAfee would be price. The products are priced well above their counterpart, so it is a value for money offering. In countries like India, the consumer might find counterfeit or pirated versions of the products available in markets like Nehru place in New Delhi, or S.P Road in Bangalore. So, one would have to be watchful while buying products of these vendors. The earlier version of Symantec was dubbed of consuming system resources which dented its image. However, with a new version, the problem seems to have been solved and the product is as good as before.
Quick Heal is an Indian brand which offers two products for consumer security.
Quick Heal Antivirus Plus 2009:
This is product has features like Antivirus, Antispyware, Firewall, Anti-malware, Anti-rootkit. The company has looked to expand its operations healthily in the recent times and has been one of the major players to surface and dent the share of Symantec and McAfee with their large presence in smaller towns and cities in India. This product is a basic offering and comes in single user as well as multiuser license packs comprising 2 user and 3 user.
Quick Heal Total Security 2009:
This product offers total security from remote as well as web enable threats. Apart from the features present in the Antivirus product, this also provides Antiphishing, Data Theft protection and PC2Mobile scan. So all together, the features add to provide 10-in-1 protection. The product comes in 1 user, 2 user and 3 user licenses.
These two products are placed on the higher end of the spectrum in terms of price. Quick Heal also offers decent levels of protection and has a fair service in terms of updates.
The company also owns a low cost product Guardian Antivirus which it uses to meet the low cost end of the price spectrum, thereby reaching out to a wider audience. There are 5 features built into the product comprising Antivirus, Antispyware, AntiRootkit, Antimalware and Privacy Protection.
For those of you looking to go for a low cost product, Guardian would come in handy. However, in terms of the depth of protection, it might be found wanting unlike its counterparts.
Kaspersky became a household name when it slashed its prices in India for 3 user licenses and this move helped the company capture a fair bit of market share. But the company found itself embroiled in counterfeit and piracy issues with regard to its keys for sometime. However, in the recent times it has been able to ward off these threats.
There are two offerings from Kaspersky labs which is a Russian brand.
Kaspersky Antivirus 2010:
The product offers protection from virus, spyware, updates for the same, deletion of internet cookies and history, colour coding for unsafe websites and a rescue disk tool apart from a few others features. The product does not have a firewall in the antivirus offering unlike Quick Heal and McAfee.
Of the two products from Kaspersky, its Kaspersky Internet Security 2009 sells more.
Kaspersky Internet Security 2010:
Kaspersky Internet Security along with the features of Antivirus provides protection from spam, phishing, identity theft. It also offers a two way firewall, secures wireless connections, parental control and a safe folder for storing sensitive data.
Internet Security was available in 3 user licenses in 2008 but in 2009 1 user licenses has also been introduced by the company owing to the popularity of the product. However, the 3 user license pack continues to be the ‘value for money’ proposition despite a a marginal increase in the prices in the last couple of months in India.
One of the relatively lesser known products of the lot, BitDefender is looking to gain grounds steadily in India. As a part of its offerings, it has three products:
BitDefender Antivirus 2009:
This offers most basic forms of protection through an Antivirus, Antispyware, Antiphishing and IM encryption. When compared on features with its counterparts, this product appears to be slightly lighter in nature.
BitDefender Internet Security 2009:
Internet security has Antispam and Firewall along with Parental control and File vault among its features apart from all the features being provided in the BitDefender Antivirus. Being a product for internet, exposure to threats from spam becomes an integral feature in the product.
BitDefender Total Security 2009:
There are two additional features in Total Security from Internet Security 2009, which includes file shredder and file vault. The user gets the crux of features in Internet Security 2009 offering and would be able to counter most of the vulnerabilities from it.
K7 computing has only one product which is its Total Security product. The product has features like antivirus, anti-spam, anti-spyware, privacy protection, parental control, two way firewall and a system monitor. It also falls in the low cost antivirus space although in popularity levels it is still to catch up with Kaspersky and Quick Heal.
So hope you find this article informative?
Then spread it and would appreciate your own personal opinion/experience on the above Anti Virus softwares.