Drop Commercial Antivirus?

kawzman

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Nov 27, 2013
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I’m a Maximum PC subscriber and read an article that surprised me. I’ve been Googling and reading through my favorite forums looking for other’s thoughts on the matter.

In the March 2015 issue, Get More Speed for Free article, Page 41; Tweak 8 recommends dropping commercial antivirus in favor of Windows Defender. Since Norton got their act together several years back and Norton is not “as much” a resource hog, I have been using their security suite. I currently utilize Norton Security 2015 on my desktop (Windows 7 SP1) and three laptops (an old HP Pavilion dv7 with Windows 7 SP1 and two Toshiba Satellite C55-A5302 with Windows 8.1).

While on deployment, with limited internet connectivity, Norton Security 2015 significantly slowed my HP laptop to the point that had to uninstall it once I determined that it was the culprit. The performance delta once removed was substantial. I returned home a few days ago and find myself hesitant to reinstall Norton Security 2015 after experiencing the performance boost. A potential contributing factor may have been access to unstable low bandwidth internet while in port Dutch Harbor about every two weeks (think mid to late 1990s dialup slow). Norton was sometimes able to download and install updates but rarely. Could incomplete updates have been a factor? Possibly but for only my laptop.

Maximum PC and other’s reviews of antivirus software typical rank Norton’s suite among the best and fastest but the decreased performance is obvious on all my laptops. At the same time I’m hesitant to trust the security protection options integrated into the Windows OS because, well, it’s Microsoft. Seeing how they’ve dropped the ball in the past compounded by the general negative perception makes it difficult to trust them with the security of my network and platforms. However, perception is not fact and I prefer to make informed decisions, hence my current research and trek of the forums. To complicate matters I have a wife and kids that are users so I need to protect my network from them as well since security also hinges on the user’s actions.

I also utilize Norton Family to implement parental controls for the kids on their laptops (Toshiba Satellite C55-A5302) and their user accounts on the desktop PC). Windows offers parental controls but not nearly as robust as Norton Family with the only features being time limits, game ratings, and program access. Does not offer online activity monitoring, filtering, or blocking.

So what are the thoughts here? I strive for realistic high performance on all my gear but not at the sacrifice of strict security measures needed to protect them. Admittedly, none of my laptops are top of the line but their purpose is really just for keeping the kids off my desktop and homework use while mine is something to use away from my desktop and while on deployment. It’s great that information on this topic is so readily available online but I have found, as with so many other topics, that there’s no shortage of conflicting opinions and facts in support of both sides.

Cheers,
Kawzman
 

Gentleman Jim

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Mar 4, 2015
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I have not dealt with Norton in a couple of years due to some of the issues that you referred to. I currently use BitDefender and have had no issues in any area and while I am not up to speed on their parental controls they do have what looks to be a solid parental control section. The main issue that you had with Norton (slow) is something I have not seen with BitDefender. Ibelieve they have a free trial offer so you could put this on one of your computers to see how you like it then if you feel it will do what you want then you can get the paid package.
 

kawzman

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Nov 27, 2013
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Thanks for the replies. Agreed that the best AV is the wet noodle and if it were me using my gear, my approach would be more simplified (not norton). But since I'm deployed months at a time I have to have something protecting the fam (mainly from themselves) with something that's fairly hands off.
 

Skylyne

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Sep 7, 2014
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Ummmmm.... the "best" AV is never connecting to the internet, never plugging anything into the computer, and basically never installing anything... just saying.

And no, using your head isn't usually going to be a very good method (just ask your typical PC user to download something, and watch the crap flood in). Whoever wrote the article you read must have been lobbied hard by Microsoft. Using MSE/Defender is going to give you a pretty useless AV experience, as shown in both real world and lab testing by many independent researchers. It's just a bad idea, and the only time I can see using MSE as "decent" is when you literally have no other option.

Stick with Norton, if you want, but I've never agreed with Symantec's security reputation (they don't really value user security, just check Wikipedia for a brief overview). Something that's lightweight and, IMHO, much more effective, like Bitdefender or Webroot, would be a better choice. Just my 2 cents.
 
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