Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Why I uninstalled Bitdefender and went with ESET NOD32

BitDefender has been my anti-virus for a few years now. I used to use Windows Defender before that, but it doesn't seem to have kept up, giving other manufacturers a chance. After reading many reviews and tests, I chose BitDefender as it seemed to have the best or near detection rate in multiple tests. I uninstalled it today. Here's why.

I've been using a utility called File Menu Tools (FMT) from Lopesoft for a long time, it's a Windows Explorer Context Menu that allows many file and folder operations within Windows Explorer without having to install a third party File Browser. One extremely useful feature it has is a file renamer tool that covers every scenario I need, including regular expressions. Today FMT requested an update. FMT doesn't update at all regularly, so I let it do it's thing. It seemed to make many calls and downloads which I thought a bit odd, but updates are rarely done as well as Chrome (completely silent and invisible to the user, which might have it's own disadvantages). BitDefender detected a virus and deleted it. Good, but a little upsetting that this little tool seems to have been the culprit. I semi-correctly guessed that FMT has decided to include advertising software along with it's update, but BitDefender took care of it. Unfortunately, it was worse.

I checked Task Manager and noticed a few new processes like bbqLeads and others. I'd been set up with a proxy and all my internet traffic was going through the proxy. I ran a scan with BitDefender which pickup NOTHING. I manually then hunted down the processes, and tried a few scans through VirusTotal, and hits were from ESET NOD32 every time and a few with TrendMicro-Housecall. After manually cleaning up the mess for about 2 hours, I uninstalled BitDefender and downloaded and installed ESET NOD32.

To make sure that ESET can live up to it's expectations, I went to the Lopesoft website and tried to download FMT. The big prominent download link was immediately blocked. I tried the mirror, which happens to be the actual download. The download started, but just before it completed, ESET warned me about a virus and blocked it. Awesome!

PC Magazine was one of the sources that highly recommends BitDefender, and I've had respect for them. They claim that ESET has poor malware blocking, but don't really mention BitDefender's blocking abilities. I don't know if this is a conspiracy or things have just changed since the publication. But, I'll just take their articles with a pinch of salt going forward.

It's really sad that software writers have to resort to this nasty habit of installing malware, often sneakily to make money. The Apple and Android app stores are great proof that charging reasonable prices can make you money. $1 - $5 is the sweet spot. When software costs about the price of a cup of coffee, it's a no-brainer. Mobile apps are no less complex than a windows or desktop app, the effort involved is comparable. There's no reason that you should try to charge more or tarnish your reputation by installing viruses with your software. Obviously, more complex and larger software should demand higher prices - but simpler and smaller ones that are obviously one-man jobs would greatly benefit from the mobile market model.

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