A couple of years ago, I discovered that Symantec’s Norton 360 prevented Windows’ critical System Restore function from working [Norton 360 has (at least one) fatal flaw]. This flaw placed it on my “Not recommended” list.
For the past few months, suspicious pop-up ads had been appearing on a client’s Windows XP laptop that was protected by a current copy of Norton 360. Recently, it nagged her to purchase disinfection “from Microsoft” for an annual fee. The offer’s many misspellings raised her suspicion that maybe the offer wasn’t actually from Microsoft. A full scan by Norton 360 found no infections, yet the obnoxious pop-ups clearly indicated that the computer was infected..
When I scanned the laptop with SuperAntiSpyware and Malwarebytes’ Antimalware, they discovered 4 malware infections. Since Norton 360 had failed to do its job, I removed it (using Symantec’s software removal tool) and replaced it with Microsoft Security Essentials. Then Security Essentials found another malware infection.
I’m surprised that Norton 360 failed to defend against these infections. Symantec is a serious company and Norton 360 has an impressive user interface with many user-configurable parameters, but in this instance it didn’t work. Microsoft Security Essentials has a less impressive user interface, but it works pretty well.
Nobody (or computer program) is perfect.
I’m fond of saying, “There is no perfect anti-virus program”. All occasionally produce a false negative or a false positive, and relative performance varies from week to week. Av-comparatives.org publishes quarterly results of anti-virus program tests.
I’ve seen other big-name anti-virus programs fail before:
- Trend Micro: Even the best anti-virus / anti-malware strategy isn’t perfect
- Computer Associates: Another big name anti-virus program fails