I recently had reason to be pleased with my antivirus program, and I am purposely giving them a plug for a job well done.
The program I was using was a free version from a German company, Avira (avira.com), that was recommended in a Consumer’s Report article. As it updated several times almost every day, it displayed an advertisement to upgrade to their paid version (which I now have). I did not mind this and was even pleased to be reminded they were keeping me up-to-date.
Then, a few weeks ago, my computer became erratic. Often, none of my browsers would open, my sound disappeared, and 100% of my CPU was being used even when no applications were running. This happened mostly in the mornings and began again about five in the afternoon. Other times it worked, albeit slowly. In the past, when infected by a virus that I could not eliminate, I reinstalled the operating system (Windows XP), a simple procedure, but this put my computer back to the way it was when I first bought it. I then had to remove all of the original trial programs, reinstall all of my own programs, and reset the options so they operated the way I was familiar with. This was a major hassle and is a cure of last resort.
I ran a scan with the Avira program and it detected three Trojans in the boot sector. Trojans are a type of virus that allow someone else to use your computer, typically to spew out spam to other computers. Because they were in the boot sector, Avira could not delete them, but directed me to their web site for a tool that could. The tool created a boot disk that removed the Trojans when I rebooted. Since then, my computer seems to run even better than before, but maybe this is because I am so relieved. (All this was from a free service, remember.)
So, if the Avira antivirus is so good, why did it let in the Trojan? Trojans typically come through email that the free Avira version does not check. I was relying on Windows XP to block those, but Microsoft stopped supporting XP several months ago, and this meant I was not getting protection from new attacks by that route. Many people forward me interesting jokes and slide shows that have passed through many hands. Just like unsafe sex, an infection could be picked up anywhere along the line.
I since signed up for the Avira Premium for only $25 a year (a few cents less because the real price is in euros) that does check my email. I felt they deserved it, and it is only about half the price of other antiviral programs.
Good job, Avira.