BullGuard Antivirus 2020 free download Archives - CrackORG

BullGuard Antivirus 2020 free download Archives

BullGuard Antivirus 2020 free download Archives

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TODAY'S BEST DEALS

Please note

This is our all-in-one roundup reviewing every BullGuard consumer security solution for 2021. On this page, after our brief intro, you’ll find

(a) a full evaluation of the entry-level BullGuard Antivirus, along with our reviews of the additional features incorporated with the rest of the range:

(b) BullGuard Internet Security, and  

(c) at the end of the article is our review of the top-of-the-range offering, BullGuard Premium Protection

You can jump to the reviews of those individual products by clicking on the links in the bar at the top of this page.

BullGuard is a London-based company which has been developing popular consumer antivirus software and security tools since 2002.

The starter BullGuard Antivirus product includes antivirus, anti-ransomware, malicious URL filtering, a vulnerability scanner, and surprisingly, a performance booster for games and other demanding full-screen applications. 24/7 customer support, including live chat, is available if you have any problems.

The big news in this release is BullGuard's enhanced Dynamic Machine Learning technology, which the company says now does an even better job of detecting and blocking even the very latest threats.

BullGuard Antivirus is priced at $30 for a single device, one-year license; $48 for two years, or $60 for three. That's decent value, cheaper than Bitdefender Antivirus Plus after you exclude the initial discount ($20 for year one to cover a single device, but $40 on renewal.) You can't add more devices to the same license to get even better value, though; Bitdefender supports up to ten, and most vendors support at least five.

BullGuard Internet Security extends the package with a firewall, parental controls, secure browser, cloud integrated backup and PC optimization tools, along with new support for Android and Mac.

A three device, one-year Internet Security license costs $60, rising to $100 for a two-year license, $120 over three. That's also a fair price. Kaspersky's Internet Security may be $40 to cover three devices for the first year, for instance, but it rises to $80 on renewal.

The top-of-the-range BullGuard Premium Protection takes everything in Internet Security, adds a home network scanner, and introduces a major new feature in BullGuard's Experian-powered Identity Protection. 

The service monitors the dark web for signs that your personal details have been stolen. Email addresses, telephone number, credit and debit cards, driver’s license, passport and more are all covered, with BullGuard raising the alert if your data has leaked. 

That's a big improvement on the email-only coverage you'll get with some suites, and the service is available in more countries than most, too: United Kingdom, USA, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Canada, Denmark, Republic of Ireland, Finland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden and Turkey.

Prices start at $100 to cover up to ten devices for one year, $160 for a two-year license, $300 for three.

Oddly, if you need to cover ten devices, BullGuard Premium Protection is significantly cheaper than Internet Security ($100 vs $141 for a one-year license.) Yes, you pay less to get more features. We don't understand it, either, but we're not complaining. If you're looking to buy, be sure to check the prices for all combinations of subscription length and device numbers; they may not be what you expect.

Right now, at least, Premium Protection looks like fair value. Norton 360 Deluxe has more security features and similar dark web monitoring, for instance, but even covering five devices for a year costs $40 for the first term, $105 afterwards. McAfee Total Protection Individuals/ Couples is more of a bargain, though, getting you antivirus and dark web monitoring for $50 to cover five devices over two years, $100 on renewal.

Can't make up your mind? No problem. You can check out a 15-day trial of BullGuard Antivirus, and there are 30-day builds of BullGuard Premium Protection and the intermediate BullGuard Internet Security. You're protected by a further 30-day money-back guarantee, giving you plenty of time to be sure this is the right antivirus for you.

BullGuard Antivirus

BullGuard's trial builds are easy to find on the website, and we had our BullGuard Antivirus installer downloaded within seconds.

BullGuard Antivirus added a long list of components on our test system. After rebooting, we found it had grabbed 800MB+ of disk space, added 10 new background processes and assorted other extras.

While this looks more heavyweight than most, our tests told a different story. We ran benchmark PCMark Professional before and after installing BullGuard Antivirus, and our score dropped by a tiny 0.5%. That just edged ahead of Kaspersky Antivirus, our previous lightweight champion, and is a welcome improvement on most of the competition (Avast, Trend Micro, Sophos and others cut our system speeds by 3% and more.)

It's important that an antivirus is able to prevent itself being disabled by malware. We check this by trying to delete key files, close processes, stop services and assorted other tricks. In our last review we discovered a couple of self-protection issues, but BullGuard has since built up its defenses, and this time not one of our attacks could penetrate its digital armor. Whatever we did, nothing compromised BullGuard's security.

Features

The BullGuard Antivirus interface is a little cluttered, especially for a starter package. Rather than having its main screen focus entirely on antivirus and your security status, the program divides it up into eight or nine small panels.

Only one of these relates to antivirus – two more cover vulnerability scanning and the performance-optimizing Game Booster, which are handy features, but not ones you'll need to look at daily. The remaining six (BullGuard VPN, Firewall, Backup, PC Tune-up, Parental Control, Secure Browser) are greyed out or unavailable as they're not included in BullGuard Antivirus.

While this is a waste of valuable on-screen real-estate, it doesn't make the package any more difficult to use. A drop-down list displays the actions you can take – Quick Scan, Full Scan, Custom

Hidden away in the Settings is an option to add further scan types, which BullGuard calls Antivirus Profiles. You could use this to create custom scans where you get precise control over which areas of the system are checked, what files are examined, the way the scan is run (manually, on a schedule) and what the program does if it finds any threats. Not everyone needs or will even notice this, but it's good to have the option available.

BullGuard Antivirus also provides real-time protection, and for the most part that worked as we expected. Dangerous downloads were automatically scanned and blocked, for instance, and the package immediately detected malware we unpacked from a password-protected archive.

We noticed one limitation, though, in email scanning. BullGuard Antivirus doesn't scan incoming emails at the network level, instead using email client add-ins (Outlook and Thunderbird are supported). If you're using another client, or the add-in doesn't work or gets disabled, your emails won't be checked.

If you read your emails in a browser, this won't be an issue. And even if you're affected, BullGuard's real-time protection should detect and block any malicious attachments as soon as they're saved or opened. Still, it could mean some users will lose a layer of security they'll often get with other vendors.

Our tests found scans times were a little faster than usual, with 50GB of test executables taking 23 minutes for the first run and 3:16 for the second. Scans didn't noticeably affect the performance of our system, either, and we were able to continue working without any active scan getting in our way.

BullGuard Antivirus supports a simple vulnerability scan, which checks your Wi-Fi security, auto-run settings for mobile devices, Windows Update status and whether your drivers are digitally signed. This doesn't look as extensive as vulnerability scans from Kaspersky and Avast, and even these few checks didn't work quite as we expected. 

The scan told us we were missing one Windows Security Update, for instance, and directed us to Windows Update to install it. But Windows Update said we were up to date; there was nothing to install.

The Vulnerability Scan should report on any issues with the digital signatures of installed drivers, too, but this also didn't work for us. The console displayed a 'Checking...' message with a flashing icon indicating it was busy doing something, but never completed the process or displayed any results.

Still, the scan correctly reported our network status, autorun and Windows Update settings, and if you have nothing similar, that could still give you genuinely useful information.

BullGuard's final highlight is its Game Booster, an interesting tool which recognizes when games or other full-screen applications are running, and tries to improve their performance by giving them a greater share of system resources. Although this has nothing to do with antivirus or security, it's aiming to combat the notion that installing an antivirus will slow down your PC.

The Game Booster works by shifting user processes (and optionally, system processes) to use the same CPU cores, reducing their demands on your system resources and making a greater share available to the game.

It's a smart idea, and independent testing has shown very positive results. Gaming rig builder ChillBlast benchmarked the game-related performance of BullGuard Internet Security against Kaspersky, AVG, Norton, McAfee and even Microsoft Defender. Not only did BullGuard deliver the best performance, it was even faster than a control system with no antivirus installed.

In other words, installing BullGuard Antivirus didn't reduce gaming performance, it actually improved matters. We wouldn't choose an antivirus based on that, alone – security issues should come first, after all – but it's an interesting feature, and could be very appealing to some users.

Protection

BullGuard Antivirus isn't assessed by AV-Comparatives or SE-Labs, but AV-Test includes BullGuard Internet Security in its Windows antivirus reports, and they give us some useful pointers to its likely performance.

The September-October 2020 results saw BullGuard block 100% of well-known malware in both tests. The package also blocked 100% of zero-day threats in November, and 99.4% in December. That's an above-average performance, and pushed BullGuard high enough up the results table to earn one of AV-Test's Top Product awards.

Some companies did better - Bitdefender blocked 100% of threats across all six reports in the past year - but the difference is marginal, and BullGuard performed very well overall.

These lab tests are lengthy and thorough, but they don't always provide the specific information we need, and so we also assess antivirus packages by running smaller tests of our own.

Our first saw test apps use common malware-like tricks to exploit standard Windows tools and download malicious files. BullGuard Antivirus handled these well, not only spotting most of the dubious behavior, but correctly figuring out that our test apps were responsible, and closing them down. (That's more difficult than it sounds, and very few antiviruses manage to do it properly.)

BullGuard Antivirus blocks malicious URLs at the network level, so there's no need to weigh down your browser with extra extensions (plus, of course, it covers all your apps.) Smart behavior monitoring meant we couldn't use our automated testing apps, as BullGuard closed them down when it recognized they were accessing malicious sites. Switching to manual entry, though, we found it blocked an above-average number of test URLs, and clearly displayed the reason in our browser window, ensuring we always knew what was going on.

Anti-ransomware

Our most advanced test uses a custom ransomware simulator which attempts to encrypt thousands of documents. By creating this threat ourselves, we ensure an antivirus can't recognize it from the file signature alone, making the program an interesting test of BullGuard's behavior monitoring.

The engine missed the threat in our last review, but not this time, recognizing the danger and killing our simulator's process in a fraction of a second. And we do mean a fraction; the simulator only had time to encrypt four files, the second-best performance we've seen. (Trend Micro trod on our app after it trashed three files, Kaspersky took five, Bitdefender ten, Norton waited for 57, and G Data lost 406.)

That's not quite as good as it sounds, because Bitdefender, Kaspersky and Trend Micro automatically recovered the encrypted files, ensuring no data was lost. BullGuard couldn't do that, and our four files were effectively trashed.

Still, many antiviruses miss our simulator entirely, allowing it to encrypt thousands of file. We'd like to see file recovery support, but in the meantime, if we had a ransomware attack and lost only four documents, that would mostly feel like a success.

Final verdict

BullGuard Antivirus is lightweight, configurable, and has an unusual speedup extra in its Game Booster. Protection isn't quite leading edge, but it delivered solid results in our tests, and the package did a better than average job in keeping us safe.

BullGuard Internet Security

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BullGuard Review 2021: What Makes This Antivirus So Special?

BullGuard offers advanced anti-malware protection, some pretty useful extra features, and a really good game booster that enhances PC performance for gamers. BullGuard’s anti-malware scanner is one of the best on the market — it uses a malware database and dynamic machine learning to block both known and zero-day threats with a 100% success rate.

BullGuard also comes with some excellent security features, including:

  • Firewall & network scanner.
  • Game booster & PC tune-up.
  • Parental controls.
  • Secure browser.
  • ID protection (US, Canada, and Western Europe).
  • VPN (virtual private network — sold separately).
  • And a lot more…

My favorite BullGuard feature is the game booster which boosts CPU performance while playing GPU-intensive games. Before I used BullGuard, I had to turn off my antivirus while gaming, so it’s really cool that BullGuard is able to improve gaming performance. I also really like that the game booster is available on all of BullGuard’s plans, including the cheapest Antivirus plan.

I also really like BullGuard’s identity theft protection, which uses Experian’s international credit monitoring database to monitor a wide range of personally identifying information (PII), including credit cards, home addresses, email addresses, and driver’s license numbers.

However, I don’t like all of BullGuard’s features — the parental controls could use some improvement and the VPN isn’t good enough to justify a separate purchase. Plus, the user interface (UI) is difficult to navigate, with some settings hidden under multiple drop-down lists and windows. I’m also not a huge fan of BullGuard’s macOS app (it only has a virus scanner), and I don’t like that BullGuard doesn’t have an iOS app. If you’re looking for Mac or iOS protection, check out our recommendations for the best Mac antiviruses and the best iOS antiviruses.

Despite these downsides, BullGuard provides excellent protection against malware, phishing sites, and network attacks while also offering helpful performance-boosting extras. All of BullGuard’s plans are reasonably priced, and they all come with a 30-day risk-free money-back guarantee.

Overall Rank#8 out of 66 antiviruses
FirewallYes
VPNYes (separate purchase)
Free PlanNo
PricingStarting at /year
Money-Back Guarantee30 days
Operating SystemsWindows, Android, Mac

Risk-Free For 30 Days — Try BullGuard Now

BullGuard Full Review

BullGuard has all of the features I want to see in a high-quality Windows antivirus in 2021.

Most of BullGuard’s features are well-designed, intuitive, and useful, significantly boosting your cybersecurity protections. And all of BullGuard’s plans are reasonably priced, offering premium protection for less than most competitors.

My biggest complaint with BullGuard is that its Mac app lacks most of the extra features that make its Windows app so great. I’d also like to see BullGuard offer an iOS app. But if you’re only looking for protection for your Windows and Android devices, BullGuard is one of the best choices around.

BullGuard Security Features

Virus Scanner

BullGuard’s virus scanner is one of the best virus scanners on the market. It uses advanced machine learning and a massive malware database to detect all kinds of threats. The malware database cross-references user files against a huge list of known malware, while the machine learning engine analyzes file behavior to detect zero-day threats as well as rootkits (which can deceive traditional malware scanners).

BullGuard provides 3 scan options:

  • Quick Scan. Scans the parts of the system where viruses are typically found, like temporary files, running processes, and the registry.
  • Full Scan. Scans the entire disk.
  • Custom Scan. Scans a single folder, file, or any specific disk location.

For my testing, I downloaded a huge archive of 997 malware samples to my PC, including viruses, trojans, worms, ransomware, spyware, adware, keyloggers, rootkits, and cryptojackers. I saved these samples in different locations around my disk, changing their file names. I even compressed some of the malware files in a ZIP archive.

Then, I ran BullGuard’s Quick Scan — it took less than a minute on my computer, which is faster than most other antiviruses (Bitdefender took around 5 minutes to complete a quick scan).

The Quick Scan found all of the malware files in my temporary files, registry, and running processes — however, it didn’t dig any deeper into my program files and system files where a lot of my test malware was hidden. Upon detecting malware on my system, BullGuard prompted me to initiate a Full Scan. The Full Scan took only 45 minutes, and it detected all of the malware files on my disk, including zipped malware and ransomware test files that many competitors failed to detect.

Unfortunately, there was quite a bit of CPU drain while running both scans. The slowdown was pretty noticeable, and it prevented me from streaming HD video during BullGuard’s antivirus scans — I even had to restart my computer when it crashed in the middle of a scan. In my testing, cloud-based scanners like Bitdefender barely took up any CPU strength, allowing me to use my devices as usual during full disk scans.

However, BullGuard didn’t impact my system performance in between scans, which is why I appreciate BullGuard’s scan scheduling tool. I scheduled BullGuard to perform a Full Scan twice a week at 3:00 am — when I wouldn’t be using my computer.

Overall, BullGuard has an excellent malware scanner. It detected malware as quickly and effectively as top competitors, and while I found the slowdown during scans frustrating, I still trust BullGuard 100% to keep computers safe from every type of malware in 2021.

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Real-Time Protection

BullGuard’s real-time protection is really good — it provides excellent anti-malware protection and it runs in the background with zero slowdown. BullGuard’s real-time protection actively monitors downloads and web activity, scans every file before you open it, and it also monitors running processes to prevent new malware files from being downloaded or opened on your system.

To test the real-time protection, I attempted to download the same collection of 997 malware files that I used to test BullGuard’s disk scanner. BullGuard’s real-time protection detected all 997 malware samples, blocking the downloads before they could be installed on my computer. BullGuard’s real-time protection also prevented ransomware, cryptojacker, and keylogger files from running on my system, blocking and flagging them before they could do any damage to my PC.

Advanced users can also turn BullGuard’s “security level” up or down in the antivirus settings. However, I don’t really recommend changing the real-time protection settings — in my testing, raising the security level brought up an annoying amount of false positives, while lowering the security level allowed a few sketchy files through.

Overall, I was really impressed with BullGuard’s real-time protection. It blocked every single malware file I tried to download, and it stopped my PC from opening suspicious malware files before they could make any changes on my computer.

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Game Booster

BullGuard’s game booster automatically detects when you’re playing games on your PC and optimizes your CPU usage to improve game performance. Other antiviruses, such as Norton 360, have a gaming mode, which simply delays virus scans and notifications while in-game. BullGuard also suspends CPU-intensive scans while gaming, but it provides additional performance enhancement, too — this is why BullGuard scored #1 on our list of the best gaming antiviruses in 2021.

Game booster works on desktop computers with four core processors and makes sure two of those cores are dedicated to gaming, while other applications are pulled onto one or two of the remaining free cores. This gives your PC more power to run high-performance games and maintain a high framerate, even in CPU-demanding areas.

I tested the game booster on Halo: The Master Chief Collection. When I booted up Halo, the game booster widget popped up, informing me that Halo was currently being optimized. After that, BullGuard’s game booster ran in the background without interrupting my gameplay.

During gameplay, there was a noticeable increase in frame-rate with the game booster turned on. I was able to run Halo with the highest graphics settings on CPU-intensive Forge maps featuring tons of vehicles, which would normally result in some glitches like screen tearing and slow down.

Overall, I’m a huge fan of BullGuard’s game booster — unlike most competitors whose gaming modes just pause scans and notifications, BullGuard’s game booster actually makes your games run faster and smoother (which is why I think BullGuard is the best antivirus for gamers).

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Firewall

BullGuard’s firewall operates silently in the background, monitoring inbound and outbound traffic and offering protection against various threats, such as exploits, man-in-the-middle attacks, backdoor intrusions, and rootkits. The firewall is always on — you don’t need to open the software or adjust anything, as it’s always scanning and protecting your network.

In my testing, BullGuard’s firewall detected every network intrusion I tried to run through it — including the ones that got through on Windows 10’s default firewall.

While the default firewall settings are definitely good enough for most users, I really like that BullGuard provides customization options for more advanced users. From the main BullGuard dashboard, there’s a simple drop-down menu with 4 security options:

  • Manage Rules. Tells BullGuard which programs can access the internet.
  • Logs. Logs all traffic coming in and out of your network.
  • Network Activity. Displays local and remote IP addresses in your network.
  • Settings. Provides options to block specific hosts, choose which notifications to receive, etc.

BullGuard’s Logs and Network Activity functions record a searchable list of all the activity happening on your network, allowing tech-savvy users to investigate and diagnose possible network issues. However, most users will be able to just let BullGuard’s firewall run and simply select “Allow” or “Block” when Bullguard offers security notifications.

BullGuard’s firewall provides excellent protection — it blocked every single network intrusion in my testing, it provides a simple interface for most users, and it also has layers of in-depth customization for more advanced users.

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Network Scanner

BullGuard’s network scanner lists all of the devices connected to a Wi-Fi network and analyzes them for security issues. BullGuard’s network scanner can tell you if your devices have open ports (which can be exploited by hackers), if they aren’t password-protected, and if the network you’re accessing is insecure. It can also perform on-demand scans and real-time monitoring.

The network scanner even sends a notification each time a new device logs onto your network. This is a useful feature, especially if you live in a city or crowded apartment building where people may try and hijack your Wi-Fi.

During my tests, I ran an on-demand scan on my home network, and BullGuard displayed a list of all my devices, along with information about their security settings and connection speed. The network scanner also saves each scan as a report, so you can identify any unusual changes happening over time by comparing reports.

The network scanner is a convenient feature that can analyze and alert users to vulnerabilities in their home networks. It’s straightforward to use and it provides a useful layer of protection for any Wi-Fi user.

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PC Tune-Up

BullGuard’s PC tune-up provides 4 different performance-enhancing options. These are:

  • Optimize. Labels and erases unnecessary background processes and PUPs (potentially unwanted programs).
  • Cleanup helper. Indexes junk files and provides graphic data about what’s on your computer.
  • Boot manager. Displays all apps that run automatically on startup along with their load times, so you can optimize your boot sequence.
  • Duplicate files. Quickly scans for duplicates on all drives, so you can delete or organize them.

I had a good experience with BullGuard’s system clean-up tools. The Cleanup Helper took about 15 minutes to scan my 3TB hard drive, and it cleared out more than 1.5 GB of bloatware and non-essential data.

Overall, the PC tune-up is a helpful feature that can save you gigabytes of space on your hard drive and make your system run faster.

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Parental Controls

BullGuard provides a ton of parental controls, but only a few of them are really good. For desktop users, BullGuard’s parental controls offer 4 main features:

  • Filters. Filters online content by blocking specific types of websites.
  • Access. Restricts device use to specific times of the day and week.
  • Applications. Blocks certain apps from being used by locking them behind a passcode.
  • Privacy. Prevents specific keywords and data from being sent or even entered into a browser.

BullGuard’s filters block a wide variety of sites, with options ranging from pornography to pirated software. Unfortunately, in my testing, BullGuard was pretty inconsistent with its filtering. It successfully blocked almost every pornographic site, but it also blocked access to websites with kid-friendly news — such as Kotaku, a popular gaming and pop culture site. BullGuard also failed to block some sketchy content, such as pornographic searches in Google Images.

That said, I was able to easily add unsafe sites to a blocked URL list as well as whitelist sites that BullGuard unnecessarily blocked.

The Access feature allows you to limit device usage, internet access, or both. I found it simple to use this feature and schedule usage limits, but I’d prefer to be able to set time limits on specific applications — a feature provided by Norton 360’s parental controls.

The Privacy filter keeps kids from entering data like phone numbers and credit cards online. However, it didn’t work as well as I had hoped, allowing me to enter credit card info into both Amazon and Gmail.

BullGuard also includes parental controls for Android users, which are controlled through BullGuard’s online dashboard, where you can:

  • Send a command to the phone to initiate an antivirus scan.
  • Track the phone’s location.
  • Send commands to locate, wipe, backup, or sound an alarm on the phone.
  • Monitor installed apps and see photos on your kid’s mobile device.

Unfortunately, I found the parental controls on mobile to be lacking. You can monitor which apps are installed on your kid’s device and see the photos they have saved — but there’s no way to uninstall apps or to prevent your kids from accessing them. Other parental controls for mobile users — such as Bitdefender — have the same functionality as their PC counterpart, including blocking apps or certain websites.

Overall, BullGuard’s parental controls provide basic functionality for users that don’t need a ton of restrictive controls. However, if you’re looking for better content filtering, app limitations, and monitoring, there are better options out there, including Norton, McAfee, Bitdefender, and Kaspersky. That said, BullGuard’s parental controls are still an ok choice for users looking to increase their kids’ online safety.

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Secure Browser

BullGuard’s secure browser checks to see if the websites you visit have valid security certificates and operate on trusted domains. The secure browser also stops hijackers from intercepting important information — such as credit card details and passwords — when you enter your details into sites like Amazon.

The secure browser performed well in my tests, blocking known phishing sites and sites known to host malicious scripts and files. However, the browser doesn’t support extensions and it loads a little bit slower than Chrome — you can check out our list of the most secure browsers if you’re looking for a high-security browser with more features than BullGuard provides.

Overall, BullGuard’s secure web browser is a pretty good security-focused browser, but I wouldn’t recommend it for everyday use.

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Identity Protection

BullGuard’s ID protection scans the dark web, credit bureaus, forums, social media, and breach databases for an impressive variety of different personally identifying information (PII). This feature is only available for users in the US, Canada, and some European countries (still better than Norton and McAfee, which only provide ID theft protection for US users).

Here are the types of PII that BullGuard monitors:

  • Email.
  • Phone.
  • Credit/debit cards.
  • Driving license.
  • Passport.
  • Store/membership cards.
  • National IDs.
  • International bank accounts.

Most competitors with dark web monitoring only check email addresses against haveibeenpwned.com’s database of publicly available breached information. However, BullGuard’s identity theft tool is powered by Experian, the international credit conglomerate.

BullGuard’s ID protection is only included in Premium Protection, but it’s a really good value — Experian’s standalone IdentityWorks service costs more than BullGuard Premium Protection, without providing any of BullGuard’s other security features.

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BullGuard VPN (Separate Purchase)

BullGuard’s VPN is secure, maintains fast speeds, and works with Netflix and other streaming services — but it’s only available as a separate purchase. It has most of the security features I want to see in a premium VPN in 2021, including 256-bit AES encryption, a strict no-logs policy, and a kill switch (terminating your internet connection if the VPN connection drops).

BullGuard’s VPN also has servers in 16 countries, which is ok but nothing special — antivirus VPNs like Norton Secure VPN have servers in 30+ countries worldwide, whereas standalone VPNs like ExpressVPN have servers in 90+ countries.

BullGuard’s VPN also maintains pretty good speeds. When I was connected to local servers, I was able to browse the internet and stream video content without any slowdown or lags. There was a noticeable decrease in speed when I was connected to distant servers, but this is to be expected — plus, even on the distant servers I was able to watch video with only minor buffering.

Here are the results of my speed test without a VPN:

Here are the results of my speed tests when connected to a local server:

Here are the results of my speed tests when connected to a distant server:

As you can see from the images above, my internet speed was almost unaffected when I was connected to a local server. On the most distant server, which was in Australia, my download speed increased — it was actually faster than it was without a VPN — but my ping was noticeably higher, which was apparent while browsing and streaming (pages and videos took 15-20 seconds to load).

BullGuard is also a great choice for accessing international streaming services, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu. During my tests, I was consistently able to access these streaming sites, and because of BullGuard’s good speeds, I could even watch movies and TV shows in HD.

The only downside of BullGuard’s VPN is that it’s sold separately from BullGuard’s antivirus packages, at a similar cost as standalone VPN competitors. This is disappointing, as many other antiviruses, like Norton and Avira, include a VPN in their internet security packages.

Overall, BullGuard’s VPN is one of the best antivirus VPNs I tested, but it’s hard to justify purchasing it when you can get a standalone VPN with more servers and features for a similar price.

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Additional Features

BullGuard provides a few additional features, such as:

  • Vulnerability scanner. Identifies weaknesses on your computer, such as pending Windows updates and unsigned drivers.
  • Cloud backup. Allows you to backup documents, photos, music, videos, and other files to Google Drive, DropBox, OneDrive, or an external HDD.

BullGuard’s vulnerability scanner is pretty useful — unpatched vulnerabilities are one of the main vectors of malware infection, so it’s always good to have another layer of security to ensure that your software is up-to-date.

However, the cloud backup tool depends on users already having a subscription to a cloud backup service — there’s no reason to use BullGuard for this when every cloud backup service has its own easy-to-use app for its subscribers.

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BullGuard Plans and Pricing

BullGuard offers 3 different plans. They all come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can give BullGuard a try risk-free and decide if it’s right for you.

BullGuard Antivirus — Good Entry-Level Antivirus (PC Only)

BullGuard Antivirusworks on Windows only, covers just 1 device, and provides just 3 features:

  • Antivirus. Real-time malware protection and on-demand disk scans.
  • Vulnerability scanner. Scans programs to check if you need updates.
  • Game booster. Boosts gaming performance.

Overall, this plan is pretty minimal, but it’s also pretty cheap and comes with BullGuard’s industry-leading anti-malware engine with real-time protection and the top-of-the-line game booster. It’s a great option for users that just want a top-quality antivirus (and the game booster is a cool extra).

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BullGuard Internet Security — Best Value for Most Users

Internet Securityis BullGuard’s best-value plan. It covers 3 devices, works on Windows, macOS, and Android, and is a bit cheaper than competitors like Norton 360.

BullGuard Internet Security includes all of the features in BullGuard Antivirus, plus:

  • Secure browser. Keeps your internet browsing secure and allows for safe transactions.
  • Firewall. Monitors inbound and outbound traffic and protects you from online threats.
  • Parental controls. Monitor and control what sites and apps your kids can use and restrict screen time.
  • PC tune-up. Cleans up junk files and optimizes your startup.
  • Cloud backup. Backs up essential files in secure storage on the cloud.

I’m not a huge fan of BullGuard’s parental controls, and I don’t think the cloud backup feature adds any real value. However, the firewall, secure browser, and PC tune-up tools are all excellent features that worked really well during all of my tests.

Overall, Internet Security is a well-rounded internet security package that comes with all of the features most users need to stay safe online — and it’s pretty affordable.

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BullGuard Premium Protection — Excellent ID Protection

Premium Protection provides all of the same features as BullGuard Internet Security, plus the network scanner and ID protection features — and Premium Protection can cover up to 10 devices.

For users with more devices, this is a great option. Also, BullGuard’s identity theft protections are some of the best on the market for users in the US, Canada, and Europe. I think Norton 360 with LifeLock is a better value, but LifeLock only works for US users.

BullGuard Premium Protection comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it with no risk.

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BullGuard Ease of Use and Setup

BullGuard doesn’t have the most attractive user interface — it packs many features into a small space and hides some important settings behind multiple drop-down menus.

For example, scheduling scans is much harder than it needs to be.

Here’s what I had to do to schedule a scan. First, I had to select the Antivirus tab from the dashboard and click “Settings.”

Then, in the antivirus settings, I had to go into the “Advanced Tab” and click “Manage Profiles.”

I was then taken to yet another window that gave me the options to customize and schedule scans.

As you can see, the user interface isn’t very intuitive. However, once I figured out where everything was, I could navigate the software pretty quickly. But when competitors like Norton and Kaspersky offer such clean and streamlined interfaces, it’s frustrating to have to deal with BullGuard’s clunky menus, submenus, and pop-up windows.

On the plus side, installing BullGuard is straightforward. You can do it in a couple of clicks once you make an account, and when you first launch the software, it automatically updates the virus definitions in its database, so you’re ready to start a scan straight away.

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BullGuard Mobile App

BullGuard Mobile Security Premium is an excellent Android security app included in the Internet Security and Premium Protection plans. Unfortunately, there’s no iOS app — iOS users should check out our list of the best internet security apps for iOS.

BullGuard’s Android app includes a lot of useful features:

  • Antivirus scanner. Provides real-time scanning and system scans to protect against mobile malware.
  • Theft protection. Allows you to lock, wipe, locate, or even set off an alarm if your phone is stolen or missing.
  • Parental control. Includes location tracking, content blocking, call monitoring, and photo monitoring.
  • Cloud backup. Backs up messages, calendars, and contacts to an encrypted server.

I tested the Android app on my Huawei P30 Lite. The antivirus scanner did well, catching 100% of the malware I tested against it. The mobile app is also a lot easier to navigate than the PC version. The design is really nice, and I didn’t once struggle finding where any of the features were located.

What’s more, the mobile app has excellent anti-theft tools, which link to BullGuard’s Mobile Security Manager (BullGuard’s online dashboard).

I gave the anti-theft tools permission to locate and wipe my device. With these settings enabled, I then navigated to BullGuard’s online dashboard.

I was really impressed when BullGuard pinpointed my phone to my exact address:

However, I couldn’t figure out how to lock my device from the web app. It turns out this feature is only available on older Android models (versions 4.x – 6.x), which is a shame, especially when competitors like Bitdefender let you remotely lock newer phones.

Overall, however, BullGuard’s mobile app is really great. The antivirus scanner and theft protections worked really well in my tests, and all the time I had BullGuard running, there weren’t any crashes or slowdown on my Android.

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BullGuard Customer Support

BullGuard offers a wide range of customer support options, including:

  • 24/7 live chat.
  • Email support.
  • Prioritized help.
  • Blog.
  • Forum.
  • Product guides.
  • Product release notes.

BullGuard’s live chat is excellent (available in English, Danish, Dutch, French, German, and Romanian). I tested the English support and connected with a customer service representative in less than a minute. The representative was able to answer all of my questions in a matter of minutes, which is really impressive.

After my conversation with the live chat agent, I tested the email support (available in the languages above + Chinese). Unfortunately, email support took 4 days to respond to my email. Given how prompt BullGuard’s live chat reps are, I don’t think there’s much reason to use BullGuard’s email support system.

BullGuard’s prioritized help feature is an awesome tool, especially for less experienced users. BullGuard’s expert team can actually remotely scan your PC or Android and identify malware and other vulnerabilities for you. They can also remotely install and set up BullGuard on your PC or Android and tune-up your devices.

I set up an appointment and managed to get live help in less than an hour. An agent took control of my PC and ran a full malware scan, catching test files I’d hidden throughout my system. The service costs extra, but one payment allows for 3 months of premium support, so it’s worthwhile for users who aren’t confident in running antivirus software.

The forums are another really helpful way to find answers to simple questions. I posted a problem on the forum, expecting another BullGuard user to help me, but instead got a reply from an official customer support agent in less than an hour.

Overall, I’m very impressed by BullGuard’s customer support. The live chat agents are prompt and responsive, the forums are fairly detailed with official support, and the prioritized support tool is an awesome asset for less tech-savvy users.

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Is BullGuard One of the Best Antiviruses in 2021?

BullGuard has a powerful anti-malware scanner and comes with the best gaming mode on the market. BullGuard’s advanced machine learning software and massive malware database caught 100% of the malware in my testing, and the game booster feature actually increased my framerate when I tested it during gameplay.

BullGuard also has a ton of high-quality extras. Its firewall and network monitor provide cutting-edge protection from network intrusion, exploits, and back-door attacks, while the identity theft protections are probably the best around, providing up-to-the-minute updates on credit changes for users in the US, Canada, and several European countries.

And BullGuard’s Android app is also very good, providing an excellent virus scanner, decent parental controls, and some of the best anti-theft tools on the market.

However, I do have some complaints. BullGuard’s Mac antivirus is just a simple virus scanner, there’s no iOS app, and the user interface can be really counterintuitive. I also think the parental controls could use some improvement.

Overall, BullGuard provides excellent security for Windows and Android users, and it’s my top choice for gamers, too. That said, premium competitors like Norton, McAfee, and Bitdefender provide similar features for a slightly better value.

But if you’re interested in BullGuard, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of its plans, so you can try it out risk-free and see if it’s right for you.

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BullGuard— Frequently Asked Questions

Does BullGuard really have the best antivirus for gamers?

BullGuard has my favorite gaming mode of any other antivirus software. If you’re looking to increase gaming performance while your antivirus is running, I definitely recommend BullGuard.

Unlike typical antivirus gaming modes, BullGuard does more than just suspend scans and notifications while you’re gaming. The unique game booster mode allocates background processes and memory functions off of the processors running your games, so your processors can dedicate 100% of their power to high-performance gaming.

Is BullGuard’s VPN secure? Is it fast?

BullGuard’s VPN is really good. It’s secure, fast, and unblocks Netflix and other streaming sites.

But BullGuard’s VPN is only available as a separate purchase, so you could just purchase a subscription to a standalone VPN like ExpressVPN for a similar price and get access to better features.

Is BullGuard good for macOS and iOS?

Not really. BullGuard offers a weak macOS antivirus scanner and no iOS security software whatsoever.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive antivirus solution for your Mac, take a look at our list of the best antiviruses for Mac. If you need a security app for iOS, check out this list here.

Does BullGuard have a free version?

No. However, BullGuard does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of its antivirus packages.

While there are a handful of free antivirus programs available (Avira is my favorite free antivirus), it’s always best to secure your devices with a low-cost premium antivirus like BullGuard.

That said, BullGuard’s Mobile Security is one of the best free Android antiviruses on the market. It offers robust protections for free, including virus scanning, anti-theft, and Wi-Fi monitoring.

Источник: [https://torrent-igruha.org/3551-portal.html]
Stay Ahead Of Zero Day ThreatsArchived April 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. Enterprise.comodo.com (June 20, 2014). Retrieved on 2017-01-03.
  • ^Kiem, Hoang; Thuy, Nguyen Yhanh and Quang, Truong Minh Nhat (December 2004) "A Machine Learning Approach to Anti-virus System", Joint Workshop of Vietnamese Society of AI, SIGKBS-JSAI, ICS-IPSJ and IEICE-SIGAI on Active Mining; Session 3: Artificial Intelligence, Vol. 67, pp. 61–65
  • ^Data Mining Methods for Malware Detection. 2008. pp. 15–. ISBN . Archived from the original on March 20, 2017.
  • ^Dua, Sumeet; Du, Xian (April 19, 2016). Data Mining and Machine Learning in Cybersecurity. CRC Press. pp. 1–. ISBN . Archived from the original on March 20, 2017.
  • ^Firdausi, Ivan; Lim, Charles; Erwin, Alva; Nugroho, Anto Satriyo (2010). "Analysis of Machine learning Techniques Used in Behavior-Based Malware Detection". 2010 Second International Conference on Advances in Computing, Control, and Telecommunication Technologies. p. 201. doi:10.1109/ACT.2010.33. ISBN . S2CID 18522498.
  • ^Siddiqui, Muazzam; Wang, Morgan C.; Lee, Joohan (2008). "A survey of data mining techniques for malware detection using file features". Proceedings of the 46th Annual Southeast Regional Conference on XX – ACM-SE 46. p. 509. doi:10.1145/1593105.1593239. ISBN . S2CID 729418.
  • ^Deng, P.S.; Jau-Hwang Wang; Wen-Gong Shieh; Chih-Pin Yen; Cheng-Tan Tung (2003). "Intelligent automatic malicious code signatures extraction". IEEE 37th Annual 2003 International Carnahan Conference on Security Technology, 2003. Proceedings. p. 600. doi:10.1109/CCST.2003.1297626. ISBN . S2CID 56533298.
  • ^Komashinskiy, Dmitriy; Kotenko, Igor (2010). "Malware Detection by Data Mining Techniques Based on Positionally Dependent Features". 2010 18th Euromicro Conference on Parallel, Distributed and Network-based Processing. p. 617. doi:10.1109/PDP.2010.30. ISBN . S2CID 314909.
  • ^Schultz, M.G.; Eskin, E.; Zadok, F.; Stolfo, S.J. (2001). "Data mining methods for detection of new malicious executables". Proceedings 2001 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy. S&P 2001. p. 38. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.408.5676. doi:10.1109/SECPRI.2001.924286. ISBN . S2CID 21791.
  • ^Ye, Yanfang; Wang, Dingding; Li, Tao; Ye, Dongyi (2007). "IMDS". Proceedings of the 13th ACM SIGKDD international conference on Knowledge discovery and data mining – KDD '07. p. 1043. doi:10.1145/1281192.1281308. ISBN . S2CID 8142630.
  • ^Kolter, J. Zico; Maloof, Marcus A. (December 1, 2006). "Learning to Detect and Classify Malicious Executables in the Wild". J. Mach. Learn. Res. 7: 2721–2744.
  • ^Tabish, S. Momina; Shafiq, M. Zubair; Farooq, Muddassar (2009). "Malware detection using statistical analysis of byte-level file content". Proceedings of the ACM SIGKDD Workshop on Cyber Security and Intelligence Informatics – CSI-KDD '09. p. 23. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.466.5074. doi:10.1145/1599272.1599278. ISBN . S2CID 10661197.
  • ^Ye, Yanfang; Wang, Dingding; Li, Tao; Ye, Dongyi; Jiang, Qingshan (2008). "An intelligent PE-malware detection system based on association mining". Journal in Computer Virology. 4 (4): 323. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.172.4316. doi:10.1007/s11416-008-0082-4. S2CID 207288887.
  • ^Sami, Ashkan; Yadegari, Babak; Peiravian, Naser; Hashemi, Sattar; Hamze, Ali (2010). "Malware detection based on mining API calls". Proceedings of the 2010 ACM Symposium on Applied Computing – SAC '10. p. 1020. doi:10.1145/1774088.1774303. ISBN . S2CID 9330550.
  • ^Shabtai, Asaf; Kanonov, Uri; Elovici, Yuval; Glezer, Chanan; Weiss, Yael (2011). ""Andromaly": A behavioral malware detection framework for android devices". Journal of Intelligent Information Systems. 38: 161. doi:10.1007/s10844-010-0148-x. S2CID 6993130.
  • ^Fox-Brewster, Thomas. "Netflix Is Dumping Anti-Virus, Presages Death Of An Industry". Forbes. Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  • ^Automatic Malware Signature GenerationArchived
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    Antivirus software

    Computer software to defend against malicious computer viruses

    "Antivirus" redirects here. For the medication, see Antiviral drug.

    ClamTk, an open source antivirus based on the ClamAVantivirus engine, originally developed by Tomasz Kojm in 2001

    Antivirus software, or antivirus software (abbreviated to AV software), also known as anti-malware, is a computer program used to prevent, detect, and remove malware.

    Antivirus software was originally developed to detect and remove computer viruses, hence the name. However, with the proliferation of other malware, antivirus software started to protect from other computer threats. In particular, modern antivirus software can protect users from malicious browser helper objects (BHOs), browser hijackers, ransomware, keyloggers, backdoors, rootkits, trojan horses, worms, malicious LSPs, dialers, fraud tools, adware, and spyware.[1] Some products also include protection from other computer threats, such as infected and malicious URLs, spam, scam and phishing attacks, online identity (privacy), online banking attacks, social engineering techniques, advanced persistent threat (APT), and botnetDDoS attacks. [2]

    History[edit]

    Further information: History of computer viruses

    See also: Timeline of notable computer viruses and worms

    1949–1980 period (pre-antivirus days)[edit]

    Although the roots of the computer virus date back as early as 1949, when the Hungarian scientist John von Neumann published the "Theory of self-reproducing automata",[3] the first known computer virus appeared in 1971 and was dubbed the "Creeper virus".[4] This computer virus infected Digital Equipment Corporation's (DEC) PDP-10 mainframe computers running the TENEX operating system.[5][6]

    The Creeper virus was eventually deleted by a program created by Ray Tomlinson and known as "The Reaper".[7] Some people consider "The Reaper" the first antivirus software ever written – it may be the case, but it is important to note that the Reaper was actually a virus itself specifically designed to remove the Creeper virus.[7][8]

    The Creeper virus was followed by several other viruses. The first known that appeared "in the wild" was "Elk Cloner", in 1981, which infected Apple II computers.[9][10][11]

    In 1983, the term "computer virus" was coined by Fred Cohen in one of the first ever published academic papers on computer viruses.[12] Cohen used the term "computer virus" to describe programs that: "affect other computer programs by modifying them in such a way as to include a (possibly evolved) copy of itself."[13] (note that a more recent, and precise, definition of computer virus has been given by the Hungarian security researcher Péter Szőr: "a code that recursively replicates a possibly evolved copy of itself").[14][15]

    The first IBM PC compatible "in the wild" computer virus, and one of the first real widespread infections, was "Brain" in 1986. From then, the number of viruses has grown exponentially.[16][17] Most of the computer viruses written in the early and mid-1980s were limited to self-reproduction and had no specific damage routine built into the code. That changed when more and more programmers became acquainted with computer virus programming and created viruses that manipulated or even destroyed data on infected computers.[18]

    Before internet connectivity was widespread, computer viruses were typically spread by infected floppy disks. Antivirus software came into use, but was updated relatively infrequently. During this time, virus checkers essentially had to check executable files and the boot sectors of floppy disks and hard disks. However, as internet usage became common, viruses began to spread online.[19]

    1980–1990 period (early days)[edit]

    There are competing claims for the innovator of the first antivirus product. Possibly, the first publicly documented removal of an "in the wild" computer virus (i.e. the "Vienna virus") was performed by Bernd Fix in 1987.[20][21]

    In 1987, Andreas Lüning and Kai Figge, who founded G Data Software in 1985, released their first antivirus product for the Atari ST platform.[22] In 1987, the Ultimate Virus Killer (UVK) was also released.[23] This was the de facto industry standard virus killer for the Atari ST and Atari Falcon, the last version of which (version 9.0) was released in April 2004.[citation needed] In 1987, in the United States, John McAfee founded the McAfee company (was part of Intel Security[24]) and, at the end of that year, he released the first version of VirusScan.[25] Also in 1987 (in Czechoslovakia), Peter Paško, Rudolf Hrubý, and Miroslav Trnka created the first version of NOD antivirus.[26][27]

    In 1987, Fred Cohen wrote that there is no algorithm that can perfectly detect all possible computer viruses.[28]

    Finally, at the end of 1987, the first two heuristic antivirus utilities were released: Flushot Plus by Ross Greenberg[29][30][31] and Anti4us by Erwin Lanting.[32] In his O'Reilly book, Malicious Mobile Code: Virus Protection for Windows, Roger Grimes described Flushot Plus as "the first holistic program to fight malicious mobile code (MMC)."[33]

    However, the kind of heuristic used by early AV engines was totally different from those used today. The first product with a heuristic engine resembling modern ones was F-PROT in 1991.[34] Early heuristic engines were based on dividing the binary into different sections: data section, code section (in a legitimate binary, it usually starts always from the same location). Indeed, the initial viruses re-organized the layout of the sections, or overrode the initial portion of a section in order to jump to the very end of the file where malicious code was located—only going back to resume execution of the original code. This was a very specific pattern, not used at the time by any legitimate software, which represented an elegant heuristic to catch suspicious code. Other kinds of more advanced heuristics were later added, such as suspicious section names, incorrect header size, regular expressions, and partial pattern in-memory matching.

    In 1988, the growth of antivirus companies continued. In Germany, Tjark Auerbach founded Avira (H+BEDV at the time) and released the first version of AntiVir (named "Luke Filewalker" at the time). In Bulgaria, Vesselin Bontchev released his first freeware antivirus program (he later joined FRISK Software). Also Frans Veldman released the first version of ThunderByte Antivirus, also known as TBAV (he sold his company to Norman Safeground in 1998). In Czechoslovakia, Pavel Baudiš and Eduard Kučera started avast! (at the time ALWIL Software) and released their first version of avast! antivirus. In June 1988, in South Korea, Ahn Cheol-Soo released its first antivirus software, called V1 (he founded AhnLab later in 1995). Finally, in the Autumn 1988, in United Kingdom, Alan Solomon founded S&S International and created his Dr. Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit (although he launched it commercially only in 1991 – in 1998 Solomon's company was acquired by McAfee). In November 1988 a professor at the Panamerican University in Mexico City named Alejandro E. Carriles copyrighted the first antivirus software in Mexico under the name "Byte Matabichos" (Byte Bugkiller) to help solve the rampant virus infestation among students.[35]

    Also in 1988, a mailing list named VIRUS-L[36] was started on the BITNET/EARN network where new viruses and the possibilities of detecting and eliminating viruses were discussed. Some members of this mailing list were: Alan Solomon, Eugene Kaspersky (Kaspersky Lab), Friðrik Skúlason (FRISK Software), John McAfee (McAfee), Luis Corrons (Panda Security), Mikko Hyppönen (F-Secure), Péter Szőr, Tjark Auerbach (Avira) and Vesselin Bontchev (FRISK Software).[36]

    In 1989, in Iceland, Friðrik Skúlason created the first version of F-PROT Anti-Virus (he founded FRISK Software only in 1993). Meanwhile in the United States, Symantec (founded by Gary Hendrix in 1982) launched its first Symantec antivirus for Macintosh (SAM).[37][38] SAM 2.0, released March 1990, incorporated technology allowing users to easily update SAM to intercept and eliminate new viruses, including many that didn't exist at the time of the program's release.[39]

    In the end of the 1980s, in United Kingdom, Jan Hruska and Peter Lammer founded the security firm Sophos and began producing their first antivirus and encryption products. In the same period, in Hungary, also VirusBuster was founded (which has recently being incorporated by Sophos).

    1990–2000 period (emergence of the antivirus industry)[edit]

    In 1990, in Spain, Mikel Urizarbarrena founded Panda Security (Panda Software at the time).[40] In Hungary, the security researcher Péter Szőr released the first version of Pasteur antivirus. In Italy, Gianfranco Tonello created the first version of VirIT eXplorer antivirus, then founded TG Soft one year later.[41]

    In 1990, the Computer Antivirus Research Organization (CARO) was founded. In 1991, CARO released the "Virus Naming Scheme", originally written by Friðrik Skúlason and Vesselin Bontchev.[42] Although this naming scheme is now outdated, it remains the only existing standard that most computer security companies and researchers ever attempted to adopt. CARO members includes: Alan Solomon, Costin Raiu, Dmitry Gryaznov, Eugene Kaspersky, Friðrik Skúlason, Igor Muttik, Mikko Hyppönen, Morton Swimmer, Nick FitzGerald, Padgett Peterson, Peter Ferrie, Righard Zwienenberg and Vesselin Bontchev.[43][44]

    In 1991, in the United States, Symantec released the first version of Norton AntiVirus. In the same year, in the Czech Republic, Jan Gritzbach and Tomáš Hofer founded AVG Technologies (Grisoft at the time), although they released the first version of their Anti-Virus Guard (AVG) only in 1992. On the other hand, in Finland, F-Secure (founded in 1988 by Petri Allas and Risto Siilasmaa – with the name of Data Fellows) released the first version of their antivirus product. F-Secure claims to be the first antivirus firm to establish a presence on the World Wide Web.[45]

    In 1991, the European Institute for Computer Antivirus Research (EICAR) was founded to further antivirus research and improve development of antivirus software.[46][47]

    In 1992, in Russia, Igor Danilov released the first version of SpiderWeb, which later became Dr. Web.[48]

    In 1994, AV-TEST reported that there were 28,613 unique malware samples (based on MD5) in their database.[49]

    Over time other companies were founded. In 1996, in Romania, Bitdefender was founded and released the first version of Anti-Virus eXpert (AVX).[50] In 1997, in Russia, Eugene Kaspersky and Natalya Kaspersky co-founded security firm Kaspersky Lab.[51]

    In 1996, there was also the first "in the wild" Linux virus, known as "Staog".[52]

    In 1999, AV-TEST reported that there were 98,428 unique malware samples (based on MD5) in their database.[49]

    2000–2005 period[edit]

    In 2000, Rainer Link and Howard Fuhs started the first open source antivirus engine, called OpenAntivirus Project.[53]

    In 2001, Tomasz Kojm released the first version of ClamAV, the first ever open source antivirus engine to be commercialised. In 2007, ClamAV was bought by Sourcefire,[54] which in turn was acquired by Cisco Systems in 2013.[55]

    In 2002, in United Kingdom, Morten Lund and Theis Søndergaard co-founded the antivirus firm BullGuard.[56]

    In 2005, AV-TEST reported that there were 333,425 unique malware samples (based on MD5) in their database.[49]

    2005–2014 period[edit]

    In 2007, AV-TEST reported a number of 5,490,960 new unique malware samples (based on MD5) only for that year.[49] In 2012 and 2013, antivirus firms reported a new malware samples range from 300,000 to over 500,000 per day.[57][58]

    Over the years it has become necessary for antivirus software to use several different strategies (e.g. specific email and network protection or low level modules) and detection algorithms, as well as to check an increasing variety of files, rather than just executables, for several reasons:

    • Powerful macros used in word processor applications, such as Microsoft Word, presented a risk. Virus writers could use the macros to write viruses embedded within documents. This meant that computers could now also be at risk from infection by opening documents with hidden attached macros.
    • The possibility of embedding executable objects inside otherwise non-executable file formats can make opening those files a risk.[60]
    • Later email programs, in particular Microsoft's Outlook Express and Outlook, were vulnerable to viruses embedded in the email body itself. A user's computer could be infected by just opening or previewing a message.[61]

    In 2005, F-Secure was the first security firm that developed an Anti-Rootkit technology, called BlackLight.

    Because most users are usually connected to the Internet on a continual basis, Jon Oberheide first proposed a Cloud-based antivirus design in 2008.[62]

    In February 2008 McAfee Labs added the industry-first cloud-based anti-malware functionality to VirusScan under the name Artemis. It was tested by AV-Comparatives in February 2008[63] and officially unveiled in August 2008 in McAfee VirusScan.[64]

    Cloud AV created problems for comparative testing of security software – part of the AV definitions was out of testers control (on constantly updated AV company servers) thus making results non-repeatable. As a result, Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organisation (AMTSO) started working on method of testing cloud products which was adopted on May 7, 2009.[65]

    In 2011, AVG introduced a similar cloud service, called Protective Cloud Technology.[66]

    2014–present (rise of next-gen)[edit]

    Following the 2013 release of the APT 1 report from Mandiant, the industry has seen a shift towards signature-less approaches to the problem capable of detecting and mitigating zero-day attacks.[67] Numerous approaches to address these new forms of threats have appeared, including behavioral detection, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cloud-based file detonation. According to Gartner, it is expected the rise of new entrants, such Carbon Black, Cylance and Crowdstrike will force EPP incumbents into a new phase of innovation and acquisition.[68] One method from Bromium involves micro-virtualization to protect desktops from malicious code execution initiated by the end user. Another approach from SentinelOne and Carbon Black focuses on behavioral detection by building a full context around every process execution path in real time,[69][70] while Cylance leverages an artificial intelligence model based on machine learning.[71] Increasingly, these signature-less approaches have been defined by the media and analyst firms as "next-generation" antivirus[72] and are seeing rapid market adoption as certified antivirus replacement technologies by firms such as Coalfire and DirectDefense.[73] In response, traditional antivirus vendors such as Trend Micro,[74]Symantec and Sophos[75] have responded by incorporating "next-gen" offerings into their portfolios as analyst firms such as Forrester and Gartner have called traditional signature-based antivirus "ineffective" and "outdated".[76]

    Identification methods[edit]

    One of the few solid theoretical results in the study of computer viruses is Frederick B. Cohen's 1987 demonstration that there is no algorithm that can perfectly detect all possible viruses.[28] However, using different layers of defense, a good detection rate may be achieved.

    There are several methods which antivirus engines can use to identify malware:

    • Sandbox detection: a particular behavioural-based detection technique that, instead of detecting the behavioural fingerprint at run time, it executes the programs in a virtual environment, logging what actions the program performs. Depending on the actions logged, the antivirus engine can determine if the program is malicious or not.[77] If not, then, the program is executed in the real environment. Albeit this technique has shown to be quite effective, given its heaviness and slowness, it is rarely used in end-user antivirus solutions.
    • Data mining techniques: one of the latest approaches applied in malware detection. Data mining and machine learning algorithms are used to try to classify the behaviour of a file (as either malicious or benign) given a series of file features, that are extracted from the file itself.[79][80][81][82][83][84][85][86][87][88][89][90][91][92][excessive citations]

    Signature-based detection[edit]

    Traditional antivirus software relies heavily upon signatures to identify malware.[93]

    Substantially, when a malware arrives in the hands of an antivirus firm, it is analysed by malware researchers or by dynamic analysis systems. Then, once it is determined to be a malware, a proper signature of the file is extracted and added to the signatures database of the antivirus software.[94]

    Although the signature-based approach can effectively contain malware outbreaks, malware authors have tried to stay a step ahead of such software by writing "oligomorphic", "polymorphic" and, more recently, "metamorphic" viruses, which encrypt parts of themselves or otherwise modify themselves as a method of disguise, so as to not match virus signatures in the dictionary.

    Heuristics[edit]

    Many viruses start as a single infection and through either mutation or refinements by other attackers, can grow into dozens of slightly different strains, called variants. Generic detection refers to the detection and removal of multiple threats using a single virus definition.[96]

    For example, the Vundotrojan has several family members, depending on the antivirus vendor's classification. Symantec classifies members of the Vundo family into two distinct categories, Trojan.Vundo and Trojan.Vundo.B.[97][98]

    While it may be advantageous to identify a specific virus, it can be quicker to detect a virus family through a generic signature or through an inexact match to an existing signature. Virus researchers find common areas that all viruses in a family share uniquely and can thus create a single generic signature. These signatures often contain non-contiguous code, using wildcard characters where differences lie. These wildcards allow the scanner to detect viruses even if they are padded with extra, meaningless code.[99] A detection that uses this method is said to be "heuristic detection."

    Rootkit detection[edit]

    Main article: Rootkit

    Anti-virus software can attempt to scan for rootkits. A rootkit is a type of malware designed to gain administrative-level control over a computer system without being detected. Rootkits can change how the operating system functions and in some cases can tamper with the anti-virus program and render it ineffective. Rootkits are also difficult to remove, in some cases requiring a complete re-installation of the operating system.[100]

    Real-time protection[edit]

    Real-time protection, on-access scanning, background guard, resident shield, autoprotect, and other synonyms refer to the automatic protection provided by most antivirus, anti-spyware, and other anti-malware programs. This monitors computer systems for suspicious activity such as computer viruses, spyware, adware, and other malicious objects. Real-time protection detects threats in opened files and scans apps in real-time as they are installed on the device.[101] When inserting a CD, opening an email, or browsing the web, or when a file already on the computer is opened or executed.[102]

    Issues of concern[edit]

    Unexpected renewal costs[edit]

    Some commercial antivirus software end-user license agreements include a clause that the subscription will be automatically renewed, and the purchaser's credit card automatically billed, at the renewal time without explicit approval. For example, McAfee requires users to unsubscribe at least 60 days before the expiration of the present subscription[103] while BitDefender sends notifications to unsubscribe 30 days before the renewal.[104]Norton AntiVirus also renews subscriptions automatically by default.[105]

    Rogue security applications[edit]

    Main article: Rogue security software

    Some apparent antivirus programs are actually malware masquerading as legitimate software, such as WinFixer, MS Antivirus, and Mac Defender.[106]

    Problems caused by false positives[edit]

    A "false positive" or "false alarm" is when antivirus software identifies a non-malicious file as malware. When this happens, it can cause serious problems. For example, if an antivirus program is configured to immediately delete or quarantine infected files, as is common on Microsoft Windows antivirus applications, a false positive in an essential file can render the Windows operating system or some applications unusable.[107] Recovering from such damage to critical software infrastructure incurs technical support costs and businesses can be forced to close whilst remedial action is undertaken.[108][109]

    Examples of serious false-positives:

    • May 2007: a faulty virus signature issued by Symantec mistakenly removed essential operating system files, leaving thousands of PCs unable to boot.[110]
    • May 2007: the executable file required by Pegasus Mail on Windows was falsely detected by Norton AntiVirus as being a Trojan and it was automatically removed, preventing Pegasus Mail from running. Norton AntiVirus had falsely identified three releases of Pegasus Mail as malware, and would delete the Pegasus Mail installer file when that happened.[111] In response to this Pegasus Mail stated:

    On the basis that Norton/Symantec has done this for every one of the last three releases of Pegasus Mail, we can only condemn this product as too flawed to use, and recommend in the strongest terms that our users cease using it in favour of alternative, less buggy anti-virus packages.[111]

    • April 2010:McAfee VirusScan detected svchost.exe, a normal Windows binary, as a virus on machines running Windows XP with Service Pack 3, causing a reboot loop and loss of all network access.[112][113]
    • December 2010: a faulty update on the AVG anti-virus suite damaged 64-bit versions of Windows 7, rendering it unable to boot, due to an endless boot loop created.[114]
    • October 2011:Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) removed the Google Chrome web browser, rival to Microsoft's own Internet Explorer. MSE flagged Chrome as a Zbot banking trojan.[115]
    • September 2012:Sophos' anti-virus suite identified various update-mechanisms, including its own, as malware. If it was configured to automatically delete detected files, Sophos Antivirus could render itself unable to update, required manual intervention to fix the problem.[116][117]
    • September 2017: the Google Play Protect anti-virus started identifying Motorola's Moto G4 Bluetooth application as malware, causing Bluetooth functionality to become disabled.[118]

    System and interoperability related issues[edit]

    Running (the real-time protection of) multiple antivirus programs concurrently can degrade performance and create conflicts.[119] However, using a concept called multiscanning, several companies (including G Data Software[120] and Microsoft[121]) have created applications which can run multiple engines concurrently.

    It is sometimes necessary to temporarily disable virus protection when installing major updates such as Windows Service Packs or updating graphics card drivers.[122] Active antivirus protection may partially or completely prevent the installation of a major update. Anti-virus software can cause problems during the installation of an operating system upgrade, e.g. when upgrading to a newer version of Windows "in place"—without erasing the previous version of Windows. Microsoft recommends that anti-virus software be disabled to avoid conflicts with the upgrade installation process.[123][124][125] Active anti-virus software can also interfere with a firmware update process.[126]

    The functionality of a few computer programs can be hampered by active anti-virus software. For example, TrueCrypt, a disk encryption program, states on its troubleshooting page that anti-virus programs can conflict with TrueCrypt and cause it to malfunction or operate very slowly.[127] Anti-virus software can impair the performance and stability of games running in the Steam platform.[128]

    Support issues also exist around antivirus application interoperability with common solutions like SSL VPN remote access and network access control products.[129] These technology solutions often have policy assessment applications that require an up-to-date antivirus to be installed and running. If the antivirus application is not recognized by the policy assessment, whether because the antivirus application has been updated or because it is not part of the policy assessment library, the user will be unable to connect.

    Effectiveness[edit]

    Studies in December 2007 showed that the effectiveness of antivirus software had decreased in the previous year, particularly against unknown or zero day attacks. The computer magazine c't found that detection rates for these threats had dropped from 40 to 50% in 2006 to 20–30% in 2007. At that time, the only exception was the NOD32 antivirus, which managed a detection rate of 68%.[130] According to the ZeuS tracker website the average detection rate for all variants of the well-known ZeuS trojan is as low as 40%.[131]

    The problem is magnified by the changing intent of virus authors. Some years ago it was obvious when a virus infection was present. At the time, viruses were written by amateurs and exhibited destructive behavior or pop-ups. Modern viruses are often written by professionals, financed by criminal organizations.[132]

    In 2008, Eva Chen, CEO of Trend Micro, stated that the anti-virus industry has over-hyped how effective its products are—and so has been misleading customers—for years.[133]

    Independent testing on all the major virus scanners consistently shows that none provides 100% virus detection. The best ones provided as high as 99.9% detection for simulated real-world situations, while the lowest provided 91.1% in tests conducted in August 2013. Many virus scanners produce false positive results as well, identifying benign files as malware.[134]

    Although methods may differ, some notable independent quality testing agencies include AV-Comparatives, ICSA Labs, West Coast Labs, Virus Bulletin, AV-TEST and other members of the Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organization.[135][136]

    New viruses[edit]

    Anti-virus programs are not always effective against new viruses, even those that use non-signature-based methods that should detect new viruses. The reason for this is that the virus designers test their new viruses on the major anti-virus applications to make sure that they are not detected before releasing them into the wild.[137]

    Some new viruses, particularly ransomware, use polymorphic code to avoid detection by virus scanners. Jerome Segura, a security analyst with ParetoLogic, explained:[138]

    It's something that they miss a lot of the time because this type of [ransomware virus] comes from sites that use a polymorphism, which means they basically randomize the file they send you and it gets by well-known antivirus products very easily. I've seen people firsthand getting infected, having all the pop-ups and yet they have antivirus software running and it's not detecting anything. It actually can be pretty hard to get rid of, as well, and you're never really sure if it's really gone. When we see something like that usually we advise to reinstall the operating system or reinstall backups.[138]

    A proof of concept virus has used the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) to avoid detection from anti-virus software. The potential success of this involves bypassing the CPU in order to make it much harder for security researchers to analyse the inner workings of such malware.[139]

    Rootkits[edit]

    Detecting rootkits is a major challenge for anti-virus programs. Rootkits have full administrative access to the computer and are invisible to users and hidden from the list of running processes in the task manager. Rootkits can modify the inner workings of the operating system and tamper with antivirus programs.[140]

    Damaged files[edit]

    If a file has been infected by a computer virus, anti-virus software will attempt to remove the virus code from the file during disinfection, but it is not always able to restore the file to its undamaged state.[141][142] In such circumstances, damaged files can only be restored from existing backups or shadow copies (this is also true for ransomware[143]); installed software that is damaged requires re-installation[144] (however, see System File Checker).

    Firmware infections[edit]

    Any writeable firmware in the computer can be infected by malicious code.[145] This is a major concern, as an infected BIOS could require the actual BIOS chip to be replaced to ensure the malicious code is completely removed.[146] Anti-virus software is not effective at protecting firmware and the motherboard BIOS from infection.[147] In 2014, security researchers discovered that USB devices contain writeable firmware which can be modified with malicious code (dubbed "BadUSB"), which anti-virus software cannot detect or prevent. The malicious code can run undetected on the computer and could even infect the operating system prior to it booting up.[148][149]

    Performance and other drawbacks[edit]

    Antivirus software has some drawbacks, first of which that it can impact a computer's performance.[150]

    Furthermore, inexperienced users can be lulled into a false sense of security when using the computer, considering their computers to be invulnerable, and may have problems understanding the prompts and decisions that antivirus software presents them with. An incorrect decision may lead to a security breach. If the antivirus software employs heuristic detection, it must be fine-tuned to minimize misidentifying harmless software as malicious (false positive).[151]

    Antivirus software itself usually runs at the highly trusted kernel level of the operating system to allow it access to all the potential malicious process and files, creating a potential avenue of attack.[152] The US National Security Agency (NSA) and the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) intelligence agencies, respectively, have been exploiting anti-virus software to spy on users.[153] Anti-virus software has highly privileged and trusted access to the underlying operating system, which makes it a much more appealing target for remote attacks.[154] Additionally anti-virus software is "years behind security-conscious client-side applications like browsers or document readers. It means that Acrobat Reader, Microsoft Word or Google Chrome are harder to exploit than 90 percent of the anti-virus products out there", according to Joxean Koret, a researcher with Coseinc, a Singapore-based information security consultancy.[154]

    Alternative solutions[edit]

    The command-line virus scanner of Clam AV 0.95.2running a virus signature definition update, scanning a file, and identifying a Trojan.

    Antivirus software running on individual computers is the most common method employed of guarding against malware, but it is not the only solution. Other solutions can also be employed by users, including Unified Threat Management (UTM), hardware and network firewalls, Cloud-based antivirus and online scanners.

    Hardware and network firewall[edit]

    Network firewalls prevent unknown programs and processes from accessing the system. However, they are not antivirus systems and make no attempt to identify or remove anything. They may protect against infection from outside the protected computer or network, and limit the activity of any malicious software which is present by blocking incoming or outgoing requests on certain TCP/IP ports. A firewall is designed to deal with broader system threats that come from network connections into the system and is not an alternative to a virus protection system.

    Cloud antivirus[edit]

    Cloud antivirus is a technology that uses lightweight agent software on the protected computer, while offloading the majority of data analysis to the provider's infrastructure.[155]

    One approach to implementing cloud antivirus involves scanning suspicious files using multiple antivirus engines. This approach was proposed by an early implementation of the cloud antivirus concept called CloudAV. CloudAV was designed to send programs or documents to a network cloud where multiple antivirus and behavioral detection programs are used simultaneously in order to improve detection rates. Parallel scanning of files using potentially incompatible antivirus scanners is achieved by spawning a virtual machine per detection engine and therefore eliminating any possible issues. CloudAV can also perform "retrospective detection," whereby the cloud detection engine rescans all files in its file access history when a new threat is identified thus improving new threat detection speed. Finally, CloudAV is a solution for effective virus scanning on devices that lack the computing power to perform the scans themselves.[156]

    Some examples of cloud anti-virus products are Panda Cloud Antivirus and Immunet. Comodo Group has also produced cloud-based anti-virus.[157][158]

    Online scanning[edit]

    Some antivirus vendors maintain websites with free online scanning capability of the entire computer, critical areas only, local disks, folders or files. Periodic online scanning is a good idea for those that run antivirus applications on their computers because those applications are frequently slow to catch threats. One of the first things that malicious software does in an attack is disable any existing antivirus software and sometimes the only way to know of an attack is by turning to an online resource that is not installed on the infected computer.[159]

    Specialized tools[edit]

    Virus removal tools are available to help remove stubborn infections or certain types of infection. Examples include Avast Free Anti- Malware,[160]AVG Free Malware Removal Tools,[161] and Avira AntiVir Removal Tool.[162] It is also worth noting that sometimes antivirus software can produce a false positive result, indicating an infection where there is none.[163]

    A rescue disk that is bootable, such as a CD or USB storage device, can be used to run antivirus software outside of the installed operating system, in order to remove infections while they are dormant. A bootable antivirus disk can be useful when, for example, the installed operating system is no longer bootable or has malware that is resisting all attempts to be removed by the installed antivirus software. Examples of some of these bootable disks include the Bitdefender Rescue CD,[164]Kaspersky Rescue Disk 2018,[165] and Windows Defender Offline[166] (integrated into Windows 10 since the Anniversary Update). Most of the Rescue CD software can also be installed onto a USB storage device, that is bootable on newer computers.

    Usage and risks[edit]

    According to an FBI survey, major businesses lose $12 million annually dealing with virus incidents.[167] A survey by Symantec in 2009 found that a third of small to medium-sized business did not use antivirus protection at that time, whereas more than 80% of home users had some kind of antivirus installed.[168] According to a sociological survey conducted by G Data Software in 2010 49% of women did not use any antivirus program at all.[169]

    See also[edit]

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