As I started to 'kick the tyres' on anti-virus vendor Panda Software's new online-based AV scanning system - Malware Radar - the other week, it seemed that Spanish companies were taking over my very existence. My bank was taken over by a Spanish one several years ago, and my ISP Be, was gobbled up by O2 last year after they themselves succumbed to a bigger fish in the shape of Telefónica.
Malware Radar uses an 18MB client that runs on your system and then produces a report which you can view online. It didn't find anything on the laptop or desktop test system I was using because they were already running Webroot's SpySweeper software. Webroot have a newish version out now, SpySweeper with Anti-Virus (SSAV) 5.3, and are now using the Sophos anti-virus engine for extra security. The SpySweeper software always did have one of the cleanest and easiest GUIs to use and it's still an object lesson in how to design a graphics interface.
I mention this because the other week a friend brought round her laptop and said she couldn't use it, and that there was something wrong with the keyboard. There was indeed something wrong since it took ages to boot up. In fact it felt like the system had some sort of malware problem. A quick look at the installed programs and which processes were 'soaking' the CPU brought the answer. There were two anti-virus clients installed and running. Removing one brought a measure of usability to the system. But the second AV package wouldn't allow an un-install because the service had expired. So a quick check to see which processes it was using and then stopping them manually from starting, up brought the laptop back to being usable again.
Situations like this are not rare, because people using older, less powerful systems to run anti-malware systems can have problems distinguishing 'having a virus' from running misconfigured anti-virus software. Trying to update an expired anti-virus subscription from some vendors can also be a nightmare of the worst sort.
Of course the current trend for desktops and laptops moving to dual and quad core architectures means that these systems should have enough horsepower under the bonnet to run even mis-configured anti-malware packages – shouldn't they?
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