On the nature of viruses and anti-virus software

In yesterday’s post, I talked about my latest adventure with three different anti-virus solutions. I mentioned that Avast caught a virus that neither AVG nor NIS 2008 did. Does this, in and of itself, mean that Avast is better at catching viruses than either AVG or NIS 2008? No, it doesn’t.

I made no mention yesterday of which virus I caught. I don’t know, and honestly, I don’t care. The most likely scenario is that the virus was very new and Avast just happened to update their virus definitions to include that virus sooner than the other two did. And no doubt, on another virus, NIS 2008 and AVG will get it sooner than Avast.

Most of these AV solutions put out new anti-virus definitions daily (I remember the good old days when it was every couple of weeks or so, and that was enough) to combat new viruses that have been released into the wild. But each company with an antivirus solution is limited by how quickly or slowly they acquire the viruses in the first place. Added to that, viruses don’t spread evenly through the world – take a look at this virus map and play with the controls. As you skip from virus to virus, you can see the differences in how many computers and files are infected in each country. There are variables involved in when each anti-virus company receives a virus and when they can create a definition to combat it.

Top-rated anti-virus solutions might have a difference of a day or two on individual viruses being added to the virus definitions scattered amongst the various AV solutions. When you consider the hundreds and thousands of new viruses each week, it all evens out pretty closely.

As another note, paid solutions are not more reliable than free. Not less, either. Personally, that means I tend to go with free unless the paid ones have something in particular to draw me.

So if you’re worried that AVG or NIS 2008 isn’t as good as Avast based on this one example of mine, stop worrying. 🙂 They’re all close enough that if you go with one of the anti-virus solutions at the top of the list (PC Magazine or AV Comparatives for example), you’re fine.

As long as you update the antivirus definitions daily. That’s the really really big caveat.

Author: LMAshton
Howdy! I'm a beginner artist, hobbyist photographer, kitchen witch, wanderer by nature, and hermit introvert. This is my blog feed. You can find my fediverse posts at https://a.farook.org/Laurie.

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