Comodo Antivirus 8 Review
The program is compatible with all Windows OS’s including Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10. Both 32-bit and 64-bit versions are also made available and you can choose your version during download.
The requirements for installation of the antivirus program is a hard drive space of at least 210MB, meaning that it can fit in all types of modern PCs. It’s been made available in a wide range of languages including English, Dutch, Czech, French, German, Italian, Hungarian, Polish, Portuguese (Portugal and Brazil), Spanish, Swedish and Russian. The language coverage is very wide so you can choose the language that you are most comfortable with.
And most of all, you don’t get to pay a penny for it. All you need is an internet connection, download, install and you are ready to go! Let’s get to the actual review of the antivirus program.
The installer requests you to input your email address and the permission to change the homepage of your browser. Each of these options are not mandatory and you are free to decline them if you wish to. You can also decide to customize the installer during the installation process and change the Dragon Web Browser installation and GeekBuddy feature. The latter is available for paid versions.
Features of the antivirus
There are antivirus software vendors who offer their antivirus programs for free, but hold certain useful features for their paid versions. With this antivirus, every feature included in its paid version is also in the free version. There’s only one exception that distinguishes the free and the paid antivirus, otherwise the free version does a great job.
The advanced features of the antivirus program seem exceedingly geeky to some extent. After installation, you won’t be able to continue with the program’s default features unless you are an advanced user. It’s not the type of program that you install and then forget about it. Some close attention and monitoring what the program is doing will be necessary for best results. For that reason, it’s not the best for newbies.
Now, the one exception mentioned above is actually nothing offered in the antivirus program. Rather, it is a service that is provided by the developer. With the paid version, you are entitled to an instant professional virus removal. What that means is that you can have the company’s GeekBuddy professional fix any malware problems with your PC remotely. So, if you have a malware problem that’s too big for you to handle, with the paid version, you can get the problem fixed remotely. Now, if you encounter any problem with your free version, well, you can upgrade to the paid version at a fee of $19.99 a year!
This antivirus uses several protection layers to keep off all threats and malware from attacking your PC system. It runs on a scanning system that monitors all the running processes and detect any suspected behaviors. The scanning system of the antivirus detects any threats far much ahead of time before they cause any damage to your system.
Moreover, it has a detection and whitelisting system that is cloud based to improve its scanning accuracy, remove false positives as well as deliver a quicker response to newly detected malware.
The antivirus has a Defense plus technology alert system that alerts you of any application with suspicious behavior. This feature is particularly helpful as it assumes that any file unknown to it is a source of potential threat. This is one of the so many features distinguishing the program from other free antivirus programs that assume unknown files are safe. When you download a software from the internet, which you are not certain about its safety, then you can use the antivirus’ Sandbox to run the downloaded program in isolated environment. That way, should the software turn out to be malicious, it won’t be able to affect any part of your PC.
The program’s antivirus engine is certainly one of the strongest as it runs on a stable core. The engine can scan all files on your PC, detect and delete any incoming threats. Its integration with Windows Explorer allows selection of certain files, folders as well as an entire drive for scanning. This is made possible through a right-click menu. That’s not all, the program’s scheduler runs scans from time to time even when you are not around.
The policy of auto-sandboxing is a new feature on this antivirus release that isolates all dubious applications from your computer. If this feature doesn’t match your needs, no problem. The antivirus program makes it possible for you to create your auto-sandboxing policies by using parameters such as file origin and reputation.
This antivirus program takes hardware virtualization advantage whenever it’s available, enabling it to run at hypervisor level.
There’s also a sophisticated Viruscope that makes monitoring your PC for unwanted programs much easier. All the events of the antivirus program are logged to Windows Event Log. This is very much helpful whenever troubleshooting is done by your system.
All these features come integrated in a nice looking interface, which has been redesigned as well to make navigation much simpler.
Tasks and Home Screen
The home screen of this antivirus program is somewhat less informative as compared to some other programs. For a new user, it may seem so difficult to figure out what “HIPS: Disabled” or “Antivirus: Stateful” mean when flashed on the screen.
Otherwise, there are some very useful information that you get, including when the last update took place, number of threats detected, and number of files that HIPS (Host Intrusion Prevention System) was not able to recognize. You also have 5 icons with links to tasks such as update check and scam launch.
By default, a widget with a collection of regular task icons is placed on your desktop. Included in the widget as well are icons for launching popular social sites and browsers. If you don’t like the widget, you can shrink it to show security status only or suppress it completely.
There’s a Task link which flips the visible main window to show a list with certain tasks. This task list begins with same 5 task icons located at the lower end of home screen, but also allows you to launch some advanced tasks.
Running a full scan with the antivirus program takes about 24 minutes. This is not that bad, since the antivirus program avoids re-evaluating programs and areas that are known to be good. A second scan takes at most 2 minutes.
The technology used by the antivirus for detection of virus has been certified by ICSA Labs, though the company does not associate with Virus Bulleting or West Coast Labs. Results for the antivirus program won’t be found on Dennis Technology Labs or AV-Comparatives. As such, characterizing the software’s standing with regard to lab tests is somewhat difficult.
However, AV-Test listed the antivirus on its 3 part standard test, and the program received good ratings. The program earned 6 out of 6 points under the important category of protection, and 5 points for both Usability and Performance. That summed up a total of 16 points.
On a hands-on test on malware blocking capability, the antivirus program scored 8.3 out of 10 possible points. Interestingly, all detections of malware by the program occur the minute an infected folder is opened. It silently and quickly wipes out 83% of the threats without highlighting what was removed.
Malicious URL blocking
In real world, it’s almost difficult to come across a folder with malicious programs. If a malware attack is encountered, it’s likely to be from hacked or malicious sites online. So to test the program’s protection against malicious URLs using a feed of malicious URLs newly discovered sounds more logical.
The SecureDNS component of the program should provide some level of protection from bad websites and malware hosting websites. However, the program is not very effective on these URLs newly reported. Out of 100 URLs in such a test, the antivirus detects and blocks about 10 of such URLs.
SecureDNS is also supposed to steer the users away from any known malicious sites, but during testing, it proved to be almost ineffective. May be it could be because the URLs used in this kind of test are very new and haven’t been included in the list of phishing sites known.
The program detected almost none of the phishing websites. The detection rate lagged behind that of leading anti-phishing antivirus by up to 94%. Practically, the antivirus program doesn’t have any phishing protection.
This is probably why the antivirus is not suitable for business, neither is a commercial version of it available.
False Positives and HIPS
The Host Intrusion Protection System (HIPS) is off by default. Under several tests on the HIPS, it reveals that it is not suitable for an average user. From the difficulties encountered when turned on, even advanced users with good technical skills would want to leave the feature turned off just like it is configured automatically.
In other words, the program works perfectly fine in most of the cases, but some advanced knowledge and technicality of a user is needed. It can serve an average user well when using the common features, but for the advanced ones like HIPS, some advanced skills may be needed.
Compared to Comodo Antivirus 7, this antivirus program has plenty of new and improved excellent features to make it a much better version. These include:
- Updatable website filtering browser signatures. This is a new feature.
- New extended file group.
- Improved performance by Internet Explorer and Chrome when closed while running in Sandbox.
- The Yahoo offer during installation is removed during updates of CIS/CAV packages.
- The Browser Protection enabled by default after clean install.
Comodo Antivirus 8 provides a decent and likable protection from threats and malware. It has a whole lot of sophisticated security features included in its free version. Even so, the paid version has similar features as the free version with only one exception of expert malware removal from GeekBuddy professional.
Even though some of the program’s advanced features probably suit the advanced users, the antivirus program is outstanding and just too good for a free version. It simply offers features that most of the other developers hold back for their paid versions. It’s far much a better antivirus program for those who are not ready to spend much on relatively similar features offered by other developers.
A PC lacking an antivirus protection is exposed to great danger. It lacks defence against Trojans among other malware. With a free antivirus program like this one, anyone surely has no excuse for not having an antivirus program installed in their PC.
- Compatible with all Windows OS, including XP, Vista, 7, 8 and 10.
- Available for both 32-bit and 64-bit.
- Available for free.
- Provides real-time protection known as on-access.
- Regularly updated virus protection.
- Free and paid versions have similar features with one exception.
- Paid users get GeekBuddy expert removal of persistent malware for $19.99 a year.
- Instant detection, blocking and removal of malware.
- Sandbox for running suspected programs.
- Improved auto-sandboxing policies that can also be customized.
- Logging of events onto Windows Event Log for easier troubleshooting.
- Customizable file scanning through Windows Explorer integration.
- Game Mode with silent detection included.
- Only a few labs list the program in their tests.
- In a number of lab testing, the antivirus program showed poor suspicious URL blocking.
- HIPS feature shows confusing messages whenever enabled.
- Not suitable for commercial use.
- Initial updates take relatively longer to complete.