Is AVG better than Norton?
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Thread: Is AVG better than Norton?

  1. #1
    Some Assembly Required ShagDevil's Avatar
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    Is AVG better than Norton?

    I'm writing this thread because I've come to a point where I can't understand why people consistently recommend AVG and trash Norton as if it's some rogue, derelict AV that isn't worth spit. Aside of all the obvious reasons (costs money, system resource hog, slower scans), I feel that Norton is the better product of the two. Now, let me set something straight right off the bat. If being free, using less system resources and quicker scans are the reasons you feel AVG is better, so be it. Those are all valid, legit reasons you may prefer AVG over Norton. Myself? I don't mind making some sacrafices for a better product which I think Norton is. No worries, I plan on backing up my claims unlike some people who just sit there and say "AVG is better than Norton" and provide nothing in the way of actual test results that back up their claims. I plan on using a range of test results to gauge an overall idea of how these products have faired in the last 2-3 years. So don't get your panties in a bunch if some of these links have test results from a couple years ago (mainly av-test.org).

    So let's start with what I consider one of the better independent AV testing sites: Virus Bulletin.
    Let's compare the overall performance graphs of Norton vs. AVG. These consist of various tests, various OS's, and various versions of each AV over a extended amount of time. Look just under the "Overview" section of the links I'm providing, you'll see a green/red meter bar and test results for each. (Feel free to delve further into the details of all the tests).
    AVG's overall performance
    Norton's overall performance

    Ok, I thought. so what. It's just one site. So I searched some more. Off I went to PC World where I found a June 2004 issue that did an AV comparison which included AVG (It's not always easy to find AV test results that have both AVG and Norton). Take a look Here

    I then checked out some of the tests on www.av-test.org where once again, Norton consistently faired better than AVG. Unfortunately, these tests are not very recent but relevent if we're going to gauge the overall track record of both Norton and AVG. Check these 3 seperate test results out which span over a 4 month period. If you want to view them without having to click on all my links, then go to av-test's website, click "Tests" on the left hand side and you'll see that I selected the 3 most recent tests on Windows platforms that included both AVG and Norton.
    2002-01 Test
    2001-11
    2001-10
    I tested these links after I posted and for some reason I got re-directed to a different section on the site. If you do too, then just go to the main page, click "Tests" and select a test: 2002-01, or 2001-11 or 2001-10. Click "Online Version" and then select "Next" on the next screen. I found it easier to sort the results in descending order.

    Don't get me wrong either. For being free, I think AVG does an excellent job. I'm sure the Pro edition works just as well. This isn't an anti-AVG thread believe it or not. Problem being is that I'm sick and tired of people bashing Norton and making claims that AVG detects more viruses and it an overall better product without any actual test result data to prove it. I myself have tested AVG 6.0 vs Norton and have ran into a situation (more than once) where AVG has missed viruses that Norton has found (This still doesn't make AVG a bad product in my eyes). I'm not using this as relevent data to prove my point because I simply can't prove it happened. However, these testing sights do provide observable results.

    Now, feel free to go searching around the internet, books, newspapers etc and find me something, anything that flat out says - AVG is an overall better product when compared to Norton (in regard to test results). I'll glady welcome the results because if it is indeed true...that AVG is better than Norton, I'll gladly switch over to AVG and save myself some money.

    *note - I warm up nicely to constructive criticism and I believe this post begs for it. So feel free to tell me why I'm incorrect in my thinking, if you should feel I am in error.
    The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his - George Patton

  2. #2
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    Hey Hey,

    I don't trust any of those sites... I've very seldom see a major AV company get something other than 100%.... I think money buys publicity in most of these cases... and it can buy your score.

    Have you checked out my AV Research thread? I think the excel sheet speaks volumes for the AV companies... now that I'm on holidays again, I plan to wrap things up with the rest of the AV Vendors..

    Anyways.... Norton may be adding Spyware and Adware to their defs... but they're falling behind on Virus definitions... I move 5-10 people a week from Norton to AVG... they all still have valid subscriptions, but their computer, even with norton, is riddled with worms... I had that on two computers tonight.. AVG doesn't always have the ability to clean them (+s flag is an example.... but it at least tells you the file location so you can manually delete it)... Norton isn't even detecting them..

    I'd be more than happy to keep a log of viruses detected on machines and work and the AV they are running if you are interested and periodically post the results.... but I could tell you many horror stories.... Computers w/ 3000+ viruses... running Norton and nothing being detected..

    On top of the two machines that I removed Norton from tonight, I had another with Norton... I had to use Trend Micro's System Cleaner to remove the remaining viruses... While you'll find viruses that AVG doesn't detect... it seems to be fewer than the number that Norton detects....

    AVG's minor downfall (I believe) is in their update system... It used to be that a system would update every 14 days (depending on settings) @ 8am... They've now (in the latest update) changed that time to 6:30.... the problem with this is that most users don't have their PCs on at this time.. The Manual Update option isn't overly visible (as it is in Norton)..... AVG pushes out new defs quite frequently.... sometimes daily, othertimes every few days.. depending on activity.... The 14 day default update period is too long... I think that changing these settings would make it more beneficial to the end user.

    I trash Norton because I've seen it fail miserably.... every IT person I know has removed Norton from their system because it hasn't held it's own against other companies.... When I was working with the last set of co-ops (8 months ago or so)... I'd recieve 2 or 3... sometimes 4 updates to every 1 update that the Norton users would recieve... They all ended up changing...Most people I know that are paying for AV these days are going to Trend Micro (Which is by far the most efficient with worms and trojans)... A buddy of mine working for the RCMP (The Mounties).... said they recieve updates 2 or 3 times a day from Trend Micro...

    Anyways.... That's my two cents... Let me know if you're interested in a log... I'll be more than happy to keep one for ya.

    Peace,
    HT
    IT Blog: .:Computer Defense:.
    PnCHd (Pronounced Pinched): Acronym - Point 'n Click Hacked. As in: "That website was pinched" or "The skiddie pinched my computer because I forgot to patch".

  3. #3
    I have cleaned up a lot of boxes...

    I usually see the box after it is mauled by malware. Norton is a very, very popular AV, and it's on 80% of the boxes I get called to. The problem is, 99% of the time, the def's are outdated. Now, performance aside, what good is an AV if you can't get sigs? Money is the factor...

    AVG provides you with a solution that lets you auto update sigs and give you realtime protection. Whether it is better or not, it is better that nothing. Unfortunately, user ignorance prevents the purchase of subscriptions. I get called to a box (I actually don't get called, I work for free for friends, just because I have a productive nature) and I see that the subscription is expired. So, I can install AVG, set it on auto update, auto scan once a week, I'm happy, the user is happy, and nobody lost any dollars.

    ClamWin is my favorite for the computer literate. The defs come out quick, are accurate, and you can make your own. There is no realtime protection, so it saves greatly on resources. I can't wait for a group to make adware sigs for it (hint hint someone). Two birds with one stone would be great.

    My experience with realtime AV overall, is that they all suck. If you get infected, AV's have a hard time ending processes. It's because most new malware doesn't get stopped by a single end process method. That's why I like ClamWin. It's perfect for safe mode (where the actual removal process works)

  4. #4
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    Its hard to tell which is better, comparing the "top winners". A big (american) tire company just moved (18 months ago i think) from McAfee to Norton just because they think that Norton Is better. I use to see replacements between those 3 or 4 a/v all the time. For example, I m working as a consultant for a big bank here and they simply "love"
    Norton. However, they use trend micro products on server for e-mail scanning e anti-spam features. Their analisys showed that Norton Products arent good enough to protect servers...Go figure...
    Meu sítio

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  5. #5
    Senior Member kr5kernel's Avatar
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    I am an avid AVG pusher to people whose computers I have had to fix, but they don't want to spend any money. I agree totally about the updates, it often seems combersome for your average computer illiterate person to run the updates because it requires like 3 or 4 actions. And for a majority of people that donthave broadband, automatic updates are pretty much out of the question. Updating in itself is a little flakey but has vastly improved over the last year.

    To my knowledge, and I could be wrong about this, Grisoft doesn't produce virus removal tools like Symantec does, so in my mind, a mixture of the two isnt too bad, especially if you are on a shoestring budget.

    As long as you have updated defs they seem pretty equal.
    kr5kernel
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  6. #6
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    I have use both AVG and Norton...(not on the same machine)

    Each one has their merits ...depending on the enviroment. Mostly recommend AVG for the home user (they like it cause its FREE) and mostly norton\symantec for the network enviroment. Yes there are some bugs...but the newer versions are much better the the 7.x CE editions IMHO and symantec has fairly good self help on their site to over come these

    One thing I have noticed lately though...is I have worked on a lot of under-powered XP machines ..128MB ram etc.

    And yes if you remove norton...your system will perform better.

    Mostly..I recommend more RAM as the systems are running firewalls\anti-spyware and AV...all this would bog down any computer with minimum RAM

    One thing I almost switched to PANDA as I have read and heard good things about it....maybe next year as the offer competitive upgrade paths.

    MLF
    How people treat you is their karma- how you react is yours-Wayne Dyer

  7. #7
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    I've tried AVG but not as the sole AV on my machine.I've used Norton at home for about 6 years and have never been infected (I've double checked periodically with other AVs). I found the Automatic Live Updates work well for the user who will forget everything you told them once you walk out the door. That keeps the reasonably safe for the first year until they start to ignore the Renewal reminders.
    \"You got a mouth like an outboard motor..all the time putt putt putt\" - Foghorn Leghorn

  8. #8
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    i can't imagine anything better than norton for a corporate network. i got hit once with an 0day. no system is immune to 0days. i reported it to symantec and in less than 8 hours had a fix and an emergency definition update. other than that i havent been hit with anything. norton corp caught it all, now THAT is amazing.
    Bukhari:V3B48N826 “The Prophet said, ‘Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?’ The women said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind.’”

  9. #9
    Some Assembly Required ShagDevil's Avatar
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    Hello all. I have to do a quick response here. bah. Have to leave for work in 10 minutes but, I appreciate all the responses.
    HTRegz,
    I'd be more than happy to keep a log of viruses detected on machines and work and the AV they are running if you are interested and periodically post the results
    I think that would be great idea. You're cutting out all the middle men and getting right to the source by testing AV's yourself. I'd bevery interested in your test results and besides, I think it would make for a great way for everyone at AO to finally see some down and dirty results from one of it's own members (which means no "doctored" results ). Like you implied, it is possible that the sites I listed may have corrupted results because of outside influences. There is always that possibility.
    At this point, I want some hard test results. I want to skip past the bullsh*t and find out, which really is the better AV. As much as I scoured the internet, I couldn't find nearly as much on AV comparisons as I wanted, nor enough test results of independent studies that were worth their weight in gold. IF there is enough evidence mounted, I will gladly switch products. Again, I'm an open minded individual when it comes to practicality and feasability.
    In any event, I gotta bolt.

    *note - HTRegz, I recently reformatted this computer and haven't had a chance to re-install MS Office. I have no Excel to view your spreadsheets otherwise I would have checked it out. I believe I'm picking up the Office CD tonight and installing it later tonight. I'll check out your results as soon as possible.
    The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his - George Patton

  10. #10
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    i can't imagine anything better than norton for a corporate network. i got hit once with an 0day. no system is immune to 0days. i reported it to symantec and in less than 8 hours had a fix and an emergency definition update. other than that i havent been hit with anything. norton corp caught it all, now THAT is amazing.
    I use Norton Enterprise on my system as my 3rd line of defense for incoming email. As a first line I no longer trust it. I have to admit that recently the ability to pick up some bugs that are being shown in iframes etc. is good and has fired a few times in the last couple of weeks where it never ever fired before.

    Caveat: I'm talking about inbound email protection, (the most common vector).

    My current system for inbound email is as follows:-

    1. All my hosted domains have a single MX record pointing to my "Mail Sentry".
    2. The "Mail Sentry" is located in the DMZ of my firewall.
    3. My firewall strips all files with an executable extension from inbound SMTP transfers, (that kills most crap right there).
    4. The "Mail Sentry" uses GFI's Mail Essentials for anti spam, (cost item but small).
    5. The Mail Essentials cuts each email to disk to look at it in a temp file.
    6. BitDefender Pro, (another small cost), that updates hourly scans the .tmp file.
    7. If Bitdefender Pro kills the .tmp file for "badness" Mail Essentials gives up on it, (good thing).
    8. Mail Essentials does it's spam filtering.
    9. If it passes Mail Essentials it is forwarded to the appropriate internal mail server.
    10. Norton Enterprise for Exchange receives the incoming emails and scans them
    11. The user gets their email with no AV on their box....
    12....... It works.....

    I used to use Norton as the only gateway. But like all AV's they are reactive. They require the virus to be known by _anyone_, then by your AV vendor, then the AV vendor needs to have produced a viable sig, then you have to have downloaded the sig before the virus gets there. The fiasco with MyDoom, Netsky and Bagle proved that this is a flawed model that will always fail as the virus authors improve their "tactics". Thus I determined, in a corporate environment, the requirement is a proactive approach.

    Passing executable files by email is totally uneccesary for the _normal_ user. There is no reason for anyone who doesn't understand what "executable" means in computer terms to be receiving them. For those that may need to pass executables they are quite able to grasp the "complexities" of retrieving a file from an FTP server in the DMZ, (a significantly lesser medium of virus transfer that requires the sender to authenticate to the server before upload is allowed). This also allows the "slowing" of the process so that virus defs may be updated or the file could be held during a "storm" until it is deemed safe.

    [Back to the topic at hand]

    Norton used to be a fine product but it has become invasive and bloated. I am also peeved by three things:-

    1. It comes on every new computer, (ok, that and McAfee), so people _think_ they are protected even though the PC they just bought has been sat on the shelf for 3 months and the defs don't auto-update by default and without "effort" by the purchaser.
    2. After 3 months it nags the crap out of the user to _buy_ the product, (which the kids click past every time because they don't have any cash leaving the parents box utterly unprotected.
    3. Uninstalling Norton from a brand new XP box leaves some DLL's. In some circumstances, (twice IME), these .dlls get called by something and due to the lack of the rest of the "bloat" the XP box blue screens..... I have yet to see an XP box blue screen for anything other than these damned norton dlls that are left in place with their system calls by something as yet unknown!!!!

    As a side note I have never trusted McAfee.... Many years ago, (and I have no proof like no-one else did), I used to talk in the evolving AV world over the BBS's and 1200 baud modems . I talked with Frisk of F-Secure and others. The general consensus was that McAfee was either a) Dark Avenger or b) his best buddy..... 'nuff said?

    Some of the "new" AV companies are doing a good job.... I haven't settled on one yet to be honest but I'm still trying to find either a free/effective solution or a low cost for larger _cash poor_ companies that is either effective or able to be used in a multi-layered approach as a final layer, (the desktop).

    That's my $2.5 on the issue.....
    Don\'t SYN us.... We\'ll SYN you.....
    \"A nation that draws too broad a difference between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools.\" - Thucydides

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