Tuesday, September 04, 2007

NanoScan and TotalScan

There are a few good, free, web based applications out there amidst all the crapware. I used Panda Software's computer-based anti-virus program for a year some while back and found it to be satisfactory. Not perfect, but good. That was at a time when many of the viruses, trojans, and worms were coming from the area of the world in which Panda Software is located. My assumption at the time was that they would therefore be the first AV company to encounter many of the new threats "in the wild" and the first to develop new countermeasures. It seemed to be a good assumption. The only drawbacks I encountered at that time were a somewhat unappealing user interface and a very aggressive advertising program. Panda was one of the "other good commercial AV programs" to which I referred in a previous post on free AV protection.

When I evaluate a program for my own use I quickly head in the opposite direction from AV and other security programs that immediately do a scan, find 1,284 possible infections on my computer, and warn me of the grave consequences of not purchasing their software or services immediately. When I found and tried Panda's
nanoscan online scan it quickly had a look at my computer after I allowed it to install an ActiveX application. It reported that it found no viruses and that my other security programs were up to date. Hmm. Could it be true?

After one has scanned their computer with nanoscan, a pitch is made for totalscan. It is stated that this version can be used in either “brief” (about five minutes) or “full” (about an hour) modes. One has to sign up with an email address and a password for the free totalscan. I did so and allowed another ActiveX to run. This action started the download of a short program that literally took almost three hours to complete on a dial-up Internet connection. When this process was completed, totalscan found 10 cookies that I knew were present and showed a large red button labeled "disinfect." I hopefully pressed it. The next screen informed me that I must be a member of totalscanPRO for anything to actually happen. Technically, Panda delivered exactly what was promised, a scan. I am so freaking gullible that I must be a relative of Wily Coyote.

The purchase page even insisted that I was from the UK and wanted payment in pounds. I'm afraid I cannot recommend nanoscam, totalscam, or totalscamPRO. Some might want to take a look at Panda's
relatively non-technical descriptions of crimeware, hoaxes, rootkits, and the like. Otherwise, it did nothing that the previously listed freeware did not do except leave me with junk to clean out of the computer and two or three hours of subvocal swearing which I must attend to. Despite my current displeasure, I would still state that Panda's programs and services are probably in the class of "other satisfactory commercial security software." I'm glad I used a throwaway e-mail address, though.

Peace, Doc

Copyright © 2007, Thomas A. Blood, Ph.D.

"Dammit!" - Doc

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