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Anybody still using Avast?

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December 29, 2006 10:13:29 PM

If you use Avast you should check to see if it's slowing down your web surfing speed.
Just go to a good internet speed test site and run a couple of tests with Avast on. Then disable Avast and test again.

I discovered this after fighting with a slower than should be internet connection for weeks.

I wrote a little blurb about it on OverVolt's forum.

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December 29, 2006 11:04:29 PM

Quote:
If you use Avast you should check to see if it's slowing down your web surfing speed.
Just go to a good internet speed test site and run a couple of tests with Avast on. Then disable Avast and test again.

I discovered this after fighting with a slower than should be internet connection for weeks.

I wrote a little blurb about it on OverVolt's forum.


Yeah Russell, I use Avast! I just ran a d/l test with Avast - 6.8 Mbps; then the exact same test without (disabled) - 6.7 Mbps. No real difference dude.

I've used Avast! for several years and have always had excellent d/l speeds.
December 29, 2006 11:32:10 PM

Hi Jake,

I did several tests over several days and it definitely affected my speed. Could have been the combination of security programs I had running. (Thats why I listed them)

I'm interested in some more reports from others.

OH! What test site did you use? Not that I think it will make a difference but http://testmy.net is the best I've found.
Related resources
December 30, 2006 12:49:58 AM

Quote:
OH! What test site did you use? Not that I think it will make a difference but http://testmy.net is the best I've found.

I use several russell.

http://www.testmy.net/

http://www.dslreports.com/speedtest (gives you the option to run tests from close and distant servers - a much better test, I think).

But I've always used several and have never found that Avast was an issue - not like Norton. I get CA Anti-Virus free through my ISP (Roadrunner) - but I only use Pest Patrol. I find CA AV products to be inferior, except that I read that ZA Suite (with all the AV stuff, etc) was well received. (ZA is the same company as CA - it's CA)

If I had to pay for an AV solution, I'd buy BitDefender - was top rated.

Btw, I ran your d/l tests from several locations and servers - never anymore than a 1% difference.
December 30, 2006 1:04:20 AM

Like I said it must have to do with the combination of security software a person uses. If CA makes Zone Alarm then that may explain why they work well together.

I was using Zone Alarm firewall, Ad-Watch monitoring, and Avast anti-virus. Ad-watch is part of Ad-aware and I'm still using that without ill effects. The only program I changed was Avast and I change to CA only after confirming the problem was with Avast.

Maybe I should have tried a new install but I was TOO pissed at the time to fool with Avast any longer.

Russ
January 2, 2007 6:34:31 PM

Quote:
Like I said it must have to do with the combination of security software a person uses. If CA makes Zone Alarm then that may explain why they work well together.

I was using Zone Alarm firewall, Ad-Watch monitoring, and Avast anti-virus. Ad-watch is part of Ad-aware and I'm still using that without ill effects. The only program I changed was Avast and I change to CA only after confirming the problem was with Avast.

Maybe I should have tried a new install but I was TOO pissed at the time to fool with Avast any longer.

Russ


I was too using Avast and ZoneAlarm. I had slow internet too. After trying to find the the solution, I tried the security suite offered by my internet provider, F-Secure. With it, my connection was all good and speed was great (10Mbits/sec connection). But F-Secure was a bit too much intrusive for my taste. I retried Avast and Zonealarm on a fresh install and the same slow down happened. My cousin is using Zonealarm with AVG free antivirus, and no slow down happened. So I decided to give it a try, and my connection speed was now back to normal. I don't really like AVG (no particular reason...) so I'm now trying Antivir, from Avira, which is free too and it working good so far.

I'm planning running Vista when it will be available, so I will look for some antivirus software by then. But until I'll get it, I'll avoid Avast and zonealarm combination.
January 2, 2007 10:38:33 PM

Hi Pat,
Jake said he doesn't have a problem so it must be dependent on other software / hardware setup. No doubt in my mind though that Avast is still the culprit.

Russell
January 2, 2007 11:05:29 PM

Quote:
Hi Pat,
Jake said he doesn't have a problem so it must be dependent on other software / hardware setup. No doubt in my mind though that Avast is still the culprit.

Russell


I think it is the Avast/Zonealarm combination that is the problem. Avast, when I tested it with kerio firewall was OK, iirc.
January 2, 2007 11:10:27 PM

Quote:
I think it is the Avast/Zonealarm combination that is the problem. Avast, when I tested it with kerio firewall was OK, iirc.


Very well could be.
Jake, are you using Zone Alarm?

[crosses arms ... taps foot .. waits for the "no tech topics on the Other" scolding]

Russell
January 3, 2007 1:36:08 AM

I've been using Avast & Zone Alarm combo for over 2 years now..... I'm getting unholy speeds off my broadband..... I clock anywhere from 8 to 14, depending on the time of day...... I'm only supposed to have 5 or 6 caped on Comcast........ I use Speakeasy for my tests.......

Not only that, Avast is making me more money than building machines lately..... I use Avast to get rid of viruses..... $50 for the first hour & $35 for each hour after that.... I got rid of the virus on 4 machines for the start of last term in college.... 2 of the parents thought they would have to buy a new machine to send their kiddies to school with....

Avast is one of the free tools that I'm making a living with, along with a few others..... :wink:
January 3, 2007 2:03:01 AM

8 to 14! That's great. My speed is only 4Gb/s running wide open. Comcast just bought out Adelphia and are promising faster speeds but when, who knows.

I loved Avast until I traced it to my speed problems.
There must be a set up feature or something making the difference.

Russell
January 3, 2007 2:17:57 AM

The speed is great here, until I add in my old wireless B router.... It's got a 10/100 Either net chip & it cuts me down to a 5 tops running that router.... The wireless G with the 100/1000 chip will hold the fast speeds.... My machine has a 100/1000 chip as well..... There could be something there, but I'm not sure..... I haven't went any further with it than that.... [shrug]
January 3, 2007 2:26:55 AM

I would guess you have a hot modem and good hard line to your house.
I can't see how faster than 4 to 5 Mb/s is even going to be noticeable anyway. Maybe on streaming video ???

Russell
January 3, 2007 3:54:30 AM

My bud in the next town over has Comcast and gets 6, but on big files,
it'll kick up to 10 for that file. He usually gets slightly over that.

The bastard.
January 3, 2007 4:08:54 AM

When I got below 3Mb/s I noticed things slowing down considerably. At 4 to 5 Mb/s the page usually loads before I can get my finger off the mouse button. I'm happy there for now. I am setting up an Apache server here at home to play with and I may need more speed then.

There are some sites that load slow no matter what. They just have too much junk loading on their pages and / or are on bad servers. I got real lucky. I just changed providers for my hosting site and DARN! that server is smoking!

I've been getting a ranking of second fastest web host registered with this review site since I've made the move. Check it out HERE. and enter glitterhost.com into the box. OOPS! Bragging and I see I've slipped to third.
January 3, 2007 11:32:10 AM

Hi Russell :) 

I stopped using Avast but not for the internet speed, I stopped using it after discovering it was giving me a clean bill of health, while I was actually infected with a virus that blocked Avast and Adaware from doing their jobs.

All the time I thought I was protected and Avast was constantly running, I wasn't!, so if virus protection gives you a clean bill of health and you're infected with a virus, what good is the virus protection?

F-Prot and NAV both discovered the resident virus but one part of the virus was imbedded too deeply in Windows to repair, but at least both of those virus programs found the virus.

I knew something wasn't right about the machine and traced its root back to 2 embedded registry program disabling keys, and found that through RegistryScrub XPs manual control search feature.

I deleted the Adaware blocking key and it started funtioning again, and then deleted the Avast key along with uninstalling Avast period for allowing the installation of the blocking keys.

I don't want virus protection on my machines that cannot know when the machine is actually infected and tell me its clean when its not, I just wonder how many Avast users are infected with the same type virus and don't even know it.

I suggest to be on the safe side to run an independent scan of something like F-Prot to find out, if theres any virus on your machine that Avast doesn't even know is there, you may be surprised at the result.

You may go from feeling safe with Avast to instant alarm at what you discover, just to be on the safe side I did a drive wipe and OP/SYS reinstall because part of the embedded virus that couldn't be repaired or deleted was in Windows System.

Sometimes free, SUCKS! Have a great day Russell! :wink:
January 4, 2007 7:08:11 AM

So much for lurking... *sigh*

Back at Sanctuary I run two servers (1 file/app/domain, 1 internet/firewall), about 6-odd PCs (various fandamnily members), 2 laptops and some weird box thing upstairs plugged into the TV and its peripherals.

All PC systems run either NOD32 or AVG (depending on whose it is), while the servers use the linux AVG. In addition, Atlas (the file/app server) has F-prot on board, along with two or three other scanners (which change frequently). Once daily the whole network slows right down (while everyone's at work) while AVG/NOD32 scans everything, while once weekly (during my Sunday hike/paintball/whatever I'm doing) Atlas scans every HD on the network with all of its antivirus utils through the windows admin shares.

All systems use Adaware as well.

Speaking of which, can anyone recommend any decent antispyware utils which work WELL and also do not take my system resources and rape them? Preferably ones which update frequently...
January 4, 2007 1:19:02 PM

Thanks, I'll check it out later tonight.
January 6, 2007 10:29:31 AM

Normally, it's difficult to jump into these "which is best" debates on security software. It always seems that what works well for one, may be less than effective for another. I've seem pro and con debates on almost every major AV/malware program.

That said, there are organizations that test the "current effectiveness" of programs and publish this data. One of the principal sites is AV Compararatives. This used to be open access, but now (I believe), you have to register (free) to view the lastest reports/comparatives. The last complete report was Nov. 2006, I believe.

Another decent source of 3rd party data is: Virus Bulletin - you have to register here too, I believe.

These "groups" test current popular AV Programs using the lastest know threats (not old, known viruses). I recall that frequently a program will "fail" (must catch all) because the tests were ran just hours before the definitions and patches/updates were issued. Doesn't mean the program is junk, just that they may have been "slow" to update that testing period. if you don't visit malicious sites (porn, etc), then you would probably be ok.

Keep in mind that no AV solution scores 100% everytime (as I recall). There is this thing refered to as zero-day exploits. Essentially, this is an exploit (vulnerability) discovered on day 1 - often exposed by hackers and revealed by a new virus "in the wild". These exploits haven't been "patched" yet and definitions are hours or days away. These are the ones that effect most security conscious "surfers". It's hard for AV companies to keep up with this every growing and evolving sophistication (as malicious as it may be).

I have found that no single AV solution should be counted on for complete protection for some of the above reasons. I personally scan with 3 AV programs. I use Avast (no slowdown here) as a resident AV shield. I scan regularly with BitDefender Free On-Line Scanner and Trend Micro’s HouseCall - a UK based scanner that lets you scan with Java (Firefox). BitDefender is Active-X based and requires IE. It's slow, but excellent at catching "packers" (compressed files) that contain harmful code that others miss.

I need to mention that I have an on-line friend and acquaintance that is a security expert. Donna Buenaventura has her own security web site and is a Moderator at C|Net. She regularly participates at other security sites.
Donna conducted this AV comparative in August that showed that AVG (for those using it) only caught 8 out of 140 known malware files. Avast was 2nd best, with a Kaspersky product, "Active Virus Shield" (available thru AOL :(  ) detecting 157 of 170. Tells me that I'll always seek a "second" opinion (or third).

See Donna's Test here - need to register.

Nothing I've said above even touches the growing nuisances of spyware/ad-ware. Many good programs out there - and many more bad ones. A good source of info on Spyware is Eric Howes's Rogue/Suspect Anti-Spyware Products & Web Sites - now hosted at Spyware Warrior's forums

It's a good reference source for selecting anti-spyware programs - and especially avoiding the ones that are, in fact, malicious in themselves.

Personally, I use Spybot S&D, SpywareBlaster, Ad-Aware (scanner only), Webroot's Spy Sweeper (excellent!), Pest Patrol, CounterSpy (seems to be "slacking" lately), a HOSTS file, and several custom blocking lists. And I'm not sure I've touched them all here.

Hopefully, I've shed some light on what many see as a problem with any single AV/malware solution - they all are vunerable. And there are decent sources of information for those who want to look into this farther. I warn you, it's a "rabbit hole" ...

For those that wipe drives often and re-install, this cleans up a lot of sins - I don't do this so I scan often.

One last point, some of the newer and more clever malicious programs "hook into" windows system files and drivers. This makes them almost impossible to delete in normal mode. In these instances, I use safe mode with networking to access the on-line scanners (only!). I have found that, as slow as safe mode is, it is an effective way to delete malicious files that can't be deleted any other way.

Hope this helps ... my 2¢ worth :) 

One last note - PM Fredi and "demand" that he set up a "Security Software" forum in Software! So far, we don't have one and my requests have been ignored.

Edit: I also use Zone Alarm and a wireless G router (hardware firewall). The router screws up bittorrent d/l's but not much else.
January 8, 2007 3:30:47 PM

Jake, thanks for the info. I've been using the free AVG but will be switching back to Trend Micro (or an alternative) as AVG let a password keylogger trojan slip by. Housecall picked it up, but AVG missed it. :?

I agree completely with the Safe Mode method of cleaning. In fact it's the only way I clean an infected system as most AV programs are decent at preventing the problem, but fail quite miserably at cleaning if one slips by. I'd just like to add that it's also a good idea to temporarily disable System Restore and then run your online scanner like Trend's Housecall from Safe Mode.

I've also found it interesting that Trend's Housecall works far better with Firefox than it does with IE, regardless of which kernel you use.
January 8, 2007 4:50:56 PM

Quote:
I'd just like to add that it's also a good idea to temporarily disable System Restore and then run your online scanner like Trend's Housecall from Safe Mode.

Yep - totally agree. System restore will often restore a virus or other malicious file.

I might add that there is this cooperative site (in Europe, I think) - that allows you to upload a single file and have it scanned by 8 of the more popular applications at once. I need to add that if you "abuse" this site, they will block you eventually - but it's a good resource for "checking out" a suspicious zip/compressed file or exe file some idiot might have sent you.

Jotti's - it's often very busy and waits are not uncommon.
January 13, 2007 2:22:50 AM

Hello Ryan and PF and Jake and Anoobis and Mugs,
I didn't mean to ignore your responses. I was counting on the automatic notification of replies which apparently didn't work. Perhaps due to the thread being moved.

Jake, that is probably the most informative, best post I have ever read from you. Of course you have to remember I reside in the dungeon i.e. the Other section.

PF, I didn't know that AVG had merged with another company. I just installed the AVG anti spy-ware on a machine I cleaned up for a friend and still didn't know they had merged.

Mugz, No more lurking.
Quote:
Speaking of which, can anyone recommend any decent antispyware utils which work WELL and also do not take my system resources and rape them?

The resource Hog I believe was the downfall for avast on my system was the method in which it actively scanned the Internet activities apparently sharing the bandwidth. (Just my thoughts .. No proof)

Anoobis, Thanks for reminding me. I haven't done a safe mode scan in forever.

4ryan6, I agree that on line scans are great to catch stuff that escapes the first line of defense. I have been rather lax in the scanning area. I've got my system pretty much bullet proof and it's lulled me into a dangerous sense of contentment.
May 10, 2009 1:39:34 AM

Here's a broadband speed test that won't be affected by Avast running in the background because unlike most tests this test uses sockets vss http to conduct the test.

Here's an example of a test I just ran,

Not to brag or anything but here's my speed as of like 5 minutes ago. I have a 20/2 connection with turbo boost.

Speed test statistics
---------------------
Download speed: 6372240 bps
Upload speed: 1766160 bps
Download quality of service: 90 %
Upload quality of service: 97 %
Download test type: socket
Upload test type: socket
Maximum TCP delay: 70 ms
Average download pause: 4 ms
Minimum round trip time to server: 68 ms
Average round trip time to server: 69 ms
Estimated download bandwidth: 36800000bps <<<---Not bad eh?
Route concurrency: 5.775049
Download TCP forced idle: 79 %
Maximum route speed: 7710000bps

Detailed analysis : http://174.34.146.20/myspeed/db/report?id=976

You can find the test at http://www.ispgeeks.com just click on the diagnostics tools tab and you will see this test called TCP Speed Test and several others including one thats good for voip or ventrillo.
!