Effective and flexible anti-malware software
PrevX 1.0 is described as an anti-malware product. Malware is a vague term covering all manner of viruses, spyware and adware.
Its main focus is heuristic detection of viruses and spyware. Instead of traditional anti-virus techniques, which use massive databases to look for specific viruses in specific places, heuristic detection identifies virus-like behaviour. This is more suited to dealing with new viruses that have not been formally identified.
Scanning took one hour and two minutes for the 26GB of files on our PC. This is a poor time compared to other anti-virus and anti-spyware programs that take a third of the time to do such scans. System resources are slim at 32MB memory usage during idle and 69MB memory usage during scanning. Scanning was CPU intensive, ranging from 5-90 per cent CPU usage.
We were sceptical about how well PrevX would perform. Beta versions of the software battered the user with notifications in intimidating black boxes. Jargon was used to describe what was happening and there was a general feeling that it was software you would install if all else failed. Every time you opened a program, beta versions would inform you 'program is being authenticated'.
The 1.0 revision is an excellent step forward and pop-up clutter has been drastically reduced in the final retail software. Program authentication still occurs by comparing your program to a standard one located on Prevx’s servers.
The program is very discreet but advanced options allow you to customise almost any aspect of protection. The interface uses a simple traffic light c olouring to represent danger, and a program history is included. We were mostly green apart from three drivers it flagged as amber for unknown.
During testing we plugged a USB U3 pen into our computer and were shocked when it tried to install some educational software. Where PrevX prevented this, another computer with anti-virus software Bullguard 7.0 didn't. Although the educational software was harmless, it still proved the point that it could have been an unknown virus.
PrevX can be best described as an extra layer of protection for the paranoid. We wouldn't feel comfortable relying solely on PrevX, but maybe a combination of this and the excellent AVG Free would be desirable. An individual 12-month licence costs £12.75, which is great value for money. The low price reflects that it is a jack of all trades, master of none.
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Pros: Stops unknown viruses; stops auto-installing programs; user friendlyCons: Slow scanning time; not a complete internet security solution Overall: It may make the paranoid more paranoid, but heuristic detection is flexible yet effective
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