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Security software showdown! 9 antivirus suites empirically tested

Nick Mediati and Sarah Jacobsson Purewal | Jan. 29, 2013
We tested security suites on PCs, tablets, and phones to evaluate how well they protect against viruses and other threats.

For the sake of this story, we looked at mainstream Internet security suites, but most security companies also sell more feature-complete "advanced" suites. These suites include products like Norton 360, Trend Micro Titanium Maximum Security, and AVG
Premium Security.

For the most part, these advanced suites feature the same basic antivirus engine as the more basic suites, but will also include PC maintenance tools, online backup, additional parental controls and privacy controls, and more.

What comes in the more advanced packages compared to the more basic suites does very between manufacturers, though: Some include a mobile app with the basic suite, while others include it only in their advanced suites. In general, though, the basic suites contain just about everything you'll need to keep your PC protected.

Threats to watch for in 2013 (by Tony Bradley)

More sophisticated phishing Email and text messages that contain links to malicious websites will improve in quality to the point that they'll be virtually indistinguishable from legitimate communications. The messages will become more polished and professional-no more broken English and poor grammar.

Watering-hole attacks A drive-by download is a twist on the concept of browser-based attacks. In this sort of attack, cybercriminals post malicious content on a Web page, and then try to figure out some way to lure you to visit the website. If the PC you use to visit the website is vulnerable to the exploit used by the attack, malware is downloaded and the system is compromised. In 2013, though, attackers will continue to hone in with more precise attacks known as "watering hole" attacks. Rather than casting a wide net (as attackers do with drive-by downloads), the watering hole attack is more precise.

Data breaches In 2013, attackers will continue to target weak security on Internet-facing database systems to acquire thousands or millions of compromised records at once rather than going after individual users. Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do to prevent this sort of attack, but you can go on the defensive by being vigilant. Monitor your bank and credit card statements and report anything suspicious to your financial institution.


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