- Created on 14 July 2011
Keeping your PC free of malware, including viruses, keyloggers, worms, trojans etc. (i.e. anything that aims to damage or hijack your PC) is essential to ensure not only a fully functional but also a secure browsing experience - you really don't want keyloggers etc. noting every keystroke you make when you go online to do your banking or buy your shopping.
In order to combat malware there are a great number of free and commercial programs that provide varying degrees of security and protection to your computing experience. One such piece of software that we have been sent to review, Emsisoft Anti-Malware 5.0 advertises a detection rate of 98.8% with an active protection element that monitors processes in real-time for specific tell-tale files and behaviour so that malware can be nipped in the bud.
Installation of Emsisoft Anti-Malware 5.0 is very simple (we reviewed a download version provided from DownloadBuyer.com) requiring the downloading of a ~100MB from their servers which requires minimal instruction for installation. Once installed the software is activated using a purchased key (although a reduced function freeware version is also available) after which the software downloads definitions for known malware (it boasts detection of over 4 million specific signatures). With the definitions library up to date the software then recommends a full system scan (memory, file system etc.) to remove and existing malware prior to activation of the "active" real-time monitoring feature. If you have a large hard drive and a large number of files this takes some time (several hours in our case) after which high-risk malware is automatically selected and quarantined to prevent their activity. In our case Emsisoft Anti-Malware found two high-risk items one of which was an exploit in Java.
Having made the system safe, the software then presents a series of options for real-time scanning modes, including an active file guard (as the name suggests for checking files), behaviour blocker (based on a series of predefined rules), and surf protection (based on a database of known bad domains). There is also the option to set up schedules scans (probably recommended, but unticked by default). Throughout the setup (and the program itself) information is provided in a little helpbox as to relevant actions in the main window and a more detailed manual is available in the help file.
As standard we run Windows Security Essentials on our PCs, which in our eyes provides an excellent job of protecting the system against malware. However, the fact that Emsisoft Anti-Malware actually found two high-risk signatures on the test machine highlights that it has probably a far more rigorous malware signature library for detecting potential threats. That said (as with any anti-virus or malware software) it is still imperative that any files/processes that are flagged as high-risk are checked before they are quarantined/removed to make sure that they aren't false reports,, which in our case they weren't. Additionally, in our tests, the software didn't obviously slow down the PC it was installed on (unlike other commercial software that we have used).
If you want to ensure the highest level of protection for your PC for a minimal cost (at the time of writing - £13.13) Emsisoft Anti-Malware 5.0 provides an economic way of doing so, and whilst not free this minimal outlay is most likely worth the expense.