Antivirus Software: History, Successes and Failures


    Anti-Virus Software: History, Successes and Failures

    Many types of antivirus software  are developed by different companies with various features and levels of efficiency as to protect the needs and the possible threats being faced by the PC user. These kinds of software come in upgraded versions in order to cope up with the increasing demands of PC users to fight against the stealth viruses that may invade their system.

    McAfee AV

    The prime focuses of this antivirus software are Email and Web Security, Data Protection, Security-as-a-Service (SaaS), Mobile Security, Network Security, Risk and Compliance, System Security and Virtualization Security. It is designed to fight against email related problems like mass emails with offensive contents and other emails those are considered spam. McAfee features an email filtering solution designed to eliminate spam faster in the user’s emails. It works by:

    • Blocking emails.McAfee blocks addresses which are spammers; its preset filters screen addresses, subject line, messages, and the origin of the emails.
    • Updating Filters Automatically. The software has thousands of filters and they are upgraded regularly.
    • Generating Spam Reports. The software enables the users to report the event of spamming to McAfee. McAfee will then develop new filters for the said spam.
    • Giving customized filter wizards. It lets the user create his own filter based on the kind of texts or messages that he considers spam.
    • Quarantining spam. Emails which are filtered as spam are not sent directly to your inbox; instead, they're stored in the spam folder and are deleted automatically after couple of days. Should you not consider the mail as a spam, you can recover it from the folder.
    • Listing your Friends. You can automatically import email addresses from your friends list so that they are not considered spam.
    • Fighting off the spammers. The software helps by cancelling the accounts of spammers.

    McAfee SpamKillers works well with MSN and Hotmail but fails to filter AOL, Yahoo and other Web-based emails. It supports Windows 98, NT 4, 2000, XP, ME and occupies 5MB hard disk space.

    The software’s history can be traced back to its founder Jan McAfee in 1987. In 1997, the name was changed into Networks Associated after being merged with Network General. However, with the restructuring of the company they returned back to the name McAfee to manifest the company’s focus of developing security-related technology. McAfee continually develops sophisticated security systems to be able to guard PC users against the abusive criminals in cyberspace. It is known to be software that offers user friendly interface that neophyte PC users can deal with.

    McAfee Antivirus products guarantee comprehensive internet security, protection from online network intruders, firewall protection against spyware, sophisticated encryption capabilities, a customizable website, email blocking and many more. Developers are persistently seeking internet protection that will drive away the current and future threats as well.

    McAfee’s price ranges from $29.99 to $80, making it very close to other rival brands like Kaspersky and Symantec.


    Sophos offers data protection from malware and unauthorized software, prevention from data loss, client firewall and content monitoring. Unlike other software brands, anti-malware and data protection is assured with a single integrated solution making it ideal for corporate networks. It provides easy data management within the network while being highly protected from loss of data and other forms of database attacks.

    The success of the software makes it popular for large and advanced networks, but it lacks basic features such as friendly user interface, email support, and quarantine function. These limitations make the home or small office users wonder how the software will work for them. However, the product reviews, certifications, and multiple awards that Sophos has received, make it clear that the company has continuously served computer users community in terms of security.

    Sophos launched its first virus scan device in 1989 and it has evolved into award-winning antivirus software. It joined the anti-spamming security software market in the year 2003 and since then it continuously shown exemplary performance in encrypting techniques, security threat filters, and email, web and data protection. 

    The price of Sophos is generally higher than McAfee and other software.In general, the price is $2000 or more.


    Kaspersky has been in the IT software security industry for 13 years. It is a competitive software that has developed a full scale security system for Linux, Netware, and Unix as well as an attached antivirus for OS/2. It has proven to have excellent records in the field of antivirus technology with features like internet users’ protection, detection and removal of viruses and worms, excellent spam email filters, and other security features against possible risks.

    Back in 1993, Kaspersky started to develop anti virus software.After launching the antivirus engine, they simultaneously developed a complete antivirus solution through what they call behavior blocking. This is a development of scripts to detect new and existing viruses. In this process,an antivirus engine integrated with various OS, and plug-ins for MS 2000 to be protected from micro viruses from 1997 to 2002.

    Since then Kaspersky has an hourly database update, detection engines for Trojans and backdoors, anti spam linguistic kernel and other added key features at the highest levels. Its latest versions offer a full line of additional defense and treatment to infected files to increase the chances of data recovery unlike other antivirus systems. Its sandbox enables you to run programs safely even with a presence of a virus threat.In addition, you can also disable auto run files from outside sources. By following this procedure, you may safe and secure your computer from viruses and spams. The only weakness of Kaspersky is the less flexible control panels that make it difficult for first time users to learn the system.

    The price range of this software is$29 to $80 which is very similar to McAfee and much cheaper than Sophos.


    Just like Sophos, Symantec comes in a single integrated interface for defense against malicious ware and other security threats. This means, the software only offers single license and unified reporting, maintenance and updates.

    Key features of Symantec include accurate detection of malware and prevention,locks down of endpoints to avoid data leakage, root kit detection and removal. It can boot the computer into a malware-free state while removing infections from the system. Symantec provides security for virtual environments, advanced reporting, and analytics to ensure maximum degree of security for virtual users. However, a number of software reviews reveal that Symantec scanning process takes longer time than other antivirus software.

    The software’s system requirements include:

    • Different Microsoft Windows Servers
    • Virtual environments
    • Microsoft Windows 7 or similar
    • Vista and XP
    • Microsoft Explorer 6.0 or later versions
    • SQL 2005 express requires Service Pack 1
    • 20MB or more of virtual memory
    • Intel Pentium, Xeon, or AMD
    • 1.44-2.32GB disk space (depending on installation options)
    • Optional requirements.

    The price of Symantec antivirus software is little bit more than Kaspersky and McAfee but remains cheaper than Sophos.


    Most early computer users have heard of the PC-cillin antivirus product line, but few have realized that the Trend Micro company is the introducer of PC-cillin. Their product makes system and internet security less technical. This product can detect not only known malware but also other unknown viruses as well. Its anti-spyware also adds security to your computer by guarding against unauthorized access and giving you more protection against fraud while doing internet shopping and browsing.

    Trend Micro Company was first formed in Japan in the 1960’s and moved to Los Angeles 20 years later. The founders closed an agreement with Intel to provide built-in antivirus products under Intel’s name. Later advancements have developed into more PC-cillin features against compromised security. This brand has been established as a household name for anti-virus software since the early 90's. But Trend Micro is not simply an antivirus; it is also equipped with email safety scan, proactive intrusion blocking, firewall, parental controls and other security features. It is the all-around computer protection against viruses, intruders and spammers.

    System requirements include:

    • Windows 7, XP or Vista operating system
    • 500MB available disk space
    • Mozilla Firefox or Internet explorer web browsers
    • CPU needs at least 1.3GHz speed to install most effectively
    • Set-up and installation are fairly easy and require no programmer skills.

    The software package price is currently $49.95 but is expected to rise to $69.75 by 2011.


    Norton software can be used to prevent, detect and remove malware including computer viruses, worms and Trojan Horses. This package details will talk about how to prevent and remove those threats in our computer. It was developed and distributed by Symantec Corporation. In August of 1990,Symantec was introduced to the public and acquired Peter Norton Computing Company.

    Norton has good antivirus features like updating their existing antivirus without having to purchase a new subscription, and stopping viruses, spyware and boots. It performs faster, fewer, and shorter scans compared to other antivirus software. Norton also provides free 24/7 support by phone, email, live chat or online.

    Compared to other products Norton is one of the best anti-virus software in the market because of their support to clients. Norton took 61% of the US retail market share for security software for the first half of 2007, beating Trend Micro and Kaspersky Lab. Norton was in great demand to the public. Norton will run on both Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. Norton's retail price is much lower than the products, but it has good quality and is very reliable.


    BitDefender is an award-winning antivirus software developed by SoftWin, a Romanian-based company in 2001. It caters to both businesses as well as smaller systems like home or micro-network use. Home editions are supported by known operating systems like Windows, Symbian and Mac OSX; while business editions are supported by Windows, Linux and FreeBSD operating systems.

    BitDefender has many useful features such as:

    Anti-spyware, Anti-phishing, Chat Encryptions, Quick Scanning, Parental Controls, Internet security, Anti-Spam Resilient Firewall, Online Back-up and more.

    The antivirus provides a very powerful line of defense against all forms of malware. The software itself is very easy to install and use. At the same time, it requires very little maintenance. You can test the compatibility of the software for free!

    BitDefender Antivirus can only be installed in computer operating systems such as Windows XP with Service Pack 3 (32 bit), Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (64 bit), Windows Vista with Service Pack 1 or higher (32/64 bit or Windows 7 (32/64 bit). The Upgrading procedure is easy.All you need to do is enter the license key and the system will upgrade for you automatically.

    Current price range is $30 to $70 per package depending on the features included.

    Lots of technologies are available when it comes to network security. All you need to do is to identify the needs of your computer system and compare the solutions that each anti-virus software package offers you. You can always ask your programmer to know which products will be the best for your computer. It is suggestible that not to spend good amount of money on repairs and data loses due to infected computers again. Having a good wall of defense against malware and phishing is the best thing you can do for your computer.


    Sharath Reddy