[Review] Element Anti-Virus

{rw_text}Software reviewed in this article:

Element Anti-Virus

Version reviewed:

v2011

Software description as per the developer:

It’s important to run security software whenever you’re using your computer. Spyware, viruses and other potentially unwanted software can try to install itself on your computer any time you connect to the Internet. It can also infect your computer when you install some programs using a CD, DVD, or other removable media.

Potentially unwanted or malicious software can also be programmed to run at unexpected times, not just when it is installed. Element Anti-Virus offers many ways to help keep spyware, viruses and other potentially unwanted software from infecting your computer.

Element Anti-Virus is an upcoming next gen Antivirus for Windows that provides 4 in 1 system protection including features such as PC Security, Automatic backup and restore, PC Optimization and Anti-Phishing, all for an incredibly low price.

Supported OS:

Windows XP/Vista/Win7

Price:

25.60 GBP – or about $41USD – for three PCs for two years

{/rw_text} –>

{rw_good}

  • Comes with multiple tools, such as anti-malware, firewall, website adviser, system tuneup, defrag, and file backup.
  • Anti-malware includes live protection and on-demand scanning.
  • Anti-malware protection uses heuristics (for zero-day protection) and signature database (for protection against known threats).
  • Can “tweak”/”tune-up” your computer.
  • Has the ability to “immunize” your computer against threats.

{/rw_good} –>

{rw_bad}

  • Developer claims database of malware signatures is “updated the first working day of each month” but “Latest updates” list shows sporadic updates, with the last one being in May, which often only include a single signature.

{/rw_bad} –>

{rw_score}
{for=”Ease of Use” value=”9″}Very easy to use. However there isn’t really much documentation on some of the features that need explaining, so some go unexplained.
{/for}
{for=”Performance” value=”3″}The virus database is very rarely updated.
{/for}
{for=”Usefulness” value=”7″}With so many tools – and at such a low price – I can see many people (potentially) finding the program useful.
{/for}
{for=”Price” value=”9″}$20 per year for three PCs is an extremely low price.
{/for}
{for=”Final Score” value=”3″}This category reflects an arbitrary number that does not specifically stand for anything. Rather this number is used to reflect dotTech’s overall rating/verdict of the program in which all the features and alternatives have been considered.
{/for}
{/rw_score} –>

{rw_verdict}[tdown]
{/rw_verdict} –>

Element Anti-Virus is the new name of Element TotalProtect. In other words, Element Anti-Virus is the exact same software as Element TotalProtect. Back in April dotTech reviewed Element TotalProtect 2010. Here are the major updates made to the new 2011 version (as per Softpedia – I couldn’t find an official change log on the developer’s own website):

  • Element TotalProtect 2011′s pro-active defence was re-written in this release to provide protection against zero-day threats, using advanced heuristic scanning algorithms. So not only does Element TotalProtect protect against known, categorized threats, provided by our definitions, it can make highly accurate guesses against suspicious files which can protect you further if the file in question has not been analysed yet.
  • Its user interface is task oriented and designed to fit in immediately with your new Windows 7 operating system. Element TotalProtect 2011 was tested against Windows 7 since its early beta stages, and is one of the first internet security packages that was designed to natively support Windows 7 from the start.
  • It’s more modulated. To save the program from the program itself, AKA Feature Creep, we’ve modulated the software using a powerful framework, so the entire code runs in user mode level, not kernel mode level as it previously did. All current anti-virus programs on the market do not run in user level mode, and must continuously patch the kernel (Using Kernel Patch Protection) which causes bottlenecks. Element TotalProtect does not do this, so all bottlenecks are avoided, without reducing system security.
  • Complete Identity protection revamp- You can now erase all tracks and cookies from all major browsers, and Element TotalProtect can do this natively without having to change any settings in your browsers. You can call this Global Private Browsing mode, if you will. Also, we’ve revamped the strictness of Identity Protection in Internet Explorer, and added a new password safe, which only you can access, and which can be stored anywhere on your machine, or usb memory stick. There’s also our Secure File shredder, which can remove files that you do not wish anyone to gain
    · access to.
  • More control over settings- Element TotalProtect 2010 limited the user’s choice for defining component settings. Element TotalProtect 2011 removes this limitation.
  • User Mode firewall – Some problems exisited in Element TotalProtect 2010 which caused some internet connections to go down. We’ve super improved the firewall specification in Element TotalProtect 2011 to avoid any issues like these, by running the firewall in user mode, not kernel mode.
  • Patches Exploits in Windows – Element TotalProtect 2011′s immunization feature has been improved to not only patch against bad websites and software, it can also detect unpatched exploits in Windows and downloads the relevant updates from Microsoft to guard against them.
  • Predictive scan – Using our heuristic algorithms, Element TotalProtect can predict a malware’s behaviour and take necessary action against it.
  • Improved backup and restore – It’s been improved to allow further customization of backups and easy 1-click options.

The most interesting new feature in v2011 is the addition of heuristics scanning, which allow for protection against zero-day threats.

Here is a video of Element Anti-Virus 2011, created by the developer:

Back in April, in my review on Element TotalProtect 2010, my biggest problem with the program was the developer’s claim that the malware signature database is “updated daily” yet as per the developer’s own “Latest Threats” list the database was only updated a few times over the span of multiple months and each time only one signature was added. In other words, I found the developer’s claims about the product to be false, and I found it worrisome that the product – which relied heavily on signatures to protect a user – used a database that was only periodically updated. So, for this review on Element Anti-Virus 2011, the first thing I did was go look at the database, latest updates, etc. to see if the developer made any changes or improvements in the area.

Well, apparently now the developer releases database updates on the “first working day of each month”:

Element Software releases updates to the malware heuristics, definitions and filter databases for Element TotalProtect on the first working day of each month. Element Software also provide service updates and service packs for Element TotalProtect on regular intervals.

Unfortunately, this again seems to be a deceitful claim. The “Latest update” list which, according to the developer, lists “service updates and latest malware alerts”, shows Element Anti-Virus has not been updated the first of every month (the last signature update was in May) and when it did update the database, only a few signatures were added:

In other words, yes Element Anti-Virus 2011 has added a heuristics engine which doesn’t use signatures, but I still find the developer’s claims about the product to be false and I still find it worrisome the malware signature database – which is used by Element Anti-Virus in conjunction with the heuristics engine to provide protection against known and zero-day threats – is only updated periodically.

This review was conducted on a laptop running Windows 7 Professional 32-bit. The specs of the laptop are as follows: 3GB of RAM, a Radeon HD 2600 512MB graphics card, and an Intel T8300 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor.

{rw_freea}

Please refer to my article Prevention, detection, and cure: 12 programs that will provide the best all-around security for you and your computer – for free for more information on free alternatives.

Also, feel free to read my article Avira vs avast! vs AVG: A comprehensive comparison to help you decide which (free) anti-malware security software you should use for a comparison of the three most popular and trusted free anti-malware software.

{/rw_freea} –>

{rw_verdict2}In my last review on Element TotalProtect I stated trust and performance are key when it come to security software – especially ones from unknown developers. Call me stubborn but Element TotalProtect 2010 put a bad taste in my mouth back in April and Element Anti-Virus 2011 has done nothing to clear its name. I give Element Anti-Virus 2011 a thumbs down – rejected; I would stay away from this software if I were you. If you are looking for excellent computer security for free, please refer to my article Prevention, detection, and cure: 12 programs that will provide the best all-around security for you and your computer – for free.
{/rw_verdict2} –>

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29 comments

  1. alan

    @Patrick:
     
    I disagree.
     
    If an A.V. scans a file / folder / partition / etc and reports no virus found,
    then unless it recommends additional scans by other A.V. products,
    it is solely responsible for giving the user a sense of security,
    and if it has failed to spot that there is a virus in file aaaa4,
    its failure constitutes a false negative as bad as stating “clean” for every file from aaaa0, aaaa1, aaaa2, aaaa3, aaaa4,aaaa5 etc through to zzzzz.9
     
    I have no difficulty accepting as valid the use of “false negative” for any report that indicates an infected system is free of malware.
     
    It does not have to stipulate as clean the individual file or line of code within a file to be a false report.  The unreported presence of presence malware in a scanned system constitutes a false negative as has been defined.
     
    Jojesa gave a perfect and concise response to David,
    and she even explained her use of her choice of phrase.
    It needed zero effort to read and understand.
     
    Your monstrously long and, in my view pedantic, treatise is far too long and life is too short.  I do not see any benefit to the discussion upon Element A.V., especially since jojesa explained what she meant.
    You state :-
    You will notice that, in this quote, Wikipedia does not consider your everyday spam as malware in the strict sense of the term.
     
    No one else till this has referred to spam.  Seems to me to be Off Topic
     

  2. Jake Jackson

    I didn’t plan to respond further on this review, but have chosen to do so because of incorrect claims in this review, and problems with the review.

    I am not trying to justify issues that may exist in the product, I am simply stating fact.

    Regarding the review;

    -It does not review the product. There is no screenshots, no actual results of testing the product, no actual descriptions of the workings of the features of the product.

    -Version change quotes have been taken from Element TotalProtect’s release description, not Element Anti-Virus, so of course it’s going to be incorrect for this version.

    -I showed annoyance in my first post because Give Away of The Day tells me that you are notified in advance about a new offering, yet you put together a ‘review’ based on information from third party sources, or older, unrelevant information. I say this because this is what they said to me when you responded back.

    -As stated on the Twitter feed, the list was for Element TotalProtect, not for Element Anti-Virus. Since we upgraded our users to EAV for free, this feed was stopped being used. The public Virus Information center for Element Anti-Virus is yet to be launched, so this debunks the ‘Has not been updated since May’ claim.

    -Element Anti-Virus does not just use hueristics. It also uses signitures, and when I say that, I mean mainly. As a backup, each file is scanned against a signiture in the database, and is scanned again for suspicious activity using hueristics, a combination of the two. It annoyed me because you cant just claim that we just use hueristics without getting the proper information first. You was entirely wrong to do that.

    -If you read throughout your article, you keep refering to Element TotalProtect, and applying what we said about Element TotalProtect to Element Anti-Virus. It isn’t the same product, so claims that you make in this article about Element Anti-Virus using the Element TotalProtect name is old information regarding that product, it just does not apply here.

    I’m trying to tell you as a friend, Ashraf, that claims and apparent facts that you have started in this article are not true, and you should prepare more in the future that claims you do make can be backed up, especially when we’re talking about how the software works underneath, what you can’t see unless you are the developer.

    If you compare this review to this one;
    http://dottech.org/shareware-reviews/9098

    See how more detailed and professional it is? I’m not claiming that you are not a professional, I don’t doubt your reviews, but comparing these two, the information is just so off and so undetailed and missed. It’s a shame, because I was really looking forward to a well put together review from you.

    I hope everyone understands what I’m trying to say here.

    Respectfully
    Jake Stephen Jackson
    Element Software
    http://www.elementsoftware.co.uk

  3. Patrick

    Re.: False negatives and virusscanners.
     
    As I had never heard of false negatives in VIRUSDETECTION, I did some thinking and a very quick search.
    Firstly because, some time ago, I caught myself using the terminology in preparing a post (I forget where exactly, but it must be here or on GAOTD)… and replacing it by “positives” before sending it. Secondly because I’ve never seen a virus detector report “false negatives”. Finally because of  “How could a virusdetector possibly report false negatives?” popping up out of the blue from time to time.
     
    I mean: when a virusscanner reports false positives together with “actual”, real positives (present virusses), then all the unreported code (or any portion of it) must necessarily be considered to be (or contain) POTENTIAL false negative(s).
    In other words, really ALL of the remaining code, may consist of both actual unreported real virusses (“actual”, real false negatives) as well as totally harmless code (for which there is no specific word in terms of “negatives” as it does not fall under any of the above negatives categories – “false positives” eventually having been reported).
    Thus, logically speaking, a virusscanner could not possibly report false negatives ever.
     
    That does not mean that there is no such thing as “false negatives” in the realm of malicious software, in the totality of malware – of wich viruses are just a subset.
     
    So far for logic, now for some definitions… (far from being complete! I just did a very, very quick search).
     
    Wikipedia says.:
    Remark: I quote only the part relevant to computers, the main body of the article concerns statistics – which is also very interesting BTW ;-)
    [start quote]
     
    Type I and type II errors
    Computers
    The notions of “false positives” and “false negatives” have a wide currency in the realm of computers and computer applications.
     
    - Computer security
    Security vulnerabilities are an important consideration in the task of keeping all computer data safe, while maintaining access to that data for appropriate users (see computer security, computer insecurity). Moulton (1983), stresses the importance of:

    avoiding the type I errors (or false positive) that classify authorized users as imposters.
    avoiding the type II errors (or false negatives) that classify imposters as authorized users (1983, p. 125).

     
    - Spam filtering
    A false positive occurs when “spam filtering” or “spam blocking” techniques wrongly classify a legitimate email message as spam and, as a result, interferes with its delivery. While most anti-spam tactics can block or filter a high percentage of unwanted emails, doing so without creating significant false-positive results is a much more demanding task.
    A false negative occurs when a spam email is not detected as spam, but is classified as “non-spam“. A low number of false negatives is an indicator of the efficiency of “spam filtering” methods.
     
    - Malware
    The term false positive is also used when antivirus software wrongly classifies an innocuous file as a virus. The incorrect detection may be due to heuristics or to an incorrect virus signature in a database. Similar problems can occur with antitrojan or antispyware software.
     
    - Computer database searching

     

    This section’s factual accuracy is disputed. Please see the relevant discussion on the talk page. (December 2009)

    In computer database searching, documents are assumed to be relevant by default. Thus, false positives are documents that are rejected by a search despite their relevance to the search question.[citation needed] False Negatives are documents that are retrieved by a search despite their irrelevance to the search question.[citation needed] False negatives are common in full text searching, in which the search algorithm examines all of the text in all of the stored documents and tries to match one or more of the search terms that have been supplied by the user. Consider how this relates to spam filtering — it is more severe to not retrieve a document you want than to retrieve a document you don’t want.
    Most false positives can be attributed to the deficiencies of natural language, which is often ambiguous: e.g., the term “home” may mean “a person’s dwelling” or “the main or top-level page in a Web site”.[Note 9]
     
    - Optical character recognition (OCR)
    Detection algorithms of all kinds often create false positives. Optical character recognition (OCR) software may detect an “a” where there are only some dots that appear to be an “a” to the algorithm being used.
     
    [end quote]
     
    You will notice that, in this quote, Wikipedia does not consider your everyday spam as malware in the strict sense of the term.
    IMO, in some cases, spam may be considered as a form of, or the result of, malware. I’m thinking about denial-of-service-attacks (DoS). The relevant Wikipedia entry says “Dramatic increase in the number of spam emails received—(this type of DoS attack is considered an e-mail bomb)”.
     
    From this I cannot but conclude that only a human operator can detect possible false negatives and that no software, whatever technique is used, can achieve that. Exept perhaps partly by continuous comparison with “mirror code” – i.e. the existing code before any changes are made? (I know that this terminology is probably wrong, but I’m only trying to get the idea across.) I would say that even then, it will ultimately still be a human operator’s decision to accept changes as ligit or illigit (meaning: to correctly spot potential false negatives and actual false positives).
     
    And as far as false positives are concerned, that is exactly what happens: based on knowledge and experience the user himself decides what is a false positive and what is an actual virus. And he will only become aware of false negatives after some time, after observable harm has been done, after disaster has stricken.
     
    To close this post, I think that there exists mathematical proof of what I say here. Proof that is based on (among others) Alan Turing’s original theoretical work on computers and artificial intelligence (first half of last century) and on subsequent research in many related fields. To expand on this would be far beyond the scope of this post, so I leave it to the reader(s) to collect (and perhaps study) relevant information on this broader subject.
     
    Forgive me if I have gone into the subject of false negatives all too deeply… Nevertheless I hope that at least one person may have enjoyed this post and got something from it.
     
    Greetz!
    Patrick.
     
    PS:
    “The fact remains that everyone who taps at a keyboard, opening a spreadsheet or a word-processing program, is working on an incarnation of a Turing machine.” (Source: http://205.188.238.181/time/time100/scientist/profile/turing.html : Time 100 of the Century, Scientists & thinkers (2000))
     
    Turing and his work has interested me on and of for some two decades now… I really can’t leave you without some sort of a starting point, can I (but there’s more to find than what you get through Wikipedia!):
     
    - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turing : just an introduction – the External links section is very dissapointing!
    - http://www.mathcomp.leeds.ac.uk/turing2012/ : broad site dedicated to Turing Centennial (born 1912) and (related) http://www.mathcomp.leeds.ac.uk/turing2012/WScie12/
     

  4. jojesa

    @david: Yes, it will shows many false positives (flagging system and DLL files as being infected) and false negatives (it fails to detect malware that is present on a system). It may seem harmless, but removing false positives can cause system instability and programs not to function correctly
     

  5. david

    Does this program show a lot of false positives?  I am running (still after 2hrs) a scan on my HDD and it is picking up stuff from winsock.dll in my win/system32 direcotry saying it is a keyboard logger.  Also, some of the TechSmith (SnagIt) items are “Rogue Security Program” listing the same file 13 times!  I would think 1 is enough if it really is an issue.  Another file it lists about 155 times!  This “dialer” is only 2 bytes in size!  It is for a JavaScript RAD studio (Google “Alpha five”).  This makes me question the rest of the results, thinking it will hose my system if I let it “fix” the “problems”.
    Also the whole time the scan is running, I keep getting a popup from the taskbar saying the the real-time protection is disabled, but the security panel doesn’t show that it is.

  6. jojesa

    When I see antivirus software I do expect a program to remove malware. I do not care about those tools which are available gratis online.
    I installed and tested Element Anti-Virus 2011 in Windows 7 32-bit. I used a hard drive image to restore Windows to a clean environment avoiding compatibility issues on virtual machines.
    I did not care about the stopping the installation to update signatures manually, which could be annoying for a regular PC user. The installation gets stuck trying to update the virus signatures and there isn’t any way to stop it unless you open the Task Manager and end the process.
    I tested this antivirus only against malware found by other antivirus titles before 2008, which included phishing, infected sites and drop by downloads. After my test system was infected with 14 types of malware that Element Anti-Virus 2011 failed to stop, I decided to perform a full scan and it did not find my system infected. Instead it tried to remove Adobe Acrobat and Windows DLL library files which were essential for Windows and Acrobat to run properly.
    Ashraf review was too kind, since I could not find anything good about this antivirus. Like I said before an antivirus it supposed to at least remove some kind of malware. Element Anti-Virus 2011 failed in each of the “Software highlights” posted on their website.
    I would not recommend the use of this antivirus on your main system, unless you can restore your system from a full backup.

  7. Wheezer

    Now that was an interesting and enlightening read! The comments that is, I’d shot down the possibility of downloading whatever that supposed anti-virus is called last night before Ashraf had even started into his full review. But I still like to read the comments a day or two later, in case someone brings up something that I overlooked that makes a program worth downloading after all.
    I thoroughly enjoyed Ashraf’s response to Jake’s useless attempt to discredit him! That poor sucker didn’t have any idea of what he was getting himself into. As his lack of any counter response to Ashraf proves.
    I’m not going to waste my time singing praises of Ashraf’s reviews, we all already know how good they are. Instead I’d like to give some props to the rest of you that commented after Jakie-boy showed his true colors.
    It must be an incredibly good feeling for Ashraf to know that so many people will step up and cover his back when he calls a spade a spade. I also hope knowing that will empower him to continue with the quality and reliability of his reviews.
    All you folks rock! Keep it up!
    And yeah, I guess you’re ok too Ashraf…   ;-)

  8. alan

    This is really weird :-
    It’s more modulated. To save the program from the program itself, AKA Feature Creep, we’ve modulated the software using a powerful framework, so the entire code runs in user mode level, not kernel mode level as it previously did. All current anti-virus programs on the market do not run in user level mode, and must continuously patch the kernel (Using Kernel Patch Protection) which causes bottlenecks. Element TotalProtect does not do this, so all bottlenecks are avoided, without reducing system security.
    What on earth is meant by modulated ?
    Does it switch itself on and off in a form of Pulse Code Modulation ?
    Is it something to do with Amplitude Modulation as used in the good old days of the Pirate Ships such as Radio Caroline ?
    Or did Element whatever like the Dictionary definition of MODERATED but accidentally cut-n-paste a subsequent keyword MODULATED.
    My Google search on the words Kernel Patch Protection bottleneck :-
    http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Kernel+Patch+Protection+bottleneck&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a
    The first result is this particular review;
    The second result is a Wikipedia article on Kernel Patch Protection which suggests it is only relevant to 64 bit systems, and not  relevant to us with 32 bit animals;
    The third result is another review of Element TotalProtect 2011 5.0.0.1000 that is posted on Wilders, from which thread I learnt that it uses the common bit defender engine.  Even Alice who could believe 6 impossible things before breakfast would not be able to believe Element whatsit has the competence to take a standard bit defender engine and SAFELY convert it from Kernel mode level to User mode level.
    The last post there was dated June 11 and cites
    “For $17.63 US per 3PC-2year license I’d say it’s super cheap!!”
    I do not know where that price came from.
    I clicked on the link given on Wilders and it took me to
    http://www.elementsoftware.co.uk/
    It took over 3 minutes to load before anything appeared on screen and I was wondering how much malware was being sent and automatically rejected at my first line of defence, either Firefox or perhaps even my ISP.
    After 3 minutes it was DONE and the central 50% of the screen area was a big white square from Adblock plus protecting me.
    Any enemy of Adblocok plus is also my enemy.
    I let Firefox “FIND” look for $17.63 and it failed to see it on the open page.
    I chose not to pollute my computer by clicking anywhere on that site.
    NOW THE TECHNICAL BIT.
    What is the advantage of USER level instead of KERNEL level ?
    In my view any protection software that hooks into the Kernel is far better able to resist being slaughtered by a deliberate targeted attack from malware,
    whilst any “protection” that simple sits at USER level is likely to be an easy target,
    and on the CCleaner user forum I have even seen a complaint that installed malware protection had been accidentally killed when CCleaner was first run.
    I am sorry but if you choose as protection something that is based upon obscurity and disguises its vital components as temporary junk files, you probably do not deserve anything better ! ! !
     

  9. alan

    @Jake Jackson
    You are a stupid and incompetent bully.
    You do not like the useless nature of your product being exposed,
    so you start with a denial :-
    ““$20 per year for three PCs is an extremely low price. ”Thats not the price.”
    and then you choose to launch into a rant against Ashraf and his competence instead of telling us the horrendously different price you actually charge for your heap of *!~*
     

  10. OldElmerFudd

    AV/Anti-Malware products are essential for every computer user. If Mr. Jackson takes exception to an unfavorable evaluation of his product, that is his right. To insist the review be removed or modified without presenting data that clearly refutes the original conclusion is unreasonable.
     
    Any relatively new software product is subject to scrutiny. Making a purchase/use decision based on a single evaluation is naive. To think that a single review would doom a software is equally naive. The software I use is on my machines because of extensive research as to real world experiences by many other users. Even then, there is room for differences of opinion. In the end, that is what Ashraf has done. He has given us an opinion, based on his experiences and research. If the developer disagrees, so be it. For myself, I have learned that Ashraf’s opinions are generally sound and trustworthy, and I usually agree with him. I’d have been surprised if he’d responded any other way to Mr. Jackson.

  11. Jeffinprov

    What an interesting exchange.  While there are certainly some shoddy products floating around, and our friends at GOTD have occasionally featured them from time, one doesn’t really expect to find slipshod antivirus software.  In any case, the sort of defensive hyperventilation displayed by the product’s developer and his rather juvenile disparagement of Ashraf’s remarks does not exactly burnish his credibility.
    It’s not as though we’re dealing with a program to add raindrop effects to our snapshots here — anyone who has fallen prey to a bad virus learns quickly that the broadest spectrum, most current levels of protection are critical business.  (Especially if one doesn’t want to lose forever one’s library of snapshots with raindrop effects.)
    I have no idea where Ashraf finds the energy, time, and general wherewithal to do the level of testing and investigation that he displays week after week… but however he manages, I am tremendously grateful for his efforts and those of the other contributors to this blog.

  12. shyam

    @Jackson dude
    Woot woot
    UP WITH ASRAF
    DOWN WITH ELEMENT ANTIVIRUS!!
     
    @ashraf..
    you are amazing.. the speech was intense..
    i  especially loved the ending..
    “am i a snobby bastard….yeah i probably am!”
    if you dont mind.. i might use that in class speeches i have to do..
     
    Ashraf is like the superman (or batman, whichever u prefer) of the Software World!!!..
    keep it up ashraff!!!!
    BTW do u have a facebook/youtube. i would love to be friends.
     
    also one more thing man.. on the antivirus comparison page..[Avira vs avast! vs AVG: A comprehensive comparison to help you decide which (free) anti-malware security software you should use]

    i suggest you re-do that one beacuse of the new avast 5.0! that came out.. but i think that ur waiitng for hte statistics to be published on the one site u mention..

    :)
    peace!

  13. phoenix_rising

    @Just An Observer: Of course it was tongue in cheek. Next time I’ll a winking smiley so it’s immediately apparent.

    On a serious note, though, like many, I’m waiting to hear the developer’s response …

    Oh, and thanks Ashraf. Always appreciate the time and effort that goes into your reviews.

  14. Just An Observer

    Phoenix, written medium makes it hard to understand tone and intent. So, I’m not sure if your comment is tongue-in-cheek, but my reaction was markedly different than what yours may have been. I don’t know Ashraf but from what I’ve read over the months he comes across to me as balanced and sensible. I don’t see any malice in his reply to developer/owner. I do see strong logic that raises red flags regarding this product and developer. Strout kind of summed it up nicely.

  15. Patrick

    @Jake Jackson:
    Mr. Jackson,

    You state that “The website this information is based on was for Element TotalProtect- NOT Element Anti-Virus.”

    I have been trying to check a few things to see wether your indignation vis a vis Ashraf and his review is justified. At the moment it is extremely difficult to access http://www.elementsoftware.co.uk/  – which is probably due to heavy traffic caused by today’s Giveaway of the Day (which is ‘Element TotalProtect’).
    Reaching your homepage took just under 12 minutes on a high speed braodband connection, and taking a closer look at the different sections on your site (in casu the Support page) took just a few seconds less. 
    You may appreciate that, under these circumstances, it is next to impossible to do a full check of the site’s content with regard to Protect-Element Anti-virus, which, by the way, does link to http://www.elementsoftware.co.uk/software/totalprotect/ and reads “Element Anti-Virus 2011 is the solution that far exceeds normal anti-virus protection. It renders your PC highly immune to cyber threats of any kind.” It also shows “1 License for 3 PCs, 2 year use – £25.60″ which is exactly what today’s review says about todays offer (“25.60 GBP – (…) – for three PCs for two years”). Ashraf indeed writes “$20 per year for three PCs is an extremely low price” and gives it a quote of 9 (out of 10). Apart from the latter quotation being from the 2010 review, it remains an extremely low price which deserves a 9… Wouldn’t you agree?
     
    You also write “Also, there’s no screenshots, no benchmarks, just nothing.” Using your own terminology “this (…) is completely biased and incorrect”… The (working!) videolink shown above is exactly the same as the one on your site. Now that’s something you might appreciate – unless the video is not to your liking, of course.
    As far as benchmarking is concerned, dotTech has, to my knowledge, never published any benchmarks about any of the software reviewed there (which is “here”, actually).
    And for screenshots, well… I have seen six of them, but I should run the program to see wether Ashraf’s screenshots from his review of v2010 still fit . As well as the benchmarks and the changelog – which I am certain you will be happy to provide.
     
    Finally, you counter Ashraf’s criticism that “the malware signature database – which is used by Element Anti-Virus in conjunction with the heuristics engine to provide protection against known and zero-day threats – is only updated periodically” by stating that “Element Anti-Virus’ definition database is 27MB bigger than Element TotalProtect’s, and is completely a different format.” This may well be a valid riposte, if only you would furnish proof (e.g. by posting the relevant URL’s linking to detailed information proving Ashraf is totally wrong).
     
    At the risk of repeating myself, I am waiting until the run on your site has quietted down so that I can find the information I understand you claim to be available there.
     
    I WOULD VERY MUCH APPRECIATE YOUR REPLY TO ASHRAF’s LAST COMMENT! – Appart from your post #1 on GAOTD (which, four or five hours ago, was not there, while Ashraf’s was moved down one place).
    Ashraf does have quite a reputation for accuracy, thoroughness and – above all – honesty!
    What about “your own website (which, by the way, you have now removed).”?
     
     
    Remainig not just a bit confused,
    Patrick.
     
    BTW: I have followed GAOTD’s link and googled “element software”.  

  16. D. Strout

    Even if I did not already have a good AV product – which I do, I would stay faaaarrrrr away from this giveaway. Dishonesty and falsification are things i look for in viruses themselves, not antivirus products!

  17. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Jake Jackson:

    “$20 per year for three PCs is an extremely low price.” Thats not the price.

    Really? So what does ~$41 for 3 PCs for two years come out to be? I may not be the greatest at math, but even I can do that. I got the information right off your website.

    This is completely wrong. The website this information is based on was for Element TotalProtect- NOT Element Anti-Virus. Additionaly, Element Anti-Virus’ definition database is 27MB bigger than Element TotalProtect’s, and is completely a different format. The Twitter feed has not been updated because we are no longer using it as an update feed. Customers had been notified of this change.

    I see. So when exactly did this happen? It must have been an extremely recent change because your new “Malware Center” (http://www.elementsoftware.co.uk/totalprotect/malwarecenter/) is where I found the “Latest updates” list. I see now you have removed the link from the “Malware Center” after my criticism.

    I also see on the Twitter list you have deleted your last three entries which were about security updates and announcing the release of Element TotalProtect 2011, and replaced them with a message claiming this Twitter account is no longer used. I wonder what happened there.

    Furthermore, you try to make it sound like Element Anti-Virus is a completely different program than Element TotalProtect yet at Softpedia and the Twitter account (prior to your deleting it) you claimed to have released Element TotalProtector 2011, mentioning it has all the features present in Element Anti-Virus 2011. On June 6th you released Element TotalProtect and on July 21st you replaced it with Element Anti-Virus, claiming 80% better detections. If I do say so myself that is a whirlwind of an update, increasing detections by 80% with an update that took less than 2 months to do (especially considering your history of lack of updates), even if you had an army of software engineers are your disposal. (Unless, of course, you are telling me you were working on the development for Element TotalProtect 2011 and Element Anti-Virus 2011 side-by-side, in which case I would ask why would you waste resources on producing Element TotalProtect 2011 when you plan on dumping it for AV 2011 less than two months later.) May I see an official changelog as to the changes made in AV 2011 (aside from “increase in detections by 80%”)?

    Is TotalProtect different than Anti-Virus? I don’t know, it is your product, so you tell me. But, I have my doubts about your claim Element TotalProtect != Element Anti-Virus – evidence is heavily leaning towards the idea that you just renamed the program.

    You come here talking about an accurate and biased review yet provide no evidence on the contrary – all my claims are backed by evidence present right on your own website (which, by the way, you have now removed).

    I have a reputation for being honest, and unbias in my reviews. Am I wrong sometimes? Of course I am and when provided with evidence, I always correct myself. However, I write my reviews for the benefit of developers and readers, and I tell it how it is. You, on the other hand, have a history of falsifying claims about your product, and have not really provided evidence to the contrary.

    (I didn’t even talk about how I have doubts about your claim “Element Anti-Virus 2011 surpasses 20,000 downloads since it’s launch last week” [http://twitter.com/elementsoftware/status/19948239357]. Softpedia – which as per my research is the only major file hoster hosting Element Anti-Virus – has a total of less than 9,000 downloads for the file so far and your own website is very lowly ranked, getting only a few hundred hits a month. How you got 20,000 downloads in a week is beyond me.)

    That said, thanks for coming here to defend your product. In the end am I being an arrogant, stubborn bastard about this review? Yeah, I probably am. But, my past experience with your product and company justifies my arrogance. I value the safety of my readers over pleasing a developer who has a history of being dishonest. Have a good day.

  18. Jake Jackson

    This review is completely biased and incorrect.
    “$20 per year for three PCs is an extremely low price.”

    Thats not the price.
     
    Also-
    “Unfortunately, this again seems to be a deceitful claim. The “Latest update” list which, according to the developer, lists “service updates and latest malware alerts”, shows Element Anti-Virus has not been updated the first of every month (the last signature update was in May) and when it did update the database, only a few signatures were added. In other words, yes Element Anti-Virus 2011 has added a heuristics engine which doesn’t use signatures, but I still find the developer’s claims about the product to be false and I still find it worrisome the malware signature database – which is used by Element Anti-Virus in conjunction with the heuristics engine to provide protection against known and zero-day threats – is only updated periodically.”
    This is completely wrong. The website this information is based on was for Element TotalProtect- NOT Element Anti-Virus. Additionaly, Element Anti-Virus’ definition database is 27MB bigger than Element TotalProtect’s, and is completely a different format. The Twitter feed has not been updated because we are no longer using it as an update feed. Customers had been notified of this change.
     
    I think Ashraf should start getting he’s facts straight before posting completely incorrect reviews. And if you look at the review results, they are exactly the same as Element TotalProtect’s. Also, there’s no screenshots, no benchmarks, just nothing.

    There’s no review of the features, no review of the program working, no review of scan results.
     
    I am incredibly annoyed at this copy and paste job, and I want an explanation immediately.
     
    I want this review removed, or at least done professionaly, instead of being copied directly from Element TotalProtect’s review.
     
    Thanks for understanding the seriousness of this issue.
     
    Regards
    Jake Stephen Jackson
    Element Software.

  19. Pandora

    @PCbasics:
    “.but besides the virus database …the other features are not so bad…”
    Get real! It’s an antivirus program! If the sig DB is rubbish, the program cant protect you, therefore it’s rubbish. The interface, bells and whistles may make it look nice, in which case you have nice looking rubbish.
    Me I’d rather have a crappy GUI but code that does the job – my vote (at the moment) goes to Avira

  20. Locutus

    @PCbasics: …right, ’cause all good things in life cost money.
    Compare Firefox to Internet Explorer (you paid for it when you got Windows, which you payed for (a major OEM can get licenses for ~$40) when you got your computer).  Which is better?  Compare Microsoft Security Essentials to Trend Micro Antivirus.  Which is better?  Compare [PROGRAM A] to [PROGRAM B].  Which is better?
    No, I’d say that most free AVs are better than paid AVs.  After all, the two most people have heard of-McAfee and Norton-are both slow and bloated.  (This is from personal experience that they are slow and that they are the most common.)
    So, in conclusion, no.  This may not be better.  It probably isn’t considering how frequently the updates are.
    Locutus