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[Review] Element Anti-Virus

Posted By Ashraf On August 9, 2010 @ 12:19 AM In Shareware Reviews | 29 Comments

{rw_text}Software reviewed in this article:

Element Anti-Virus [1]

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

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{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.

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{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.

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{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}
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{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 [2]. 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 [3]” 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:

[4]

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 [5] 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 [6] for a comparison of the three most popular and trusted free anti-malware software.

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{rw_verdict2}In my last review on Element TotalProtect [2] 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 [5].
{/rw_verdict2} –>


Article printed from dotTech: http://dottech.org

URL to article: http://dottech.org/17539/review-element-anti-virus/

URLs in this post:

[1] Element Anti-Virus: http://www.elementsoftware.co.uk/software/totalprotect/

[2] dotTech reviewed Element TotalProtect 2010: http://dottech.org/shareware-reviews/15530

[3] Latest update: http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/69372715.rss

[4] Image: http://dottech.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/2010-08-09_021318.png

[5] Prevention, detection, and cure: 12 programs that will provide the best all-around security for you and your computer – for free: http://dottech.org../headline/3174/

[6] Avira vs avast! vs AVG: A comprehensive comparison to help you decide which (free) anti-malware security software you should use: http://dottech.org../freeware-reviews/14151

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