SUPERAntiSpyware introduces free “online scanner”

Update: Back when I wrote this article two years ago SUPERAntiSypware’s online scanner was “new”. It isn’t new anymore. Still, this article is applicable to the scanner because it is still around today.

SUPERAntiSpyware – a popular and effective security software which protects users again spyware, malware, adware, trojans, rootkits, homepage hi-jackers, worms, dialers and parasites (has free and commercial versions) – today has released a free “online scanner”.

Before using this “online scanner”, I was expecting it to be the orthodox type of online scanner which scans your computer directly from within your browser such as Kaspersky’s online scanner. However when I used the scanner, I discovered SAS’s new “online scanner” is less of an “online scanner” and more of a standalone, portable version of SAS Free (hence the reason I keep putting it in quotes).

When you go to the “online scanner” page to use the scanner, you are asked to download a 8.8 MB file. This 8.8 MB file is, more or less, the same thing as SAS Free:

2009-09-17_135918

The only difference is you do not need to install anything once you download it; simply run it, scan your computer,and remove any threats (if found). Although you can check for database updates directly from within the scanner itself, SAS updates the “online scanner” regularly (at least once a day) to reflect new database updates so every time you download the “online scanner” it should have the latest database definition.

Since the purpose of this is to serve as an “online scanner” (which you download, use, then delete, and download again whenever the need arises) and not a real “portable, standalone” version of SAS Free, I have a word of caution for those who do decide to use it as an adhoc portable, standalone version of SAS Free. When you update the database via the scanner or change any of the settings, close the “online scanner” and rerun it, you need to run the database updates and change your settings again because the scanner will not reflect the database updates or change of settings.

The major advantage of this “online scanner” is it comes in the form of .COM instead of .EXE so if you have any malware on your computer blocking .EXE files, you will still be able to run this “online scanner” without problems. The major disadvantage, obviously, is that you must download a 8.8 MB file every time you want to use it (assuming you don’t keep it on your computer already). However this “disadvantage” does also distinguish SAS’s “online scanner” from the traditional scan-from-browser online scanner: SAS’s “online scanner” scans a lot faster and is able to actually remove the threats it finds (most scan-from-browser online scanners just detect threats; you usually have to install the respective software’s desktop version to remove the threats).

That being said, I have reflected my points of concern to Mike of SUPERAntiSpyware and he has reassured me SAS has plans to introduce a scan-from-browser online scanner and a *real* standalone, portable version of SAS. For now all I have to say is this “online scanner” is a step in the right direction by SAS and can definitely be useful to many. In my opinion, considering the nature of it, the best use of SAS’s current “online scanner” is when you want to supplement your regular security software scans to make sure your computer is clean.

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11 comments

  1. Chump123

    As far as I can tell this is the same as the Portable version listed on their website, which they have had for years.
    http://superantispyware.com/portablescanner.html?tag=SAS_HOMEPAGE

    Or is it actually any different?

    There are a few reasons why its a .com file. Lots of malware nowadays blocks the running of .exe files to lock down your machine, so you cannot run any antivirus or malware removal tools. They cannot however block .com files as Windows relies upon them. Also the file you download will have a random file name, so as to make it even more difficult to block. This is why they are using a .com file.

  2. Athlonite

    Thanks for the info. Ashraf ! I was unaware that SAS had a online or standalone scanner. Dr.WebCureIt : http://www.freedrweb.com/cureit/ have the same idea and this for quite sometime. You download a fresh copy every time you want to scan for nasties or simply download to a Flash drive and scan a infected PC directly from the flash drive.

    I use their Pro for the Real Time protection and never had any problems with the updates. It does take some time to upGrade to a new version but regular updates are made in the background and not a problem.

    Thanks for reporting this great news.

    Athlonite

  3. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Janet: Hey! Piwik is my statistics plugin =). It is an open source web analytics package which I use to see how many people visit my website each day, what articles they visit, etc. so I know better how to present dotTech to advertisers. It is safe I promise =).

    @MrFishy: No idea why it happened. You should contact SAS support for it.

  4. MrFishy

    Whoa!
    The night of the 16th, I went to update my free home SAS and it locked up my computer quite thoroughly, which had never happened in the year I’ve used it.
    I’m leery of trying to update it again and must wonder if their new project caused this?

  5. Janet

    After an over 3-hr scan, it found only one problem–a tracking cookie: janet@stats_piwik[2].txt. I went to CCCLeaner to see if I could put the entry in some sort of ‘block-this-cookie’ list (Is there such a thing somewhere?–I know there are Allow-this-cookie lists), and it was listed as: dottech.org/stats_piwik!!! What’s the story here….:-)….?

  6. Ron

    Hmm…
    After downloading, I checked the “update” icon and was assaulted by a couple of “Super special price” offers for SAS Pro. Kinda sneaking up against adware/nagware, imo. Ran a scan of C:/ on an older P4 machine, which took about 16 minutes. Nothing came up.

    I haven’t spent any real time with SAS; I use MalwareBytes Pro and plan to stay with it. Thanks for the head’s up about this one though. I’ll pass the info along.

  7. tejas

    Didn’t find much, but I didn’t expect that it would. 40 “tracking cookies”, and it flagged WebEasy, “Start.exe”.

    Doubt I’ll use it again…….. I loathe windows that can’t be resized, forcing you to scroll to the right to read all the info, and then back left to tick/untick the checkbox.

  8. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @david roper: No the .COM file is the actual file. It is a primitive form of EXE if you want to think of it like that.

    Technically SAS designed it so you delete it after you use it and download it again when you need it (hence why updating the database wont stick after you close the program) but if you keep it on your desktop just make sure to update the database before you run it. If you download it each time you want to run it the database should be updated with each download.

  9. david roper

    So this little COM file is sort of like a “stub” that cause the main program to download and run and find bad viruses.

    Do I keep the COM stub on the desktop or download it each time I run it again?