This past week, Neil J. Rubenking, PC Magazine’s lead analyst for security, in his article – The Best Free Antivirus for 2012 – included Comodo Cleaning Essentials. Earlier this year, I took this freebie application for a test run and wrote up my impressions. Curiously, this post had both Twitter and Facebook referrals but, limited response from regular readers.
Comodo Cleaning Essentials is a tough application when used in the fight against malware, and in the event you missed this post, I’ve republished it here.
Comodo Cleaning Essentials
Comodo’s recently released portable Comodo Cleaning Essentials (freeware), is an interesting breed of applications within applications – an aggressive on-demand malware scanner (the core application), combined with several system tools – a variation of Windows Task Manager (Killswitch), and an Autorun Analyzer.
Users who are familiar with Sysinternals Process Explorer will have little difficulty getting down to work with Comodo’s Autorun Analyzer. Or, for that matter, Killswitch – an impressive Windows Task Manager replacement.
For now, I’ll focus on the on-demand malware scanner. All graphics in the following review can be expanded to their original size.
Simple, straightforward, and easy to understand GUIs are the standard – and, Comodo Cleaning Essentials meets that standard.
For my initial test run, I did not hold back in terms of the volume of information the application had to deal with – as illustrated in the following graphic. I should add – I set the selectable heuristics at “low level”. Users may choose to bump up this setting.
Updating of the database is an automatic process, as illustrated.
Following application launch, my first reaction was – Get It Done! Thirty six minutes in, and memory scanning had not yet been completed. SLOW!
Three hours plus. Yawn – I’M WAITING!!!!!!!!
Waiting still – at the four hour plus mark. At this point I exited the application (2 Million objects scanned), since drive E: is malware free. As well, the 49 threats found by the scanner were all false positives – not a bad thing necessarily. More on this to follow.
Comodo Cleaning Essentials is no slouch at eating up the clock cycles – as illustrated in the following screen shot.
I jumped ahead here a little bit here, and ran a comparable scan with Microsoft Security Essentials which, as you can see in the following graphic, is not a system resource hog.
MSE test run – using the same test parameters.
The MSE scan completed in just under three hours. Keep in mind however – MSE is not portable, and is designed to act as a first line of defense against malware penetration.
Comodo Cleaning Essentials on the other hand, has been crafted as a “real world – everything is messed up” solution. Especially valuable in circumstances where malware has blocked access to onboard AVs.
The false positive issue.
No doubt, warnings and cautions generated by antimalware scanners, can often be a major frustration – time consuming and just a pain in the butt. On the other hand, scanning a HD which has been overrun by malware, demands the use of an aggressive tool – and, Comodo Cleaning Essentials certainly qualifies as “aggressive”. Simply put – you can’t have your cake and eat it too.
As mentioned earlier, this component is a Process Explorer takeoff – with a number of worthwhile additional features.
The following screen capture (showing all entries), indicates 3 possible unsafe entries which, on investigation proved to be benign. Still, better safe than sorry. So, I take no issue with warnings which prove to be a “false alarm”. I’m all in favor of a “give me the bad news philosophy” – I’ll determine the relevancy of the information provided.
As a Windows Task Manager Replacement, KillSwitch has it in spades. The following screen shots illustrate just a few of the enhancements.
Over the years, I’ve happily been able to convince more than a few readers to occasionally spot check their network connections, using stand alone applications such as CurrPorts. KillSwitch includes this capability – a very good move in my estimation.
Finally (at least for this report), KillSwitch includes a “Quick Repair” tool which, in the right circumstance, could be invaluable. Sorry, for this review I couldn’t find any items on this test platform to repair.
Classifies the threat level of all objects and processes currently loaded into memory and highlights those that are not trusted
Allows the admin to terminate, delete or suspend every untrusted item with a single click.
On-demand malware scanner quickly finds viruses, rootkits and hidden services
Extremely efficient malware removal routines thoroughly disinfect virus stricken endpoints
Detailed statistics and graphs allow admins to analyze and fine tune system activity to almost infinite levels of detail
Leverages Comodo’s huge whitelist database to accurately identify the trust status of every running process with minimal false positives
Integration with Comodo cloud scanning technology delivers instant behavioral analysis of unknown processes
Powerful system tools provide control over even the most obscure system settings
Simple interface for admins to manage trusted vendors list
Comprehensive event logs provide detailed overview of system activity on endpoint machines
Quick repair feature allows fast restoration of important Windows settings
Can replace the standard Windows Task Manager if required
Another indispensable addition to admin’s security toolkit to complement software such as Comodo Internet Security
Lightweight – requires no installation and can be run right from a USB stick
System Requirements: Windows 7 – 32 and 64 bit, Windows Vista – 32 and 64 bit, Windows XP – 32 and 64 bit
Download at: Comodo
I’m not suggesting that Comodo Cleaning Essentials is the perfect tool (if you find such a tool, please let me know ), but, if you’re on the hunt for a lightweight, standalone security application – that doesn’t require installation – Comodo Cleaning Essentials deserves a close look.
A caveat: This application is not designed to be used by anyone other than highly knowledgeable, and well experienced users.