Testing anti-malware applications takes considerable time in order to get to the heart of the matter – does an application work in the “real world?”
Will the application do what an average user expects – does it block malware effectively and efficiently? Particularly new, or emerging, malware threats.
Is the interface crafted in such a way that an average user doesn’t need to digest an instruction manual in order to navigate the application?
Is the application capable of providing adequate protection without stressing system resources?
I’ve been running various versions of Panda Cloud Antivirus – on and off – on a secondary system, since April 2009, and in this extensive testing, Panda Cloud Antivirus has met, or exceeded, all of those requirements. I will point out however – I’m an extremely cautious and aware Internet user.
Since Beta 1.9.2 (release date June 4th), is Windows 8 compatible (which, I’ve been running on my main system since day one of the first release), it’s time to kick the tires. According to Panda – “This new beta version includes better malware disinfection capabilities and even lower impact on system performance.”
Pay particular attention at the Install screen. Once again, you’ll be asked to accept a Toolbar and a change in your Homepage – annoying as hell. Surely we’ve reached the point where developers are more than aware that additional Toolbars installed on a system can lead to problems.
In the past 7 days I’ve tested 15 or more applications (many of which sucked), and each and every one offered a Toolbar – in some cases, in a deceptive manner.
The initial download is an installer (not the application) – which explains the following screen.
Following the application download, installation continues seamlessly.
On successful installation, the application will immediately launch into an optimized scan – effectively, a “Quick Scan.”
Scan time: under one minute – 22, 267 files. A dramatic improvement in scan speed over previous versions.
Comparable Quick Scan Speeds:
MalwareBytes: 2 minutes 7 seconds – 190, 557 files.
SUPERAntiSpyware: 2 minutes 3 seconds – 35,173 files.
Panda is obviously convinced that the “more is less” GUI approach, is suitable for most users. Kudos – I couldn’t agree more.
You won’t be left in the dark on questionable items as per the following screen shot – you have the option of blocking any application which you may be unsure of.
The built-in Firewall is reasonably configurable.
You may add – edit –delete rules, as per your preferences and requirements.
In this example I’ve shown the “Edit Rule” screen listed under Factory rules (the presets).
Note: Since Beta 1.9.2 is integrated with Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 Security Center, you have the option of turning off the Firewall component in favor of your existing Firewall.
Overall application advanced settings are readily accessible. I suggest that at least initially, you carry on with the default settings.
Some of the most notable changes implemented for 1.9.2 Beta include the following:
- New firewall platform for Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.
- Intrusion Detection System protection against network attacks.
- Ability to adapt firewall behaviour by zones.
- Registration of the firewall component in the Windows Security Center.
- Deactivation/activation of the built-in Windows Firewall when the Panda Cloud Antivirus firewall is activated/deactivated.
- New technologies for improved malware disinfection.
- Improved detection of in-memory malware.
- Improved disinfection of packed/compressed malware.
- Improved quarantine management.
- Process monitor without the URL monitoring.
- Activity monitor in the main interface window.
- Last detection show in the main interface window.
- Added advanced configuration to enable/disable detection of potentially unwanted programs.
- Added advanced configuration to enable/disable background scan after cache synchronization.
- Added advanced configuration to enable/disable on-demand scan within compressed archives.
- Added advanced configuration to exclude elements by extension.
- Improved scanning architecture and integration with Quarantine and memory scanning module.
- Integrated new toolbar with Google search instead of Yahoo.
- Button to hide the promotional banners shown in the main interface.
- Improved integration with the Windows Security Center for the antivirus component.
- Improved integration with Collective Intelligence of unknown and new malware samples.
- Performance improvement to lower system impact when treating files within Explorer and Recycle Bin.
System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Win 7 and Win 8.
Download at: Panda
Panda Cloud Antivirus is based on Collective Intelligence, a system for detecting and disinfecting viruses and other threats that feeds off the knowledge shared by millions of users. The computers that are part of the Panda Community – instantly share and benefit from all the information stored in the cloud. There are obvious benefits in this approach to the ever evolving threat landscape.