Tag Archives: OPSWAT

Checkout Your Internet Risk Factor With OPSWAT’s Free Security Score

Not an imaginary conversation.

Me – How are you handling all the crazy new cyber threats currently being thrown at us on the Internet?

She – I’m cool! I’ve got the best Anti-virus program there is (her reference – the neighbourhood geek.)

Me – Good to hear that. So, what are you doing to take care of the rest?

She – What rest?

Rinse, wash and repeat this conversation a thousand times – and, the “rest” almost always becomes the new focus of attention. As it should – it’s here, in an often murky area (at least to a typical user), that, that user, runs a major risk of stumbling.

Security – both physical and electronic – isn’t about eliminating all risk – if it was, you and I (on the physical side), wouldn’t cross the road. Similarly, in Internet security, we can’t eliminate all the risks – short of unplugging the connection. Instead, a more realistic approach requires that we focus our attention on eliminating as many known risks as possible (just as we do in the physical world.)

In other words – we need to engage with the proactive side of Internet security rather than continuing to focus on the reactive side – the, “I’ve got the best Anti-virus program there is” side.

Luckily, there’s a terrific little application – OPSWAT’s Security Score – that in a matter of just a few seconds, evaluates and sets out the “rest” – and, should the application determine that a security issue needs to be addressed, helpful tips/hints are provided.

Regular readers may remember that I first reviewed this application several months ago, and while I agreed in principal with the concept, the execution (in my view), was not up to standard. OPSWAT has since revised and expanded the application in such a way, that Security Score should be considered a “must have” addition to a security toolbox. Particularly for those users who are less familiar with the ever changing cyber threat landscape.

Let me backtrack just a little and put up a graphic from the first run through with Security Score, in April. As you can see, the application teased out a score of 60/100. A less than impressive score for a security professional.

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Good News:

The issues which prevented Security Score from digging into the system in order to provide an authentic result have been addressed and, are reflected in the following graphic – June 7, 2013.

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The above graphic indicates an encryption raw score of zero which reflects the fact that I choose not to use Windows BitLocker.

However, as I wrote in my previous review – “I don’t do full disk encryption. I do however, encrypt selected files/folders (a much better choice for most users in my view), using what has long been considered the premier free encryption application available – TrueCrypt. Still, it’s good to see that the application addresses an issue which often escapes the notice of less experienced users.

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Since application and operating system patches are often neglected by average users, a key component in Security Score measures the users adherence to a patch management routine.

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Often not considered as part of a layered security approach, system/file backup is, in fact, a key element in any such process. You’ll note from the following graphic that Security Score has picked up on my use of a number of backup schemes including Google Drive…..

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and Microsoft’s SkyDrive.

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As the following graphic indicates, I’ve been marked down slightly on AV coverage since the application cannot be aware that I substitute full on-board AV scans with weekly scans using a Linux Live CD.

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Given the conditions that we are now forced to deal with on the Internet – active PC monitoring with a view to insuring the security status of the machine is in good order is not just a preference or a recommendation – it’s an absolute necessity.

Sure, you can do all that this application does, manually. Choosing this route however, one could increase the risk of possible shortcomings in an otherwise acceptable security strategy. So, do yourself a favor and install OPSWAT’s Security Score. Better yet, introduce your friends/relatives/co-workers, to this neat freebie – we’ll all be the better for that.

Download at: OPSWAT

How OPSWAT calculates your security score:

OPSWAT’s score calculation is based on security industry and market research reports, over ten years of expertise in the security field, and feedback from leading security technology vendors on the relative importance of the categories and status of security software.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Freeware, OPSWAT

OPSWAT’s Security Score Beta – NOT Ready for Primetime

imageThe concept behind OPSWAT’s  Security Score (currently in Beta) – that is – active PC monitoring with a view to insuring the security status of the machine is in good order – has obvious value. In this case unfortunately, the execution could do with a shake-up. Let’s take a quick walkthrough.

As a security professional it came as more than just a mild surprise to see my test bed (a Win 8 reinstall just 2 days ago), pop out of this application with a dismal security score of 60/100, as shown in the following graphic. Yikes!!

BTW, I ran a series of identical tests – the results – identical – 60/100.

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No, no, no – it won’t get away with it.   Smile

Firewall:

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The lack of response, in the application, to the Windows Firewall – I’m assuming that the Windows Firewall has not been certified by OPSWAT – is a head-shaker.

If I can make the argument that the majority of computer users are not particularly “PC savvy”, I suspect that a “Not Detected” notification might be cause for panic.

The reality – as the following graphic illustrates; Windows Firewall is up and running.

I’ll take 5 points back, thank you!

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Hard Disk Encryption: Sorry – but, I don’t do full disk encryption. However, since I do encrypt selected files/folders (a much better choice for most users in my view), using what has long been considered the premier free encryption application available – TrueCrypt (shown below) – I’ll take my 10 points back, thank you.

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Patch management: Now I’m insulted – sort of. I’m a bear for patch management!   Smile

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Secunia PSI, a free patch management application (again, perhaps the premier example of such software), begs to differ with OPSWAT’s  Security Score. This application, as it has for many years, runs in the background on all my machines.

I’ll take my 10 points back, thank you.

Todays score:

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Public File Sharing: Yes, I do run a torrent application on this machine but, not all file sharing is illegal. To the contrary – virtually all file sharing is legal.

I’ll take my 5 points back, thank you.

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Antivirus score – 18/30: During the system reinstall on this machine, on the recommendation of super user and regular reader Bob Gostischa, I installed avast! Free Antivirus (substituting for AVG Free – a great app too). Much to my delight, incidentally.

avast! Free Antivirus, has been, and continues to be, an exceptional free application ( a quarter of a Billion downloads on CNET alone, speaks to that) – so, an OPSWAT certification of “Bronze” puzzles me. I’m not suggestion that popularity equates to an effective solution – we all know better.

Equally however, many of us do know that avast! Free Antivirus is a very effective solution.

Since OPSWAT suggests that the user may well be better off substituting the installed security application with an OPSWAT certified higher level product, let me counter-suggest that the developer provide access to an explanation of the certification process and, the testing methodology.

In this particular case, OPSWAT’s assessment of avast! Free Antivirus falls short of the generally accepted view as to this application’s effectiveness. I know that, and I suspect that you do as well – but, a typical computer user may not.

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avast! Free Antivirus – My new number one.

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I’ve long been a fan and a strong supporter of OPSWAT, and continue to be – with good reason – the company provides a series of superb free products which techies have come to rely on. AppRemover, as well as Metascan Online and Secure Virtual Desktop.

Yep – I realize this application is in Beta – but, there are Betas and then there are Betas. In the past few years, we have gotten quite use to the “Beta” that for all practical purposes, represents a fully functioning product. This is not one of them. Nice presentation, but…………….

I like the idea – so c’mon guys, hurry with a fix.

I have no doubt that this application will be brought up to the standard we have come to expect from OPSWAT. But, in its current state of Beta, this application provides neither accurate, nor complete information. Incidentally, I awarded myself a 10 point bonus just for the sheer aggravation.   Smile

If you want to take this one out for a test drive, you can download the application here. If you do so, I’d be interested in hearing about the results.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, downloads, Freeware, Malware Protection, OPSWAT

AVAST Still The Leader In The AV Market Says OPSWAT’s Latest Quarterly Market Share Report

imageIn the lucrative antimalware market, AVAST Software is still running ahead of the pack with a 16.61% share worldwide. Microsoft is no slouch in the run for worldwide market share but still has some catching up to do to catch AVG, and Avira, who control second and third place respectively.

According to OPSWAT’s latest quarterly market share report, released yesterday, overall worldwide market penetration by the top 15 antimalware vendors, has remained virtually static – based on data from OPSWAT’s  June 2011 report. Except that is, for Lavasoft (the Ad-Aware people), who broke past the top 15 vendor barrier.

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Graphic courtesy OPSWAT

On the North American front, Microsoft retains its leading position with a 16.33% share of the market (Microsoft’s free Security Essentials, remains at the top of the North American market) – followed closely by Symantec at 15.28%, and AVG at 14.32%. AVAST continued to push ahead in the ranks, jumping up slightly, to capture 13.28% of the North American market – just behind AVG.

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Graphic courtesy OPSWAT

Report Wrap-up:

In North America, fifty-two different antivirus vendors, and 141 antivirus products, were detected in this report. The top five vendors in North America combined to control 66.22% of the market, about 2% more than in OPSWAT’s June report.

The top five vendors in the worldwide market increased their share as well, but only slightly, to 59.87%.  Sixty-four vendors and 226 products were detected worldwide.

As in our previous reports, free solutions remain at the top of the market with the highest numbers of installations. The top three products in North America and the top four products worldwide are available free for download.

Looking at the top ten products in North America, only Symantec and AVG have more than one product ranking, which helps them to become the 2nd and 3rd leading vendors in North America. Microsoft is able to dominate the market as a vendor due to the large number of installations of just one product, Microsoft Security Essentials.

In the worldwide market, only AVG has more than one product ranking in the top ten. AVAST and Avira have individual products that top the chart with more than 10% share, resulting in their positions at the top of the worldwide antivirus market along with AVG.

The full report which is chock fill of absorbing statistics is available here.

So, who is OPSWAT?

If you’re a techie then you’re very likely familiar with AppRemover, a free powerful anti-malware, antivirus application remover from OPSWAT. Regular readers here will also be familiar with the latest freebie from OPSWAT – Metascan Online – a new service which is similar in many respects to VirusTotal.

From the site:

OPSWAT is the industry leader in software management SDKs, interoperability certification and multiple-engine scanning solutions. Our solutions are simplified and comprehensive, solving complex development problems to reduce time and costs for your engineering and testing teams.

OPSWAT offers software manageability solutions to streamline technology partnerships between leading technology solutions and software vendors. By enabling seamless compatibility and easy management capabilities, we make connecting your solutions with other software applications effortless.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under OPSWAT, Reports, Tech Net News, Windows Tips and Tools

OPSWAT’s Metascan Online – A VirusTotal Alternative

imageI’m right and you’re wrong.

No, I’m right and you’re wrong!

You’re listening to a couple of sports fans arguing over who’s the best tennis player maybe? Could be – but, if you’re analyzing a downloaded file with more than one antimalware application (and you should), you could be witnessing a more serious difference of opinion.

You’ve primary anti-malware application is advising you that the application you just downloaded contains malware. But, since you’re an aware computer user, you’ve launched your secondary malware scanner and – surprise – there’s a difference of opinion – no malware.

So, you’re now dealing with the big question – are you dealing with a false positive thrown up by the primary malware scanner, or is it more likely that the secondary scanner is misbehaving?

You could just flip a coin, or go with your best guess – but, you didn’t become a super user by flipping coins, or guessing, when it comes to your system’s security. No, you’re better than that, so you upload the questionable file to VirusTotal, where it will be scanned for nasties by thirty five plus diverse online scanners.

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VirusTotal result – a clean file. Elapsed time on this scan – under a minute.

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As an alternative to VirusTotal, or in addition to (maybe not a bad idea), you can run the file through a new service now being offered by OPSWAT, the company behind the highly recommended AppRemover.

OPSWAT’s Metascan Online, is similar in many respects to VirusTotal – as the following screen shots indicate.

Browse your Hard Drive for the file to be uploaded (for this test I’ve selected a different executable – 15 MB as opposed to 3 MB).

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Detailed results are shown in the  following screen capture. As you can see – the file has been processed through 19 AVs and has come up clean. Elapsed time on this scan – just over a minute.

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This new service was launched just a few days ago, so you may experience a glitch or two. In testing, over several days (in both Windows and Ubuntu Linux), I must admit I bumped my head a time or two,  but after speaking with the company, the minor server issues I encountered were resolved quickly.

Responsiveness to customer issues is the hallmark of a client centered organization, and OPSWAT certainly meets that test.

Fast facts:

Use of multiple antivirus engines

Real-time automatic updates of virus signatures

Detailed results from each antivirus engine

Real time global statistics available

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Keep in mind, an online scanning service is not a substitute for an appropriate local defense system, including a firewall (either software or hardware), and a sound and effective anti-malware application.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Cloud Computing Applications, Don't Get Hacked, Freeware, Malware Protection, Online Malware Scanners, OPSWAT, Recommended Web Sites, Windows Tips and Tools

Is Windows XP Dead? Not According To OPSWAT’s June 2011 Quarterly Report

imageTo quote Mark Twain, “The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” I suspect, if Windows XP were capable of speech, we just might hear the same observation repeated regarding its own demise.

Sure, Windows XP no longer holds the overwhelming market share it once held – which, according to Computerworld, reached a high of  83.6% of all operating systems in November 2007. But, statistics in OPSWAT’s latest quarterly report, to be released today, might surprise those pundits who frequently pontificate that XP is dead – dead – dead. We’ll, it just isn’t so!

There’s little doubt of course, that XP will eventually disappear from the scene – but, not quite yet. In the meantime, according to OPSWAT, XP continues to hold a better than 50% worldwide operating system market share at 55.84%, followed by Windows 7 at 38.81%. Vista trails the pack, with a dismal showing of 4.72%.

BTW, I’m not here to dispute the fact that Windows 7 is considerably safer overall than XP – that would be simply ludicrous. But, it’s equally as ludicrous to ignore the fact (as so many self described “experts” do), that XP continues to command a huge market share. 

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Graphic courtesy OPSWAT

Additionally, the OPSWAT’s report takes a close look at Worldwide and North American Antivirus vendors market share and, the gathered information may hold some surprises for those who assume that the security application marketplace is controlled by a select few major developers.

The following graphic reflects North American market penetration only. Worldwide statistics are available in the full report.

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Graphic courtesy OPSWAT

Report methodology: Usage data for security applications on Windows systems.

The data was collected using OPSWAT’s AppRemover and Am I OESIS OK? tools, which utilize the detection capabilities of the OESIS Framework to collect information regarding the applications installed on endpoint computers.

More than 43,000 data points were compiled for this report.

The full report which is chock fill of absorbing statistics is available here.

So, who is OPSWAT? 

If you’re a techie then you’re very likely familiar with AppRemover, a free powerful anti-malware, antivirus application remover from OPSWAT. Beyond this direct connection however, you might not be familiar with OPSWAT.

From the site:

OPSWAT is the industry leader in software management SDKs, interoperability certification and multiple-engine scanning solutions. Our solutions are simplified and comprehensive, solving complex development problems to reduce time and costs for your engineering and testing teams.

OPSWAT offers software manageability solutions to streamline technology partnerships between leading technology solutions and software vendors. By enabling seamless compatibility and easy management capabilities, we make connecting your solutions with other software applications effortless.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Antivirus Applications, Freeware, OPSWAT, Reports, Windows 7, Windows XP

OPSWAT’s Latest Quarterly Report Breaks Down Antivirus Market Share, Windows Usage By Version, And More

imageIf you’re a techie then you’re very likely familiar with AppRemover, a free powerful anti-malware, antivirus application remover from OPSWAT. Beyond this direct connection however, you might not be familiar with OPSWAT.

So, who are OPSWAT, and what do they do?

From the site:

OPSWAT offers software manageability solutions to streamline technology partnerships between leading technology solutions and software vendors. By enabling seamless compatibility and easy management capabilities, we make connecting your solutions with other software applications effortless.

As a Blogger, information gatherer, and distributor, there is an additional area of OPSWAT’s expertise that I find invaluable, and that is – the regular reports which the company releases on vendor market share for antivirus, hard disk encryption, backup clients, and peer to peer applications.

In its latest quarterly report, (to be released later today), OPSWAT has focused on Worldwide and North American Antivirus vendors market share, with additional data breaking down Windows usage by version and, bonus data on Peer to Peer application usage.

Here’s a few teasers from this report:

The avast! Antivirus product line has helped AVAST Soware maintain its position as the top antivirus vendor worldwide for the last two quarters, despite a slight drop to 16.19% global market share in this report.

Avira GmbH and AVG Technologies are second and third in global market share with 13.22% and 11.47% respectively. In comparison to the worldwide data from our December 2010 report, Avira GmbH shows a considerable increase of 4.96%, which could result from a higher percentage of the current data originating from countries where they have a stronger hold on the market.

The only other worldwide market share increases were by AVG, with a 1.76% gain from the December report, Lavaso, with a 0.82% rise, and Comodo, with a minimal increase of 0.06%.

Worldwide Antivirus Market Share

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Graphic courtesy OPSWAT

North American Antivirus Market Share

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Graphic courtesy OPSWAT

The following graphic might hold some surprises for those who insist that Windows XP is dead. If you were to Google “Windows XP is dead”, for example, you might be surprised to see 25 Million search results.

I’m continuously amazed at the gullibility of consumers, particularly here in North America, who are so easily convinced to discard workable solutions in favor of “the latest and greatest”.

As one who continues to happily run Windows XP on an older machine, I must admit to a certain sense of satisfaction when more than half of Worldwide users continue to resist Microsoft’s planned obsolescence cycle.

And yes, I’m quite familiar with the so called “security issues” inherent in running XP. What I find curious is – on the one hand we (those of us involved in system security), extoll users to develop situational awareness while on the Internet, while on the other hand, there’s a tendency to lay the blame for system intrusion based, in large part, on older operating system deficiencies. Marketing gone mad, anyone?

Windows OS Usage – by Version

Click on the graphic to expand to original.

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Graphic courtesy OPSWAT

P2P Application Market Share

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Myths, Opinion, Peer to Peer, Point of View, Reports, Software, Windows Tips and Tools