Spyware and Malware has made life hell for many computer users regardless of their skill level. As mechanisms for infecting computer systems become more and more sinister, having proper protection against spyware and malware is crucial. There are still many people who do not utilize anti-spyware and anti-malware applications.
Those people do not have to look very far to find a quality anti-spyware and anti-malware package in SUPERAntiSpyware Professional. Not only did this product impress me as a commercial software application, I was astonished to find SUPERAntiSpyware has a free version which includes the exact same scan engine as its commercial version. The value of adding a lifetime subscription to SUPERAntiSpyware for $9.95 is obvious.
I know, you’re asking – How did SUPERAntiSpyWare perform on a scan and clean?
I was sceptical of the promises made by SUPERAntiSpyWare in their marketing material, especially their slogan “Remove ALL spyware, NOT just the easy ones” – a claim I initially thought was mostly hype. However, after testing the software for its scan and clean features, I can say if you are in the market for a reliable and effective commercial anti-spyware and anti-malware application, I would seriously give SUPERAntiSPyware consideration. If you are looking for great free anti-spyware and anti-malware protection, using SUPERAntiSpyware is an obvious choice.
Until recently, I personally utilized a variety of anti-spyware and anti-malware applications, some of which were free and others which were purchased. My main anti-spyware protection comes in the form of a commercial application Panda Antivirus Pro ($59.95 CDN) which includes an anti-virus and anti-spyware (among several other security features). I supplement this anti-spyware protection with two free applications – Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and Spybot Search and Destroy. Even though I employ a commercial product, I have found it still does not provide full coverage or recovery from some spyware and malware infections.
For the purposes of this review I will be comparing SUPERAntiSpyware Professional with Panda Antivirus 2010 and Malwarebytes.
What impressed me initially with the SUPERAntiSpyware was its ease of installation. Within minutes I had the anti-spyware and anti-malware application up and running on my main laptop. In fact, the installation process is one of the best features of SUPERAntiSpyware.
During the installation, SUPERAntiSpyware presented an option to download the latest scan engine and scan rules before the program installed. This allowed for the application to be ready to scan for spyware and malware threats pretty much after installation completed. Other applications wait until the core software is installed before updating, and quite often requires several restarts to be up and running, ready to scan for spyware and malware.
SUPERAntiSpyware did not require an application restart or system reboot to be ready to roll. After installation, the latest scan engine and rules were installed and SUPERAntiSpyware was ready to go.
My only complaint about the installation process of SUPERAntiSpyware was one screen asks for your email address. Most users would automatically provide their email address and in the process subscribe to product updates, targeted emails etc. The screen clearly indicates the step is optional, but novice users would provide the information, thinking it was a requirement for installation. Most software providers utilize this practice so I wasn’t overly suprised to see it.
After installation, a quick scan of my laptop using SUPERAntiSpyware took 17 minutes 52 seconds and detected 131 threats – all tracking cookies. Panda performing a similar quick scan took 15 minutes 22 seconds, but detected only 130 threats – all tracking cookies as well. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware took 22 minutes 19 seconds to scan and detected 131 threats – all tracking cookies.
My laptop was an easy test for all three anti-spyware and anti-malware applications. The real test would come from a test system I configured and infected with some of the worst spyware and malware I have encountered in the last several years, including adware, spyware, Trojan horses, several rootkits and Antivirus 2009 (this one has personally taken out several of my test computer systems in the past).
To ensure all three software applications would be compared fairly, I cloned the hard drive on the infected computer system using Norton Ghost. This would allow me to recreate my test system in minutes and ensure all anti-spyware and anti-malware applications worked on identical problems using an identical machine.
Installation of both Panda and SUPERAntiSpyware went smooth on the infected system. It took 5 attempts to get Malwarebytes installed successfully. Again, I was impressed with the ease of installation of SUPERAntiSpyware, even when compared to the more expensive Panda Antivirus 2010. Panda still required a restart and during the restart I thought for a second the system was stalled on start-up.
SUPERAntiSpyware’s installation was by far the smoothest and as previously stated, doesn’t require a reboot allowing it to avoid restart problems or problems with “pre-scans” and what other software dubs “real-time protection” during installation.
On the scan of the severely infected system, all the scans went very well. Scans with both Panda and SUPERAntiSpyware took approximately 33 minutes. Malwarebytes was a little slower coming in at just over 35 minutes. Panda and SUPERAntiSpyware did a more thorough job detecting spyware and malware than MalWarebytes. Panda and SUPERAntiSpyware detected all the malware and spyware I had infected the system with. Malwarebytes missed two of the rootkits and one Trojan.
I was impressed SUPERAntiSpyware did not detect the ATI driver as a threat or what some people refer to as a false positive. I knew from previous experience Panda would identify this as a treat and true to form it did. There was no false positive with SUPERAntiSpyware or Malwarebytes.
All three anti-spyware and anti-malware applications removed the threats they had identified. I expected this. However, it was the removal of Antivirus 2009 I was more interested in. Antivirus 2009 had trashed several of my systems and many of my friends systems in the past few months, requiring a complete system reload each time to rid the computers of this malware.
Panda successfully identified and removed Antivirus 2009. However, the system was pretty much unusable afterwards, generating random errors, applications failed to launch successfully and the system had major application hangs. Malwarebytes successfully identified and removed Antivirus 2009. The system performed sluggish afterwards, but without errors. SUPERAntiSpyware successfully identified and removed Antivirus 2009. After removal, the system ran as if it had never been infected. There were no performance issues, no error messages and no problems.
It became obvious SUPERAntiSpyWare was able to repair many of the system configuration changes made to the system by Antivirus 2009, and by several other malware applications. It was apparent this is why my test system suddenly became usable after a scan and clean. I was thoroughly impressed!
Panda performed a more thorough clean of all spyware and malware throughout my testing. Both SUPERAntiSpyware and Malwarebytes cleaned my system, but there were some spyware and malware remnants of some spyware and malware left when SUPERAntiSpyware ran through its clean process. The files left behind were benign and did not affect the operation of the computer system. SUPERAntiSpyware was however, much more thorough than Malwarebytes.
In fact as one oddball test, I scanned the system with SUPERAntiSpyWare after scanning it with both Panda and Malwarebytes. SUPERAntiSpyWare identified and cleaned some components left behind by both Panda and Malwarebytes. I tried this same test with Panda after scanning and cleaning with SUPERAntiSpyware and Panda reported the system as clean, even though I knew there were some benign remnants of spyware left behind.
Throughout my testing of SUPERAntiSpyWare scan and clean features, I was impressed with its performance and with its effectiveness. It performed as well as the more expensive Panda Antivirus 2010 at cleaning and removing all spyware and malware I had introduced to my test system. However, for $29.95 USD and another $9.95 for a lifetime subscription for rule updates, SUPERAntiSpyWare provides more long-term value.
I would make one recommendation to the developers of SUPERAntiSpyWare. It would be a trivial matter to enable automatic updates. This would dramatically improve the free version of the software and would not distract from the features offered in the professional version. I understand the rationale for not having the free version of SUPERAntiSpyWare update automatically but doesn`t meant I have to agree with it.
After running SUPERAntiSpyWare through its scan and clean paces, I switched to testing the real-time protection offered by the software.
Using the same set of spyware and malware as before, I set out and tried to infect my test system. Panda Antivirus successfully blocked all spyware and malware I tried to introduce into the test system. SUPERAntiSpyWare blocked all but two which was much better than Malwarebytes. Malwarebytes allowed approximately one-third of all spyware and malware to be installed.
This I found a little strange because SUPERAntiSpyWare did detect and clean the spyware and malware during a system scan. It could be my method of introducing the infections, I’m not 100 percent sure. I may have to revisit this test at a later date.
The SUPERAntiSpyWare application impressed me with its real-time registry protection. The professional version of SUPERAntiSpyWare offers what is called “First Chance Prevention” which examines over 50 critical points of the computer system each time during start up. This prevents threats before they have a chance at infecting your computer system.
What I have noticed during my 2 days of solid testing, my test system did run just a small bit slower with SUPERAntiSpyware Professional installed and its real-time protection enabled. Panda Antivirus consumed the least amount of computer resources of the three products during this test. Malwarebytes had a significantly higher overhead of the three used to test during this review.
While SUPERAntiSpyWare did consume a little more resources, it only became a bit of a nuisance when I had 6-8 copies of IE 8 open and 2-3 copies of FireFox open. Each had multiple tabs open as well. Yes, I do love to multitask and this is a normal session for me and most computer users would not be stressing their systems like I do.
Overall, I like SUPERAntiSpyware Professional for the value, functionality and performance. It does live up to the promises made and it is an effective tool in the fight against spyware and malware. While it did not capture all spyware or malware during my real-time protection testing, it did detect the infection on next scan and successfully cleaned the system.
SUPERAntiSpyWare is a great application and as the company matures and perfects its rule-set for detecting and cleaning spyware and malware, this software application will continue to improve.
I am now running SUPERAntiSpyWare Professional as my spyware and malware protection on my main laptop and it continues to impress me as I stress it to the max.
SUPERAntiSpyware is an effective and economical tool in the fight against spyware and malware. I definitely recommend you seriously consider this software application in your fight against spyware and malware.
Product Tested: SUPERAntiSpyware Pro 4.26.1006
Purchase Price: $29.95 USD (Download) + $9.95 USD for lifetime subscription
Release Date: 6/23/2009
Company Web: http://www.superantispyware.com