Defender vs Avast

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  1. Posts : 56
    Win 10 Home
       #1

    Defender vs Avast


    New PC on the way. Is Win Defender capable enough so that I won't have to use a free AV like AVAST?
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  2. ignatzatsonic's Avatar
    Posts : 1,507
    Windows 10 Home, 64-bit
       #2

    That's the standard opinion around here, but anti-virus apps are always a point of contention like Ford versus Chevy.

    A lot of people couple WD with Malwarebytes, paid or free.

    Haven't looked at Avast in a long time, but I think it may be better regarded now than it was years ago.

    You can easily find "tests" of the various products online, but there is a lot of contention as to possible bias.
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  3. Posts : 56
    Win 10 Home
    Thread Starter
       #3

    Thank you. Good info. Will take a look at Malwarebytes.
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  4. Posts : 155
    Windows 10
       #4

    It's all pretty much the same thing. I wouldn't worry too much about the label. In reality, 90% of antivirus is marketing. If you do even a small amount of research you'll discover this for yourself. Antivirus software is primarily used as a means to give people a sense of security and safety using their computers. But it by no means as super effective as it is often advertised.

    Right now if there was to be a malware attack on particular operating systems with an unknown (0-day) vulnerability, EVERY SINGLE one of all of our computers running Windows would and could be infected. That's not a matter of maybe, it's a matter of when. Your antivirus won't even know what has happened because the malware will not be known, it will be using an unknown vulnerabiliy and so it will literally, and I cannot emphasise enough, walk right on in. No questions. The only chance of it being caught is if it's using known code and/or behaviour that security software can detect. It may for example connect to a known malware IP address, it may execute commands and run programs that are often used to maintain a connection to/from a command and control server, such as utilising Powershell scripts to connect out using inocuous programs that Windows trusts but which are actually used to mask malicious activity ie downloading payload from a server, communicating the C&C server, maintaining persistence, pivoting across a network, data exfil etc.

    What is your antivirus doing about that? Absolutely nothing IF it does not and cannot recognise the presence of a threat. And if it's using a zero day vulnerability, it's likely not getting caught until that vulnerability is plugged. Just a little fact here. The US government hold a collection of 0-day exploits for their defensive security strategies. These are effectively weapons like bullets or bombs but in the cyber world that can be dropped and effectively break into as many computers as they want when they want. You can be guaranteed right now they can break into your computer with relative ease. Give them a few minutes and they are in. Mine included. Everybody else too. This seems like a no-brainer as we expect this capability from our governments, right? True but if you think that the US government are not the bad guy and they actually know what they know to protect from those who also know what they know, just think about the damage that can be done.

    Alas, we enter the real world of cyber threats. The US government do the same thing as the bad guys. All bad guys work on creating, sharing, utilising malware that cannot and will not be detected for a certain timeframe. It may be a few hours, days or it even be months or years. The WannaCry ransomware used a vulnerability and exploit that was known for a very long time among the ranks of government. It was leaked eventually by some people and it was revealed they hadn't even bothered to let Microsoft know they could completely wreak havoc on their operating systems ANY TIME they wanted. When it was leaked it was used to create the WannaCry ransomware. You don't need to know the technical details to know that this threat, like many others, are an everyday occurence in the world of security. It's not about the brand of your antivirus. It's about being able to respond when sh*t does hit the fan. You cannot really prevent them as much as be prepared for them. Sure, there are measures that will increase security but you're never completely protected in any scenario. There are threats you will never know of, nor any of us, that can and often will be used to hack computer systems.

    And so antivirus is always in an endless fight for information. And they naturally are on the losing end because they cannot keep watch of the 7+ billion people on this planet and chase down those who might know how to code, to make malware, who want to hack computers, break stuff, steal things etc. It is impossible. But that's what you are dealing with when you install it. You're protecting yourself from what is known right now. And what is known right now is like a snapshot of the past and every second your latest definitions are installed that snapshot becomes more and more irrelevant. Even when you get your next definition download and latest software update there's already an entire mile ahead to catch up with.

    Fortunately it's fairly reassuring that not everybody is as skilled as the smaller number of threat actors (thats what they call them) who are capable of designing and implementing malware that can potentially cause damage rapidly across the globe. These are usually nation states and/or extremely talented black-hat hackers, groups, communities, criminal enterprises etc. Take the recent attacks on America where entire states where being battered by cyber attacks.

    Do you think their antivirus worked? Do you think the question was Avast or Windows at that time?
    If you want the real answer; it doesn't really matter.

    Use it for the known threats and for a general rain cover from the storm but you don't expect it to solve all your issues. Always be proactive and use good security practices. The major threat to our computer systems being infected is ourselves. We are the weak link in the chain.
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  5. Porthos's Avatar
    Posts : 825
    Win 10
       #5

    Defender hands down.
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  6. Josey Wales's Avatar
    Posts : 22,982
    Win 10 Pro 19042.330 20H2
       #6

    Defender works, Avast is bloated and not as good as Defender.
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  7. Posts : 155
    Windows 10
       #7

    I disagree. I think Avast has really improved with their bloatware features. You can customize your installation prior and post installation to take advantage of different components. All of them are good at offering a decent level of protection.
    Avast has among it's features a fairly handy web shield which will inject itself into HTTP and HTTPS traffic using a certificate to check what's going on. If you come across a dodgy website/resource it will automatically abort the connection. This is proactive protection, which is what you really need. Standalone signature based detection for files on your system is a very out-dated and obsolete method of securing a system. You need tools that are actively on the perimeter of the network detecting the threats and with the web shield it's constantly scanning URLs and web content. The webcam shield is also a great basic protective tool, something you don't get with Windows Defender. You also got the firewall as well, presuming you've got the Premium Security package, and not the basic antivirus package.

    Free antivirus is good and Avast is actually among the top contenders for protection against known threats in this regard. Avast has a 94%+ offline detection rate and a 99%+ online detection and protection rate. To compare, only a few computers will ever be compromised based on these stats. Those that will be will be threats no antivirus will detect because they will use 0-day vulns and the threat will be unknown. Microsofts offline detection rate is a fairly disappointing 70%. And this makes sense because I've exploited Windows systems during my studying on virtual machines and Windows Defender really NEEDS the internet for most of it's capability. You have to isolate Windows Security to do the work. You can have trouble doing that with other AV because they work indepdently anyway very effectively. Other AV can run offline for a long time and provided they are reguarly updated will remain consistent.

    In terms of straight up facts. You are more likely to get hacked used Windows Defender. Ask anyone who really studies this for a living. I don't but I spent a long time studying the foundations for ethical hacking and Windows is a sitting duck 99% of the time. Hackers loooooove to toy with Microsoft products. They are the most vulnerable and that's why Windows is the easiest system to hack. There are tutorials on the internet you can use right now to learn how to exploit Windows Security and you don't need a degree in computer science to do it. Try finding that for specific AV software. You'll likely need insider access to hacking communities where this knowledge is not openly circulated. Moreover, you'll likely be PAYING for these vulnerabilities/exploits. You often won't find yourself in such a position with Windows Defender. It's open knowledge that it's has a target painted on it when it comes to malware. But then again, all software that comes with Windows always has had a target painted on it ever since the release of 3.1 and 95. Microsoft don't do a good job of fixing their leaking boats too often. People find ways to exploit Windows and related software that have been around for a decade or more. Microsoft is still patching bugs from Windows 95 onwards today.

    Keen to know why you believe Defender is better
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  8. Josey Wales's Avatar
    Posts : 22,982
    Win 10 Pro 19042.330 20H2
       #8

    supermammalego said:
    I disagree. I think Avast has really improved with their bloatware features. You can customize your installation prior and post installation to take advantage of different components. All of them are good at offering a decent level of protection.
    Avast has among it's features a fairly handy web shield which will inject itself into HTTP and HTTPS traffic using a certificate to check what's going on. If you come across a dodgy website/resource it will automatically abort the connection. This is proactive protection, which is what you really need. Standalone signature based detection for files on your system is a very out-dated and obsolete method of securing a system. You need tools that are actively on the perimeter of the network detecting the threats and with the web shield it's constantly scanning URLs and web content. The webcam shield is also a great basic protective tool, something you don't get with Windows Defender. You also got the firewall as well, presuming you've got the Premium Security package, and not the basic antivirus package.

    Free antivirus is good and Avast is actually among the top contenders for protection against known threats in this regard. Avast has a 94%+ offline detection rate and a 99%+ online detection and protection rate. To compare, only a few computers will ever be compromised based on these stats. Those that will be will be threats no antivirus will detect because they will use 0-day vulns and the threat will be unknown. Microsofts offline detection rate is a fairly disappointing 70%. And this makes sense because I've exploited Windows systems during my studying on virtual machines and Windows Defender really NEEDS the internet for most of it's capability. You have to isolate Windows Security to do the work. You can have trouble doing that with other AV because they work indepdently anyway very effectively. Other AV can run offline for a long time and provided they are reguarly updated will remain consistent.

    In terms of straight up facts. You are more likely to get hacked used Windows Defender. Ask anyone who really studies this for a living. I don't but I spent a long time studying the foundations for ethical hacking and Windows is a sitting duck 99% of the time. Hackers loooooove to toy with Microsoft products. They are the most vulnerable and that's why Windows is the easiest system to hack. There are tutorials on the internet you can use right now to learn how to exploit Windows Security and you don't need a degree in computer science to do it. Try finding that for specific AV software. You'll likely need insider access to hacking communities where this knowledge is not openly circulated. Moreover, you'll likely be PAYING for these vulnerabilities/exploits. You often won't find yourself in such a position with Windows Defender. It's open knowledge that it's has a target painted on it when it comes to malware. But then again, all software that comes with Windows always has had a target painted on it ever since the release of 3.1 and 95. Microsoft don't do a good job of fixing their leaking boats too often. People find ways to exploit Windows and related software that have been around for a decade or more. Microsoft is still patching bugs from Windows 95 onwards today.

    Keen to know why you believe Defender is better
    Because I was a former user of Avast. There was a time when it was a good AV but those days are gone. Why pay $$ for a product that is not needed. I have used Windows Defender since I started using Windows 10. I also was a member of their user forum. There are NO bugs from Windows 95 in Windows 10. I have never had a Virus or any problems with WD, If I did , Avast would be my last choice.
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  9. dencal's Avatar
    Posts : 2,879
    W10 Pro + W10 Preview
       #9

    Who would be more likely to know when an infiltration was taking place on the O/S?....those who designed it know when something untoward occurs on any computer using their system, this can notify a fault instantly to M$ via the cloud.
    Of course this opens up a can of worms with the tin foil helmet brigade ie-spying, when in reality M$ are only interested in safe guarding their system for its users.
      My Computers


  10. Posts : 152
    Windows 10 Pro
       #10

    I used Avast back in the XP days but abandoned it when it started getting bundled with other software. I've used Windows Defender and Malwarebytes free for a long time and they work just fine. Viruses, bots, zero day exploits; yeah, anything's possible but most of that stuff targets corporate users these days. Not many people interested in screwing with your computer if there's no money in it. And Avast won't protect you from phishing attempts, you just have to use common sense.
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