Monthly Archives: November 2011

Idiosyncrasies of an antivirus: ESET NOD32

Update (2012-03-03): Added screenshots of ESET Smart Security 5.

Over the past three months, I had the misfortune of having to work in an environment whose computers have either ESET NOD32 or ESET Smart Security as their antivirus and/or firewall software. Both have been driving me mad.

The biggest problem is when it finds a virus: It asks me if I actually want to clean or delete it! Is it under the assumption that I might say “no, in fact please duplicate it and make sure it infects the computer”? But that is not the worst part: The moment I respond, it shows another prompt. Sometimes more than a hundred appear one after the other. The prompts are modal; they prevent me from working with the computer unless I answer them. That usually means thirteen minutes lost.

ESET Smart Security is even more crazy: Sometimes, without any warning it shows me a dialog box that asserts the computer is now connected to a new network and whether I trust that network and want to have file sharing allowed. No matter what I respond, ESET Smart Security follows up with an error message: Cannot save the configuration! This is probably due my user account not having administrative privileges, which is an excuse worse than the sin itself: Saving application settings should not require administrative privileges.

I’d very much love to capture a video of all these idiosyncrasies but due to lack of administrative privileges, I cannot install a screencasting program.

Indeed I am grateful that Microsoft released Microsoft Security Essentials. Its mass handling of detected infections is simply great: Microsoft Security Essentials first disables the detected infections. Then, it adds its details to a list of detected infections that user can visit at any time and take action. If the user decided not to visit, Microsoft Security Essentials would automatically take a default action (usually clean or quarantine).

Fortunately, many other antivirus products have followed suit.

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