I might write an antivirus utility assured to dam execution of each single piece of malware, be it a virus, Trojan, ransomware, spyware and adware, or some other nefarious ilk. You’d simply should put up with the truth that it blocks each good program as properly. Loopy? Not utterly. To make it sensible, I might simply want so as to add a complete whitelist of identified good packages, and be able to rapidly analyze any unknowns that present up. Certainly, that is simply how PC Pitstop PC Matic three.zero works. It does what it guarantees—it blocks execution for any program not on its whitelist. Whether or not it fits you is determined by your tolerance for false positives, or the blocking of legitimate packages.
You may set up this system and run a scan without spending a dime. Along with scanning for malware, PC Matic appears for points relating to your PC’s upkeep, stability, and efficiency. After all, if you would like it to take any motion primarily based on the scan, it’s essential to pay up, however the value is not dangerous. A $50-per-year subscription will get you 5 licenses; you too can pay $150 to maintain these 5 licenses for a lifetime. Greater than half of the premium antivirus merchandise I observe price roughly $40 per yr for a single license. That group consists of Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2017, Kaspersky, Norton, and Webroot.
McAfee AntiVirus Plus is an exception to that frequent pricing scheme. You pay $59.99 per yr for a McAfee subscription, however you get limitless licenses. You may set up McAfee safety on each single Android, iOS, macOS, and Home windows machine you personal.
PC Matic’s principal window was a bit overwhelming, with tons of colourful icons, some representing your protected computer systems, others representing latest upkeep statistics. The present version, model three.zero, is considerably toned down. The pc icons now not try a 3D look, the upkeep stats panel solely seems in case you select to open it, and the upkeep icons themselves show in just some muted hues. Total, it is a extra skilled look.
Web site and Promotion
You’ve got in all probability seen adverts for PC Matic on TV. They’ve grown extra skilled over time—for instance, they now not declare that laptop viruses are written by “Boris RipYouOff.” Each the adverts and the corporate’s web site rejoice the truth that the corporate is completely primarily based within the US. The web site additionally states that “All of our rivals outsource some piece of their product; whether or not it’s analysis, improvement, help or all three.” I would not swear that is true of all competing merchandise, however I haven’t got contradictory proof. Maybe a competitor whose enterprise is completely US-based will let me know.
The location additionally promotes whitelisting as the perfect resolution to blocking malware, suggesting that different antivirus merchandise work by making an attempt to blacklist each computer virus. That simply is not the case. The location likens blacklisting to creating a listing of everybody who’s not allowed to come back in your entrance door; how a lot simpler to simply make a listing of everybody who’s permitted in! However different merchandise do not really rely solely on a blacklist. Oh, they naturally bar identified criminals, however they put much more emphasis on detecting felony habits. That man skulking within the bushes? The one with a ski masks on, and fingers in his pockets? I’ve by no means seen him earlier than, however do not let him in!
Whitelisting undoubtedly has worth, but it surely additionally tends to dam entry for completely legit packages, or folks. When your long-lost cousin all of the sudden seems in your doorstep, will you flip her away as a result of she’s not on the checklist?
Little Assist From the Labs
I look to 5 impartial antivirus testing labs world wide for experiences on their in depth testing of safety merchandise. If all 5 labs embody a product of their testing, and all 5 give it high scores, you may be fairly positive the product is worth it. Bitdefender and Kaspersky Anti-Virus stand out in precisely that manner.
As a result of PC Matic blocks execution of each unknown program, it could possibly obtain very excessive safety charges in testing. Within the newest RAP (Reactive And Proactive) take a look at from Virus Bulletin, PC Matic scored an ideal 100 p.c. Nonetheless, in case you have a look at the product’s test history on-line, you will see that whereas its RAP scores are excessive, it failed the VB100 take a look at time and again. As well as, Virus Bulletin discovered it to be buggy within the final three assessments.
My contact at PC Pitstop precisely identified product that blocks even a single legitimate program fails the VB100 take a look at. “We’d fairly take one false constructive and fail the take a look at,” he mentioned, “than to permit one false damaging, and trigger an an infection on our clients’ machines.” He additionally famous that the steadiness assessments that discovered PC Matic to be buggy associated to the earlier version, and that the steadiness points have been resolved within the present model, reviewed right here.
That mentioned, PC Matic did not fail the VB100 take a look at by simply “one false constructive.” In lots of circumstances, it blocked lots of of legitimate packages. The identical held true in a take a look at by AV-Comparatives that PC Pitstop commissioned. Whereas PC Matic achieved an ideal malware-blocking rating, it additionally blocked over 800 legitimate packages. To place that in perspective, the second-highest variety of false positives was simply 12, by Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus. A lot of the examined merchandise did not exhibit any false constructive detections in any respect.
For the aim of aggregating a lab rating, I solely think about public assessments, not commissioned ones. I haven’t got sufficient information to gin up an combination rating for PC Matic. My contact signifies that PC Pitstop goals to get PC Matic included in these public assessments—I stay up for seeing these outcomes.
Blocking Malware (and Every little thing Else)
After I tried launching my assortment of malware samples, PC Matic blocked each single one from working. Observe that this doesn’t imply it recognized them as malware; it simply didn’t discover them on its whitelist. Checking the Tremendous Protect report, I discovered 18 p.c flagged as identified dangerous, 54 p.c unknown, and 11 p.c good (however blocked even so). One other 18 p.c simply did not flip up within the report, no less than not below the identify I anticipated. PC Matic blocked 100 p.c of the samples, however not by really detecting them as malicious—therefore the asterisk by its rating in my malware blocking chart.
In response to the PC Pitstop web site, when PC Matic encounters an unknown program, it submits that program for evaluation. Outcomes needs to be obtainable inside 24 hours; my firm contact says it is usually extra like one to 4 hours. And certainly, once I tried a day later to launch the samples, all these beforehand listed as unknown, or identified good, had modified to identified dangerous.
Examined with the identical set of samples, Emsisoft Anti-Malware 2017 actively detected each single one as malware of 1 sort or one other. Webroot and a number of other others managed the identical feat with my earlier pattern assortment.
PC Matic does set up an advert blocker in your browsers, however there is not any part to detect and avert malware-hosting URLs or phishing URLs. To run my malicious URL blocking take a look at, I needed to change some Tremendous Protect settings. First, I set it to scan recordsdata on entry, in order that it might scan any downloaded recordsdata instantly. It warned that doing so might trigger the PC to run extra slowly, and that absolutely enabling this function requires a reboot. After rebooting, I set it to immediate me upon discovering an unknown program, fairly than simply blocking it.
That final change proved mandatory simply to get the take a look at began, as PC Matic wished to dam the utility program I exploit for the malicious URL blocking take a look at. For each single malware-hosting URL, PC Matic popped up a warning stating that the malware payload was not identified to be a great file. I clicked At all times Block each time, and it blocked each executable payload.
Right here once more, although, PC Matic did not determine any dangerous recordsdata. It simply reported that the recordsdata weren’t identified to be good. A brand-new recreation or utility program, too new for the whitelist, would have gotten simply the identical therapy. In reality, throughout my testing PC Matic warned about an important Home windows part, and about Adobe’s computerized updater.
Challenged in the identical manner, Symantec Norton AntiVirus Basic actively blocked 98 p.c of the malware downloads, some by steering the browser away from the damaging URL, some by figuring out and eliminating the malware payload.
Full Scan Confusion
A full scan with PC Matic took properly over an hour and quarantined 15 high-security threats. That is longer than the present common, which is about 45 minutes. A second scan did not go any quicker.
To quarantine a file, PC Matic merely appends the extension PCPQUAR to the filename. Nicely over a yr in the past, my firm contact advised me that the builders had been engaged on a extra sturdy quarantine system. That system hasn’t but arrived, clearly.
As I discussed, once I tried launching all of my samples a second time, I discovered that with the passage of a day, Tremendous Protect now marked all of them as identified dangerous recordsdata. So why did not the complete scan, which occurred after that second take a look at, discover and take away all of them? My PC Pitstop contact merely defined that the 2 parts use “completely different lists.”
One might go on to ask, if whitelisting is the right resolution, why does the product scan for malware in any respect? And if the Tremendous Protect part is aware of file is dangerous, why would not it share that data with the on-demand scan?
PC Matic would not have the lock on whitelisting know-how. Fairly a couple of antivirus utilities keep their very own large whitelists of packages which might be identified and secure, however most use it along side different applied sciences. For instance, Norton quarantines any packages identified to be malicious and go away packages on its whitelist alone. When a program falls in neither class—a real unknown—Norton ramps up its habits monitoring on that program. On the first time of malicious exercise, the antivirus steps in, halts this system, and places it in quarantine.
VoodooSoft VoodooShield handles whitelisting a bit otherwise. It assumes you’ve got a clear PC to start out, and it whitelists your current packages. When a never-seen program seems, it asks you what to do. If you happen to had been actively putting in one thing new, you simply let it proceed. But when the message is sudden, you block the exercise. VoodooShield’s skill to actively determine malware is rising, however for now it is meant as a complement to your current antivirus.
The Kure successfully whitelists your complete PC’s present standing. On each reboot, it returns to that clear start line. Any malware that weasels onto the system will get eradicated as quickly as you reboot. It is a fairly excessive resolution, and never one which I might select for myself. Nonetheless, it may be good for conditions like a public laptop; simply reboot between customers.
Does What It Says
PC Matic three.zero guarantees that it will not let any program run if it isn’t on the whitelist, and it delivers on that promise. It would not promise to determine dangerous packages, solely packages that it would not acknowledge pretty much as good. Because of this, you are nearly sure to search out that it suppresses some legit packages. Its lab assessments bear out this tendency towards false positives. In some assessments, it blocked many lots of of legit packages.
If you happen to’re not bothered by the concept of coping with false positives, you may give PC Matic a attempt. The worth is definitely proper; roughly 1 / 4 the price of most competing merchandise on a per-device foundation. As for me, I am going to follow mainstream antivirus instruments that use blacklisting, whitelisting, behavior-based evaluation, and all different obtainable instruments to eradicate malware with out interfering with legitimate packages.
Of the various, many antivirus utilities obtainable, we have recognized 5 as Editors’ Alternative winners. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus and Kaspersky Anti-Virus constantly earn nice scores from the impartial labs. McAfee AntiVirus Plus would not rating as excessive, however one subscription protects all of your gadgets. Symantec Norton AntiVirus Primary consists of some uncommon and helpful safety features. And Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus, with its concentrate on detecting malware by its habits, is the smallest and lightest antivirus you will discover.