Questions operations antivirus & antispyware tools

We have 3 apps that a user runs on his computer every other day: 'SUPERAntiSpyware', 'Spy-Bot Search and Destroy' and 'Comodo Antivirus'.  The user runs the 3 apps at that same time whenever cleaning up is desired.  The user would leave theses tools running overnight.

The app 'Comodo Antivirus' never finds a virus.  The apps 'SUPERAntiSpyware' and 'Spy-Bot Search and Destroy' always finds spyware.  In  the morning the user would first click 'SUPERAntiSpyware' to delete or isolate the threats reported and then do the same to 'Spy-Bot Search and Destroy'.  Finally restart the computer.   Note, prior running the apps, the user would run cCleaner to cleanup any junk in his drive.

To-Date, there is no problem we have identified and all seems to be ok.  Our question is more directed to know EE opinion on:

  • Why 'SUPERAntiSpyware' and 'Spy-Bot Search and Destroy' display different results?
(Spy-bot would show registry entries and superantispyware would show files)
  • Any negative effect by running these 3 apps simultaneously?
  • Finally, is it necessary to run cCleaner prior running the apps?
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janaAsked:
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
1. Different products will produce different results. Some common ground, but A will always find something that B did not and vice versa.

2. Multiple A/V:   Opinions vary;  I do not. One Product only. Windows 10 - Windows Defender with V1709 and up is best.  It works really well.  Multiple A/V products can conflict if running in real time. You need to check your products.

3. CCleaner:  It works. I do not use it. I use Disk Cleanup instead. Running CCleaner will not clean up viruses and so no impact there if run before other tools.

Cookies are normally not an issue and so do not need to be found and cleaned up.
Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software EngineerCommented:
Any negative effect by running these 3 apps simultaneously?

1.  Possibly, if:

a) the programs load their databases into memory and keep them there in uncompressed form (which seems likely as it would speed up operation)
b) the programs scan memory and other processes for offending code

then it is possible that running all of them at once could cause false detections.

2.  Certainly each one will run more slowly if they are run simultaneously, as they all want to bang on the same items (processes and executable files) at the same time.  Whether the slowdown is "significant" is not clear; it would be necessary to run each one individually and time them, then all at once and time that.

Finally, is it necessary to run cCleaner prior running the apps?

You will get many different opinions on this, but IMO CCleaner is dangerous and should not be used.  Tampering with the Registry is inadvisable and should be regarded as an extreme approach to be used only when dealing with severe problems not solvable by any other method.
janaAuthor Commented:
Just checking again... noticed that 'SUPERAntiSpyware' detects files and 'Spy-Bot Search and Destroy' detect registry.  Based on you guys experience in these 2 apps, is this by design?
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Those tools tend to be aggressive at finding all kinds of cookies, even ones that are innocuous. One reason why I do not use them.
janaAuthor Commented:
I understand that but can you confirm that 'SUPERAntiSpyware' is design to run on files and 'Spy-Bot Search and Destroy' on registrys?
Andrew LeniartFreelance JournalistCommented:
Hi rayluvs,
Why 'SUPERAntiSpyware' and 'Spy-Bot Search and Destroy' display different results?
(Spy-bot would show registry entries and superantispyware would show files)

SpyBot likely isn't checking for cookies (or not doing so as agressively) as SuperAntiSpyware (SAS from here on) is. SAS, on the other hand, may not be scanning as aggressively for registry entries - depending on what types of registry entries you've set Spy-bot to scan for. It's all configurable.

If you revisit the scan results in their logs, you'll find the majority of hits that SuperAntiSpyware flags and removes will be tracking cookies. It does scan the registry for certain items, but not as well as other products from my past tests. That said, I've seen it pick up Trojan entries in the registry that have slipped past AV products like Avast, Comodo, Panda, Vipre, Windows Defender, and the list goes on. Truth is, you'll never be 100% protected so it pays to stay vigilant.

As for cookies, as already mentioned by others, these are by and large benign and harmless, unless you happen to visit some shady websites that may want to track your Internet web visits for purposes other than anonymous market research. Also, depending on how aggressively you have SAS set to deal with cookies, or your Comodo and/or SpyBot to delete temp internet files regularly, you may find yourself needing to log back into (some) websites you've told that you want to be remembered at and not logged out of when you just close your browser to leave.

That's because cookies and some temp files can also be used to keep a record of your login status, as well as the time you last visited, what your IP was and so on. Delete the cookie, and you delete one way the website has of identifying that it's you when you return, so you get the login screen again :)

It all comes down to how paranoid you want to be about your website visit activity being monitored or tracked. I personally don't worry about them too much. If I were to visit a site like <shock, horror> Pornhub for example, I would likely clean out my cookies and temporary Internet files immediately afterwards, because sites of that nature tend to have a lot of, well, lets just say "not so trustworthy" affiliates who will seek out information stored in cookies for other reasons.

So what's the answer?

That's different for everyone and depends on "your own" personal and regular web surfing habits, the types of sites you visit, if you tend to play a lot of 'free' flash type online games and so on. You need to assess (or have someone help you to assess) what paranoia levels you want to set your system to and what is regularly scanned for and automatically removed, versus just protecting yourself from the most major threats and leaving the benign stuff alone.

I have clients whos paranoia levels about privacy are such that I've had to set their browser to delete ALL cookies, temp files and browsing history automatically every time they close their browser just to be able to give them some level of reassurance. Others just don't want the cookies or temp file touched for certain websites they visit, and for them to be cleared out for everywhere else. All of that can be configured to your liking, but it takes some work and maintenance to keep up to date. There is no "one size fits all" answer here.

Any negative effect by running these 3 apps simultaneously?

No, not unless you notice a performance decrease in your machine when all three are installed and have real-time protection enabled.

I have "considerable" experience with running Malwarebytes Premium and SuperAntiSpyware alongside many different brands of Antivirus', not only on my own machines, but on those of my business clients, and all three with real-time protection enabled. Both MWB and SAS appear to live well alongside Antivirus applications and I've never struck an issue that couldn't be resolved with a minor tweak, though in the majority of cases, no tweaks need be made with straight default installs.

I personally run Avast Internet Security, Malwarebytes Premium, and SuperAntiSpyware with real-time protection turned on in all three. Have done so since Window 7 was still an early release and continue to do so today on the latest version of Windows 10 Pro. I've done considerable testing with this combination (along with other AV products apart from Avast) and I've noted no noticeable performance differences if only the AV is run, or if AV, MWB and SAS is run. I also have dozens of similar configuration on client computers all over Victoria here in Australia. Nary a complaint. The latter two products have been designed to run alongside existing antivirus applications, in real time.

That said, I do not have very much personal experience with SpyBot. I stopped using it when its design changed too much and it started trying to be more than what it was designed to do in the first place when I first started using it myself many years ago. It's only for that reason that I won't recommend it to people, but then again, I don't discourage them from using it either. Your mileage with it may vary so it could be an ideal solution for "you".

Finally, is it necessary to run cCleaner prior running the apps?

Necessary? No. Absolutely not. There are reasons you might want to, and I'll get to that shortly, but as pointed out by Dr. Klahn earlier, you will get a wide variety of opinions about Ccleaner, however, I've been a user of it since XP days and now even maintain a business license for all of Piriform's products, which include Ccleaner, that I use and often (under the right circumstances) will recommend to people.

The FREE version works just as well for most folks and even the Pro version, in a non-business environment, is just as good as the business version if you want real-time monitoring to stay enabled on it - the latter is a practice I discourage by the way.

The question needs to be asked "Why" do you use Ccleaner? If it's just to clear out Junk files from your system, it's perfectly fine and safe to use on a regular basis.

Try doing this test that I did a few times for yourself.

One night after not scanning daily and using your computer for a few days, do a scan with SAS with default settings. It should find dozens or hundreds of things that it says will need to be removed. Now cancel the removal and then run Ccleaner (Cleaning option only) and allow it to do its clean. Immediately afterwards, rescan with SAS and you'll find that those dozens or hundreds of things no longer show up in SAS, or have significantly reduced in number.

Do the scan the other way around and you'll get similar results, though Ccleaner removes considerably more with "its" default settings than SAS does because it's set to remove Temp files by default as well, even though it has "Intelligent cookie scan" programmed into it. The two tools are basically doing the same thing - removing temporary files and cookies. Neither is an antivirus and nor should they be considered as one.

Where Ccleaner gets its bad reviews is from the "over-use" of its Registry Cleaning component which should "not" be run on a regular basis - only when there is a specific need to run it because you suspect Registry problems. In such cases, you can try to do a quick correct with Ccleaner - but always answer yes to the "backup" prompt before it does its fixes - just in case.

The Windows registry is by and large self-maintaining. Overuse of registry cleaners and compactors like Ccleaner and *many* others can, in fact, cause far more harm than good and give you many unnecessary headaches. The *only* way Ccleaner should be used regularly if you want to use it is to clean up system junk. Stay away from its Registry cleaning component unless you are instructed to use it for a specific reason.

I hope this post has given you some insight into the tools you're asking about and that you found it useful.

Regards, Andrew

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