Anti-virus for free

I’ve been setting up some open-source software on the computers in the SYA offices tonight: ClamWin, an anti-virus scanner for Windows, and Winpooch, an anti-spyware and anti-trojan scanner (which also hooks into ClamWin to provide real-time anti-virus protection).

As a project with ECS, we had access to their Sophos site-licenses. Since we became independent, I have been looking for a replacement.

It’s still early days, and I’ll have to see how we get on before I can say if I recommend them. But what I’ve read about them has been largely positive, and so far they look like they will fit our needs. And, importantly for a relatively new charity with plenty of other startup costs, they’re free (with no ongoing costs for virus definition updates!)

You could also argue that being open source makes them more trustworthy. The open-source community is perhaps less susceptible to pressure from adware-pushing companies – like the occasional conspiracy theory stories you hear about anti-spyware software vendors being pressured to turn a blind eye (like Ad-Aware or Symantec). I’m less concerned about this – but I guess I’m just a trusting type at heart! It’s an interesting point, though.

If I have one complaint so far, it’s that I think the GUIs could look a little intimidating to a non-geek. They seem fairly straightforward to me – a techie who’s used a number of different anti-virus solutions before – but I wonder how the guys in the office will cope tomorrow. What little user-guide documentation there is really isn’t newbie-friendly.

So, I’m writing up some notes for the staff so they don’t get too scared tomorrow morning when their PCs start barking at them – yes, winpooch alerts users to a possible violation by barking 🙂

One Response to “Anti-virus for free”

  1. andyp says:

    For PCs I’ve built for others, I’ve always installed AVG antivirus (the free version) and Windows Defender / formerly Antispyware. I haven’t come across these alternatives… well.. I’ve heard of ClamAV for Linux but not used it. Will wait to hear how these turn out!