Spyware app gives lackluster performance

Spyware app gives lackluster performance when pitted against adware, spyware, and rootkit threats.

Lavasoft's Ad-Aware 2007 Plus is the paid version of the popular scanner Ad-Adware 2007 Free. For the US$27 price, you get automatic signature updates, scheduled scans, and real-time protection features not included in the free product. But despite its sleek interface and easy-to-configure controls, Ad-Aware Plus failed to meet basic expectations when pitted against adware, spyware, and rootkit threats.

At the time we tested it, Ad-Aware 2007 Plus 7.0 was not available for Windows Vista, so we tested it on a Windows XP machine. The scheduled release date for Lavasoft's Vista version is August 31, 2007.

In tests performed by AV-Test.org, Ad-Aware failed to detect nine of our ten active spyware samples and successfully disinfected only the Registry entry (not the file) of the one piece of active spyware (password stealer QQHook.A) that it did detect. While it uncovered all ten active adware samples, it disinfected just 35 percent of files and Registry entries. Presented with a batch of more than 110,380 inactive adware and spyware samples, the program's on-demand scanner detected less than 2 percent of them. Ad-Aware 2007 Plus doesn't offer rootkit protection.

The program's behavior-based blocking of critical system changes was better than its signature based scanning, but not perfect. It stopped additions to 'Run' keys HKCU and HKLM (Registry keys that the most common malware threats target), and it detected changes to the Internet Explorer startup and search pages. On the other hand, it failed to detect Hosts file changes (which can redirect an URL to a malicious site) and additions to the startup folder.

Ad-Aware is easy to install and navigate, and it comes with a feature called TrackSweep that erases browser surfing history from Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Opera. But the software's two-pronged software design creates needless complications. You have to configure the Ad-Watch component, which handles real-time monitoring and proactive protection, separately from the rest of the program, and Ad-Watch drops a second icon onto your desktop. It almost feels like a second piece of software. Also, the Sweden-based company does not offer telephone support to U.S. users.

Its real-time protection makes Ad-Aware Plus a definite step up from the popular freeware version. But its lackluster performance would send us searching elsewhere for antispyware protection.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ryan Naraine

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?