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An independent IT-security institute in Germany, AV-Test, put Panda Antivirus Pro through its paces and found that it scores among the best at usability, protection and repair. It also does well in tests conducted by West Coast Labs, ICSA and AV Comparatives.
Panda Antivirus software is installed on so many computers now that hackers are writing code that understands how to attack Panda, specifically. This security software has a system to armor itself to prevent malware from changing files or entries in the Windows registry. Whenever it blocks such an attack, the system sends you a message to let you know it took care of it.
Millions of Panda users opt to share with Panda Security details of whatever attacks them. In this way, Panda is able to quickly indentify and contain fast-breaking contagions and send out an antidote. Panda refers to its cloud-based threat-compiling effort as Collective Intelligence, which winnows through almost 200,000 files daily to separate the sheep from the goats.
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The Windows firewall after XP is a strong two-way firewall. Nevertheless, some users like the idea of using antivirus software with its own integrated firewall even if they are running Vista or Windows 7. Panda Antivirus software includes a firewall, but conveniently leaves it off by default for those who want to stay with the Windows firewall. The clean Panda interface clearly reveals whether its firewall is activated or not.
Panda distinguishes between known and unknown threats and lets you control what it should do about them. Against known threats, it will scan internet browsing, instant messaging, email and files on disk. You can pick any of these or none. And you can decide whether you want the software to record these events in a log. Furthermore, you can pick the types of threats you want it to detect: dialers, jokes, hacking tools, phishing, spyware and viruses. If anything attempts to modify Internet Explorer settings, you determine up front whether to automatically deny the attempt or whether you want to be prompted to decide. If things don’t go as planned and you lose control of Internet Explorer, you can recover the settings that you saved previously and go on with your business.
For protection against unknown threats, you decide whether you want that feature active or not. And if you do, you configure the options to decide if you want to enable behavioral analysis and heuristic scans. Panda’s behavioral analysis, called TruPrevent Technologies, analyzes behavior to determine threat level. Heuristic scans examine the program code in malware to figure out if it is a virus, worm or spyware. You can also protect against unknown threats by blocking the execution of Script files. And you can decide to send potentially dangerous email attachments to quarantine or not. In order to prevent attack via USB drives, a feature called Panda USB Vaccine inoculates newly inserted USB drives and prevents the spread of autorun.inf infections. If you use this feature to vaccinate your computer, it will disable any autorun utility from USB drives and CD or DVD drives.
If you want a web browser that cannot transmit malware to your system while navigating the internet, you can download the Panda Safe Browser from within the antivirus software. It is a safe way to browse because if it is attacked, it sends the threat straight into a virtual sand box and isolates it until its intention becomes clear. A gaming mode lets you watch full-screen video games or movies without pop ups or alerts. Home Network Manager lets you monitor, protect and update PCs on your home network. And to frustrate keyloggers, there is a virtual keyboard.
Help & Support
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Once you have activated the product, a helpful service becomes available. Whenever you control a suspicious file and isolate it in Quarantine, you can send it to Panda for analysis.
A rather significant and helpful feature is the ability to create a rescue CD-ROM to use in situations where a computer cannot boot because it is so infected. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and if you take the time to create a rescue disk before you need it, you will be able to recover from otherwise catastrophic situations.
Panda antivirus software is easy to use, but if you need assistance you can refer to the in-program user manual or find answers online. Panda’s online support center hosts a user forum, support blog and product-specific FAQs. Access to technical support is available via email rather than live chat or telephone.
When it comes to protection, repair and usability, Panda Antivirus Pro produces some of the best results in the antivirus software market, according to AV-Test. If you like the idea of using a single vendor for your firewall and antivirus software, Panda combines these two functions so you can be confident that they are designed to complement each other.