NOD32: Digital Nasties Don’t Stand a Chance

When it comes to protection these days, consolidation is our watchword. With so many threats and counter-threats, we like to see a tool that puts everything in one place. NOD32 Anti-virus Software from ESET delivers, with integrated protection against viruses, worms, trojans, spyware, adware, phishing and hackers.

In addition to this unified schema, NOD32 boasts a vigorous ability to meet &#151 and eliminate &#151 threats in real time. Using a patented ThreatSense heuristic technology, the application analyzes code execution for malicious intent, ever on the lookout for newly forming unpleasantness. When malware is found, NOD32 will lock it down, and then safely house quarantined viruses in encrypted form.

The software costs $39 for a single user or $225 for a five-user small-business edition.

NOD32 can be commended for its minimal footprint, something that has made this anti-virus tool the darling of gamers, while developers have taken pains to make it very delicate in its consumption of system resources. What’s not to like?

Actually, there is a fair bit not to like about this software, starting with its interface. Remarkably stripped down, the front door seems designed to frighten away the novice, especially when one finds there are not one but two ways in. The On-Demand Scanner screen shows what drives can be scanned, with links to actions, configuration and other settings. The Control Center meanwhile displays active monitors, software update links and more settings options.

These interfaces are slim, simple and direct. They’ll get you where you want to go with minimal bother. What they are not is warm and fuzzy, a complaint that can be lodged against much of NOD32. It is not going to hold your hand, if handholding is what you have in mind.

Take for instance the application’s tendency toward speaking in technical tongues. To be comfortable in this land you’ll need to know that IMON monitors Internet port 80 traffic, AMON watches for alterations made to the overall file system, EMON watches e-mail, and so on. You’ll need to know how they work, and while they are not terribly complicated to manipulate, their use typically will be limited to advanced users, since newbies will wisely be too scared to come anywhere close.

Making NOD32 use somewhat easier is the ability to save profiles of different scan configurations, which in turn allows you to run these profiles through a scheduler without having to build them from scratch each time. Updates are likewise easy to manage: Accept the default every-hour scheme or customize your own update with timetables.

The actual configuration work may be a little much for a novice user, but at least you can set-and-forget it once you have decided on your protection plan.
If you get lost in the software, there is, thankfully, ample support to be found. A well-indexed Help function helps users move quickly to relevant information. Online help tools include a substantial PDF manual, a user forum and customer support contacts. Phone support is limited.

Pros and cons aside, the true test of any anti-virus lies in its effectiveness. Here there is no doubt: NOD32 is a powerhouse. Beyond user experience, ESET can boast of independent testing. Recently for instance NOD32 Anti-virus received its fortieth VB 100 percent award. In the October 2006 Virus Bulletin Comparative Review, the application earned a 100 percent score in comparative testing of 27 anti-virus products running on Windows 2000 Server. This extends an eight-year track record for ESET as the vendor with the most awards.

The bottom line on NOD32? What it lacks in bells and whistles, NOD32 more than makes up for in sheer anti-virus muscle.

Adapted from

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