ThreatFire

A nice concept but this particular implementation has too many bugs.

My Rating: nonononono

ThreatFire is a program to complement your existing anti-virus program. The idea is that ThreatFire performs additional tests on your system to detect and block those viruses that somehow manage to slip past your regular AV program. It does this by looking at program behaviour instead of just identifying viruses from a set of signatures.

I tested this program on two separate systems - one being used by someone with little knowledge of computer security and the other being used by someone who knows a lot about security. There were problems with the program on both systems although the problems on the computer used by the security novice were much worse in that it actually started deleting software.

The first problem was when it detected a virus in an email. To prevent thhe virus infecting the computer it deleted the email program. That certainly prevents the virus getting into the system but it also prevents your reading any legitimate emails as wekk. Fortunately I have the same email program running on multiple computers and was able to recover from this by simply copying the missing file back from one of the other computers instead of having to reinstall the program.

The next problem was with a game that was installed onto the computer after ThreatFire was installed. As with all installs on the computer it was run through the Administrator account and appropriate answers were given to the security alerts that the various security programs popped up during the install. The problem came when it actually came to trying to play the game from a regular account on the computer. ThreatFire decided that it did not like some action that the game software was trying to perform in starting to run from the CD and prevented the game from starting. The only way to get the game to play on the computer was to uninstall ThreatFire.

The final problem occurred on the other computer where I still had ThreatFire installed. The program decided that it was time that it ran a full scan of the system and picked the most inconvenient time for me for it to do so. During the just over an hour that it took for the scan to run it prevented most other programs on the computer from being able to run. The regular anti-virus hung while trying to update itself, my email program downloaded my new emails but then ran so slowly that it was impossible to read them since every keypress had a five minute delay before the computer responded to it. Had I known that the ThreatFire scan was the cause of this problem I'd have killed it straight away but ThreatFire didn't bother to tell me that it was running the scan until the scan finished. Only when ThreatFire popped up a message to tell me that it had run a scan did the computer then start running properly again.

I recommend that you do not install this program onto your computer as the actions that it performs are as bad as those performed by any virus. Given what this program can do to your system I am surprised that the regular anti-virus and anti-spyware programs do not yet have ThreatFire in their signature files so that they can remove this dangerous program from your system before it does irreparable harm.

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