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Vipre Antivirus + Antispyware review

Verdict

A very well designed package, though not quite in the top tier for malware detection.

Review Date: 20 Feb 2009

Reviewed By: Darien Graham-Smith

Price when reviewed: £26 (£30 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
3 stars out of 6

Features & Design
2 stars out of 6

Value for Money
3 stars out of 6

Ease of Use
5 stars out of 6

Note: This review was updated on 27 February 2009 to reflect improvements made to the package immediately prior to the official UK launch.

Vipre (pronounced 'viper') is a new antivirus package, designed from the ground up for maximum performance. There's even a splash on the box promising "does not slow down your PC!"

And it certainly is a low-impact package. After our Vista PC had booted, we saw less than 15 seconds of CPU activity as Vipre initialised - a very light touch for a security package. Even more impressively, RAM usage for the total system peaked at just 762MB during start-up and fell to 516MB within a minute.

Like Ad-Aware Pro it's not a comprehensive suite: Vipre focuses solely on detecting malware, with the normal combination of scans (both scheduled and on-demand), real-time detection and email integration. There's no firewall, nor such niceties as parental controls or web integration; but the developers emphasise the power of its 'next-generation' heuristic analysis, which aims to identify unknown threats by running through their code in a sandboxed environment.

And in our malware test this provided respectable, if not world-beating protection. Vipre recognised 93% of this month's threats - a little shy of the 96% hit rate achieved by Ad-Aware Pro and the A-Listed favourite Avira suite, but still a performance that proves the package a credible contender.

Vipre is a very usable package too, with simple and intelligent configuration options. You can disable automatic internet access - a thoughtful touch in these days of capped mobile broadband; set it to wake up a sleeping computer for scheduled scans; and easily configure default behaviours, including different actions depending on the type of scan.

There's also a handy console from which you can manage startup items, browser plug-ins and other potentially dangerous settings; a secure file deletion tool; and a history eraser that doesn't just wipe your IE cache but knows about third-party applications including Office, Acrobat, Winzip and even Visual Studio. The unlimited home licence is a nice touch too.

Amid all this goodness, it's a shame that Vipre wasn't quite able to break into the first rank in our detection test. But it's still maturing, and we've already seen its abilities improve significantly in the run-up to its UK launch (the earlier version recognised only 86% of our threats). In all it's a promising package, and we look forward to observing its future progress.

Author: Darien Graham-Smith

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