1 Reply Latest reply on Mar 18, 2009 4:15 PM by Peter M

    McSecurity 9

      McAfee Security Center (MSC) has become badly-coded, PARANOID, BLOATWARE to the point of absurdity!!

      I have been running MSC for the past three years on 4 different machines ranging from a laptop Pentium D T2060 (1.6GHz) w/ 4 GB of memory running XP HomeEd. (at the low end) to a Quad Core Q9550 (2.83GHz) w/ 8GB of memory running XP Pro at the high end, each of which live on separate public IP addresses, behind two(2) hardware firewalls/routers and also the MSC firewall. I use MSC because it is the AV app of choice (& the only one that they support) for my ISP (Comcast). These have not been issues for me until the past 2 months, or so.
      The behaviour that I am about to describe is the same on all 4 of my machines, so it is definitely NOT computer-specific.

      First, the "bloatware" part of my complaint:
      On the one hand, I am encouraged by AV software that strives to keep its DAT up to date in order to stay on top of constantly emerging threats. However, MSC has taken on the habit of checking for updates at least once per hour which, in & of itself, would not be a problem except that:
      1. It takes the McAfee website a solid 2-3 minutes to respond as to whether an update is available....
      2. If one is available, it takes another 2-3 minutes to download the update....
      3. Once downloaded, it takes yet another 2-3 minutes to finish installing the update..., and...,
      4. MOST IMPORTANTLY & ANNOYINGLY..., throughout the process of performing the tasks in steps 1-3 above, any & all other apps/functions on the subject computer are suspended and put totally "on hold" while MSC does its thing. I am NOT talking about some heavy-duty, extreme multimedia app either, sometimes it could just be typing text into "Notepad" or simply wanting to move your mouse pointer across your Desktop that remains stalled or frozen until MSC is done hogging your resources.
      MSC has now joined the ever-growing list of apps by developers/coders who clearly must have been bench-tested them on machines sporting Intel Core i7-965 (3.2GHz) Extreme Edition processors w/ 16GB of RAM, having clean install of the OS & absolutely NO other apps loaded on them (okay I know that's kind of an exaggeration, but you get idea).
      The conventional wisdom with these geniuses is: "Hey, my app is working great now. It's totally okay that, whenever it performs any function, it uses 110% of all CPU/memory resources because, after all, who cares about any other apps that may need to run on some poor user's machine--- my app is just as narcissistic and self-obsessed as I am." This is further compounded by a total lack of informed supervisory scrutiny in the firms employing these guys with only a 6 week trade school certificate in Visual Basic because: "The developer/coder told me 'It's all good', so it must be & besides, we only have to pay them 25 cents above minimum wage."
      For what it's worth, a couple of weeks ago I even put a brand new 1.5TB SATA(7200rpm) HDD in the above referenced XP Pro machine, did a new clean-install of the OS & a new clean-install of McAfee. Result: NO change, MSC is just as much of a resource PIG as ever. I, for one, am getting increasingly fed-up with software/apps that exhibit this type of behaviour. Hire some decent programmers for Pete's sake!!!

      Second, this is what I meant by MSC being "paranoid":
      Any AV software is going to generate a certain number of "false-positives", flagging perfectly legitimate files as "malicious" from time to time. Fine..., I get that.
      In the last couple of months, though, during random real-time scanning & during scheduled scans MSC has begun to flag & "quarantine" files which have peacefully co-existed on my computer with McAfee for literally years! I mean files that should not, by any stretch of the imagination, be suspect.
      But rather, for example: (these are true stories)
      --A picture file named "maria.jpg", which is a picture of my daughter taken with my Canon Digital Camera & transferred to my Desktop over a year ago....
      --A ".dll" file named "vfwwdm32.dll" from the C:\Windows folder, which is one of the "Video for Windows" native drivers..., and...,
      Best of all..., my favorite...,
      --A ".doc" file named "faxcover.doc", which is nothing more that a pure-text Microsoft Word Document I created to print-out from time to time as..., guess what..., a generic fax cover sheet. This one has lived on my computer for over 4 years without any problem.
      These files and others have begun (only lately) to get flagged (& quarantined) as anything & everything from "Generic Dropper" or "Generic!Artemis", to "Keylogger" and so on. What's really entertaining is that any one file (such as the ".doc", for example) can be flagged as a "Generic Dropper" today, then the same file is a "Generic!Artemis" tomorrow, and a "Keylogger" the next day. The same file!!!
      Okay, so it's better for an AV program "to be safe than sorry", but this is nuts! It's as though the security "experts" at McAfee just decided to finally throw up their hands and say: "We can't stay on top of this stuff anymore so, from now on, we'll just flag & quarantine everything that even has a filename, and then let the end-user/consumer sort it all out & restore them on their end. At least we did a good job of protecting them from 'evil things'.".

      So..., by all means..., use McAfee Security Center if you have lots of time on your hands. Every hour, or so, when it updates you'll have plenty of opportunity to make yourself a sandwich, go to the store & do your laundry. Oh..., and don't forget to schedule 20 minutes every morning to restore all of your baby pictures, letters, and perhaps some essential OS files that it quarantined "for your protection" while you weren't looking.

      Good luck!

      R.