5 Replies Latest reply on May 14, 2012 6:30 PM by Peter M

    McAfee Missed Malware that MSE Found, Need Advice

           Hey guys, I've been a long time user of McAfee. Only recently have I joined this community (like, literally, as recent as today) but nonetheless I've been using McAfee and have for the most part loved it. However, in recent months, I've come to doubt it. The main reason will be explained in a little bit here. First of all, I own three computers (one Windows 7 64-bit personal laptop for gaming and my personal use, an XP family desktop, and an XP work laptop, which used to run Vista but had to be switched to XP for work purposes). I've been running McAfee Total Security on each of them. Never once has a threat been removed, blocked, or even found by a scan in the seven years that I've had the desktop (which is the oldest). The other computers haven't gotten anything either. At least, nothing that McAfee found. However, after my subscription ran out on my personal laptop for the first time a friend recommended me to Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE), and while searching the internet, I found that a good portion of the world does as well. So I decided I'd try it (it is free, after all).      First scan that I ran detected a registry-modifying virus that could have pontentially been messing with my system. I was dumbfounded at the fact that McAfee never detected something like this (the file was supposedly over five months old), and the free MSE did. Then I calmed down a bit, knowing that all security services miss things. I thought about switching back to McAfee on that computer, but decided against it. I loved the performance boost from MSE running silently in the background, and I felt confident that it had my back. However, I also often felt like it was stupid of me to choose MSE over a paying and often highly-rated security suite.

           Then I decided I'd try and test this out. I put MSE on my desktop. Ran a scan...the first one found a trojan which Microsoft identifies as email-communicable. McAfee never found it. At this point, I sortof lost my trust in McAfee. Searching the internet, I saw that there are others like me. LOTS of others. And that's where I am now...wondering whether I should switch my work laptop to McAfee before the subscription ends (which is in seven months). Can anyone give me some advice as to this predicament? I really feel like MSE is on a roll here, but just don't understand whether it's all just a big coincidence.

        • 1. Re: McAfee Missed Malware that MSE Found, Need Advice
          Peter M

          If you read the independant anti-malware forums that isn't anything unusual because every antivirus is different.  Whilst every one will catch all the known infections (we would hope) there are bound to be a few variations at the fringe of the spectrum.  Without knowing exactly what it was the MSE found it's a difficult comparison to say the least.  You should always, in addition to one antivirus and firewall, carry one or two extra anti-malware applications as a precaution and keep them and everything else updated at all times.

           

          There are some suggestions here: https://community.mcafee.com/docs/DOC-2168

           

          The next time around it could well be McAfee discovering something that MSE missed (or this could be true for any of the brands), but don't install 2 antiviruses as they can work against each other.

           

          The fact that McAfee didn't find anything for months is a testament to you being a safe surfer.  Unless you can give me a name of that infection I can't tell you if it's in the database or not I'm afraid.

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: McAfee Missed Malware that MSE Found, Need Advice

            Thanks for the reply Ex_Brit. I understand what you're saying, but just can't seem to justify buying McAfee back for my two computers that I switched to MSE. I think I'll wait for my subscription to end on my work laptop until considering moving that over to MSE as well. Also, I believe that I have the name of the trojan that infected my desktop. As for my personal laptop, there was a major MSE update a week or so back that happened before I put MSE on my desktop, and the update wiped the logs of my laptop, so I don't have that particular one.

            The trojan was called: Rogue:JS/Winwebsec

            Classified by MSE as alert level: Severe

            Catogory: Trojan

            Description: This program is dangerous and executes commands from an attacker.

            Several other aliases for this trojan are:

            • Virus.JS.FakeAV
            • Mal/FakeAvJs-A
            • Trojan:JS/Winwebsec.B
            • 3. Re: McAfee Missed Malware that MSE Found, Need Advice
              Peter M

              I don't blame you.  MSE is supposed to be as good as any and it's free.  The only thing there is that it's antivirus only & you no longer will have a 2-way firewall as Windows own firewall protects against incoming traffic only.  Unless of course you find another free software one.

               

              I looked that one up at the Microsoft site http://www.microsoft.com/security/portal/Threat/Encyclopedia/Entry.aspx?Name=Rog ue%3AJS%2FWinwebsec and it goes on to say that you would have also had to have various other things happening for it to be an actual positive infection.  So it was probably a cautionary alert.

               

              That link I posted suggests using GetSusp to report unknowns to McAfee if possible.  All antivirus makers use similar reporting mechanisms if the software itself doesn't detect something as an unknown, and you wish to report it.

               

              Meanwhile keep everything up to date at all times and keep surfing safely.

               

              That link I posted also suggests using System Restore as your first defence to go back to before things went buggy.   Good thing to remember if it happens again.

               

              Also if you get unusual popups, don't click anywhere on them, just power off and start in Safe Mode and initiate System Restore from there.

              • 4. Re: McAfee Missed Malware that MSE Found, Need Advice

                Don't worry, I'm not computer illiterate. I know you're trying to help, but I did already know all of those things about restore, popups, etc. I wasn't really asking for a solution to getting rid of viruses, MSE did that for me. I just wanted an unbiased opinion of what I should do. And you gave it to me. Thanks, you've been a great help in my decision. I have been using the Windows firewall as a temporary until I get something more, or at least until I find one to block outbound traffic.