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Sunbelt Software CounterSpy 2.0 Beta

At a Glance
  • Sunbelt Software CounterSpy 2.0 Beta

    PCWorld Rating

The beta version of Sunbelt Software's CounterSpy 2.0 didn't fare as well as we had expected in our October 2006 issue's roundup. This perennial top contender performed weakly in disinfection tests, but it offers solid real-time protection, a well-designed interface, and useful privacy utilities.

In performance tests conducted by AV-Test.org, CounterSpy ranked third among the five products tested for our "Spyware Specialists" story. CounterSpy's behavior-based detection capabilities proved strong, flagging all additions to HKCU and HKLM Run keys (Registry keys targeted by many malware threats) and Windows Startup. CounterSpy detected all changes to the Hosts file and Internet Explorer Home and Search pages as well.

But in disinfection tests, CounterSpy cleaned up only 35 percent of adware and spyware samples. Sunbelt Software says that CounterSpy's low score is due to the beta status of the product and to AV-Test's sample set, which Sunbelt does not consider representative of today's most important threats. In response, AV-Test says that it downloaded all tested spyware and adware in May or June 2006 from live sites on the Internet.

While CounterSpy lacks a startup scan and antiphishing tools, it offers system restore features and four privacy-centric utilities (which we did not test for our antispyware roundup): MyPC Explorer lets you view and modify Windows and browser system settings; My PC Checkup performs a check of your overall system security; History Cleaner purges Internet Explorer surfing trails; and Secure File Eraser makes sure that nobody can resurrect your deleted documents.

Narasu Rebbapragada

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Pros

    • Great threat detection

    Cons

    • Lackluster disinfection
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