Spybot +AV adds full antivirus protection to Home and Professional editions

Irish security firm Safer-Networking Ltd has announced the release of Spybot +AV 2.1, a major reinvention of the package which sees the addition of virus protection for the Home ($13.99) and Professional ($25.99) versions (the free build removes malware and rootkits only).

A great deal of this new release is about delivering the framework necessary to support the antivirus engine. An update mechanism delivers antivirus signature files multiple times a day, for instance. The system offers real time protection, too, although this can optionally be turned off if there’s a chance of it conflicting with something else.

One potential risk with this kind of major change is that you’re affected by false positives, with the program flagging every tiny utility you’ve downloaded recently as a serious threat. Spybot +AV 2.1 allows you to remain fully in control, though, with a new "selective removal" option which means you can review its findings, and decide if you want to remove or keep any suspect files.

Elsewhere, this new release applies a number of tweaks to further enhance its performance. Smarter use of white listing for system files mean the program has less work to do; multi-core support helps it take full advantage of your system resources; and if you’re in a real hurry, there’s now an option to have the program scan only the most recently used files.

An integrated proxy server sounds particularly interesting, as it looks out for and blocks "suspicious cookies and access to suspect URLs". We’ve not been able to test this yet, but clearly there’s major scope for future developments here.

And other enhancements include a simplified "Protected Repair Environment" (Professional version only), which makes it even easier to clean up an infected PC; new French and English language support; and, of course, the usual interface tweaks to try and simplify program use.

The major improvements here are to the Home and Professional editions, then, but the free edition of Spybot 2.1 also has enough to justify the upgrade, and it’s available for download now.

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