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Choosing an antivirus to protect your sensitive data is no easy task.
Some may think that a free antivirus like Comodo may not offer enough protection for their computers. In contrast, others believe that free antiviruses are just as good as premium ones. When it comes to basic protection, they're more or less the same, but it does pay off to check out some of the better security suites.
Comodo offers a free antivirus suite and other plans that include more features, but it's known for its free version.
In this Comodo antivirus review, we're going to find out if it provides reliable malware protection and whether it'd be the right choice for you.
We also want you to explore other options. Maybe you are looking for an antivirus with VPN included? After all, you can't make your decision based on a single antivirus review. Check out how Comodo antivirus stands against other antivirus programs here:
Our Recommended Choice
Our recommendation: McAfee
With so many antivirus products in the market, there is none that’s like McAfee. With over 18.9 billion devices protected on a consistent basis, McAfee’s ability to deal with malware attacks come unmatched! McAfee has a dedicated database that is adept to deal with all sorts of virus attacks whether they may be online or offline. To browse their programs, check out their programs here!
Comodo Antivirus Review: Feature-Packed for Expert Users
Comodo isn't just a basic antivirus software with a firewall and some scan buttons; it offers way more than that. Comodo Security provides a ton of advanced features that techies will appreciate. These features enhance the way you can keep your systems protected.
Some of these features include phishing protection, HIPS, Auto-Containment, and Custom Scans. We'll explore many of these features in detail later on; we're just giving you an idea about what to expect from this piece of software. For your company's protection, we reviewed the best antivirus for business suites.
Below, I list a specs rundown so that you get an idea of how feature-rich Comodo is:
Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10, macOS X, Linux
Yes (with additional cost)
Free or starting from $19.99
As you can see, Comodo does offer many features. Even the free version is loaded with a variety of security and privacy features. To compare features, we recommend reading our Total AV review and Cylance which we reviewed here. To get info on Sophos Antivirus and its features and price plans, click here.
Ease of Use
Initiating a system scan using Comodo is only one click away, and you can adjust the program's settings to determine when pop-up alerts appear.
Comodo's user interface isn't as simple as other antivirus programs due to the advanced functionalities it provides, but more on that later.
Versatile Scanning Options
Once you install Comodo, the program will automatically update its virus signature database. You’ll be prompted to do an initial scan to ensure that any malware that managed to make it to the system before installing the program is detected and eliminated.
A full scan takes around 2 hours, which is sort of the average for other free antivirus programs. Alternatively, you can conduct a quick scan that sweeps the system directories prone to potential infection.
You can also run a rating scan, which is essentially the same as a quick scan with the addition of scanning the samples on the cloud for file reputation. The program evaluates the files you choose and gives it a reputation score.
Some files may pose a threat but aren't necessarily dangerous at the time being. A rating scan allows the program to identify which files are safe, dangerous, or potentially risky.
Furthermore, the program makes it easy for you to customize scans and select the target directories yourself.
Ransomware is a threat that encrypts files on the victim's computer and asks for money in exchange for conditional decryption. Comodo protects you from ransomware attacks to some extent. It may not provide the best ransomware protection ever, but it definitely offers a decent security level.
Sure, you might consider creating cloud backups of your files just to be on the safe side.
Mixed Malware Protection Results
Lab results for antivirus suites are highly variable. Each lab uses specific test methods and criteria. Some labs measure performance according to malware protection only, while other labs also factor in different approaches like system impact.
However, in the case of Comodo, only one lab ran a test for it: AV-Test. AV-Test’s team evaluates antivirus software according to malware protection, system impact, and the rate of false positives.
The maximum score for each criterion is 6/6, adding up to a total maximum score of 18/18. Comodo Internet Security Premium 10 earned 6/6 in malware protection, quite impressive for a free antivirus.
When it comes to the impact on performance, the antivirus received a score of 5 out of 6. As for false positives, the program got a score of 5.5 out of 6, adding up to an overall score of 16.5/18. That's a pretty decent score, but not the best considering that other free antivirus suites like Avast and Windows Defender have got higher scores in the same test.
Because only one lab tested how effective Comodo is, we had to test it ourselves to see how it performs in real-world situations. To test the program, we used a set of malicious samples to see whether Comodo would be able to block the attacks.
Comodo was able to detect nearly 95% of the threats. While this may seem like a high score, it's not on par with other antivirus systems that managed to get higher scores in our test. Even one threat can completely ruin your computer if it doesn't get eliminated.
We also wanted to see how much Comodo Antivirus affects performance. We've tried to open a 20-sheet excel workbook before and after installing Comodo to see how long it takes to open.
Before installing Comodo, the file took 12 seconds to load. After installing it, it took about 14 seconds to load, translating into a 14% drop in performance. That's not terrible considering that other programs can really ruin your computer's performance.
Another thing we tested was the rate of false positives. It happened maybe 2 or 3 times out of 100+ fake threats, which is also a very acceptable rate.
How Effective Is Comodo Antivirus Phishing Protection?
Phishing is a malicious email sent from a reputable organization to trick internet users into exposing their personal information and bank card details. There are also phishing websites that are created for the exact same purpose.
Lots of internet users fall for these scams, which is why it's essential to keep yourself protected. Comodo Internet Security can protect you from phishing attacks, but not very effectively.
A good phishing protection protocol must stand up against both malicious and fraudulent URLs. Comodo can only protect you from phishing if it detects an abnormal code in the URL. However, fraudulent URLs will be a problem for you.
In our hands-on test, we downloaded and installed Comodo's browser extension for Google Chrome to see whether it can detect malicious websites.
Note that you must install the extension to make sure that phishing protection is enabled. The extension is available for MS Edge, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and MS Internet Explorer.
We also ran the test by intentionally visiting websites that have been flagged as phishing websites. We've even mixed in some 0-day websites to see how up-to-date the extension is.
Out of the 30 phishing websites that we tried to visit, the extension was able to block access to 8 of them. That's about a 26% success rate, which unfortunately isn't that great. We wouldn't rely entirely on Comodo to protect our systems from phishing scams, but it's definitely much better than nothing at all.
As for phishing emails, Comodo detected 40% of them, slightly better than website detection. It also gave 3 false positives.
To keep yourself safe, avoid replying to emails that ask for valuable information, and don’t mindlessly click on any hyperlinks inside. Also, be careful not to download any attachments in these emails as they'll most likely harm your computer.
If you want to contribute and report these phishing scams, you can contact the company or the bank they impersonate and inform them. Another option is to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
Keeping Programs Contained
Switching Comodo's interface from basic view into advanced view gives you additional functionalities, including Auto Containment, HIPS (Host Intrusion Prevention System), and Viruscope behavior-based protection.
Auto Containment lets you run processes inside the program to isolate them from the rest of your system. This makes it easier for you to test processes and see how they affect your system without actually having to execute them permanently. It's like a virtual trial for the process.
Auto-Containment is enabled by default for any process that isn't identifiable by Comodo's database.
Instead of ditching potentially unsafe programs, Comodo lets users give it a try first. There's a high chance that the program is actually safe to use, but many would choose not to risk it and decide not to install it. Comodo removes this barrier for you.
Additionally, you can run your browser in an isolated environment to protect your system in case you were exposed to a web-based attack.
Another alternative for you is to use Comodo's Virtual Desktop. As its name implies, Virtual Desktop is essentially considered a separate system from yours; think of it like a staging area.
This way, you can install all programs as you wish without worrying that it could affect your actual system. The Viruscope behavior-based protection actively evaluates the programs that run in the Virtual Desktop.
Host Intrusion Prevention System
The Comodo antivirus features a Host Intrusion Prevention System or HIPS that offers in-depth multilayer protection for the host from the network layer all the way down to the application layer. Basically, what this means is that you get a high level of protection for your network from malicious attacks.
Unlike the conventional antivirus protection systems, HIPS works as a preventative measure to prevent attacks from occurring in the first place by taking control of application integrity instead of relying on a virus signature database for matching. This also reduces the possibility of false positives.
The Host Intrusion Prevention System allows programs with a safe reputation to run unchecked. However, it prompts you to decide what to do with the unknown programs. Alternatively, there's a paranoid mode, where all applications are treated as if they were unknown, even the safe ones.
Host Intrusion Prevention Systems have become an essential part of any reliable antivirus program, and we're glad that Comodo provides it.
Comodo Dragon Option
If you want to get a secure browsing experience, you can optionally install the Comodo Dragon browser for $17.99 a year. It offers several security features that allow you to make bank payments and other transactions worry-free.
The browser is Chromium-based, meaning that it's very similar to Chrome since it uses the same source code. It provides a tremendous Chrome-like browsing experience with the addition of several security and privacy features.
It also protects you from suspicious websites and phishing emails. Some of the features this browser presents are blocking cookies, suspicious SSL certificates, and cutting out telemetry. You can use it on both 32-bit and 64-bit systems, but Comodo recommends that you use it on 64-bit systems.
The browser can identify standard SSL certificates and warn you about them. While a standard SSL certificate ensures that the data you exchange with the website is encrypted, it doesn't necessarily mean that the website is legitimate. Even newbie scammers can generate free SSL certificates quite easily.
While this feature is nice to have, you'll have to go through a ton of false positives with it. The browser will even warn you about Facebook.
Additionally, the Drag & Drop Service allows you to highlight text and post it on social media or search for it. While this feature isn't really a security one, we've grown in love with it.
The feature that I personally fell in love with is the Media Grabber. It allows you to download videos from virtually any website you want and in the format of your choice. Just make sure that the video you're downloading isn't copyright-protected to avoid lawsuits.
Moreover, you can set the browser to force HTTPS connection for any website you visit.
Viewing and Killing Processes
Sure, the classical Windows Task Manager is great, but it's not the best way for you to handle your processes. Comodo's alternative to task manager is targeted towards tech geeks who want to do more than just killing unresponsive programs.
Comodo allows you to view all of your processes and sort them by filename, process ID, and company. It also tells you which user account each process belongs to.
Another column displays the isolated processes that run virtually. You also get a reputation column that shows the reputation score for each score and ranks them accordingly.
Furthermore, the Comodo Killswitch gives you a detailed breakdown of active processes, including Windows services. You get insights like CPU and RAM usage. The program also displays graphs that track CPU, RAM, I/O, and Network continuously.
You can manage these processes and kill the ones that take up your computer's resources without actually providing any value. Unlike Task Manager, once you kill a process, KillSwitch will prevent it from restarting.
Other things you can do with KillSwitch include controlling which programs launch at startup, and repair anything that was caused by malware on your computer.
Not for Everyone
While the Comodo Antivirus suite is packed with dozens of security and privacy features, it doesn't deliver the best malware protection you can get. You could get another free antivirus program, and it will offer a higher level of malware mitigation.
Sure, the program will appeal to many users, given that it provides them with full control over almost every aspect of their systems when it comes to security, privacy, and optimization. Both techies and non-techies won't like the fact that the antivirus performs poorly regarding its main function: malware protection.
However, that doesn't mean that Comodo isn't worth giving it a try. There are lots of functionalities that we love about this program. Features like sandboxing, multiple scan options, HIPS, KillSwitch, and the user-friendly interface have made Comodo a robust antivirus that can be an excellent option for many people.
Another thing that we love about Comodo is that it supports almost all commonly used operating systems, including macOS X, Linux, and Windows.
We also love the company's Chromium-based web browser. It's surprisingly quite pleasant to use as it brings smoothness and security to one browser. What's better than a Chrome-like browser that's also super secure? It's simply unrivaled.
Comodo's user interface has been the same for the past few years. Once you open the program, you'll see a status panel on the left side with a color that informs you about your system's status.
Green means that everything is fine, while yellow and red indicate that there's an issue for which you need to take action. Also, there is a single button that you can click to investigate the problem in case the status panel isn’t color-coded in green.
Furthermore, there are 4 persistent buttons that let you do a scan, run a program in the containment mode, unblock isolated applications, and check for updates.
Any tech-savvy will love Comodo's user interface, but average users may find it slightly complicated. It can be hard to navigate, and some options are super hard to get to. It takes some time to get used to, but once you have some experience using the program, you should have no problem working with this antivirus.
Just be careful not to change the theme, at least in the beginning. Changing the theme also brings some changes to the UI, which can make things even more complicated.
The program keeps downloading updates automatically, and it may force you to restart your computer frequently, which can be inconvenient for many users.
Comodo offers several channels for customer support. Live chat support is available for all Comodo users, but unfortunately, support over the phone is available for premium users only. Once you open a live chat window, a bot will try to answer your queries until a customer service representative is available.
We find the bot quite helpful, and most of the time, you won't even need to talk to a real human being. There are also forums that can further help you with any problems you're facing.
The customer service representatives are quite friendly and professional. They'll help you with whatever problem you're facing by providing a solution that's straight to the point.
Alternatively, Comodo offers a help platform that has answers to the most frequently asked questions. This is probably the fastest and most convenient way of support. The platform's database is enormous; it's highly unlikely that you won't find the answer to your question on this platform.
Comodo security solutions offer 4 pricing plans, including 1 free and 3 premium ones. The Comodo free antivirus covers the basics, while premium versions offer additional features.
The Advanced Antivirus is priced at $19.99/year for one computer. I also like that it adds a layer of protection for online shopping.
The 3rd offering from Comodo is the Internet Security Pro bundle that boasts a firewall, web filtering, and a virus-free guarantee. It starts at $39.99/year.
Finally, we have Internet Security Complete, giving you 50GB worth of cloud storage, and TrustConnect, which protects your data when you connect to public internet hotspots.
If you're unsure about which option is better for you, consider whether you need the features that come with each plan and whether it'd be worth paying for.
For example, if you regularly buy stuff online, then choosing the Advanced Antivirus plan seems like a good idea. If you frequently need to connect to public Wi-Fi networks, and protect the data on your system, go for the Internet Security Complete plan.
For those who want to control which programs can connect to the internet, the Internet Security bundle offers firewall protection.
It's worth noting that all of the premium plans have a 30-day trial. So, make sure to give the plan a shot first before committing to a paid subscription.
Pros And Cons
To recap our Comodo Antivirus review, we've gone through everything the program offers, and we believe that Comodo has done a great job with developing its capable antivirus.
It has a multitude of features that will appeal to a lot of people, but it doesn't offer top-level protection. Our tests have shown that Comodo isn't the type of antivirus that you can use if you work with highly sensitive data. You know, that type of data can cost you millions if stolen or fell prey to unauthorized encryption.
It does offer protection against several types of attacks, but almost none of these layers of protection deliver a performance that you would call outstanding.
However, The top-tier feature that has caught my eyes so far is Comodo’s cloud-based analysis. For a free antivirus suite, Comodo owns an extensive up-to-date grid that consists of countless malware samples so that the antivirus engine can match the infected directories with the sample present in their cloud-powered database.
This approach dramatically keeps false positives to the bare minimum and enhances the overall accuracy of real-time protection over time. That’s why I love Comodo; it just never stops improving!
Our recommendation: McAfee
Although the product we talked about are notable in the market, it doesn’t come close to McAfee. McAfee is a leading antivirus company in the cybersecurity industry due to its unique line-up of programs catered to dealing with malware and antivirus attacks. No wonder over 18.9 billion devices are protected using McAfee! Check out their security programs here!