Product Reviews

Keeping It Clean

PestPatrol is handy when normal virus protection isn’t enough.

I know what you’re thinking: “Not another anti-virus product!” I thought the same thing when I starting looking at PestPatrol. Good news. PestPatrol isn’t an anti-virus product. Anti-virus software focuses on viruses and some trojans. PestPatrol, on the other hand, focuses on “pests” (i.e. spyware, spyware cookies and trojans). There’s a long list of pests on PestPatrol’s Web site, including:

  • Denial of service attack tools
  • Mail bombers
  • Key loggers
  • Password crackers
  • Remote control and surveillance software
  • Trojans and trojan-creation software
  • Spyware, sniffers, scanners and spoofers

Some of these pests are detected by anti-virus software, but most aren’t. The program works in conjunction with anti-virus software to make sure your computer is as “clean” as possible. PestPatrol scans for more than 57,000 pests in more than 11,000 categories. In addition, it scanned my entire hard drive (7.6 GB) in four and half minutes.

PestPatrol installs easily and is user-friendly. If you’ve used anti-virus software before, you’ll feel right at home. Selecting the All Hard Drives checkbox instigates a complete scan (Figure 1). You can manually select the drive and folders if you don’t want to scan everything. PestPatrol went crazy when it found my folder of hacking tools. In the future, I’ll exclude this folder so I can get a more accurate examination.

After the scan is complete, the results screen shows the pest name, description and path. PestPatrol provides a link to its online pests database. Yes, I knew of all the pests on my computer. (After all, I downloaded them and put them into one folder.) Luckily, I didn’t have any surprises. You can tell PestPatrol to do the following with each pest:

  • Analyze: Performs a simple analysis of the file.
  • Lookup: Examine online database for more info on this file.
  • Quarantine: Move the file to the PestPatrol\Quarantine directory.
  • Ignore Forever: Never detect this file as a pest again.
  • Ignore This Time: File will be detected again next time a scan is run.
  • Delete This Pest: Permanently delete the highlighted file.

I applaud the publisher for including command-line capabilities. You can automate pest removal, as well as schedule scans without having to install PestPatrol on every local desktop. If you’re using Check Point as your firewall, PestPatrol is a must-have. Check Point Software Technologies has certified PestPatrol to work with its Secure VPN Client, which means you can verify the integrity of your VPN clients before letting them log onto your network.

PestPatrol isn’t looking for run-of-the-mill viruses; it seeks out other kinds of hidden pests that may be residing on your server.

One negative about PestPatrol is that it only provides technical support via the Web. I find it difficult to roll out a product to all of my servers and workstations if I can’t even get phone support. All in all, I recommend using PestPatrol on all of your machines just like you would virus protection. At least use it on all of your public servers. At $30 per machine, PestPatrol is an affordable solution, especially when you figure in the costs related to recovering from a hack. PestPatrol does a great job of filling in the gaps left by anti-virus software.

About the Author

Chad Todd, MCSE, MCT, CNE, is the author of Hack Proofing Windows 2000 Server by Syngress Publishing. He is the co-owner of Training Concepts, which specializes in Windows 2000 and Cisco training.

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