I have been vehemently advocating for many years that all computer users (including MAC users) absolutely need a comprehensive security suite in order to protect them and their machines from the malware that has become endemic. While I have one of the top rated commercial (paid) comprehensive security suites on all of my computers and other smart devices, I am also cognizant that for a myriad of reasons, there are many who prefer one of the numerous decent security suites that are available for free. In past columns I have written about the very good free security products from Comodo, Avast, AVG, Outpost, and other purveyors, and now I am adding another free security suite to the list, Tencent PC Manager.
Tencent PC Manager is not a newcomer to the internet or the cyber security industry, as it has been very popular and well reviewed in China, its home country. According to its website at tencent.com/en-us/index.shtml, since it was founded in 1998, Tencent has become one of China’s largest and most widely used internet portals. In 2004, Tencent Holdings Limited (SEHK 700) became a publically traded corporation on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and currently trades on the US OTC market under the symbol TCEHY. Tencent’s corporate vision statement says that it wants, “To be the most respected Internet company.”, and has as its stated mission, “To enhance people’s quality of life through Internet services.” It does this in China by combining integrated ” … value-added Internet, mobile and telecom services and online advertising under the strategic goal of providing users with “one-stop online lifestyle services.” Tencent claims to have 798.2 million users around the world (mostly in China).
Heavily involved in internet research and development (R&D), over half of the Tencent employees are R&D staff. Patents have been obtained for instant messaging, e-commerce, online payment services, search engine, information security, gaming, and other internet related activities. Tencent created and has heavily invested in the Tencent Research Institute, the leading internet research institute in China, with facilities in Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. One of the many internet products developed and released by Tencent is its PC Manager software, which is now available in English, and is targeting the American market.
Tencent PC Manager is a complete and comprehensive security suite that provides substantial protection from the various types of malware threats that are globally proliferating. This software also provides protection from phishing, performs link scanning, provides for secure browsing, has webcam protection, prevents malicious USB borne threats, and offers hacking detection. Tencent claims that its PC Manager has, “The largest security cloud base (in) all of the world. The best anti-virus engine. (And has earned) Seven international authoritative certifications”. I am always suspicious about claims touting the efficacy of security products, so I typically check some of the widely recognized independent testing services, such as AV Test (av-test.org) and Virus Bulletin (virusbtn.com).
Somewhat surprising to me, this relatively unknown in the US, but widely used in China, security suite has recently earned some of the highest comparative ratings and certifications available. In comprehensive testing on a variety of platforms, such as Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, Tencent earned Virus Bulletin’s highest level of certification, its “VB 100 Award” rating. In its most recent test on the Windows 7 platform, Virus Bulletin wrote, “A clean sweep of all Windows comparatives for the last two years should give some indication of Tencent’s performance in our tests – reliably strong month after month, with the Avira engine running alongside the company’s own technologies. … Stability was very good, with no issues. Scanning speeds were decent and overheads light, again thanks to there being no on-read protection by default. Our set of tasks ran through very rapidly, with RAM use a touch above average but CPU use on the low side. Detection was good, with only the slightest dip into the later parts of the RAP sets, and there were no problems in the core sets, comfortably earning Tencent another VB100 award.”
In February, using Windows 8.1, the Germany based AV Test, ” … continuously evaluated 27 home user security products using their default settings. We always used the most current publicly-available version of all products for the testing. They were allowed to update themselves at any time and query their in-the-cloud services. We focused on realistic test scenarios and challenged the products against real-world threats. Products had to demonstrate their capabilities using all components and protection layers.” The results of the testing on Tencent PC Manager earned Tencent the respected “AV TEST – CERTIFIED” award. In is comprehensive testing procedures, AV Test noted that in most of its protocols, Tencent PC Manager well outperformed the industry average, often coming out at or near the top in each of the tests performed. PC Manager scored a perfect 100% score in “Protection against 0-day malware attacks, inclusive of web and e-mail threats (Real-World Testing), 208 samples used” and in “Detection of widespread and prevalent malware discovered in the last 4 weeks (the AV-TEST reference set)
12,207 samples used.” The industry averages for these two tests were 97% and 99% respectively.
When testing the performance speed of the Tencent PC Manager, AV Test noted, “Average influence of the product on computer speed in daily usage” was 0 (zero) seconds” compared to an industry average of 3 seconds, giving the Tencent utility a score of 6 out of 6 possible points for performance. In its “Usability” tests, which measures the, “Impact of the security software on the usability of the whole computer (lower values indicate better results)”, PC Manager earned a score of 5.5 out of 6 based on the “Usability” test results. AV Test, in determining the “Usability” score tested for “False warnings or blockages when visiting websites, 500 samples used”, with Tencent having a perfect score of zero (which was common in the industry. In terms of “False detections of legitimate software as malware during a system scan,
525,920 samples used”, (so called “false positives”) Tencent has no false positives during the January monthly test, and two false positives in the February test (most recent available), which was much better than the industry average of six false positives. PC Manager also had no “False warnings concerning certain actions carried out whilst installing and using legitimate software, 38 samples used”. When testing for, “False blockages of certain actions carried out whilst installing and using legitimate software, 38 samples used”, this software had one false blockage, which was the average for the industry. AV Test awarded Tencent PC Manager its “AV TEST CERTIFIED” award for its performance on Windows 8.1 systems.
When tested on a Windows 7-64 system with SP1 in December, 2014 (most recent available), Tencent PC Manager had a 5.5 out of 6 score for “Protection” (98% and 100% detection rates of viruses, worms, and Trojans); a “Performance” score of 4 out of 6 (4 seconds “Average influence of the product on computer speed in daily usage”, with an industry average of 4 seconds); and a perfect score of 6 out of 6 for “Usability” (Impact of the security software on the usability of the whole computer). AV Test also awarded Tencent PC Manager its coveted “AV TEST CERTIFIED” award when used on Windows 7-64 SP1 computers.
Other recognized security software testing and evaluation services have also “certified” the Tencent PC Manager as effective, including AV-Comparatives, West Coast Lab’ s “Check Mark” award, AVAR, OPSWAT Antispyware (Bronze certified), and ICSA Labs “Certified Anti-Virus”. With acknowledgements like these, users could run Tencent PC Manager with a reasonable degree of confidence that they are being protected from contemporary malware threats.
Available for free download in English direct from the server in China (dlied6.qq.com/invc/xfspeed/qqpcmgr/evaluating_ver/PCMgr_Setup_10_4_25584_501.exe) or from Softpedia’s US servers (softpedia.com/get/Antivirus/Tencent-PC-Manager.shtml), this product would likely provide the necessary protection needed by PC users. The download is large, about 150 MB, and will run on all flavors of Windows from Windows XP to Windows 8.1; I have not seen any test and compatibility results with the recent beta versions of the upcoming Windows 10.
As I have stated in several previous columns here, with the abundance of good quality comprehensive security suites, including several that are totally free, there is no reason why everyone does not have a current security suite installed. If everyone did indeed have a decent security suite, such as this free Tencent PC Manager installed, there would be far fewer cases of computers compromised by malware, and far fewer unhappy computer users.
- http://www.pcmgr-global.com (Primary direct download link)
- http://www.softpedia.com/get/Antivirus/Tencent-PC-Manager.shtml (US Download link)