CA (formerly Computer Associates) has rebranded itself and its antispyware product (formerly eTrust, and formerly PestPatrol before that) as, simply, CA Anti-Spyware. Unfortunately, rebranding seems to be all they've done, as the PestPatrol product was once one of the best antispyware applications on the market and now pales in comparison to newer and better designed applications. In tests by CNET Labs, CA Anti-Spyware 2007 ranked second to last out of 10 applications tested, blocking only two of eight test files, scanning and detecting five out of eight, but removing only two.
We downloaded and installed CA Anti-Spyware. Unfortunately, you have to download the entire CA Internet Security Suite, agree to various open-source licenses that apply primarily to the Internet Security suite, and then use the registration key to unlock the antispyware module. After installation, you'll need to reboot.
Unfortunately an uninstall icon isn't provided, should you want to remove CA Anti-Spyware 2007. Using the Windows Control Panel Add or Remove Programs tool, you have to remove only one product (assuming all the check boxes are marked). After a reboot, we were disappointed to find several system registry keys left behind. In general, most antispyware apps we reviewed removed themselves completely.
The CA Anti-Spyware 2007 interface is intuitive and easy to use. The left-hand navigation features Overview, Quarantine, Options, and Reports. Overview provides a snapshot of your system and the program and allows you to initiate a scan; Quarantine safely isolates suspected adware and spyware from interacting with your system; Options provides basic configuration choices, and Reports displays logged results over time.
The middle window includes links to Start a Quick Scan, Select Files and Folders to Scan, and Help CA Fight Spyware, which allows you to report any found spyware. We had problems with the status section. After completing a scan, we found it still showed we had yet to run a scan.
For some reason, the Top 5 Spyware threats and Latest Threat sections on the right-hand side never appeared, leaving us with two white blanks. We also found that in the middle of an antispyware scan we were asked to register for antivirus insurance, which is part of the CA Internet Security 2007 suite.
We did find that CA Anti-Spyware had the lightest touch among all the antispyware apps we tested, using a mere ten percent of our system resources during its scans. We were, however, disappointed not to be able to learn more about potential spyware found on our system.
Clicking one found object only displayed information about its location on our hard drive; what we wanted to know is why CA thought this file was dangerous. CA offers a pretty thorough antispyware listing on its site, but we could find no way within the software to get there.
CA Anti-Spyware 2007 fared poorly in exclusive testing by CNET Labs. CA Anti-Spyware 2007's active shields identified and blocked only two out of the eight spyware samples we attempted to install. For scanning and removing existing spyware samples, CA Anti-Spyware 2007 did better, catching five out of eight. As for removal, CA Anti-Spyware 2007 only removed two out of eight cases. Overall, CA Anti-Spyware 2007 placed second to last in our top 10 survey for 2007. Click here for more details on how CNET tests antispyware applications.
CA provides support online with access to a detailed knowledge base, e-mail support, and live-chat support in selected markets. We didn't find the FAQs very helpful; in fact they were even hard to locate on the CA site. CA also provides telephone support, but with a fee of $29.99 per incident.
We remember PestPatrol, and we remember when it consistently placed high in our roundups of antispyware applications. Although we applaud CA for rebranding all of their consumer products within a vastly simplified nomenclature, we suspect little was done behind the scenes on the antispyware engine itself.