Using a good antivirus solution is an important part of keeping your computer secure. Comodo offers a full-featured antivirus program for free, making it an enticing option for many people. This tool has been around for over a decade, building a large base of fans and naysayers.
But is this antivirus up to the task in 2021? Read this Comodo Antivirus review to find out all about its anti-malware capabilities and more.
|Price:||from $29.99/year, 1 device|
|Platforms:||Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux|
Comodo Antivirus: Pros & Cons
In my tests, I found a number of pluses and minuses to Comodo. Here are some of the most significant:
- Feature-rich free version
- Easy to use and comes with decent documentation
- Many features don’t work well
- Gets incomplete third-party test scores
- Signs of potentially shoddy coding
- Apps looks and feel outdated
- Incorrectly marks legitimate files as malware
Independent antivirus test labs frequently compare antivirus programs. Comodo is not one of the most popular antivirus suites, so test results for it are few and far between. AV-Test, an independent antivirus testing organization, reported that the premium version of Comodo’s security suite performs well on real-world malware.
PC Magazine found that Comodo handled hand-modified ransomware samples poorly. This tells you that its heuristics engine isn’t quite up to snuff. Advanced or customized threats might slip through the cracks.
In my testing, I found that it incorrectly identified Lavasoft Web Companion as malware. Additionally, it appeared to terminate its own components as if they were malware, casting doubt on its effectiveness.
Based on the relative lack of unbiased information on Comodo’s security performance, it’s difficult to make a well-informed judgment.
To its credit, Comodo is jam-packed with useful features. I looked at some of the most useful-looking ones here.
Default Deny Protection
Instead of allowing all files to run except those marked as malware, Comodo can block every application that isn’t in its whitelist. In theory, Comodo has a large enough number of legitimate programs in its database that this feature provides a security benefit with no usability drawbacks.
When Comodo encounters an executable that isn’t in its whitelist, it will run the file in a quarantined environment. This way, you can feel confident that programs you download won’t steal your information or compromise your computer.
Comodo’s game mode disables annoying alerts from its antivirus components from affecting your gaming sessions. This feature has become fairly common in home antivirus solutions. At the time of this writing, Comodo does not seem to offer automatic game mode. As a result, you’ll need to turn on this feature manually.
Like many other antimalware programs, Comodo scans your emails (and attachments) for potential viruses and malware. It also helps to stop spam and other email threats.
Comodo Antivirus for Linux
Linux users, unlike their Windows-using counterparts, generally do not use an antivirus solution. Compared to Windows, Linux malware is fairly rare. Additionally, Linux users often have better technical skills, making them less susceptible to malware like Trojan horses. That said, given Linux’s popularity on the server, malware for Linux definitely exists.
Malicious GNOME Shell extensions, malware that takes advantage of bugs in common Linux software, and even malware on the Ubuntu Snap Store are all prominent examples.
To combat threats on Linux desktops, Comodo offers a version of their antivirus product for Linux. However, my experiences with this product were not good. Actually finding the Linux version of Comodo requires some work—it’s not on their primary downloads page.
Once you’ve managed to download either the .DEB or .RPM file (for Debian- and RHEL-based distributions, respectively), the installation fails. On Ubuntu, I got an error: “dependency not satisfiable: libssl0.9.8”. In other words, the Comodo package depends on a version of OpenSSL that’s been out of support since the first day of 2016.
Since then, lots of high-severity bugs have been patched in OpenSSL. It doesn’t bode well for an antivirus program to be dependent on an ancient, insecure version of a critical cryptography library. And their support page for Linux returns an error as well, so I couldn’t find any information to help fix the issue.
If Comodo for Linux relies on OpenSSL 0.9.8, it seems likely that the program itself—not the virus definitions—has not been updated since 2015. In fact, the Last Modified date on the primary executable file within the .DEB archive is February 25, 2013.
One of Comodo’s biggest selling points is its free tier. While other antivirus programs make you pay for full protection and functionality, Comodo’s antivirus won’t cost you a penny. Some other features, like a firewall, “secure shopping” feature, and web filtering solution, cost $29.99 annually for 1 device or $39.99 for 3 devices.
Ease of use
Good security software has to be easy to use. It should work like the user expects it to. Unless it detects a security issue, it should get out of the user’s way. To evaluate Comodo’s ease of use, I tested the installation process and simulated normal usage.
My test installation left something to be desired for a few reasons:
- It installed bloatware by default. Comodo’s “secure web browser” isn’t necessary and might actually pose a security risk. This browser is based upon Chromium, the open-source underpinnings of Google Chrome. However, unlike Chrome, Comodo’s browser isn’t updated as quickly and has introduced its own major security issues in the past.
- It took forever. Despite my 300 Mbps Internet connection and fast SSD install disk, Comodo took a disproportionately long time to install. While the installation speed probably isn’t your top concern when choosing an antivirus, it’s a bad sign.
- Installing components for the virtual desktop feature failed. On our test computer, Comodo failed to install the components it needed to set up this feature. Clearly, this functionality has not been tested recently (or exhaustively) enough.
- Additionally, I thought it was strange that the virtual desktop feature required the Comodo Dragon “secure” browser and the obsolete Microsoft Silverlight browser plugin. Microsoft Silverlight is not supported on any web browser other than Internet Explorer 11; Microsoft officially deprecated it in 2012.
Like lots of other antivirus software, Comodo uses a heavily-customized user interface (UI) toolkit. As a result, its windows and UI controls aren’t quite consistent with other Windows applications.
In my relatively short testing period, I uncovered a variety of annoyances and issues with Comodo’s UI:
- When I maximized the scan window, the UI didn’t work properly.
- The main window cannot be resized. Given that the scan window doesn’t work when maximized, I think that that window was erroneously made resizeable. That said, both windows should have been designed to work at any size.
- The interface always draws over other apps. Some antivirus software draws over other apps for security-critical messages. Comodo does it indiscriminately, which defeats the purpose to an extent. When every window is “maximum priority”, nothing is “maximum priority”.
- It looks ancient. The nicer-looking Comodo themes didn’t work, leaving me to use a look that harkened back to Windows Vista.
On my second day of testing, I uncovered the most significant issue yet. Even though I manually disabled Comodo, it initiated a full system scan on its own. Clearly, something went wrong with the process. My test computer’s RAM and drive usage quickly maxed out, forcing a hard-reboot of the machine.
It’s possible that this experience was unique. However, it’s unlikely—the test machine was a fairly standard Windows computer.
Comodo mobile app
In addition to their products for desktop computers, Comodo makes a mobile app for iOS and Android. Compared to their desktop counterparts, the Comodo Mobile Security apps work fairly well. In particular, they offer a VPN and an identity theft protection service.
Comodo’s mobile app is not an antivirus solution, but antivirus is often poorly-suited to smartphones anyway. Better VPNs and privacy solutions exist outside of Comodo; that said, their mobile app isn’t bad (especially since it’s free).
Comodo offers an online knowledge base for their products. Additionally, they offer paid phone support in their $199.99 per year GeekBuddy subscription.
When I encountered challenges while testing Comodo software, I looked through their support website. The link to the article about their Linux version didn’t work, which left a bad impression. On the other hand, the article about the virtual desktop feature was informative, even if it didn’t help me install the components.
While Comodo Antivirus is available for the low price of free, it does not compete very well with other options. Comodo’s expertise and business customers clearly lie elsewhere—they’re also a certificate authority and offer cybersecurity services to corporations.
Throughout my testing of Comodo Internet Security, I found lots of red flags. Components didn’t install correctly. Features like the task manager don’t work. The Linux version may not have been updated since 2013. Scanning occurred even when the software was disabled, locking up my computer.
Most importantly, few independent security labs have evaluated its performance. If you’re looking to protect your computer from a wide range of real-world threats, other options may be a better choice.
More antivirus software reviews
Norton Antivirus review: not just good, but great antivirus for anyone
Kaspersky review: good performance, but can you trust this antivirus?
ESET review: one of the safest antivirus, but is it worth the price?
Is Comodo Antivirus good for Windows 10?
Not really. While Comodo advertises Windows 10 support—and I can confirm that it works, at least to some extent—I cannot recommend it as a viable solution.
Is Comodo Antivirus still free?
Yes. Comodo offers both a free and a paid version of their internet security software. While the free version has fewer features, it still contains the antivirus component.
Is Comodo Internet Security any good?
Yes. But it’s certainly far from being the best or even among the best.