Resolved: I remain a NOD32 fan, particularly after the amazing response from Shaun Norris and his team. They have fixed the problem locally, and making sure the ESET engineers improve their download process in future releases.
Original Post 10/14/11: I have been a NOD32 fan for a long time, but recently I have been questioning my loyalty, particularly in the light of their very dodgy virus definition update policies. It seems they are perfectly happy to allow a PC to run with definition files that are 448 days old. Or 105 days. Or whatever. What kind of security is that!?
Take a look at the screen shot at the top of the page (click on the image) to see how the software is lying to me. I installed the software two weeks ago on this Windows 7 32 bit PC, and at the time the virus definitions were updated backwards from version 6364 (20110809) to 5307 (20100723) and then later to 6516 (20111004). OK, so it had a glitch. It came right. Wrong!
This morning I returned to the machine, after leaving it running by itself for 10 days. The virus definitions are back to 5307. No amount of cajoling can persuade the machine to download the correct version and not mislead me:
Other versions of the software have experienced similar problems. This PC was using version 126.96.36.199 and it had an issue with the definitions, so I removed the software and installed version 50.93,0. The same thing happened on a brand new Windows 7 machine I was setting up from scratch. Other PCs running Windows 98 and version 2.7 are reverting back to July 2011.
So my question is this: how can the software allow the definitions to roll backwards? How can the servers still have definition files that are 448 days old? Are they insane? They are supposed to be a security company. Yet they issue software with bugs in it, and have a policy that doesn't remove old virus definitions, giving careless users a false sense of security. That's worse than no security at all.
Update Tues 18th Oct: ESET requested the configuration file and SysInspector log that I sent on Friday 14th. I am starting to get annoyed as well as alarmed. In the meantime the definition files are now over 450 days old! And they want me to run WireShark to capture all the packets. WTF?!
Update Wed 19 Oct: Posted an update to the Wilders Security Forum.