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Ally Bank Offers Free Anti-Malware Software


Recently I noticed Ally Bank was highlighting on its home page free anti-malware software. Malware is one of the most disturbing risks when you're using your computer for conducting financial transactions. When I was reviewing Prevx, I found this useful description of malware:

Short for malicious software, malware is designed to install on your computer without your consent. It's most commonly used to steal you information and login credentials, which can lead to ID Theft and financial crime.

Ally Bank is offering Ally Bank customers Prevx 3.0 for free. This is an anti-malware software that detects and removes malicious software from your computer. According to Ally: "As long as you have an account with Ally Bank there's: No cost to you - we'll never ask you to pay the $34.95 retail price. No strings attached - you won't be charged an annual renewal fee." To review the details of Prevx, log into your Ally account and go to the security center (security link at the top right of the page). When you're logged in, the security center will include a box on the left side that says "We're taking online security to the next level". Click on this, and you'll see Ally's Prevx page. Some important features mentioned on this page include:

  • Works along with your existing anti-virus software
  • Adds an extra layer of protection to your existing security software
  • Runs automatic updates to help protect you against emerging threats
  • Detects and removes malware on your PC such as spyware and trojans

I decided to give this a try. Two days ago I downloaded and installed Prevx via Ally's website. The download and installation was quick and easy. The only thing that wasn't obvious was to activate the license key. When you open the Prevx software, make sure you go to the license page to enter the key. This will ensure you are using all of the protection features of Prevx. Ally provides the key on the page that has the download link.

I haven't noticed any slow down in my system or any other effects from the software. It's hard to know how well security software is operating. PCMag.com has a Prevx 3.0 review where you can read some pros and cons. It mentioned two cons: "Cannot function without Internet connection. Cleanup left behind many file and Registry traces." Some of the user reviews reported "false positives" in which it flags benign programs.

Online Banking Security Guarantee

It should be noted that Ally customers receive an Online Banking Security Guarantee regardless if they download this extra security. According to Ally:

If you ever have an unauthorized transaction in Ally Bank’s Online Services, report it to us within 60 days from when we make your statement available to you – we guarantee you won’t be liable for the transaction.

This actually isn't unique to Ally. All banks are required by the Federal Electronic Funds Transfer Act to correct unauthorized transactions if you notify the bank within 60 days of the account statement on which the transaction appears (see FDIC Title VI).

What Other Banks Offer

Ally Bank isn't the only bank offering security software. ING Direct has been offering Trusteer Rapport since 2008. Like Prevx, Rapport is designed to go beyond the protection offered by anti-virus programs, anti-spyware and firewalls. When I reported on Rapport in 2008, a few readers felt it was too much like spyware. Also, there was concern that the software was just "marketing fluff."

Bank of America has long offered its online banking customers McAfee Internet Security software for free for 12 months. However, I always considered this to be a marketing strategy by McAfee since there will be an automatic renewal at the end of the 12-month free period.

My Take

I can't judge the usefulness or the intrusiveness of Prevx, but it appears to have advantages over the security software that ING Direct offers. Also, unlike what Bank of America offers, this Ally offer isn't just a discount on security software. According to Ally, there's "no strings attached".

Ally Bank may have made some recent mistakes, but they keep improving. I just hope they can keep their rates competitive and avoid being sold off to a megabank.

Related Pages: Ally Bank

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Previous Comments
  |     |   Comment #1
Thanks, Ken, for jumping in first!  I just sit on the edge of the pool with these things, barely getting my toes wet.  After I see someone else take the plunge, I'm not so apprehensive . . .
  |     |   Comment #2
Malware protection can be utilized by experience thieves to steal your passwords and user Id,
All malware software records all of your daily activities and are stored in temporary hidden folders and or files.
All malware programs must be connected to the Internet all of the times for daily updates and hidden reports sent to the developer of the malware software.
Since there is an Internet channel open online, a rogue person can intercept these communications and can break in your computer by pretending to be the malware vendor.

Be your own judge using any such software, I for one, stopped using malware programs and resorted to private browsing only when doing banking and I feel much safer than some third party software.
  |     |   Comment #3
#2 is spouting nonsense. Malware software is generally just a specialized variation of antivirus software, and that generally works by monitoring for software running that matches or is similar to software that's known to be bad or malicious. Having said that you get what you pay for, or in this case what Ally put out to the lowest bidder or was solicited to distribute for free so a no-name company could get some publicity.
  |     |   Comment #4
to Anonymous - #3,

You are wrong, #2 is correct. Please read the disclaimer from anti malware companies,
you will see that they do not warranty anything including the ability to protect you from a virus or phishing or anything bad that can happen to you using their software.

It is just to have peace of mind and not actual protection.
I know how all those software works in the background and it is impossible to protect you from someone determined to break in.

Anti malware programs can actually make you more vulnerable by allowing constantly open communication line in the background connected to the internet.
  |     |   Comment #6
#4 your comments bear no relevancy to #2 or #3, as they're talking about how anti-malware software works and you're just talking about the sociological peace-of-mind aspect.
  |     |   Comment #5
I used to go another internet security discussion forum and Prevx was among the products discussed by members of the forum. I never used this product.  From what I know about it, it is a "community based" antimalware product.  It gets information from member's computers to update the company's server for traces of malware activity of its members.  There could be issues of privacy here.  I personally, don't use any security software that maintains a constant connection to some outside server when I am online.  There are a few antimalware products that "monitor" your computer when you are online to see if your system comes across reported malware activity.  I don't subscribe to any of them and just do regular scans of my hard drive and system periodically with software that is not "real time" based.  I don't run my PC 24/7 like some people do, so I try to monitor malware activity and react to it when I am online.
  |     |   Comment #7
Anonymous - #6, you must be the original poster of comment #3.

#2 and #4 comments have more merits than yours.
  |     |   Comment #8
I have been utilizing Microsoft Security Essentials for a long time now with no problems.

  |     |   Comment #9
To  Shorebreak - #8,
I had Microsoft essential and defender, but had to remove them, because of constant interruptions and endless daily updates tying down my computer.
The essential software grew to 250MB and the defender grew to 95MB and constantly running in the background took my computer to a crawl.
After removing and stopping them, I got my computer back and I’m flying now without nonsense and constant warnings that drew me insane.
  |     |   Comment #10
I've been using Webroot and, so far, it's worked very well. Anyone know if it is beneficial to use more than one system at the same time? Computer novice here. 
  |     |   Comment #11
Trusteer Rapport is the leading protection against financial malware in the world, offered by more financial services providers and used by more people and businesses than anything else.   

It should not be compared to general security solutions which attempt to protect against PC infections and which have very poor detection rates for more the more sophisticated variety of financial malware.

The author refers to Bank of America's offer of McAfee, but fails to mention that Bank of America also offers Trusteer Rapport precisely because it is focused on financial fraud while generic security solutions are not.  All readers should take note that this is about providing the best possble level of protection against the potentially very serious threat posed by financial malware.  There is no "silver bullet" that will provide perfect and complete protection against anything and eveything.        
  |     |   Comment #12
If you are truly concerned about accessing your financial institutions online, download a live CD, like Ubuntu.  Boot up the CD and do your banking online.  When your done restart your computer like you would normally.  Anything that happens online using the live CD is lost when you reboot, thus give you the best protection possible for non-technical people.
  |     |   Comment #13
I downloaded this program.  Soon after, I ran a scan with my symantec antivirus.  It found a  trojan horse and quarantined it.  I have not had any thing like that in a long time.  So, I wonder if this is related.  Can't know for sure, but, I found it to be a little alarming.  The good thing is Symantec said the trojan horse was a very "mild" and "low level".  Maybe they are picking up a legitimate part of the Prevx and calling it a bad thing, or maybe I got it sometime between my last scan about a month ago, but, a little scary.  I uninstalled Prevx.  Is anyone else having the same issue?
  |     |   Comment #14
#13 - Doubt if Prevx is your problem. Not trying to defend Prevx, but maybe during the past month or so you have broken down and visited a naughty place? Just sayin'.
  |     |   Comment #16
My computer crashed and I needed to reinstall Prevx.  Ally Bank is no longer offering this anymore.  I still had over one year left on my license, but I did not write down the license code :-(

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