Cloud computing isn't exactly a new concept in security software; online virus scanners have been around for years, and even regular antivirus definition updates draw on the power of collective input. But a growing number of tools are moving out of your PC and into the cloud, including Comodo's Internet Security and System Cleaner apps, at least in the form of Comodo Cloud Scanner. It bundles the processes of these two tools in one interface, but it doesn't use your machine to run them. Instead, Comodo's servers scan your PC in real time to identify a variety of potential problems such as viruses and malware based on the latest cloud-hosted data. In addition to not using system resources, online scanning has other potential advantages, such as being less likely to miss something because your system is scanning itself.
Comodo Cloud Scanner performs four scans: Malware & Suspicious files, Privacy Issues, Registry Errors, and Junk Files. The program's interface is quite simple, just a scan button and counters for each of the four scans. We started a scan, which completed quickly and found no malware but lots of Privacy Issues (browser files) and some Registry Errors and Junk Files. We could Rescan the section or click Details to view more complete data. But when we clicked a button labeled Help Me Clean My PC, it called up a licensing agreement for a paid online support service, LivePCSupport. Apparently the download includes a 30-day trial of this service, which we did not agree to. There's no other way to clean the items Cloud Scanner identifies as issues and potential threats. And that was that.
We still like the idea of cloud-based utilities, especially for zero-day threats and other breaking news in the online security world. We'd sure like a simple, less intrusive way to try Comodo's service. We also wonder if many users wouldn't actually prefer to have the program installed on their computers if they have to pay for it. With excellent free tools available to do what Cloud Scanner does, the silver lining might be saving some money by going the freeware route.