As I have stated before, modern day antivirus and antimalware programs are quite good at detecting and blocking a malware. However, once a malware gets past your system’s defenses, it can be infuriatingly difficult to get rid of it. Safe Returner is an aggressive, heuristic based anti-malware program that specialises in the removal of active malware threats.
Safe Returner touts itself as an automated and an improved version of SysInternal’s Autoruns. It scans all files loaded during system boot, in addition to scanning Windows system files. Safe Returner relies on heuristic analysis as well as generic detection. While the former tries to flag suspicious activities performed by running processes, the latter tries to identify known traits of a malware/malware family. Safe Returner is an entirely non-signature based antimalware software.
Another interesting aspect is that Safe Returner leverages Google heavily in its threat analysis. If there is no search result or few search result it classifies the process as a threat. If there are a large number of results, it tries to process them to arrive at a conclusion.
As you may expect from an entirely heuristic driven anti-malware product, Safe Returner returns a lot of false positives. It leaves it up to you to make the decision. However, it does make things easier for you by integrating external sources like VirusTotal.com, BleepingComputer.com, ThreatExpert.com and Pervx.com (the last three are integrated via Google). If you are in doubt, you can query any of these services to get an advisory. The developer also tells me that he regularly releases database updates (whitelists) to weed out known false positives.
Safe Returner can’t substitute a regular antivirus or antimalware product, and it doesn’t even try to do so. It’s mainly intended to be run in a hostile environment i.e. an already compromised system. In such environments, it calls the Windows API to terminate all background processes and then proceeds with the scan. Once it detects an adware, spyware, trojan, worm or other malware, it backs up the files, deletes them and removes the registry entries created by it.
Safe Returner is a new software and is still a bit unpolished. There are numerous spelling mistakes and grammatical errors sprinkled throughout the user interface. This may be enough to put off potential buyers. Even otherwise, there are a few other minor usability issues. For example, once you initiate a scan, there is no apparent way to pause or stop it. Thankfully, Safe Returner typically takes around 5 minutes to complete a scan. The other annoying aspect is that Safe Returner insists on opening every link in Internet Explorer, even though IE is not my default browser.
In the end, Safe Returner is a promising tool. However, at $29.95 ($6.95 more, if you want the extended download service), I feel that it’s significantly overpriced. However, you don’t have to worry about that as I am going to give away 10 Safe Returner license keys.
Safe Returner License Key Giveaway
I have 10 license keys to give away. Do you want one? Then simply leave a comment to this post. I will be giving away the licenses on a first come first serve basis.
Offer over. I have already received ten comments.
Download Safe Returner (2.96 MB)
Version Reviewed: 1.25
License: Shareware (30 day trial)
Operating System: Windows 7, Vista, XP