“ How to choose and use antivirus and pc security systems. „
One of the most amazing things about this wonderful thing called the internet is how free the technology is. The complexity of an internet browser is extraordinary yet in the early days you could pick one up for nothing in WH Smiths. Even today the nature of the World Wide Web means surfing and internet technology remains mostly free to keep you online to drive the commerce. The early ethos was democrat and free for all but that will change one day. Admittedly the digital nature of the software means it's easy to steal and so hard not for it be passed around free and so the likes of Bill Gates reasons to make it free a no brainer. It's fairly unique and challenging as a profit making industry with plenty of loss leaders and intellectual property rites challenged.
Because the digital world now carries our bank and credit card numbers we have to have some sort of security software to keep the malware and viruses at bay, business or personal use. Some banks wont cover your loses for online fraud if you don't have virus protection. If you don't, never let that slip when you make the call.
Like you guys, I have tried quite a few of the virus protection you can download online, and mostly the free versions. I did buy MacAfee once but when the year's subscription was almost up I got a suspicious amount of viruses getting through, one email from MacAfee offering to rid me of those viruses they somehow knew I had. Needless to say I didn't go back to them. The cheap and free Kaspersky people were ok for a couple of years on my net book but they, too, started to leak viruses through.
I'm now with Microsoft Essentials, a very basic virus protection package from Mr Bill Gates and easy to download from their website. It did have a pay version although I'm not sure where that is as it doesn't push it on my software. It's brilliant with Internet Explorer. It sits in the bottom right corner of your screen as a green folder with a little reassuring Nike style tick to tell you all is well and when it isn't it will let you know. If your computer is at risk then the folder turns orange, and if it's infected then turns a deadly red with a cross on it. It works in conjunction with your firewall, whether you are using IE6, 7, 8 or not. You simply run the software to check for viruses and it cleans them up. It's also very quick on the boot up sequence checks. It has a vault to check what bug you caught and then a quarantine section to decide what you want to do with it, then a delete button to nuke it.
It has a tab for the easy updates to make sure your virus protection is up to date although it will prompt you if an update is available. It's wise to download them. The 'Settings' tab enables you to set the timer for scheduled scans, short or full, and other options if you are more fastidious on what you want your scans to do. It's a very basic set out with just four tabs to use so you don't get confused, ideal for girls! It's by far the simplest kit I have used.
Essentials will suit personal computer or laptop users that don't like things to be over complicated or bold, this very discrete and efficient. As I said it's free to use and rated highly in the industry. It's certainly the best I have used and I have yet to have to do a full Windows reload. No one wants to do that. I have the business version because my brother is running a small company from home and we are on virgin wifi. It also has a good support set up and website links.
I suggested this title months ago hoping to get some of our resident tech experts to write to it, but since it has sat here, lonely and unused all this time, I have decided to give this my best shot. Do keep in mind I am not an expert in anyway as this is only my own experience of antivirus programmes. Hopefully once people see my review, others will add their own. Please forgive non technical explanations here, this is very much a basic run down for the technically impaired like myself.
DO YOU NEED ANTIVIRUS? Yes. If your computer is not protected it probably has several viruses already. Although Apples were once thought immune to viruses, even Apple is now advising the use of antivirus software. According to Money Saving Expert, using your pc unprotected may result in issues with your bank refunding your money if your details are taken by hackers.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH ANTIVIRUS PROGRAMMES:
When I first got the Internet many years ago, I never thought of viruses. Until I got one, after that, on the advice of a family member I used Norton for a number of years with no problems, but later tried several other cheaper or free programmes. I used NTL Net Guard, which was likely the worst antivirus ever, thankfully it no longer exists. I also used McAfee firewall for a time, but was using another antivirus and I believe between the two of them, my pc was crashing constantly. The three programmes I have used most have been AVG, Virgin PC Guard and Norton. I did have problems a few times with AVG free, and found my computer ran slower so was happy to try Virgins free programme until a rogue virus badly damaged my PC, costing me £100, the loss of all my data ( thankfully backed up to portable hard drive) and forcing me to switch to Windows 7, which I originally detested but have now come to admit was an improvement over Vista. This wasn't the first virus to sneak past virgin, but it was the first time I couldn't fix things with a factory restore.
I then used AVG premium on a free trial, and when that ran out switched to Norton. one of the problems I had with AVG free was a number of trojans, which I was able to remove manually, but it was a massive headache. I had no problems with AVG premium, but got a better price on Norton, and had previous good experiences with Norton.
WHAT CAN I SAY ABOUT NORTON?
Not much. It was easy to install, and I basically forget it is there. It runs it scans automatically. Basically it does everything by itself. Over the years I have it, both at home and at several computers with local centres I volunteered for and installed Norton too. ( Believe it or not I was the computer expert, once having saved a charity over £100 in emergency call out fees for a tech by the simple step of pushing the electric plug properly into the outlet!). Although many tech experts will rank other programmes as better, I do think Norton is the ultimate for the technologically illiterate. I have never had a virus beat Norton yet ( knock wood). I am currently using Norton complete internet security which includes it's own firewall. No viruses seem to be making through the firewall, so nothing to report. that suits me, no news is good news here. But in the past with Norton Antivirus alone, I did pick up a number of viruses which Norton quarantined and then healed with the click of a button. Norton certainly gets top marks in my books, and is my recommendation for a paid programme. I bought Norton 2010 from Tesco for under £20 which covers 3 computers and includes complete updates for one year. Regular download subscriptions can be as high as £60. Norton is also available for Mac but I can not make any comment on it's use, never having used a Mac.
WHAT ABOUT FREE ANTIVIRUS?
Although I have gone back to Norton, there are several free programmes if you can not afford a paid subscription. AVG and Avast being the most well known but you might also consider Avira, or just Microsoft's own Microsoft Security Essentials. Check the money saving expert site or your own bank as well as some banks are now offering customers free antivirus protection.
Free antivirus for Mac includes: ClamXAV
Even with antivirus protection, it's a good idea to minimise your risks. Don't open emails with attachments from unknown sources, don't download material from dodgy sites. My personal opinion is that file sharing sites like Shareaza are breeding grounds for virus. Do not ever give credit card details to a new programme that "discovers" a virus on your pc. Do not even open an unknown security programme pooping up. The top ten scams going now all involve bogus antivirus programmes.
There is a list is at Top Ten reviews:
http:// anti-virus-software-review. toptenreviews.com /top-rogue-scanners-to -avoid.html
If you should see any of unknown antivurus scanner, Do Not Open! run a legitimate antivirus immediately. It was similar scam that caught me out and advised me to download an avg product to remove the virus. OK I trusted AVG so I did. It was not really avg but a scam and completely locked my computer, only by removing the entire operating system could curry's repair it. My neighbour, who was using AVG, thought it was an avg update. Same thing happened to his laptop, but the shop he went for repairs was unable to fix it and just sold him a new laptop.
Thanks for reading and I hope this is of some use to someone, but I especially hope it encourages a few of the more technologically inclined to write much better reviews in this category. But even if you are like me, with little knowledge of how it works, I do think reading about a lot of different peoples experiences with antivirus programmes would be helpful so give this topic a try!
UPDATE - Having posted this I have now noticed Blissman did write to this title, and a brilliant review at that, so would suggest anyone reading this to take a look at his much more informative review - and kick Nigel if you see him!
Nigel's still living in his mummies house, spending most of his time in his bedroom, staring at the many monitors which surround him whilst his fingers poke at the keys on the keyboard, patiently and quickly uploading yet another program onto the world wide web... only Nigel's programs aren't the sort of programs that you want to have downloaded onto your home PC... Nigel's programs are designed to install onto your system and monitor your every movement, from your daily download to your lively chat... but worst still, checking and copying you're more personal detail, such as you latest bank transaction when you paid that latest gas bill, or when you innocently check your actual bank account.
You see, Nigel's programs are intent on persuading you to download and then open up one of his 'programs', only his program is cram packed with more viruses than an NHS surgical ward on a hot day...
And this is all Nigel and his student mates do all day long... they sit in there bedrooms, creating PC busting software for there own entertainment, (apart from his monthly intake of internet porn of course).
It is up to us, you and me, to stop Nigel and his virus programs from getting onto our computers, keeping our personal details 'personal' so that Nigel doesn't get rich as he empties our bank accounts from under our noses....
To stop Nigel and his student mates from getting at our computers we have to find PC protecting software and figure out how to use it to it's best abilities.
But actually finding the right bit of software isn't as easy as it sounds, due to the fact that there are so many different types on the market these days, with prices ranging from as high as £60.00 (annually) to as low as, well, nothing... yes, there are some cracking bits of software out there that are being given away for free and do as good a job as those that cost the earth.
This protection normally entails installing over priced anti- 'everything' software, such as anti-virus, anti-spy ware, anti-spam and maybe even anti Maureen from Birkenhead...
Firstly, let us go into what sort of PC protection you really need to keep Nigel out of your life...
There's the well known name of McAfee, who offer several different programs, for example, there Anti-virus sells for £20.00, there Internet security goes for £25.00 and there total protection sells for £30.00, (These prices are offers at the moment and are all these are for one year only)
Secondly, and as well known as McAfee, there is Norton, who too offers a few different programs, such as 360 version, selling for around £50.00, whilst its internet security is a little cheaper at around £40.00, then there's the anti-virus which can be bought for around £20.00...
There's also something called Panda internet protection which can be bought for around the £50.00 region...
Plus many others, such as Kaspersky, Zone alarm and more.... The list does go on.
Some of these companies may even offer a free trial to entice you into using there software, others may even come pre-installed on a new PC and even one or two may allow you to install there software on more than one PC.... This should all be checked out before parting with your cash.
But the one thing that all these have on common is that they will all cost you money and will need to be paid annually to keep up the protection...
Anyway, those are a few bits of software which will cost you a few quid, (once any trial period is over of course, if a trial period is offered that is), and many of those programs I have used on several different PC's, both laptop and desktop... all doing the job they are designed to do.
But, after paying out many pounds and pence I have actually come to the conclusion that it is not that necessary to have to buy all you PC protection software as there are so many good quality one out there that are free, and they work just as well as those costly ones mentioned....
It is those free ones that I am going to tell you about now as I have also used them and feel they are well worth mentioning.
Firstly, my favourite has to be the good old Avira anti-virus program which, considering it is free, has the ability to sit quietly on your Hard drive whilst constantly protecting you PC from viruses.
It allows you to update it when ever you want at the touch of a button, although sometimes updating can take a few minutes to do.
It warns you if you have not updated or performed a scan so that you never forget.
The alternative freebie to Avira has to be AVG anti-virus, (although AVG do offer an internet security program for around £40.00).
AVG anti-virus offers as much protection as any other anti-virus, running on your PC and blocking those nasties before they get onto your system, but the reason I prefer Avira to this is that I find that AVG does tend to 'Hog' your system a little too much, sometimes slowing it down as it runs in the back ground.
Another anti-virus which is free is called Avast, (again Avast do sell an Internet security suite for around the £35.00 mark).
I have used Avast and do like the way it runs quietly on your PC although I did find that it could be a little bit of a 'hogger', just like AVG.
So, that the Anti-virus programs that I like and cost you nothing.... Now to the anti-spy ware programs I'd like to mention...
My favourite freebie for anti-spy ware has to be the one called Spyware terminator which offers 'real time' protection and a good form of built in internet security built in the form of something called web security guard and 'Crawler' toolbar, (which is optional of course).
The reason I like Spyware terminator is that it sits in the background and blocks any attempt of spyware from getting onto your system, plus, if you choose to install it that is.
Then there's anti-malware... alas I have yet to find a suitable 'freebie' which I can safely trust to protect my PC.
The one I will recommend is in fact a paid for program, although it does offer a free version which can be used to scan you system only, but this free version does not have 'real time' protection.
For real time protection you will have to fork out a massive £10.00, but for this you do get a cracking 'real time' protection.
The free version offers you the chance to scan you PC for malicious software, and believe me it does find some nasty things, then it gives you the option of quarantining anything you don't like.
Sadly, as I said, it doesn't offer 'real time' protection but it does let you update the program on a daily basis.
For me, this is one of the few bits of software that I would recommend actually spending money on as it's real time protection is second to none, even protecting your on line surfing with its 'website' blocking' option, which flashes up if the programs data base feels that a site is unsafe, allowing you the option of blocking access to the site.
Plus, apart from the 'freebie' scanning options, the paid version offers a 'flash scan' which scans the important parts of you PC in a flash... hence 'flash scan'.
Another bit of software that I tend to use, which is free of course, is an 'firewall' program called Comodo firewall, which helps stop any unwanted programs installing or starting up on your PC.
For that non real time protection software, which is free, I can highly recommend such programs as SuperAnti-spy ware, which as it boasts...'remove all the spy ware, not just the easy ones...'
Then there's 'Advanced system care', which will manually scan you entire system and repair most faults.
In addition there is a beautiful bit of software which will clean you system and keep it running almost as good as new, this bit of software is called CCleaner... (Crap Cleaner), which, as the name says, cleans all the 'crap' from you PC, even cleaning you registry.
I know this piece of writing may have gone a little passed the mark so I'll try and steer back onto the right track, trying to give a little advice on how to keep your PC safe from Nigel and his motley student friends...
Install a good anti virus, anti spy ware and anti malware software, but remember that just because it cost a fortune it doesn't necessarily make it the best one. I use many of the free ones and have done for years now without a hint of trouble.
Once you've installed those programs make sure they are running in 'Real time', this means that they are running on you PC the instance you start your PC up, this will help keep you informed as to whether you have made contact with any form of virus/malware/spy ware.
And remember to check for updates on all your software on a daily basis.
Then, once your 'anti' programs are installed and running, it is very useful to have some other 'non real time' protection for you to manually scan your system with, such as Super anti-spy ware and advanced system care, (check sites such as download.com for some cracking free PC protection software). You can use these programs on say a weekly basis when your not using your system for a few hours.
One way Nigel may try and infiltrate your PC is through the way you actually connect to the network with most people these day using a router of some kind, with many, if not all routers claiming to have in built firewalls. Sadly though these firewalls can be 'hacked' with some ease, as they are common and Nigel can spend all the time he wants working on cracking it, using software that can be easily found online.
To solve this possible little problem you can simply install an 'extra' firewall on your PC itself, either a paid for version or opt for the like of Comodo, which is, in my opinion, well worth having on your PC as it just sits there protecting your privacy and you wouldn't even know it was there, plus it really does protect you from Nigel and his mates.
There are other 'setting' I recommend for your router, (if you use one to connect to the World Wide Web), these settings should really be done as soon as possible, preferably when you first get your router.
Firstly, change the 'access' password of the router to something that is complicated but easy for you to remember.
Then, change the actual SSID of the router so that outsiders don't even know the make of your router... any name will do...
Although the best thing I can recommend is to actually hide your wireless router from 'airing', this stops the name of your router from being picked up by anyone scanning for wireless connections... remember, if Nigel can't see you he doesn't know your there.
All this can be done from accessing your router and following the instructions as you go along.
Also, to keep your system running smoothly, although this is nothing really to do with protecting your PC, there is the option of defragmentation...
If you want to defrag your system, and for those that don't quite understand the defrag system, well, when ever you uninstall a program it leaves a 'gap' in you Hard drive, the more you uninstall the more gaps are left. This then slows your system down as you hard drives has to search through these gaps whilst trying to find that program you've asked it to.
When you defrag your system this closes those gaps and speeds up your system as your Hard drive has less space to look through whilst searching that program you've asked it to.
Anyway, I recommend using a free program called auslogic disk defrag, which does the job a lot better than MS own built in defragger... I know this isn't anything to do with PC security but I thought it is well worth mentioning.
Well, that's a little bit of my advice to try and help keep your PC free from Nigel's infiltration techniques to get hold of your personal information...
We've gone into Anti-virus software, anti-spy ware-software, anti-malware software, both real time and non real time, some for free whilst others at a price, but all do a great job in what they are supposed to do.
And, if you go about making the right settings, which will come with a little practice and maybe a little trial and error, you can surf the web without the worry of losing your bank details.
In all, if you use the free software version of any of the 'Anti...whatever' then why pay for the more expensive ones?
As I have mentioned Avira, AVG and Avast offer free software which are as good as any paid for software and do a great job to keep Nigel and his mates at bay. Then there's 'Spyware terminator, another freebie which offers real time protection and I highly recommend using Malware Bytes, the paid version in fact, as it's real time protection is remarkably brilliant.
* For the record...
I know that the experts out there state that no two of the same type of PC protection programs should be running on your PC at the same time, and to some extent I do agree, although you can have as many types of 'anti...' software as you like, so long as they are not all running at the same time.
For example, you can set your PC to run on start up certain programs, such as an anti-virus and an anti-spy ware, whilst you can still have other anti-virus/spy ware sat on your PC with the intention of using them to do a weekly scan of your system, this is because I find that one single 'anti..' program may not find every single little bit of that that virus/spy ware that you want.
Names in this review have been changed to protect the innocent... especially Nigel...
Thanks for reading...