Should You BUY Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware Software?
A reader asks: 'Should I run AVG, SpyBot, and other freeware, or should I pay for a supposedly better program? I read so much negative about every security program and I am quite confused about them. Some I hear are actually fakes. If they really are worth the money, I am willing to try them. Can you give me your opinion on the best anti-virus, anti-spyware and other Internet security tools?'
Geeks Bearing Gifts?
You are correct to be wary of downloading certain freeware "solutions" for spyware, viruses and popups. There are some excellent free anti-malware tools, but some of the freebies circulating in cyberspace are in fact rogue programs designed to open your computer to a massive invasion of spyware and viruses. One notorious example was Winfixer, which purported to fix all manner of ills on your Windows PC. More recent examples include fakes with names like Antivirus 2013, and Win 7 AntiSpyware.
In reality, these fake anti-virus tools are "malware funnels" that only makes things worse. If you get tricked into downloading one of these, you'll probably see popups everywhere, and new viruses coming in by the truckload. See my related articles Fake AntiVirus Software and Don't Fall Victim to Scareware for more on that.
Mixing Up a Malware Cocktail
I hear from some readers who run two or three anti-virus programs, and half a dozen anti-spyware tools. Personally, I think that's overkill. WAY overkill. In fact, anti-virus programs can end up fighting with each other, and cause system lockups. And running multiple anti-spyware tools at once WILL slow down your computer.
There are at least a dozen highly touted anti-virus and anti-spyware tools -- some commercial and some free. So I understand your confusion as to which ones are best for you. It's natural to assume that the paid-for variety is of higher quality, but that's not always the case.
Here's my personal arsenal against viruses, spyware and annoying popups:
I'm also impressed with Bitdefender Antivirus and Avira, both of which are excellent free anti-virus tools. If you dump the costly resource-hogging Norton or McAfee anti-virus for any of these alternatives, you'll be VERY happy that you did.
Works For Me!
This is what works for me. They're all free, they all come from trusted sources, and they work great. Automatic updates in each program help them keep pace with changes in the malware universe, and I have to say the proof is in the pudding. I do a LOT of web surfing, downloading and email handling. And so far, so good!
That's not to say that the commercial internet security tools are worthless -- far from it. Typically they include a suite of programs that includes anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall, spam filtering, download scanner, vulnerability detection and other features. All of the components will have been tested to work well together, and have a common user interface. You can get the same protection by using a combination of tools as I've described above, but keep in mind that technical support is not included with the free anti-virus programs. If you want an all-in-one solution, comprehensive protection, and technical support, paying $60 to $80 every year for the additional peace of mind may be worth it.
If you have a set of anti-virus, anti-spyware and other security tools that do the trick for you, let us know here. If you use a PAID tool or service, tell us why you think it's better. Post your comments below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 25 Nov 2013
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Should You BUY Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware Software? (Posted: 25 Nov 2013)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved