In years past it was widely recommended that yes, you should pay for good anti-virus software to keep you protected for viruses and spyware. I myself have paid Symantec for several years worth of protection and was glad that I did. But is it really necessary here in 2011 to continue to pay for protection?
I’ve come to change my opinion. I believe that Microsoft has realized that due to security holes and vulnerabilities in their OS’ they are responsible for many of the problems that consumers have with malware. They now attack this problem in two ways.
- Malicious Removal Tool – An updated version of this tool is released on the second Tuesday of each month. It checks computers running Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows Server 2003 for infections by specific, prevalent malicious software and helps remove any infection found. When the detection and removal process is complete, the tool displays a report describing the outcome, including which, if any, malicious software was detected and removed. If you would like to perform a more thorough scan using this tool just select “Start” – Run and type “MRT.exe” (without the quotation marks). This will bring up the tool and you can select whether you want to run a “Quick Scan”, “Full Scan”, or “Customized Scan”.
- Microsoft Security Essentials – This is a complete antivirus / antispyware solution that Microsoft provides free of charge as long as you are running a genuine copy of Microsoft Windows. It provides real-time protection for your home or small business PC that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. I personally have found this program to be more than adequate to protect all of the computers in my house.
Excellent question…and I have an answer for you. Online backup! Instead of spending $40 – $50 per year use that money to make sure that everything on your computer is backed up. For any real backup you should have at least one external hard drive backing up the contents of your computer but you should also have an offsite backup of your data…just in case you have a fire or theft in your home. I use Carbonite online backup for $55 per year and feel that it is probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I have thousands of digital photos and feel that I would be devastated if they were gone forever. Carbonite not only gives me peace of mind that my important pictures and data are backed up but I also have remote access to everything! So if I need to look at a document stored on my computer when I’m at work I can easily log into Carbonite and view all of the contents of my home computer securely on-line.
Trust me that if you follow the steps I’ve outlined above you will feel so much more secure in your digital life.
If you are interested in Carbonite you can learn more by visiting their website at:
Since I’m the “D”, in ManDatory, I’ll post my reply to this…..
I agree, that Windows has security holes that have been seriously address in Win7. I also agree that a paid for Anti-Virus may not always be necessary, but that isn’t to say you should just uninstall it an run with any free alternative out there. I also don’t necessarily agree that Windows only have issues and that Mac’s don’t have virus problems…but that’s another story altogether.
In working with computers on a daily basis in a corporate environment, I came across two realizations 1) The paid anti-virus didn’t really work well, and 2) your browsing habits are FAR more important. The first line of defense…yourself!!
You don’t have to go to the “dark places” of the internet either….just go to Google.com, recepies.com, etc, and you just might get a popup about virus on your hard drive or a failed piece of hardware. “Click Here To Fix NOW!!!” it’ll say. STOP. Think about it. You click it, you are now the one that has installed the virus. No anti-virus, free or paid, will stop that. I run in to it all the time.
But, that being said, there are somethings that additional software can do that the free ones can’t. I’m a big fan of Malwarebytes. I’ve had great results removing nasty viruses using this tool. Of course, there are other steps to be taken, but it’s a worthwhile tool. It’s not always a practical solution to wipe your drive and start over either, nor, in my opinion, is it always necessary.
So…my advice….update!! Make sure Flash is updated. When Adobe asks for an update to Flash or Reader, take the 2 minutes and run them. You’ll be glad. Also, regularly update Java and Silverlight. These are all used on the internet for page viewing and patch holes regularly. You just as likely to get a virus from Flash as you are from a Windows vulnerability.
If you’re going to go for a free AV, I’d definitely recommend Windows Security Essentials. It’s decent and quiet, you’ll not even know it’s running. But, if you feel more comfortable paying, I honestly like, NOD32, by eset. I’ve had good results from this very effective AV software. It too is quiet in the background, but offers a bit more for security that the free Security Essentials. $39 a year isn’t bad at all compared to Symantec or McAfee.
Carbonite is great…I use it myself. But since this is a thread about AV Software, I’ll leave that to you. Perhaps a review of Online Backup is needed…..