There is no doubt that you need antivirus software on your computer, but there are some effective products out there completely free that compare to those high priced programs. Yes, you read that right. Free antivirus software products that are just as superior as the expensive well known brands.
As the internet evolves and so will the types of threats. There are now more problems and ways to infect your computer than ever. This is a trend likely to continue. Our job as an internet user is to become familiar with common threat types and keep our computer systems protected from them.
There are many types of security issues. These problems can come in many flavors and change rapidly so including them in this editorial would prove pointless. In a short time from now the threats could be much different than they are today. Trying to keep up with those details would be a full time job. Not to worry, we do not need to be security experts to stay safe.
There are some common wide based categories that most threats fall under. Knowing this we can learn how to protect ourselves from each category rather than each threat individually. The most common areas that need to be addresses are as follows:
These are exploits to the code inside your Windows, IE browser and Office products. The way to keep these risks to a minimum is by keeping your Windows up to date using the Windows update service. I keep my Windows updates on automatic and they are downloaded and installed as released. This is free to Windows owners and can be found in your control panel.
These come in many types. From worms to trojans they can cause huge problems on the users system. This is where free antivirus software can keep you protected. At the time of this writing, AVG, AVIRA and AVAST are three of the top place award winners for free antivirus software. I have used all three and settled with Avast as my protection software of choice. I also trust it enough to install it on the computers I assemble for clients.
Spyware and Malware
Items that fall into this category can vary from - chaotic as viruses or simple tracking cookies from an advertiser wanting to see where you came from or where you left to. These buggers can sneak in from website graphics and invisible code often with no warning at all. While Avast is one of the better anti-virus programs to also guard from spyware, it is not truly the software's purpose.
Again there are free choices for spyware protection that work just as well as the high priced alternatives! One feature that is harder to get in the free spyware software is "real time protection". I use Spyware Terminator which does offer real time protection and seems to be doing a great job on my Vista work machine. You can do a search for "free spyware protection" and look for review sites that evaluate several different programs available to choose from.
A frequent trick used by many software companies is to force a pop up that looks like a System Message announcing the user's computer is infected by a virus. The box offers only one button, a link to remove the infection. This is actually a link that leads the clicker to a website that cleverly requests payment to solve the problem. Many times there is no virus other than the one asking you to pay to remove it!
With all these free protection tools available for personal use it is frustrating to see so many people who are lead to believe that they must pay for safety. We may not be able to stop viruses and other malicious codes on the internet but we can do our part to protect ourselves and thanks to a few great companies out there, we can do it for free