We are often asked “what is the best internet security?” and the answer to that is simple: common sense. Apologies if that sounds a bit glib, but it is a simple fact that internet security will not protect you if you act in a foolish way. For many people, if you apply the common sense approach that “if it doesn’t look right then it probably isn’t” along with one of the free anti-virus programmes then you should be fine.
The FREE list is headed, as always, by AVAST, followed by AVG Free, Bitdefender Free and Panda Free Anti-Virus (though not necessarily in that order, depending on what review you are reading). AVAST is a very good programme, but we consider it to be a bit complicated for the average user, so AVG or Bitdefender would make a good choices in these instances. That being said, recently AVG have made it quite complicated to get their Free product as they push their paid for product very hard during the installation process.
For those less confident in their ability to spot something dodgy, you should really look at installing a paid for anti-virus or internet security package. The subtle difference between the two is that one JUST does anti-virus whereas the other has additional features which help keep your PC running smoothly on a day to day basis. Paid for Anti-virus is headed by Bitdefender and Kaspersky, while the Internet Security Packages are headed by Norton. Again, we have to stress that these packages will do not give you a license to run around the internet blindly clicking on anything and everything, including emails: if you do not behave responsibly these packages will minimise the issues, but will not necessarily eradicate them.
At this point it is worth pointing out that it is not a solution to simply install several of these programmes to increase the level of protection. Running multiple security packages on a computer or laptop can actually prove to be a recipe for disaster as the software spends so much of its time fighting over who is in charge that the job of protecting you gets overlooked. So, acknowledge your ability level and then install one anti-virus or security package to suit you.
Now, just because you have it this does not mean you can forget about it. You MUST:
- Check it from time to time to ensure it is up to date
- Check to see if it is scanning the computer – you can do this by checking the logs
- If it has found something, take the guidance from the software and deal with it as recommended
Final thing to mention is that everything you encounter that you consider bad may not be a virus:
- The program that suggests you need some new drivers – it just wants you to pay to install the ‘full version’, which won’t help in any way, but makes it look really good while it’s doing nothing
- The maintenance software that promises to speed everything up for just a few dollars – again, install it and it is more likely to slow things down
- The security software that popped up from nowhere and claims to be amazing, if you just part with a few dollars
All of these are examples of adware or scamware, which your anti-virus won’t necessarily deal with as this stuff is just annoying and not really dangerous.
So, again, keep you common sense to hand and don’t go on the internet without it!