What is the “Doctors” opinion of the best antivirus program to use?
This question was answered on June 5, 2009. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.
With all the lurking threats on the Internet, this is one of the most common questions that we field The answer to this question is very much specific to you and your computer and less about what the various review sites may profess.
Over the past 20 years, we have recommended and used just about every companies solution and since this is an evolving platform, will continue to adjust with new releases and threats.
Ask 5 different seasoned computer techs this question and you are likely to get 5 completely different answers that they will each emotionally defend to the death (well, maybe thats a little over dramatic!)
The sad fact of todays Internet life is that none of the programs will ever protect you from 100%of the threats because the bad guys have the upper hand.
They have the advantage of being able to reverse-engineer the protection programs that are on the market and cook their new attacks until they can bypass or evade protection programs.
The other problem is that if they can get you to click on or open anything with malicious code embedded, they can disable or bypass your antivirus program.
With that being said, you must have antivirus software installed on Windows based computers that are connected to the Internet (Mac users can currently get away without it, but this is likely to change as more users migrate to that side of the fence).
Windows is the most attacked operating system because it has the most users by a very wide margin If you are a hacker and want to exploit the largest number of users, you will always choose to write malware directed at Windows users.
In my opinion, all of the major antivirus companies offer adequate protection as long as you are constantly updating the program and are very careful what you click on, download or open in e-mail and text messaging.
The real determining factor is the age of your computer more so than anything else Older computers with slow processors can be brought to their knees with many of todays Internet Security packages because the code for the program was written with the assumption that your hardware is somewhat current.
I am not a big fan of any complete Internet Security offerings even on newer computers because they generally create too much overhead to run properly.
I prefer a solid antivirus program accompanied by a pro-active antispyware program that does what it can from allowing spyware into your computer in the first place.
Lots of free programs exist in both the antivirus and antispyware categories, but there is a reason that they are free It isnt that they dont provide good protection; it has more to do with the frequency of updates, lack of support and the active protection against the latest threats.
Technically, most freeware programs vs the pay version of the same program are less powerful generally based on how they attempt to detect malicious code Most basic program use signature-based detection, while more sophisticated programs add behavior-based analysis to better detect newer exploits.
There isnt really a one-size fits all solution for every single situation, but in most cases we currently install the antivirus/antispyware combination from Webroot ( http://www.webroot.com ) If you cant wade through all the technical geek-speak when making your decision, consult an expert or someone you trust to review your specific situation for the best results.
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Posted by Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on June 5, 2009