On Anti-Malware for the PC

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Guy Pace


There are several good commercial tools for protecting your laptop or desktop Windows computer. Most new Windows computers come with a trial or evaluation edition of either McAfee or Symantec. That is a good thing.

The problem is that most people think that the trial or evaluation version doesn’t expire in a month or three or don’t know that they need to renew the license and update annually, and blithely go along thinking their system is protected. This is one of the more common stories I run across when it comes to personally owned Windows laptops and desktops.

“But it has McAfee. It came with it when I bought it,” I’ll hear. But I’ll find that the McAfee trial expired six or ninth months prior and the laptop is riddled with malware.

Commercial anti-malware software costs money. Not just when you buy it, but every year when you renew the license. That is how the large security software companies pay for the huge costs of research, testing and evaluating malware to keep their products current and effective.

I won’t tell you to not buy good commercial anti-malware software. If you want to and know that it requires annual renewal, please do so and keep your system secure.

However, if you do not want to pay for annual licenses and updates, you have an option that provides very good protection at no cost. At least for now. Microsoft Security Essentials (MSSE) is a capable and competent anti-malware solution that is a free download. And as far as I can tell, Microsoft has no plans to monetize this product.

MSSE does all the things you would expect of a fully functional anti-malware product. It does the usual anti-virus protections as well as anti-spyware scanning and monitoring of memory and web and email activities. It updates itself and its data files on a regular basis and you can run manual scans at any time against removable media and suspect drives or directories.

There are some other free anti-malware tools available, and I’ve used some of them. Some are only free for a short evaluation period, then you must either buy the product or go elsewhere. AVG offers up a free version of its product, but the update/upgrade process often gets users confused and they end up purchasing.

Of course, no one anti-malware product can catch everything. At least one additional tool should be kept around to run supplemental scans to pick up anything the anti-malware tool misses. Two of my favorite tools are Spybot S&D and Malwarebytes. If you use these, remember to update them prior to running a scan.

It is very important to keep a good anti-malware product on your Windows laptop or desktop. It helps keep your system running smoothly and keeps your personal and financial information out of the hands of criminals.

Consider it a bonus if the product doesn’t also lighten your wallet.

Cross-posted from Rapier57

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Mister Reiner "The problem is that most people think that the trial or evaluation version doesn’t expire in a month or three or don’t know that they need to renew the license..."

Windows Security Center will pop-up a message letting people know that their anti-virus software is out-of-date. If people can't heed that warning, then I'm not sure these people can actually be helped.
Ray Tan "Of course, no one anti-malware product can catch everything."

I agree with this, personally, I have MSSE and Malwarebytes installed on my computer, and looknstop as firewall.
Sometimes, I will check the traffic of my computer using wireshark or Capsa free,manually.
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