Saturday, January 06, 2007

New Free Personal AntiVirus Program

Another nerdy post... some home computer security for the New Year...

Get some AntiVirus...

AVG from GriSoft stops being freeware in February. It has done a very good job thus far (having stopped a Virus as recently as 10 days ago), but being a skinflint I decided to shop around.

The NEW free Virus program for the home computer is going to be Avira AntiVir Personal Edition, it has automated updates and active/realtime scanning (meaning it monitors files and attachments as they are downloaded and read), and more importantly easy to use and unintrusive.

I ran with BitDeffender for a while, but it doesn't have active scanning, though some say it is more reliable.

Avoid SpyWare...

While we're talking about downloads... One place to look for free software like this, which doesn't come with SpyWare, is

Before you download any software, especially anything that claims to be "Free", be sceptical about it. Have a look in and make sure there are no reports on either the software itself or the webpage you are downloading it from. Unfortunately Google and other searches (even the paid adds) can not be trusted to return reliable sites (check this out). McAfee have a free tool to help you browse safely, called SiteAdvisor, which warns you about links to dodgy sites!

Another good resource for Windows XP users are two Microsoft tools - Windows Firewall and Windows Defender, easy enough to setup and use.

On the other hand...

None of these tools are the best of breed, and even all of them together won't protect you if you are the gullible type who likes nothing better than running installs and clicking on links from Spam. But put all together, they are (a) free and (b) easy to use (less user error = more security). Accepting that nothing is perfect and we can't all pay a fortune for security software, you have to arm yourself with a bit of caution and scepticism.

Happy New Year, and I hope this helps keep your PC clean!

References & Links - AntiVirus Software - pick one - Avira AntiVir - AntiVirus Software - pick one - BitDeffender - Anti Spyware from Microsoft - Safe surfing from McAfee - Some clean software - Blows whistle on badware!

Windows XP users already have Windows Firewall to make sure it is running check here:
(This should be OK for all home users but if you use your computer in an office, check with the network admin before turning on your firewall, or doing anything else it says in this post, free anti-virus is for personal use only.)