As many Microsoft Windows users have learned firsthand, computer infections can wreak havoc on a computer. In the past, infections were primarily limited to just viruses. These days, however, the threat list has grown to include Trojan horses, root kits, adware, spyware, and backdoors.
Anyone that uses their computer for e-mail or web access faces the ever-growing risk of unwittingly infecting their computer. Attacks are frequently isolated to the computer but worst case scenarios, such as identity theft, can have a devastating and lasting impact on peoples’ lives, even years after the viruses are removed. These infections are not to be treated lightly. Fortunately there are many tools to help computer users defend against cyber threats and users will be pleasantly surprised to learn that often the most effective and easiest to use software solutions are free.
We feel that a 2-pronged method is the best approach to cyber security. The first, and most critical, component is effective, easy to use antivirus software that automatically updates and ties in well with the rest of your computer. The last thing a computer user wants is antivirus that they don’t know how to use. Every security software developer, such as McAfee, Symantec (Norton), Trend Micro, AVG, etc. typically offer 2 security solutions. The first is a basic antivirus/antimalware program. The second is a full security suite of all the company’s security software. These suites tend to be very technical and overloaded with features for the typical computer user.
The security suites also have a greater impact on system speed and stability due to their bulk and complexity. For the average computer user, a basic antivirus/antimalware programs is often the best solution. Grisoft, the developer of AVG, offers a free version of their antivirus, AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition. AVG offers good protection, daily automatic updates, and is streamlined to the point that after installation it requires little to no interaction from the computer user.
Our second component to a 2-pronged security approach is a backup, on-demand scanner, that cleans your computer of anything AVG missed. Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware is light-years ahead of the competition when it comes to cleaning your computer of various infections. And best of all, it’s absolutely free. Malwarebytes is referred to as an on-demand scanner because unlike AVG, it does not run in the background and does not proactively protect your computer against threats. Malwarebytes must be run by the computer user in order to clean their system. Malwarebytes is not as streamlined as AVG, however, it is still very easy to use and it’s worth taking the few extra minutes to become familiar with Malwarebytes.
We recommend that each computer user take the steps outlined above to defend themselves against the latest cyber threats. It won’t cost you anything and you’ll quickly discover that it doesn’t take much work to properly protect your computer. Our IT consulting firm, Paul on Call Computer Service, installs AVG and Malwarebytes as standard applications on every computer that we install, service, and maintain.