Isn't AntiVirus Software Enough?

On this web site, we have links to several of the anti-spyware programs we use ourselves when repairing our clients PC's.

Grisoft AVG AntiVirus

AVG is made by Grisoft, a small software company located in the Czech Republic. It has all of the features of similar programs such as Norton Antivirus: real-time scanning, automatic updates, scheduled system scans, a virus quarantine, and e-mail protection. Unlike Norton AV, however, it does not slow down your system, seems to catch virus Norton misses, and has a license that is good for two years, not just one. AVG come is in single system, network and server varieties. There is also a free version for home use that has limited functionality.

Lavasoft Ad-Aware

When spyware first began to rear its ugly head, Ad-Aware was there to help. This program requires direct user input to operate. You have to tell it to update and to do scans; it does not run automatically. Fortunately, most of the controls are intuitive and user-friendly.

CCleaner

This piece of software is not an antivirus nor antispyware solution. It does, however, remove built-up temporary files that accumulate as you surf the web. Some viruses and spyware make use of the these temporary file locations to store some of their own support files. If you wipe out what's there, not only will you free up some hard drive space and improve performance, but you just might put a dent in the effectiveness of some trojan programs.

Spybot Search & Destroy

Along with Ad-Aware, SS&D is one of the granddaddies of the antispyware world. Much like Ad-Aware, it scans and updates only when you direct to do so. However, it also has an added feature of inoculating you from over 2000 different varieties of spyware. This can keep you from ever "catching" things in the first place. It also tends to detect malicious programs that Ad-Aware might miss. On the other, Ad-Aware finds thing that SS&D misses, so together, they make a great team.

Webroot SpySweeper

SpySweeper is a for pay program. It is also one of the few we recommend spending money on. Like SS&D and Ad-Aware, it scans and updates when you tell it to do so. However, it also can run in the background, constantly being aware of all the activity being processed by your PC. If it detects a process that resembles something from its database of known threats, it stops the process and asks if you want to delete the offending files. It detects spyware that Ad-Aware and SS&D might both miss. There is a free 14-day trial available.

Javacool SpywareBlaster

This program is highly recommended. Unlike the others in this list, it doesn't detect nor remove anything at all. Instead, it does something similar to SS&D's inoculations, but it does a much better job of it. SpywareBlaster inoculates against over 4,000 unique pieces of spyware. Run it, update it, and apply protection and your computer will be much safer because of it.


In conclusion...

The free programs that I have mentioned in this article are usually enough to keep your system safe. They should all be used and updated on a weekly basis. Antivirus software should be updated daily, although daily scans may be overkill. Inoculation programs such as SpywareBlaster probably only need to be run once a month. Another important step in keeping your system protected is to make sure you always have the latest Windows Security Updates applied to your PC. There is usually one or two of these a week that come in from Microsft, so make certain that you run Windows Update often.

It doesn't take much to keep your machine safe. Caution and common sense can actually go a long way. If you are suspicious about a message you see in pop-up or in an e-mail., don't respond to it, just close the window. If you install and run the recommended programs and keep up to date with he latest patches and updates from Microsoft, you machine should remain in fairly good shape.

Oh, and stay away from file-sharing; you have no idea where those files have been!

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11-15-2005

Bo McCurdy Computer Sales
417 Crestview Place
Cadillac, MI 49601

 

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