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Thread: Antivirus and anti-malware protection

  1. #1
    Verified Community Member seofast's Avatar
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    July 2, 2010

    Default Antivirus and anti-malware protection

    There are many different antivirus and anti-malware protection programs available, ranging in price from free, to several hundred dollars, depending upon their sophistication and scope of use. It is critically important that anyone that connects to the internet has adequate protection against possible infections by viruses, trojans, worms, and various malware that circulate so prolifically these days.

    There is an adage that says, "If a little bit is good, then a lot is better". However, in the case of virus protection, this is normally not true (in fact, in my experience, NEVER). Although it may be permissible to run more than one anti-malware protection program at a time, one should have only one antivirus program operating at any given time. There are reasons for this.

    Two different AV programs will often conflict, seeing each other as a virus, because of the nature of their operation. Thus, when one program succeeds in stifling the activities of the other, a window of opportunity for an actual virus may be created. More often, each will manage to limit the effectiveness of the other, thus creating a weakness that can be exploited. "Loops" can be created, wherein two AV programs will endlessly fight each other for control of a given function, leaving that function effectively unprotected. More is NOT better!

    One should select their protection carefully, giving thought to the particular sorts of risks they make themselves vulnerable to by their surfing style. As a member of many web professional forums, I prefer to make my selection, after hearing the recommendations of others. I also have found that for my purposes, there is no need to purchase such a program.

    There are a number of very effective AV programs, written and maintained by reputable organizations, that can be downloaded and installed at no charge. I presently use Avast, which I feel to be on a par with Avira, in terms of effectiveness in the AV realm. Both also offer enhanced versions for purchase, and have products that specialize in other levels of protection. Kaspersky is another system that has an excellent track record for protection.

    Most such products offer a free evaluation period, up to a month, to see if their program does the job you want. I usually warn people away from such evaluation periods, however, simply because some such programs are difficult to remove completely (Symantec's Norton is one that's notoriously difficult to get rid of) from your system.

    There are a few things that should be remembered, when searching for the best AV program for your system:

    * NO AV program is perfect! Some are better than others, but new exploits are released almost daily, and your protection is only as good as its relevancy. If it updates virus definitions weekly, then you may be vulnerable to new viruses for several days between updates.
    * The sort of experts that are capable of developing protection against viruses have their doppelgangers on the other side of the coin... those that develop the viruses to begin with. Both are good at what they do, and at any given moment, one will be a step ahead of the other.
    * Realtime scanning is an important feature to seek in your AV protection. Scanning emails and downloads is important, but viruses and malware can be activated by the simple act of clicking on a text link, an image or opening an attachment. Just entering a page can enable an infection, without sufficient protection.
    * The best AV protection available cannot do the job alone. YOU have to take an active part in protecting your system. If you frequent poor reputation sites, hang out in "bad neighborhoods", the infection of your computer is made much more probable, regardless of the AV protection you run.

    AV protection is only one aspect of protection. A reliable firewall and adequate anti-spyware protection are other important protections that should be considered. I suggest you investigate what security bloggers and forum members have to say about the AV protection they have used or are using. A satisfied customer is always a good reference.

  2. #2
    ASPnix Administration Roma's Avatar
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    June 27, 2005
    Denver, CO


    Great article. Thank you.
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