PC Security 102 (revised for 2017)

malwareEveryone by now should realize they need security software (Antivirus) on their computers, but as many of us know- it simply is not the case. I find that many people are confused or simply don’t realize what a virus can do. This applies across the board with all age brackets. Read along and I’ll help you understand why you need security software and some of the mistakes people make that you can avoid. Pictured is an example of ransomware which encrypts your files and forces you to pay them to unencrypt them with no guarantee they actually will.

 

I often get the question, “I’ve never had a problem with viruses, why do I need….” In short, you can’t always see the effects of a virus (or malware as I will use for the broader term). Malware exists for one main reason; To make money by means of theft. Often times the user is unaware there is a virus. That virus could be causing a pop-up asking for money, which is more obvious or it could be running silently in the background stealing information. It could be grabbing passwords, contacts, personal or financial information. They then can sell or use that information.

That’s the biggest reason malware exists, so that someone can profit from it. Still there are some cases where malware is used simply to cause havoc. The questions you should ask yourself: “Am I protected?” and “Do I need to be protected?” Threats are getting more sophisticated and new ways to trick users into a compromising situation are growing.  

Do you need to be protected? Yes, that’s the bottom line. Unless, you don’t own a computer, smartphone, or tablet. Whether you go online or not; there is always a risk of exposure to malware. So are you protected? That’s easy to see by checking your system to see what security software if any is installed.

Wait, but I can’t find any security software on my device? Your best bet is to head over to Eset, Norton, or Mcafee and purchase a license. These are the top dogs in the industry and will provide you with the protections you need. With Eset go for Smart Security Premium for PC, Cyber Security Pro for Mac and Mobile Security for Android. These guys are my number one choice for protecting my systems. Norton(Symantec) has Norton Security Premium as their best option for protection up to 10 devices, including PC, Mac, and mobile devices. Intel/Mcafee’s best option is Livesafe which protects an unlimited number of PCs, Macs, and mobile devices. Yes, these are the top tier products which is what you should be using to protect yourself. Be sure to pick one, only one as running more than one security solution can negatively impact your computer as they fight for the same resources causing conflicts.

But, what about that free security software? Yes, they are useful if and only if you have no other choice. Windows Defender (built into Windows 10), AVG Free, Avira and others provide limited protection and fewer updates. While they will protect against older known threats, they may not always protect against the latest threats. Malware is ever changing and the big dogs at Eset, Norton, and Mcafee have designed their products to guard against these newer threats. Think about your car, would you benefit most from driving with a spare tire on all wheels or full size tires. Exactly, you might get a little ways on down the road with a spare, but they really should not be used for everyday driving. The exception to this would be Chromebooks and devices running Windows 10 S like the upcoming Surface Laptops. These devices are designed to be closed off from threats and are limited to apps from their respective app store. They are designed to be secure in ways that your traditional system cannot be.

As always, I recommend the best. Eset has proven themselves at the top and continue to innovate this critical area. New in Version 10 of Eset Smart Security Premium are saferimage online banking sessions with a dedicated browser, alerts if someone tries to use your webcam or access your router, and encrypted password storage.  So be proactive and protect your devices right away. Myself, when purchasing a new computer or reinstalling Windows, is to remove any trial security (if any) and install Eset Smart Security Premium right away and before any other software.

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