Re: Recommendations for anti-virus

 

Everyone's got their favorites when it comes to antivirus software.  In these environs accessibility is a complicating factor, and I cannot speak to the accessibility of any of the many antivirus products I've used, including:  AVG (multiple versions), Avast!, Panda Cloud Antivirus, Clamwin/Clamscan, Microsoft Security Essentials, Windows Defender, and others.

Not that I will even try to say that "they're all the same," but most of the trumpeting about detection rates and other metrics is, in my opinion, overblown.  I have said before, and will keep saying, that one's own "browsing, downloading, and file sharing hygiene" is a far better protector from viruses, malware, and the like than any defense program is.  I have and use antivirus (Windows Defender), antimalware (Malwarebytes), and antispyware (Spywareblaster) in one form or another on every machine I own.  I cannot recall the last time an infection that I'd call a real infection was ever found.  What I generally have found are potentially unwanted programs, the vast majority of which have been things I did want.  I know my partner had a virus of some sort many, many moons ago, back during WinXP or early Win7 days, but that's the only infection I can ever recall in the household proper.

One of the things I do for a living is technical support for home and small business users.  Not that one ever goes, "Oh my heavens, what were you thinking?!!," to a client's face when their computer is in a smoldering heap of cyber rubble, but most things that bring them to that state are the direct result of operator error, and frequently operator error where the operator knows that they were foolish to have clicked on, downloaded, etc., whatever it is that instigated the downfall.  I try to set up computers in such a way that they are maximally protected from the nefarious cyber world while at the same time not hobbling the functions that people generally want to use.  I then give my speech on good "browsing, downloading, and file sharing hygiene" being the best and most effective form of defense.

Also, for anyone out there who does lots of file transfers via jump drive that involve these being plugged in to any computers not entirely under your own control, its well worth considering an USB drive vaccine program, e.g., Panda USB Vaccine, if the antivirus product you are using doesn't include this feature already.

Brian

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