What anti-virus software should I use?

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NetBasics Rapid Spawn worm virus screenshot

Viruses and Spyware are different forms of malicious software and you need protection from both types of malware to keep your computer secure.

Some internet security suites offer protection from viruses and malware as well as spam, phishing attempts and content filtering; other software may simply protect against one or the other.

Keep your virus definitions up to date

Malicious software is constantly being written and circulated online and you need to keep your security software current and the files it relies on to identify threats up to date.

If your paid subscription or free trial has expired then the software will no longer defend you against website and email threats.

If the software if always alerting you don’t ignore the messages or turn it off – it’s trying to protect your computer and save you from the hassle of cleaning up after an infection.

Won’t the software slow down my computer?

Many computer users worry that bulky anti-virus software will slow down their machine. In some cases this is true but the benefits outweigh any reduction in performance.

Malware will also slow down your computer and may prevent you from using it at all.

What’s the best anti-virus and anti-spyware software for me?

Many computer owners make use of popular free security tools from AVG and Microsoft who launched their own ‘Security Essentials’ package in 2009.

Free doesn’t necessarily mean worse than paid for but PC owners need to be aware of the complexities behind the software, as this article entitled Battle of the Security Superpowers in PC World magazine makes clear:

It’s no longer enough for antivirus software to scan files on your PC. You need someone looking over your shoulder and telling you whether it’s safe to click that link; whether the popup for that software update is legitimate; and whether that download from your favorite social network is actually a tool created by organized criminals for stealing your personal information. You need an all-in-one Internet security suite capable of identifying, blocking, and cleaning up after a wide array of malware.

As a not for profit, NetSafe doesn’t recommend a particular product but the December 2010 PC World article checks out the top 10 security suites and plumps for:

  1. Norton Internet Security 2011
  2. Kaspersky Internet Security 2011
  3. BitDefender Internet Security 2011

Other reviews, security resources and software vendors:

Check out this list of web based security tools. You can read software reviews on the NetGuide website or pay $10 for a security software report evaluating 25 packages from Consumer.

Vendors offering anti-virus and anti-spyware software include:



ClamXav (Free AV for Apple Mac)

ESET Nod32 Software


McAfee Home Security Software

Microsoft Security Essentials

Symantec Norton Software



1 Comment

  1. Waldo (Microsoft) says:

    Have a look here for information about the anti-malware technology that is included with the latest Windows 8 and Windows RT operating systems:

    This is intended to make it much simpler for people to stay safe online, as separate software and update mechanisms are no longer required for solid anti-malware protection.

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