Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Reader Question: My Pick(s) For Best Antivirus

I wish I had a nickle for every time I am asked this question…

I want to thank you for all the good information on your website and I am hoping you can give me some advice. The McAfee on my new computer is due to expire and it is asking me to buy a subscription or I won’t be protected. Should I pay or should I get something else? I will be using this computer a lot and want the best protection. Thank you.
~ TB

A: TB,
In this day and age of Internet Insecurity, it is absolutely vital (IMHO) that any device that connects to the World Wide Web has antivirus: and, an “expired” antivirus is next to no antivirus. I have written much about Internet/PC security (and answered this question before). But the competition between the various vendors means that the answer to “who’s the best?” changes year to year… and I suspect you want my short answer. (And, currently, McAfee is not it.)

So, for April/May 2011 my General recommendations are:

  • For Netbooks: see, Best Antivirus For Netbooks?
  • For Smartphones: Smartphone security is new to me, and I can only (at this time) say that I think that, at the very least, you want Lookout.

* You may be interested to know, PC World magazine also has those first two as their top reco’s: see, Free vs. Fee: Free and Paid Antivirus Programs Compared

Can free antivirus software protect you? Or is it worth paying for a full-blown A/V app? We look at the benefits–and pitfalls–of free and paid antivirus products.

Additionally: (Internet security is much more complex than bullet point answers!)

● I prefer to fine-tune my answers to the User: everybody is different, after all. To get your own “fine-tuned” recommendation, try Gizmo’s Freeware Security Wizard.

This Wizard has been designed to help you select the best free security software for your PC based on the version of Windows that you use, your technical computer skills and your general level of security risk (read more…).”

● In my Blogroll, you will see direct links to trustworthy Product Comparison reviews.

● I recommend supplementing your antivirus with Anti-Spyware, and I frequently recommend SAS (SUPERAntiSpyware) here. It is a great additional “layer of defense”. It is available here. (It is also one of the few titles I actually reco upgrading to the paid version. Hint: look for the “Lifetime” price.)

● I suspect someone will write in and ask, so.. (For Infection Removal): MalwareBytes Anti-Malware

Today’s reading reco(s):

* Off Topic: White House Releases Birth Certificate

In all my years of being a citizen of the United States, I have never been more embarrassed… I was brought up to respect whomever was the President; whether it be Democrat or Republican. Today..Read more

* Restoring Your Contacts List or Address Book In Gmail

Google’s Gmail has been a very popular online (web) email client for years; and, rightfully so. It continues to improve and offer features that you would typically find in email software that you would install on your PC.” Read more

* Yesterday, I mentioned iPhone tracking only part of Apple’s security and privacy shortcomings

“The revelation by a pair of researchers that iPhones store location data for the life of the device is making waves. How much does it really matter? Chad Perrin suggests the problem goes deeper.” Read more

But Android users should (also) be aware.. Android phones keep location cache, too, but it’s harder to access

“After this week’s disturbing revelation that iPhones and 3G iPads keep a log of location data based on cell tower and WiFi base station triangulation, developer Magnus Eriksson set out to demonstrate that Android smartphones store the exact same type of data for its location services. While the data is harder to access for the average user, it’s as trivial to access for a knowledgeable hacker or forensics expert.” Read more

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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April 27, 2011 - Posted by | advice, Android, antivirus, Apple, computers, Internet, iPhone, PC, security | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Hi Paul.

    one Q.

    Isn’t it so that if you use Linux instead of Windows, you nearly have no virus-attacks ??

    Very fond of your web-site, thanx.

    br nh.


    Comment by niels henrik hojbjerg | April 27, 2011 | Reply

    • niels henrik hojbjerg,
      I have to be very careful how I answer that..

      It is true that nearly all of the prior, and current, crop of malware (viruses, worms, exploits, and spyware) target the Windows operating system — certainly most of the “consumer” type items (I’m thinking primarily of the scareware “rogue antivirus” attack). Which makes sense, when you consider something like 95% of the computers are Windows machines.

      But Unix-based operating systems are targeted (think “web servers”, and “smartphones”), as are databases (MySQL, etc.) as well. Fact is, no system is immune.

      When I am running a Linux box, (which is mostly never) I protect it (and my network) with a firewall and ClamAV.

      On my Mac box, I use Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition (free).

      So while Mac and Linux users are not getting nailed anywhere near like Windows users are, consider.. the cybercrime ‘situation’ is going to get (much) worse before it gets (any) better, and they need new victims, as some experts say 3 out of 4 Windows boxes are already “pwned”…


      Comment by techpaul | April 27, 2011 | Reply

  2. Hello Paul, my preferences are also same. For linux users must be careful about phishing and fraudulent websites.


    Comment by Murugesan | April 30, 2011 | Reply

    • Murugesan,
      … and downloads containing Trojans…

      While it may be true that “the best antivirus is between your ears”, I still want something to comb my files for sneaky bad guys. That’s the world we live in.


      Comment by techpaul | April 30, 2011 | Reply

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