Tech – for Everyone

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

Top 10 Antivirus Programs for 2011 (review)

If you connect it to the Internet, it needs an antivirus, period.

PC World magazine recently published their roundup product review, which lists their top 10 antivirus products: see, Antivirus 2011: Digital Defenders

Today’s new threats demand a new breed of antivirus software. Our lab tests show you which paid antivirus products you can trust, and which ones you should skip.

If you haven’t bought a new version of your antivirus software in a couple of years, now may be a good time to do so. Malware is evolving faster than ever, and the latest generation of antivirus software is better equipped to handle this rapid pace of change. If your antivirus software is a few years old, it may not be able to defend against this on­­slaught effectively, even if you faithfully download new virus definitions. In recent years, the technology that powers antivirus software has changed dramatically: An antivirus package you purchased a few years ago may be able to stop known viruses and other known malware, but brand-new, as-yet unknown viruses can be more dangerous, and newer products do a much better job of stopping them.

I have put a link to this article in my Blogroll. Also in my Blogroll  is PC Magazine’s review: see, Best Antivirus – 2011 (review) (which is written by my ‘go to guy’, Neil Rubenking).

I suggest you look at these two product comparison charts, and assess your current antivirus defense.

But also know, an antivirus is not protection enough. Every computer user should know that there are computing “Good Practices”.. and certain “Do’s & Don’ts”.
For the “do’s“, I have provided readers the basic “common good practices” in what I call my “Top 10 Things You Should Do” list.

Let’s be safe out there people. Don’t become a victim of cybercrime. Use some healthy “paranoid common sense” when online.

Addenda: For those who have trouble with installing Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (or.. Updates in general), see Microsoft notes Windows Update “inconsistencies,” provides fix

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


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February 26, 2011 Posted by | advice, anti-spyware, antivirus, computers, hackers, Internet, PC, security, software, tech | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

"This seems like a fairly simple question…"

“Hi Paul, I’m just a single user with a question I apparently can’t get answered very easily by searching for it via the Internet. I’m hoping maybe you can ‘square me away’ by answering it. On it’s face, this seems like a fairly simple question.

If I’m using an excellent antivirus program (which I am; it’s the Avira antivirus program) is it still necessary for me to install Windows so-called critical security updates to my computer…? I have a computer that so far still works very well but was built in 2001 and so, although I still have more than 75 percent of free space remaining on the hard drive, it doesn’t have tons of memory (and as you know, a lot of ‘critical’/?mandatory windows updates can use considerable mb’s of space).

Wouldn’t critical updates also be downloaded by/through the antivirus programs/companies, without having to separately download them as individual users…? I realize this is a two-part question and appreciate whatever appropriate response you may have.
Thank you
,” ~ Anon

A: Your questions indicate that you are “mixing apples and oranges”, twice.

A program – and Microsoft Windows is a collection of programs – needs to receive security patches (these are usually called “updates”) to close holes and fix programming errors in the (program’s) code that hackers are (already) using to gain administrative control of the PC. (Currently, Apple  and Adobe software are the most exploited.)

You ABSOLUTELY want them.
(Each program author will write their own ‘updates’, and you want those too!) See, What’s With All These Updates?!*

They have nothing to do with AV.. and the ‘virus definition updates‘. Your AV will receive “fingerprints” (samples) of virus/trojan/keylogger/etc. from the authors so that it can have something to use (for comparisons) to find such code on your machine. You want those too.. which is why letting your AV subscription “expire” is a very bad thing (not an issue for you and Avira).
Though the word is the same, it is being used to describe two different things. You’ll find that a lot when dealing with tech and “geek speak”.

Secondly,
You are mixing your “memory”.
There are two kinds — the dynamic RAM.. which you don’t want to load up unnecessarily, and “storage memory” (your hard disk — “c:\”). Windows Updates use the latter. And so they do not “slow down” your aging machine. Okay?

Windows Updates closes holes (in Windows) the bad guys are using to climb in through.
I like to use this as an analogy — think of a program as a house made of brick and mortar.. the hackers are like little tiny bugs, trying to find a crack to get in. And they find them. Updates are mortar patches that fill those cracks.

Also — I don’t mean to alarm you, and certainly not offend you, but I am the type of person who speaks what is on my mind. I would not connect a vintage 2001 Windows computer to the Internet. I would scrap it.. or keep it around for playing my old games on.. but I would not access the Web with it.

If my finances were such that I simply did not have the option of buying an up to date computer (Windows 7, 64 – bit/ Apple OS 10.6 [64 bit]) I would purchase Wondershare Time Freeze, or use the free Comodo Time Machine and learn how to use them. They “sandbox” your machine.

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


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January 26, 2011 Posted by | advice, antivirus, computers, cyber crime, hackers, how to, Internet, Microsoft, PC, security, software, tech, Windows | , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Monday | Top Internet Security Suites | Countdown

Well here we are. Monday again. Today, some “miscellany”.

* A reader wrote and suggested that I start a “countdown to the Holidays” feature.. further suggesting that it go something like, “time to get the tree”; “mail 15 cards today”; and such.

While I welcome reader comments and questions and, yes, even suggestions.. I feel in no way obligated to honor each and every request that may come my way. (Some are outright whacky, as you may be able to imagine.)(Seriously, I do “answer my mail”.) Since I am not a huge fan of “countdowns”, and because I did not think of it myself, I am not going to do a “countdown to the Holidays” feature.
But I thank the writer (you know who you are) for their suggestion.

christmas_decorations-tips * There are a mere 18 days until Christmas arrives. Have you hung any decorations yet? Of all the ideas that come to mind about Christmas decorations for your front door, I particularly recommend the Christmas wreath. See, How to Make an Evergreen Wreath

* Loyal readers will have seen me write that the man I turn to for reliable, trustworthy reviews is Neil J. Rubenking (at PC Magazine). This has been true for .. well, as long as I can remember, really. And, Loyal readers will know that I am constantly urging computing safety and security.
Those two things come together, as Neil has just published his The Best Security Suites for 2011

“The security suites for 2011 are almost all available now, though as always a few companies march to a different schedule. If you need a suite today, read our roundup of 16 of the best (and worst) options, from Ad-Aware to Webroot.”

So, if you want to know how the various vendors stack up against each other, there is the place to look. IMHO.

If you are not interested in a “suite”, but simply want to know the best antivirus, he also has written The Best Antivirus Software for 2011

“We’ve reviewed 20 of the best (and worst) premium and free antivirus applications so that you can pick the right one for your needs—because, make no mistake: you need AV.”

I hope you all noticed the last six words of that?

* There are a mere 18 days until Christmas arrives, and we are smack-dab in the middle of the cyber-criminal’s favorite, and most active, time of year. It is the time to redouble your “paranoid common sense” and triple your vigilance for scams, e-mails links, making sure the payment portal is https://, etc.. Let’s all be safe out there!

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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December 6, 2010 Posted by | computers | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Chosing The Best Security Programs – For You

A Quick & Easy Way To Choose The Best Free Security Programs

“..different people have different security needs.

Choosing security programs for your PC can seem overwhelming. There’s antiviruses, anti-spywares, and “security suites”.. and they all claim to be the best.

I am constantly asked for my recommendation on what is the “best” free antivirus, or “most effective” anti-Spyware, and, “which security suite should I buy?” Who has the best firewall? Makes sense: I am a Tech, as well as a World Renown Tech Blogger (ahem).


I have posted my advice here several times (use my “Search” tool) over the course of 1,000+ Tech – for Everyone articles. I also have published a list, including links, of free AV’s (click here) and AS’s (click here). But my advice has always been quite general.

There’s a reason for that –> you. I don’t know you. I do not know your Geek skilz level. I do not know if you are a pirating/Bit Torrent-ing maniac. I don’t know if you’re still on Windows ME and all you do is e-mail, or if you are on Windows 7 64-bit and you have a Run as command prompt shortcut in your QuickLaunch… or you fit somewhere in between.
Do you watch online porn?

Needless to say, different people have different security needs. How you answer the questions above will have a huge impact on how I would advise you. Fortunately, I have found an answer –  Gizmo’s Security Advice Wizard. And I have added it to my Blogroll.

gizmo's logoGizmo’s Security Advice Wizard asks you a series of questions, analyzes your answers, and then provides you with a customized, personal recommendation — a complete recommendation — including download links to free solutions. Bottom line? I have run through the Wizard several times, as various types of users, and each time the recommendations the Wizard provided was spot on with how I would answer. Great minds really do think alike.

I enthusiastically endorse Gizmo’s Security Advice Wizard and encourage you to go there and give it a try. Odds are good you will learn something. The folks there at Gizmo’s freeeware get a tip of my geek hat, and my thanks for going through the effort of creating this wonderful advisor “wizard”.

Because, yes folks, in today’s world you need security when on the Internet.

Today’s free link: Gizmo’s Security Advice 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.


** Software License Giveaway Drawing **


The folks at SPAMFighter have generously donated 5 licenses for SPAMFighter Pro to me, to award to my readers.

SPAMFighter is a community-based spam filtering tool for Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail and Thunderbird that automatically and efficiently filters spam and phishing fraud – keeping it out of your Inbox.
For contest details (and to enter), click here.


Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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September 15, 2010 Posted by | advice, anti-spyware, antivirus, computers, firewall, free software, how to, Internet, PC, security | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Best Antivirus For Netbooks?

Reader Asks My Reco On Antivirus For Their Netbook

Q: Hey TP. I want to say thanx for your website. I just baught my first netbook and I love it. It is windows 7 and is ASUS 1005PE. Can you tell me what antivirus I should get? Thanx.

A: Dear Sir or Ms.,
Congratulations on your new computer. One of the neat things about netbooks – I am frequently told – is how small and portable they are, yet they are big enough to do some “normal computing” on. That’s on the “plus” side.

But on the “minus” side is that this compact portability is achieved by using “modest” components — a “reduced horsepower”, if you will.

Netbooks are not powerhouses, and it pays to use software on them that has a “small footprint” (not demand too much CPU, RAM, etc.). And that is certainly a factor to consider when choosing an antivirus.

Were I to own a netbook, I would install either one of two titles, and!, both are free.
1) If I were to own an older, or really basic (aka “budget”) netbook I would use Panda’s Cloud Antivirus. Or..

2) On a reasonably equipped netbook, I would install Microsoft Security Essentials.
2a.) If Microsoft is not your thing, you might try Avast! 5.0.

I should say, though, that your ASUS has an Intel Atom N450, and very good specs for a netbook, so you could probably run most any Internet security product on it. My list of recommended antivirus products is here, and my Anti-spyware list is here.

PS — WinPatrol is also a great security program for netbooks, and!, I just happen to be having a license giveaway contest (nice segue, eh?) for it this week.


** A Chance To Win A Valuable Prize! **


You say you don’t know about Scotty and WinPatrol? I have recommended it here before, and I’ve used it for so long I can’t remember. I consider WinPatrol one of those essential programs to have around.

To enter my license giveaway drawing, please see: WinPatrol PLUS License Giveaway

Here’s another good review of WinPatrol: WinPatrol Revisited – Powerful HIPS with a Bite

Today’s recommended reading: The flipside: Five things Microsoft is doing right in 2010

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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June 16, 2010 Posted by | advice, antivirus, computers, hardware, Internet, mobile, PC, Portable Computing, security, tech, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

A Quick & Easy Way To Choose The Best Free Security Programs*

“..different people have different security needs.

Finding The Best Security Product For You

I am constantly asked for my recommendation on what is the “best” free antivirus, or “most effective” anti-Spyware, and, “which security suite should I buy?” Who has the best firewall? Makes sense: I am a Tech, as well as a World Renown Tech Blogger. (ahem)

Choosing security programs can seem overwhelming. There’s antiviruses, anti-spywares, and “suites”.. and they all claim to be the best.


I have posted my advice here several times (use the “Search” tool) over the course of 1,000+ Tech – for Everyone articles. I also have published a list, including links, of free AV’s (click here) and AS’s (click here). But my advice has been pretty general.

There’s a reason for that –> you. I don’t know you. I do not know your Geek skilz level. I do not know if you are a pirating/Bit Torrent-ing maniac. I don’t know if you’re still on Windows ME and all you do is e-mail, or if you are on Windows 7 64-bit and you have a Run as command prompt shortcut in your QuickLaunch… or are somewhere in between.
Do you watch porn?

Needless to say, different people have different security needs. How you answer the questions above will have a huge impact on how I would advise you. Fortunately, I have found an answer –  Gizmo’s Security Advice Wizard. And I have added it to my Blogroll.

gizmo's logoGizmo’s Security Advice Wizard asks you a series of questions, analyzes your answers, and then provides you with a customized, personal recommendation — a complete recommendation — including download links to free solutions. Bottom line? I have run through the Wizard several times, as various types of users, and each time the recommendations the Wizard provided was spot on with how I would answer. Great minds really do think alike.

I enthusiastically endorse Gizmo’s Security Advice Wizard and encourage you to go there and give it a try. Odds are good you will learn something. The folks there at Gizmo’s freeeware get a tip of my geek hat, and my thanks for going through the effort of creating this wonderful advisor “wizard”.

Today’s free link: Gizmo’s Security Advice 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.

Today’s recommended reading: Poisoned PDFs? Here’s Your Antidote
“Attacks employing poisoned PDF files have leaped to the top of the threat list..


** A Chance To Win A Valuable Prize! **


The folks at Genie-soft have generously donated five licenses for Genie Timeline Professional 2.0 to me, to award to my readers. So I am going to do a random drawing contest from folks who “enter”.Genie Timeline is a program that creates “backup copies” of the files and settings on your computer. With Timeline, you do not have to be “computer savvy”, and you can set-it-and-forget-it. Timeline constantly monitors your file system, automatically, for you.

To enter the drawing, please see: Software License Giveaway: Genie Timeline Professional

* Orig post: 4/13/10

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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June 9, 2010 Posted by | advice, computers, security, software | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

License Giveaway Winners Announced

I’m sure many of you are eager to see who the lucky 10 winners are. Sorry about the delay, but today was kind of special here at T4E… (click here, and see why.)

NOD32 License Giveaway Winners Announced

The folks at Eset have generously donated ten licenses for NOD32 Antivirus 4 to me, to award to my readers. I sincerely thank them for that.

You might not have heard of Eset or NOD32, but it has quietly been around, and winning awards, since the early 90′s (the days of DOS). For the last year, I have been using it as my primary anti-malware defense on my principle machine and I have not been disappointed. This Internet security tool passed my every test and I recommend it; and I do so to folks of any skill level.

As far as reputations go, ESET’s NOD32 is practically unimpeachable. Version 4 of the popular and effective antivirus and antispyware builds on that rep,eds_rvw emphasizing its community-sourced ThreatSense for preventing attacks before they occur, a slick interface, and some of the highest independently-tested detection rates married to low rates of false positives. “ — CNET editor Seth Rosenblatt.

A 30-day, fully-functional free trial of NOD32 can be downloaded here, Free 30-day trial. Try it out yourself. (And then leave a comment. You may just win one of these valuable prizes!) Again, I thank Kimbal, and the folks at Eset for making this giveaway possible.

Without further ado: Congratulations to..

NODwinrs

(These licenses were provided by Kimbal Binder, Network Security Manager at Rain Networks. Those of you who are in IT may want to click here and visit the IT Security Resource Center, and learn more about Eset in the enterprise (trials available). Please direct questions to Kimbal at Kimbalb(at)rainnetworks(dot)com.)

Winners have been sent an e-mail containing their license keys. (You may need to check your Junk folder.)

My thanks to Kimbal, Eset, and all who participated in this contest.

TGIF!

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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May 28, 2010 Posted by | anti-spyware, antivirus, software | , , , , | 24 Comments