N’@ Busters! More Security is Better, Right?

Here’s a typical scenario.  You have an antivirus program like McAfee running on your desktop.  While searching the web you get an important looking popup that says something like “you may have a virus!  download this software now!!” – only the message isn’t from McAfee.  Fearing the worst, you download and install the software and think all’s well.  Next thing you know you’re computer’s slowed to a crawl. This happens a lot actually.  A client of mine installed a “free trial” of a program that told her she had a virus and it ended up being a virus.

It’s easy to think that you don’t have enough security.  The fear is that “the big one” will somehow slip through and steal your info or trash your system.  So is it better to have two or three antivirus programs running simultaneously?

The truth is, having multiple antivirus programs – even legitimate ones from major manufacturers – can cause your PC to slow to a crawl or even become unusable, as even just one antivirus program usually uses a lot of resources. Some aren’t even compatible with each other and will either crash your system or else just not install.

The truth is that you really only need one antivirus program, one software firewall, and one antispyware program – or better yet, a software suite that covers all three bases at once.

Some folks like to get security suites like Norton 360, as they include a slew of security features all in one package that are designed to go together.  Most major security software manufacturers have suites as well as stand-alone versions of their antivirus programs.  These suites can be costly though, and can include features that you may not use.  Plus, some manufacturers make great antivirus programs, but only mediocre antispyware programs.  If you buy the suite you get them both like it or not.

Another option is to look through reviews and find the best pieces you can find and put together your own suite.  This can not only provide optimal protection but also save a lot of money, as there are some really great security programs out there that are free.  I went from Bitdefender’s security suite to a mix of Comodo Antivirus, Malwarebytes Antispyware, and Windows 7’s own firewall – all were free (or included with Windows 7) and I haven’t had a problem.  Both Comodo and Malwarebytes have caught their share of viruses and other garbage before they messed up my PC.

Finally, be way of anything that tells you that you might have a virus that isn’t coming from your security software.  Sometimes these popups even look like they’re coming directly from Windows, so be cautious.  If something does pop up that looks suspicious, close your browser and any open windows and run your security software to make sure you don’t have spyware or a virus.


Posted on January 15, 2012, in Microsoft Windows, software, tech myths. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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