Dear Computer Lady,
I have been having a few problems with my computer lately, and the guy at Best Buy said that all I need is an internet security suite like Norton or McAfee.
Those programs are kind of expensive, how do I know if they are really worth it?
You ask a good question. Since most internet security software packages cost over $100, you really need to weigh your options.
I can tell you that I have never had one of those packages installed on my computer, and I have never been infected by a virus, or hacked into by hackers. I did once get some spyware on my system, but that was while I was testing a free software program for the newsletter. Needless to say, that software program did not make it into this newsletter.
I can also tell you, that it is my experience working on computers, that 90% of the virus infected computers that I have to clean out, were running Norton at the time they got infected. I also occasionally have worked on computers that would not even go on the internet once a security suite was installed.
So, what do I use to protect my computer and not have to deal with intrusive security programs? I use one piece of hardware, one inexpensive program, and several free programs.
First, for security, I use a router. This is a piece of hardware that connects to your cable or DSL modem and then can connect to one or more computers. Most people buy a router so that they can hook more than one computer up to the internet, but the router also acts as a hardware firewall, protecting you from hackers on the internet. If you have a dial-up internet connection, the built in Windows XP firewall will be enough to protect you.
Some of the advantages of using a router as a firewall include:
1. You buy it once and can use it with any computer you own.
2. Your router will work for multiple computers, you don’t have to purchase a software package for each computer.
3. No need to purchase yearly upgrades. It will do its job as long as you use it.
In addition to my router, I use an antivirus program called AVG. I don’t use the internet security package, just the AVG Antivirus which protects me from viruses and spyware. You can get a 30 day trial at: http://tinyurl.com/2olst7 and a 2 year subscription is $51.99
To protect myself from spyware, I use two free programs that are really great. One is “Spybot Search & Destroy” and the other is called “Spyware Blaster”. Both of these programs can be found at www.download.com
When I clean out a computer that has been infected with viruses and spyware, I always make sure they go home with these programs installed. The computers run better, longer once they are protected by these great programs.