We continue the list of pieces of advice that will help you take a very documented and precise decision while choosing your antivirus software, after last week’s article.
According to pcworld.com, to find out about the biggest names in antivirus, you should visit AV-Test’s Windows home users page. Here, you’ll find a breakdown by Windows version, with each program rated on three criteria: protection, performance, and usability. The companies are listed in alphabetical order, but you can click on any of the criteria points to get a ranking based on that (performance, for example). Each category is rated on a six-point scale represented by a group of circles. More colored-in circles means a better score.
According to heimdalsecurity.com, 3 ways you can find the best free or paid antivirus for you are through: user opinions, expert reviews and independent testing.
Cybersecurity forums are still some of the best places you can check to find good and trustworthy reviews and comparisons of antivirus software. You may also use Quora (The website is designed so you can quickly access your areas of interest. You can ask a question or just simply browse it looking for your areas of interest), yahoo answers (centers on the experience and knowledge of everyday users rather than the knowledge of experts), reddit (Ask Reddit users to compare various antivirus software and you will end up with a very lively conversation among users that covers almost every antivirus program imaginable. ‘Redditors’ will talk at length about the pros and cons of one antivirus or another.), trustpilot (Reviews of antivirus programs are another way to choose the product that fits your needs. Most people read the reviews on the developer’s page, but it’s impossible to be sure which review is real and which isn’t.).
The next step would be looking for the experts’ opinions, that are well-documented.
Paid-for antivirus software
Many people keep their computer safe by paying for a security suite, which will usually include antivirus software, protection against scams and a firewall. Most brands have options for just one device or, for more money, multi-user licences so you can install the same protection on two or more computers in your home. Some also allow you to pay extra up-front for a further year or two of cover.
Pros: Provides an all-round security solution accessed through a single interface. Individual components are automatically updated at the same time so you get protection against the latest threats. Cons: They can be expensive and you’ll also face ongoing costs, usually in the form of an annual subscription, to receive updates after the initial period of protection is over (usually a year). Some security suites can place a drain on system resources, too, potentially slowing down your computer.
Pay attention to the performance
Security products are, by nature, programs that require quite a bit of computing resources in order to do their job. They will definitely use more computing power than your media player, for example. If your computer is not the most powerful on the market, you should take into consideration the performance aspect:
- Have a small impact on the boot timings of your computer. Your Windows should start almost as fast as it did before you installed your security product.
- Have a small impact on your computer’s performance. A very effective security solution is no good if it bogs down your computer. A good security product will know how to use your computer’s resources in a way that doesn’t negatively impact your computing experience in terms of performance and responsiveness.
- Be fast in scanning your computer for malware. Good antiviruses tend to be faster than others when it comes to scanning your computer for malware threats.
When choosing the right security product for you, you should check whether the additional tools are:
- Security-oriented. If a security product gives you for free additional tools that are not security oriented, we believe that they are not worth buying. Those tools are probably just a means to a marketing end.
- Useful. Whatever they do, the additional tools you get when buying a security product should be useful to you. They shouldn’t be just clones of tools that are already found in Windows.
- Don’t harm your security or your privacy. Some vendors choose to bundle additional tools that are not helpful in increasing your security or privacy. On the contrary, they are harming it. If a security solution includes shady toolbars, web browsers, browser add-ons or any other tools that lower your security or privacy, you should stay away from that product.
- Don’t involve additional costs. If you need to pay more money in addition to what you already paid for the security suite, they’re not worth it.
Usability is key
According to Digital Citizen, a good security product must be easy to use both by knowledgeable users as well as casual users with little to no knowledge about security. Here are some of the facts that they are pointing out:
- Be easy to navigate. A good security solution should provide you with an intuitive way of navigating through its various windows, tabs, menus and settings.
- Be easy to use on devices with touchscreens. The era of the plain old monitor is dead. These days, the number of PCs with a touchscreen on them is increasing at a very fast rate. Thus, more and more people use touch in order to control how software works. A good security product should have large buttons, tiles, switches of all kinds, check marks and so on – control elements that are easy to touch with your finger too, not only with a mouse’s cursor.
- Be easy to understand. No matter how easy it is to navigate through a user interface, it’s no good if you don’t understand what each and every item and setting means. The configuration options that are offered should be easy to understand by all users.
- Be easy to configure. Good products are products which are easy to set… not like those at IKEA :). Security products should be easy to configure.
- Provide you with easy to find documentation. Just like any good product, good security products must provide an easy way to access their documentation. If Help documentation is available but you can’t find it, what’s the point?
- Give you complete control of how it works. Many people look for security products that don’t require any special configuration. But there are also people who want to set each and every detail of how a security product works. If that’s the case for you, a good security product must provide you with complete control.
According to heimdalsecurity.com, “ no single antivirus solution is enough to keep you safe. Even antivirus developers encourage you use multiple security software programs to keep you safe. If malware passes one software, they will have to face another, and with each new step chances of infection drop dramatically”.
And last, but not least, your attention and your smarts are some of the best antiviruses out there. Pay attention before opening any mail or links received on social media websites, delete the suspicious ones.