Q. I bought an HP envy laptop about a month ago and I want to put antivirus on it. I have been using the windows defender and mcafee just for the month. I don’t want to renew mcafee I have MalwareBytes. I have been using avast on previous machines. Is this an ok free antivirus or would you suggest something else?
This is a frequent question that I get, and I can recite my answer in my sleep. Every year or so I add an article about anti-virus. This year is no different so here goes.
Actually, I recommend Windows Defender. I’ve been preaching the same thing for years and years. There is nothing that actually “protects” you. Being safe and feeling safe are 2 completely different things. You can never be 100% safe although there are steps you can take to mitigate your risk. Feeling safe is just that – a feeling.
Security <———-> Convenience
Just know that the 2 will NEVER meet in the middle.
You can stay relatively safe and relatively private on your computer, but it takes work and effort. The Internet was NEVER designed to be private and really not even safe. Over the years, technology has been developed to help with privacy and help with security.
- Here are some things you can do – in no certain order:
- Use “Private” or “In Cognito” browsing.
- Use a good password manager such as LastPass.
- Use a VPN system such as TunnelBear or ProXPN – but this comes at a performance cost.
- NEVER open an email attachment unless you absolutely trust it and the source.
- Use Gmail for email – NOT Yahoo.
- Make sure any banking or financial transactions are done under SSL browser sessions.
- Use iPhone or trusted Android apps when possible for banking, etc.
- Use txt message alerts for your banking
- DO NOT assume txt messages are secure except for temporary codes, etc.
- Just remember that anti-virus software DOES NOT protect you. As I’ve preached before, it is like locking the door to your house. It helps – but doesn’t really stop anything. Even Symantec (company that makes Norton products) has “declared anti-virus dead.”
Customer Q&A – Anti Virus
Anti Virus Scam
Still think your anti-virus helps you
Symantec Develops New Attack on Cyberhacking
Declaring Antivirus Software Dead, Firm Turns to Minimizing Damage From Breaches
Malware from Bad Ads
Windows Meltdown-Spectre patches: If you haven’t got them, blame your antivirus
To help prevent malware and such from getting on computers, I recommend a multi-pronged approach. The first step is education – teach the users how to avoid issues. The next step is to utilize a service that helps protect the network from malicious code – such as www.opendns.org. The third step is to require the use of either Chrome or Firefox and never Internet Explorer. Finally, the last step is to have anti-virus software such as the built-in one in Windows 7 / 10 or something such as Nod32 and MalwareBytes.