Data Protection Series Part 3

Windows and Mac OSX have built in security to provide a base level of protection when going online or when plug in in memory stick. But what other software do you need?

Antivirus Software

Virus’ come in all shapes and sizes and the havoc they cause on a computer varies greatly. One type of virus “payload” can be exposing, copying and/or stealing data. The most common of these virus payloads are simple “keyloggers”, which log all keyboard activity on your computer and transmit to whoever programmed the virus, giving them access to usernames and passwords.

So among a hundred other reasons, an Antivirus is essential software for any computer, Windows or Apple, in order to protect your data.

Which Antivirus software

Toptenreviews.com has a detailed comparison of the top antivirus software. For 2013 it seems Bitdefender Antivirus Plus has come out on top for them. From our experience it is an excellent program, easy to use and does give good protection. We’ve also had a very low number if any issues with Norton Antivirus and Kaspersky Anti-Virus. My personal choice would be Norton Anti-Virus as it has a smaller footprint and therefore less of a drain on the system than Bitdefender or especially Kaspersky. If you have a fast enough computer though, it is not an issue.

 

Which Free Antivirus Software?

We recommend Avast Free Antivirus or Microsoft Security Essentials. Neither are perfect and do not provide as good a protection as the paid for antivirus software’s but for non-heavy users, or vigilant and careful internet users they do suffice.

AVG we have had issues with and it is more of a drain on the system, but protection levels are about the same.

Avira provides excellent protection, it’s just not pleasant to use with its constant update advertisement popups and slow scanning.

 

Do I need to purchase a firewall?

Simple answer in majority of cases is no. Windows has had a good firewall built in since Windows XP Service Pack 2. In addition if you have a broadband router, you already have a hardware firewall. Just don’t tinker with the settings too much as that can expose your computer to attack or infection.

Most third party software firewalls can be a nuisance, can cause compatibility issues, and more likely plenty of networking issues.

Should I get an Internet Security Package?

Internet security packages are basically antivirus software combined with a firewall. As mentioned I personally don’t think an additional software firewall is necessary so I would recommend just the basic antivirus package. There are less compatibility issues and there’s less drain on the system.

Should I get a Security Suite?

Security suites vary in what they provide. For example Norton 360 is an antivirus, firewall, backup, and optimisation tool all in one package. Although these extra tools can be got for free, e.g. ccleaner does the optimisation/clean-up aspect, and Dropbox /Google Drive/Skydrive /iCloud/ Sugar sync does the backup, it is convenient to have them all in one place.

Additional useful software.

Windows Update – Built in to windows is the update feature. The main role of this is to update the Windows operating system and fill in any security holes that have been exposed. So make sure it is running and operational and it should do most of the work in the background.

Personal Software Inspector (PSI) – windows update looks after the operating system, but you also need to check all the other software is updated too. This program scans your computer and advises you on what needs to be updated.