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Antivirus/Antispyware Software

I am often asked, “what is the best antivirus product to use”. I usually reply with a smart arse response like, “how long is a piece of string?”, quickly followed by, “It matters not what protection you have on your computer. If you do the wrong thing on the internet, you are stuffed”. Or words to that effect.

It amazes me how many people think that just because they have antivirus and/or antispyware software, they are somehow invincibly protected and can do what they like on the internet with impunity.

The fact is that literally thousands of new viruses/spyware/malware are being released every week, and whilst antivirus and antispyware software can detect virus like activity, they cannot possibly know about all the different infections and variants. They are really only as good as the database of known bugs.

So, if you like going to porn sites, crack/cheat/pirated software sites, installing free screensavers willy nilly, surfing for gimmicky add-ons and smiley faces for email and MSN, using peer-2-peer programs like Limewire, then I can almost guarantee it will end in tears.

Having said all that, you MUST have antivirus and antispyware software installed on your computer. I am no fan of Internet Security Suites because invariably they use a lot of system resources and can cause more problems than they prevent. Particularly their firewalls. Usually you will get asked, “do you want to block this thing or allow it?” And you would know the answer to that question how?

I recommend you use AVG Free. It is as good as any other antivirus program and now incorporates a little bit of antispyware as well. You can download it from http://free.avg.com/

****EDIT****

We no longer recommend AVG.

Our recommendation is now Norton Internet Security.

For a more detailed look at what Viruses and Spyware are and the do’s and don’ts, download my virus and spyware notes. Remember Prevention is better than cure. Once you are infected the bugs can be very difficult to remove.