COMP SCI 101: Which Antivirus Is Right For Me?

BY ANDY BLECHER

Hello Rockland!! My name is Andy Blecher. I am a lifelong resident of Rockland with a wife and 2.4 kids. At least that’s what the census tells me! But that’s not all! I’m also a Network Engineer and Managing Partner of a local business named Backplane Technology Group. At Backplane Technology Group we help folks at home as well as in small offices around Rockland County with their computer and network issues. We provide engineer level service where the big companies don’t go. We’re here to help and empower. My hope is that this blog will help shed some light on common computer and network questions. Perhaps you’ll even find yourself a bit more savvy!
Andy Blecher, network engineer and managing partner of Rockland company Backplane Technology Group.
 

So, it’s time for an antivirus. Which one is right for me?

Well, like everything in life you’ll get a different answer from everyone you ask. Perhaps this blog will help you out a little.

I’ve seen many of the antivirus products out there. I’ve seen how they perform, under-perform, over-perform, perform when folks have installed multiple antivirus products… you get the picture.

Well, along with tightening up security on your web browsers and turning on your firewall – windows or otherwise – an antivirus should protect while still allowing your computer to function. In short, there’s protection and then there’s just plain paranoia.

Some antivirus products protect you so much that you can no longer access half the internet. And because it’s so busy overprotecting you everything you do takes longer. Sometimes programs no longer work and you can’t figure why. It’s one of the parts of the antivirus suite. I don’t find this productive. In fact, I find it downright annoying. In order to get some of these programs to work correctly half of the antivirus program has to be disabled. This is because they feel the need to be not just an antivirus but also a full spyware protector, identity protector, firewall, email protector, IM protector, etc… It’s just too much.

I generally find an antivirus that strikes a balance between performance and a little paranoia. At the moment, Avast seems to work really well even with all of its protections running. It’s a free download. Just register and you get a full year of updates. The only caveat is that it can get a little tricky trying to navigate away from them trying to sell their premium version. Just pay attention and you’ll be fine.

Microsoft Security Essentials is eh… It’s the built in antivirus for Windows 8.1 and now called Windows Defender. Malware seem to have an easy time disabling and mangling it. I wind up removing the mangled remnants of it from clients’ computers.

AVG I no longer recommend. I know folks will swear by it and that’s ok. If you’re happy with it, stay with it. For me, it’s unreliable. It doesn’t update when it’s supposed to. It also has a habit of getting mangled by malware. And it seems to use a lot of CPU resources. Oh, and you need a special AVG removal tool to remove it. Otherwise, you keep uninstalling it and it never uninstalls. Oh, that’s just loads of fun.

These three programs are all free.

So what about Norton? Well, Norton isn’t free. Kaspersky? Not free. And to some the prevailing wisdom is that if it’s free it can’t possibly be good. In this case, I will argue to the contrary.

Save yourself a little money and aggravation and try them out. See what works best for you.

At Backplane Technology Group we help folks at home as well as in small offices around Rockland County with their computer and network issues. We provide engineer level service where the big companies don’t go.

We’re here to help and empower.

Check out Backplane Technology Group at: http://backplanetechnologygroup.com