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Getting Vaccinated: Antivirus Software
There’s no substitute for effective antivirus software if you use your computer
the way most people do today. Most antivirus programs automatically
connect to Outlook, scan incoming message for viruses, and automatically block
any message that might be infected.
The tricky thing about antivirus software is that there are fake antivirus
programs out there that pretend to protect you, but actually act as viruses
themselves, inflicting your machine with alarms and annoyances and forcing you to
buy “updates” that only make the problem worse.
If you don’t keep up with the latest developments in antivirus software, your
best bet is to buy a well-known brand of antivirus software at your favorite
computer store and install it as soon as you can. Some computers come
with antivirus software, but those packages sometimes want you to buy
annual updates. If the software is Norton Antivirus from Symantec, McAfee
VirusScan, or Kaspersky Internet Security, you know they’re legitimate and
you’ll do well to buy the updates. You can also go to an antivirus software
manufacturer’s website and buy a downloadable version. The sites for the
products I just mentioned follow:
Norton Antivirus at www.symantec.com
McAfee VirusScan at www.mcafee.com
Kaspersky Internet Security at www.kaspersky.com
You can get legitimate antivirus titles for free. Microsoft offers a free
antivirus program called Microsoft Security Essentials ( www.microsoft.com/
security_essentials ), which I haven’t tested extensively, but it looks
good and heaven knows the price is right. I’ve relied on a free antivirus
program called AVG ( http://free.avg.com ) for many years, and I’ve
found it effective.
Bear in mind, however, that if you rely on free antivirus software, you’ll have
nobody to call when something goes wrong, and antivirus software matters
most when something goes wrong. If you’re not comfortable dealing with
geeky details yourself, the for-fee antivirus programs are worth what you pay.
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