How do I REALLY keep my computer safe?

By needhelpinnz
Dec 31, 2008
  1. Free vs costly. Old reliable vs new experimental. Several different programs vs one do-it-all wonder.

    I've read lots of different articles online and wanted to hear some opinions on how best to keep my computer safe. From what I think I know, you need 3 different tasks to be accomplished:
    1) anti-virus program to make sure don't get one and if you do that it can be taken care of
    2) firewall to keep the bad guys out of your computer and make sure only the programs you want to have internet access have it
    3) anti-spyware/spam to take care of all the little stuff that the anti-virus program doesn't get

    Please, correct me anywhere I'm wrong or missing part of the picture. I myself have felt free can be just as good as programs that are paid for. I for several years have used:
    1) Symantec AV Corporate Edition (free from my college)
    2) Zonealarm
    3) Spybot and Ad-Aware

    I've never had any serious issues. But I frequently run into family members who have the McAfee all-in-one installed that came free with their ISP, or something similar. They ask but I'm never sure, is that better than my setup, and if it is better, in what sense?

    I also know that Symantec AV constantly runs a system scan in the background taking up huge amounts of memory. Are most AV programs like this, and does it really help?

    Lots of questions I know but if you can help answer even one, I thank you.
  2. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,653   +6

    Never, in my opinion;

    Store any password on your computer.

    Expect any product to keep your computer 'clean'.

    Let anyone use your computer for any purpose unless you supervise them THE WHOLE TIME.

    Run without Firewall, AV and AM protection.

    Use your computer for banking/buying unless you have just run ALL your AV and AM and have deleted ALL internet temp files.
  3. Drowsiness

    Drowsiness TS Rookie Posts: 41

    McAfee and Norton, if you do your research, are just terrible pieces of bloatware which do, in fact, miss a lot of bad things.

    Just saying.

    There ARE better alternatives, like NOD32 (as long as it isn't 3.0) and Avira AntiVir or even Avast!.

    As far as ZoneAlarm goes... if you aren't using the premium version, you REALLY have nothing but an extremely basic firewall with little leak protection. It's just not as good as it once was, so I would look for something better like Online Armor or the like, heck, even Comodo Pro, which is completely free to use, but a little noisy.

    Spybot I somewhat like. Ad-Aware, not so much. I prefer Malwarebytes and SuperAntiSpyware to be honest.
  4. Darthvader101

    Darthvader101 TS Rookie

    Be careful what you use. I would recommend spybot.
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