A friend asked if I had any input on Windows Antivirus Software, or Internet Security in general. I fired off this email in response.
Norton used to do a good job but would slow your system down a bunch. They have worked on performance lately - however, the whole antivirus industry is kind of like a protection racket - you always have to be up to date and paying the policeman.
Two free ones that do a very good job that a lot of people recommend:
AVG Free: http://free.avg.com/us-en/homepage
Some people run them together, some just run one.
That said, I don't run security/anti-virus on any of the Windows machines at our house (and I'm probably tempting the fates just by revealing this, but...):
- Erin's work laptop (and mine, if I bring it home) has something corporate on it, so that doesn't count.
- Nothing "mission critical" is on a Windows PC for us, so there's less risk - I also don't ever "browse" on a Windows machine at our house.
- Just having the computers behind the FIOS router, assuming you didn't go in and open it up wide (it comes fairly protected by default) gives you a lot of protection against external attacks.
- I don't use Internet Explorer unless I absolutely have to (for example, State Farm's website used to only work on IE) - Google Chrome or Firefox, kept up to date, provides a ton of security re: Internet attacks.
- I'm smart about the things I open (files sent from others via Email, weird websites, etc.)