Windows Antivirus/Internet Security

Norton used to do a good job but slow your system down a bunch. They worked on performance lately, however, it 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
ClamWin
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:
a) Erin’s work laptop (and mine, if I bring it home) has something corporate on it, so that doesn’t count
b) Nothing “mission critical” is on a Windows PC for us, so there’s less risk
c) 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
d) 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
e) I’m smart about the things I open (files sent from others via Email, weird websites, etc.)

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

ClamWin: http://www.clamwin.com/

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…):

  1. Erin’s work laptop (and mine, if I bring it home) has something corporate on it, so that doesn’t count.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. I’m smart about the things I open (files sent from others via Email, weird websites, etc.)
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    Author: Kevan

    Director, Technology at Capital One Labs. Married to Erin, with two sons, Cooper and Fletcher. We live in Arlington, VA, USA.

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