There are dozens of Internet security software options and one would not be blamed for feeling intimidated by the sheer amount of options available. In an increasingly dangerous cyber world, Internet security has become big business. Many of the nouveau rich run Internet security companies.
In order to enjoy the best of the web, you need to be sure that you are protected on all fronts. Danger lurks in downloaded software, files, websites and storage media that may host malicious software. Linux users don’t have as much of a headache as Windows and MAC users do. This is because Linux distributions have security as their cornerstone. Unlike Windows which gives software programs full administrator rights, Linux distributions only provide low privilege access to programs and none at all within the entire system. So, this article is mainly targeted at Windows users and MAC to an extent.
When buying Internet security software, one of the considerations you have to make is whether to buy or use a free option.
Free Internet Security Software
Windows comes with security features out-of-the-box. For example, Windows Defender is installed on Windows version 8.1 and above. It replaced Windows Security Essentials and its work is to detect, block and remove malware. So, if you are running Windows 8.1 and above, you already have some good protection.
If you are running a Windows 7, a free antivirus program can provide basic Internet security. It is also possible to get the features provided by paid programs by combining different security programs. For example, you could install a free antivirus, a free anti spyware program and a free anti malware program provided you confirm they are all compatible and won’t cause any problems when installed together.
Some of the pros of free Internet security software include:
- The most obvious is that you don’t spend a single cent.
- You can try out a number of programs before settling on one.
The cons of free Internet security software include:
- You only get a basic level of security.
- Each program must be updated individually.
- Free antivirus programs can only be installed on one computer. You can’t install on a network or on more than one computer. So, each install has to be managed on its own.
Paid Internet Security Software
Paid Internet security software offers a wider range of protection over and above basic anti virus, anti spyware and anti malware protections. The cost depends on the number of devices you want to protect but usually in the range of $30 to $100 annually for one computer. You need to pay the subscription amount every time there is a new version release.
Some of the extra features offered by paid Internet security software include; backup and recovery, parental control and maintenance tools such as registry cleaning, speed optimization and removal of unused programs. Some companies also offer tech support to customers.
If you are interested in a specific feature, make sure you read the documentation carefully before committing to anything.
Some of the pros of paid Internet security software include:
- A comprehensive Internet security solution to protect your computer from most types of threats emanating from downloads, storage media and websites.
- It is possible to buy a multi-user license and install it on a network or group of computers.
- Access to updates on the latest threats.
Some of the cons include:
- You have to pay the subscription on annual basis. Hence, paid Internet security software becomes a fixed overhead.
- Some programs have the tendency to hog system memory and slow down your machine considerably. You must read the system requirements carefully and ensure your computer can handle the load before making a purchase.
Before installing any Internet security program, you may need to manually remove any older programs. This is because Internet security programs are configured to treat rival products as viruses and attempt to uninstall them. In some cases, this can cause a fatal system error. So make sure you uninstall any old programs first.
Also, there is a misconception by OSX users that only Windows users need antivirus programs. Nothing could be further from the truth, every operating system is vulnerable. The only difference is the size of the inherent risk. Windows has more users and a weaker architecture so naturally it attracts more attention from hackers. But, OSX users are also at risk because of the huge popularity of MACs. So an investment in Internet security software is definitely worth the cost and trouble.