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jax200

Antivirus software

Question

How can one assess how effective an antivirus software is, if at all? Are there "test viruses" that one can use to evaluate the robustness of protection of your PC?

Also, is there any evidence that some combination of software protection software is better than having just one alone?

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As far as testing, found an article on PC Mag, looks pretty thorough in my honest opinion. Not sure of the specific tests they ran, but they've included the results. I'd take everything you read there with a grain a salt, including the comments to the article.

Personally, I've never spent a dime on antivirus software. I've always believed if you're smart in regards to your computer's safety, you'll do just fine. Make sure critical accounts and information of yours is protected by strong passwords. Don't visit questionable websites, download questionable files, or respond to questionable emails. Always be extra cautious if you're being asked for personal information. If you feel the need to actually spend money for antivirus software, then go ahead. If this is for a business of yours, or your information is worth millions of dollars, then it's probably worth investing in a strong antivirus.

Typically for antivirus software what I've heard is you usually only want one on a machine for the simple fact that if you have anything over one, then the programs will conflict each other. In other words, one will think another is a virus. I guess you could always add exceptions so perhaps that doesn't happen, but then you also can run into them being resource hogs.

I've never had any known problems with viruses of my 10 years with computers. I used to use a free version of Symantec distributed by my university. I currently use Microsoft Security Essentials just because its more user friendly.

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I agree with what jshepp said, that if you are extremely careful you really don’t need one. However, most people download something at some point or go to a questionable site. A questionable site could be something as simple as searching for a deal on something you want to buy and you click on a search result link from the listed results. I think most people who have the Internet do something similar to this at some point.

I have used a number of software over the years, from AVG, Norton, Kaspersky, and several others. I think Norton is the best in my opinion. They all do have their advantages and disadvantages over the other, but it seems Norton has worked the best.

As jshepp said, running multiple antivirus software at the same time on the computer will cause issues with the other. What I do is run Norton 360 in the background all the time on my computer, this is the paid for version, has firewall and virus protection. I do have a router as well for a firewall, but it doesn’t hurt to have both a hardware and a software firewall. Then I also have “Ad-Aware Antivirus”, this used to be called Lavasoft and it is free. I also have “Spybot – Search & Destroy” installed, which is also free. I don’t run the free ones all the time. What I do is once a month I scan my computer with Norton. Once that is done I then scan it with Ad-Aware, and then once that is done I scan it with Spybot. The combination of these three work really well. You can scan your computer more often, such as once a week if you feel the need. I usually scan before I pay for something or pay my credit card bills.

I hope this helps and if it does please vote this answer up.

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