You get what you pay for.
At Need A Nerd we are often asked about the effectiveness of free antivirus and anti-malware software, it's as if people are all too aware that using free antivirus software may not be prudent.
Catherine Lang, of Hamilton, pays for a subscription to use Norton's antivirus protection on her computer. She wants to know if she could save some money by using one of the free antivirus products.
You may notice that most free antivirus software is supplied by companies that have a paid, commercial antivirus offering. You see, it's all part of their marketing strategy, utilising a tactic not too dissimilar to the old “bait-and-switch”.
The goal of the bait-and-switch is to persuade buyers to purchase substitute goods as a means of avoiding disappointment over not getting the bait. In many cases, the functionality of free antivirus software is intentionally reduced so that at some predetermined point after the software installation, the vendor attempts to persuade the user to switch, or euphemistically upgrade to the commercial version.
Why is running free antivirus software a poor decision? Because you should have a comprehensive, proactive antivirus and antispyware solution installed on your computer. Free programs are a good start, but do not provide you with proactive protection from viruses or spyware. They will allow you to scan for problems and remove them, but by then it may be too late.
I recommend ESET NOD32 and Smart Security, see nod32.co.nz. ESET's products have performed very well in independent testing and have a proven history of success. The company's products are also designed and tested on older computers and frequently do not affect the speed or performance of the computer.
David Hallett is the Chief Nerd of Need A Nerd in the Waikato. Need A Nerd can be reached on 0800 633 326 (NEED A NERD). To ask a question email firstname.lastname@example.org and be in with a chance to win Norton 360 Version 6 by Symantec ($129 for three PCs).
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