At work recently we were getting clobbered by some nasty virus or other (there are so many I cant even remember the name), and all attempts at cleanup using Norton Anti Virus were not getting us very far. In a desperate attempt we tried a demo version of McAfee Virus Scan and came up with some surprising results.
On average McAfee Virus Scan found approximately 10-12 more items on each computer than Norton Anti Virus did. One machine came in with 220 items of Mal-ware, Ad-ware, Spy-ware and virus that Norton Anti Virus had simply never picked up. The most scary thing was the discovery of a virus that specifically targets Norton Anti Virus. This one gets into the system and disables the update and scanning protection that Norton Anti Virus offers. Another point that arose was the amount of pressure the programs put on the computer. McAfee Virus Scan is much lighter than its competitor and thus lets your computer breathe much easier – allowing it to handle other tasks more efficiently while it protects you in the background. So what do you really need to protect you standard Windows PC? Well, since being a Symantec advocate for many years, I have been converted. I run Windows XP, so this all depends on your operating system and your particular machine, but here is my cheap, clean PC toolkit that I recommend to anyone with a Windows PC:
- Anti Virus Software: McAfee Virus Scan about £35 or $90
- Firewall: Zone Labs Zone Alarm FREE! or the Pro Version about £26 or $60
- Anti Spy-ware: Microsoft Anti Spy-ware FREE!
- Anti Spy-ware: Lavasoft Ad-Aware FREE!
So now you have the tools, what do you do with them? Make sure you have McAfee and Zone Alarm running at all times, and even with Windows XP and its new firewall, I recommend having Zone Alarm as well, in fact if you are on broadband this is simply not an option – make sure you run both.
Run the Anti Spy-ware programs once a month at least – there’s no need to be too anal and particular, but four weeks is a good time frame. Also ensure that your Anti-Virus is being updated automatically when you are on-line – McAfee has this facility and its on as default – so you shouldn’t need to worry. Stay safe and don’t let the bugs bite!