There are literally hundreds of antivirus and antispyware software products to choose from, and most of them, on their product description page, will tell you that they provide the “ultimate level of protection” for your computer. Do they?
Sadly, most of them don’t, so it calls for some very careful selection on your part to be sure that your computer is really protected. It pays to visit websites like AV Comparatives, Spyware Warrior, or Calendar of Updates to get some overview on the quality and effectiveness of specific products.
After doing our own research at these and other websites, plus or professional experience working with the different software programs for our customers, we can recommend the following with a high level of confidence. This is going to be a very short list, because we are trying to limit this selection to “the best of the best”.
Antivirus Software: Avast, Avira, Trend Micro, Kapersky. Antispywre: a-squared, Spyware Doctor, SuperAntiSpyware, Malwarebytes.
There is a way to use security software that will provide a far higher level of protection than any other method, and the rest of this article will be devoted to that. The combinations that we will show you here are examples of how to do this, not intended as an exhaustive list.
You can use one of the all-in-one packages, for “total internet security”, but there is a better way to ensure maximum levels of virus and malware protection. There are a few rules to be aware of, however.
Rule number one: Never try using two primary antivirus programs at the same time. For example, installing both Avast and Avira on your computer will probably crash the computer.
Rule number two: Never try using two antispyware programs that provide real-time protection at the same time. This can do serious damage to your operating system.
Rule number three: For the best protection possible, use a combination of antivirus plus antispyware software.
Several of the Antispyware programs now come with an antivirus component, which means they can remove and block spyware, malware, and viruses. The antispyware programs have always been designed to be compatible with antivirus programs. The beauty of this is that you can still combine these antispyware programs with your antivirus program, and they will run in a compatible manner.
For example, you can use both Avast antivirus and a-squared anti-malware with antivirus at the same time, with no harmful effects. A combination like this effectively gives you double the antivirus protection of any single program, no matter how good it is. Other examples: combine Avira with SuperAntiSpyware, Avast with Spyware Doctor, Malwarebytes with Avast, etc.
This simple method gives you a huge increase in the level of anti-malware and antivirus protection for your computer. Since both softwares use heuristics to trap unknown and suspicious files, your level of protection against unknown threats is also significantly greater.
You can actually get a decent level of real time protection for your computer by using a combination of the free versions, like Avast plus Spyware Doctor, or Avira plus Spyware Doctor, etc. The fact remains, however, that the paid, professional versions give you a far greater degree of real time protection than the free versions.
In our next article we will look at the basics of building a bullet-proof web browser.