Every computer comes out of the package with a virus protection program. Usually, this is McAfee or something similar. Which works well enough, but most people will agree it isn’t the best protection you can have. Dissenters might even compare the way it works to malware itself, and the real features only come with the pro version you have to pay for.

While you can go with McAfee or other paid computer security software if you want, there are plenty of fantastic, regularly updated free ones out there, as well. These are my personal picks, including what I use for my own computer.

Microsoft Security Essentials

Those who have a valid version of Windows can use Microsoft Security Essentials for free. Not only will this block viruses and trojans, but it will alert you whenever there is mysterious activity before it infects your files. You can then select to have whatever it is removed, or authorize it if the threat has been mistakenly triggered.

AVG

Protect your computer from malware like viruses, trojans and spyware, all while running a more efficient operating system and enjoying a faster startup. AVG does all those things, and is a great supplemental program to have around. I use it myself, along with Microsoft Security Essentials.

Spybot S&D

This one is a bit older, and not as many people use it now as they used to. But if your primary concern is spyware from downloaded files and pop-ups, it works wonders. It does also have a virus protection feature, though you have to regularly update the definitions for current virus threats, and immunize your system.

Avast 2013

One of the oldest security programs around, users still swear by Avast after 25 years of service. While this is mostly a basic software like you would find with any other, it does have one unique quality. The company offers remote assistance if something happens, so they will access your system and help you to track down the malware affecting your computer. That is for their free service, which is a pretty sweet perk

Browser Guard

Trend Micro has always created some interesting and helpful programs in the past. This one is going to be more important than most thanks to the recently discovered vulnerabilities and malicious coding found in Java. It protects your browser, automatically updating so it is current on all threats. You should download this one in addition to regular anti-malware programs, in order to have a browser specific defense while online.

Conclusion

When it comes to protecting your computer, you have a multitude of effective and free options at your disposal. All of those above are just a small sampling, but a decent place to start.

Always make sure you have at least one computer security program installed, and in most cases I would recommend two. Especially if you make purchases or sign into a financial account through your computer (who doesn’t?).

Remember, these programs are what stand between you and the criminals online. Don’t take it lightly.

 



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