If there’s one area where people should be willing to splurge, it’s anti-virus software. Most companies, like McAfee, charge for a whole year of protection, which includes updates. Since even anti-virus protection from reputable companies isn’t 100% guaranteed, why would anyone want to stack the deck against himself by skimping on anti-virus protection?
Some people can’t afford to pay McAfee or Symantec for anti-virus protection. The free software is the best they can do. But that’s probably not true for most. Most people who use free anti-virus software want to save money. So, they decide to go with free anti-virus software because they believe it will provide them with enough protection. It won’t. Using free anti-virus software is like going out into the rain and using an umbrella with holes in it. Free anti-virus software companies can’t keep up with all the new viruses, malware, etc. that’s coming out. In order to do that, they would have to stop offering the software for free. So, it’s impossible for users to be as well protected as those who buy security software from reputable companies. But there’s another, more serious danger.
Sometimes free anti-virus software contains the very viruses it claims to guard against. And make no mistake, malware and viruses can not only wreak havoc on a person’s computer, but they can also end up costing her a lot of money. Malware can lead to corrupted files, crashed hard drives or, worse, identity theft. So, in the long run, it just doesn’t pay to take a chance on free anti-virus software.
Some ways to tell if a computer is infected are:
- If popups suddenly appear on the computer
- If the system becomes sluggish or often crashes
- If unfamiliar files show up on the computer
- If the computer suddenly has little or no hard drive space or memory
- If the Internet browser goes to certain pages or the home page changes
Sadly, if the free anti-virus software is legitimate, it won’t take effect until after a computer has been infected. And how much damage could have been done by that time?
Free anti-virus software doesn’t come with any type of firewall protection. That has to be installed separately. This can be a time consuming process, especially for someone who’s not computer savvy. If there’s a compatibility issue with the firewall protection, then the whole process has to begin again. So, although the anti-virus software didn’t cost anything financially, it cost a lot in time and frustration.
Sometimes, the offer of free anti-virus software is just a marketing ploy. Once the customer installs the free software, he’s inundated with popups warning him that he’s not fully protected and must buy the “complete” version of the software for full protection. This is not the same as the free scans or free trials offered by companies like McAfee or Symantec.
With all the threats on the Internet these days, choosing to save money by using free anti-virus software seems counterintuitive, especially for people who use their computers for business.
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