PC security for the new user

Padlock

I’ve always been a believer that new computer users should get themselves a good manual or enrol on a course – just ask the resident family “computer expert” how many times they’ve had to bail out a family member who’s badly infected their PC through not knowing what they were doing – “But it said I’d won an iPod?”.

And forums, often providing a a potential solution to the c0mputer user having problems, can just makes worse. On one such forum, it is often visited by professional and amateurs alike. One of their most striking (and annoying to me) recommendations is for people to ditch commercial anti-virus products for the free equivalents and to generally make the amateur PC user feel worried that their security is at constant risk.

Lets cover that anti-virus recommendation first of all. It’s rubbish. The free equivalents are not as good as the full price equivalents – if you can afford the commercial version, buy it. The free one should be reserved for those poor enough that they can’t afford anything else.

And making them feel paranoid about security means that many talk about turning off cookies and JavaScript, expecting either to be introducing vulnerabilities to their computer. And the result? Well, one user had problems after installing the latest updates to Firefox. In their response they said…

I try very hard to follow advice on this board so far as anti-virus and stuff goes. Norton and McAfee are no-nos.

I run SuperAntiSpyware, Malwarebytes, Security essentials, CrapCleaner, Spyware Blaster and Sunbelt personal firewall.

So, Norton and McAfee are “no-nos”. Great.

And, then, look at that list of software – yep, they’re running a full security program (Microsoft Security Essentials) along with an additional firewall (Sunbelt Personal Firewall) and 3 additional Antispyware products. Wow. But, hey, they’re all free.

And it took a few replies before anybody suggested that maybe, just maybe, it was this combination of clashing software that might have been causing the Firefox problems (which they promptly rejected, uninstalled Firefox, installed Opera and then complained that didn’t work either).

My recommendation – one, commercial, complete security solution (spyware, anti-virus, firewall). Don’t listen to those who say “Don’t buy Norton, your system will grind to a halt”. Yep, old message – the latest versions are much better at keeping resources low.

In fact, Norton Internet Security 2010 is the package I’d recommend. You can get a 1 PC licence for under £11 and £28 for user on 3 computers – hardly a bank  breaker.

David Artiss

David is the owner and main author of this website. Working as an IT Professional for 25 years and programming for far longer, he is a self-confessed geek and gadget fan. Overweight, glasses wearing and having a deep interest in science fiction and comic book heroes, he doesn't avoid the stereotype.

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