There are so many good antivirus applications on the internet, there is no "absolute best, hands-down, golden standard" application for virus or spyware removal. They are like cars. They all get you places (remove viruses), it's just that some look different and have certain features that others don't. The exact appliations you choose comes down to personal preference. You may find a certain lightweight anti-virus application to work well on your less powerful computer, or you may like the layout of an anti-spyware enough that you choose to use it. The detection difference between the below applications is for the most part insignificant.
Nomatter what anti-virus application you use, you can still be infected if you do not follow the following points:
1. You behavior while online is your first and best defense against malware. While antivirus software is complex, malicious programs (malware) are created every day before antivirus applications have time to update to block that vulnerability, leaving the antivirus software useless. There are few security tips to follow while online; if these are followed, coupled with an antivirus application, your chances of being infected are next to none.
Adapted from Leo Laporte's Five Things To Do To Protect Yourself:
- Don't Open E-mail Attachments Even if an attachment looks like it's from a friend, don't open it, it could have been sent from a hacker and have a virus in it. Ask the sender if they really sent the attachment before opening it.
- Don't Click Links In E-mail Never click links in e-mail, type the address into your browser by hand. Since you can name links different than what they actually are (like this: http://www.google.com) and since links may look like they go somewhere they don't (like http://[email protected]/ may look like it goes to Google, but it truly goes to example.com).
- Don't Download Files From Places You Don't Know Are Safe / Don't Use BitTorrent or P2P Apps When you are downloading files, especially applications and .exe files, stick to the big sites. CNET, SourceForge, Microsoft, Apple, etc. Chances are, you can find that application on a large site. If you must download files from a smaller or less reputable site, scan it with your antivirus software right after you download it. BitTorrent and other P2P (person to person, a way of transmitting data) application may look great, but it can take only minutes using one to be infected. They often entice you with free music or software, but along with them are viruses.
- Update, Update, Update! Microsoft, Apple, and Linux development teams are always finding new holes in their operating systems then creating fixes, or patches, for them. To receive these patches, you should have the automatic update feature on and manually check every few days.
- Get a Firewall It is critical to have a firewall of some sort running while online, they block attacks on your computer. Routers are great hardware firewalls, since they block attacks before they reach your computer, cannot be disabled by viruses, and apply to any computer connected to that router -- it blocks attacks for more than just one machine. You should also run the simple built-in firewall on your operating system.
2. Only use one anti-virus application at a time. Running more than one anti-virus application with real-time protection at the same time can cause conflicts and make you vulnerable. It is, however, safe and a very good idea to scan with more than one anti-virus application.
3. Only use well known applications, like the ones on this list, because of the prevalence of rogue anti-malware applications.
4. If you believe you are infected, do not attempt to remove it with an anti-virus application, go to the Malware Removal forum and post an HJT log, noting any strange behavior you have seen.
5. Ensure your anti-virus application is set to update constantly, and once-in-a-while check to make sure it does update. Additionally, do not ignore warnings that are given to you by your security and anti-malware applications.
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