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Thursday January 20th 2022

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Q&A Monday: To Anti-Virus or Not to Anti-Virus, that is the question!

Question:

I will be in the process of renewing my AntiVirus software at the end of this month, I’m currently using Norton, should I stay with them or should I go to another software company for my AntiVirus?

Marcela Nowicki
Canyonville, OR


Answer:

I love this question, for the fact that no matter how I answer it, in some people’s eyes I’ll be wrong. To be honest, there is no “correct” answer to this. The first piece of advice that I can give you, is if you want to stay with Norton, see what the renewal price will be versus what the price of buying a new subscription would be, sometimes you can save money that way, where the renewal price is higher…but it’s easier, so most people pay it. Also, determine if you were happy with the software and all the bells and whistles they come with nowadays.

I covered a story on my podcast where Norton360 (not sure if that’s the one you had), came with a Cryptominer built into the application, but since then another application Avira added it to their Anti-Virus as well. So it looks like most likely that will come to most Anti-Virus applications soon, and it’s said to be Opt-In, but I’ve spent more time getting rid of Cryptominers, than wanting to have it installed into my application….even if it’s “opt-in”

Here’s where I really make other professionals mad, I’ve had a love/hate for anti-virus since Windows 7 and even more so in the Windows 10 environment. Anti-Virus companies have spent time trying to work with Microsoft on getting their products to work nicely with Windows updates. Microsoft adds new security features, that if your Anti-Virus program isn’t on top of, you can cause problems with your computer in general, up to making it impossible for your computer to boot up. So in all honesty, I recommend to my friends, that we re-think the strategy of anti-virus. I have settled on using the built-in Windows Defender on my computer.

This is where a lot of professionals scoff, Windows Defender is built into the Windows operating system and they’d rather have a third party monitor the system…and that’s fine. Yet Defender being a Microsoft product means way less likely to cause any problems when compared to any third party, and it’s come a long way since its inception.

I would much rather have people use the free one built into Windows 7, 10, and 11, avoid the bloatware that comes from other Anti-Virus products, and be smarter with their online usage. Use a password manager to secure your online identities, back-up your important data (online and offline), create a spam email address that you sign up for things on, but keep your personal email separate, and keep your applications updated.

No program, Windows Defender, Norton, Avast, etc will keep you perfectly safe online. Your actions can help, but not eliminate the issue. I prefer you keep your applications updated to protect yourself over anything else. It’s why I’ll get hate from this…but Microsoft gives you that ability to keep updated while minimizing any issues that you may have.

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