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Monday, January 06, 2014

Is Your Security Software Up-To-Date and Truly Effective?

When your friends and family need a little computer help, are you the person they call? I'm definitely that person! Dave Altavilla wrote a piece for Forbes entitled Heads-Up: Your Malware Protection Could Be Out-Dated And Ineffective in which he explained he was "the guy" for his family and friends. He had taken good care of his families computers a year ago and was shocked when he revisited that the computers were loaded with viruses and malware. Why? Because the security software he had put on those computers was ineffective.

He cited a recent report from Dennis Technology Labs showing just how poorly some of the more popular choices had performed. Note that the link to the report is not working at the time I'm writing this, but I did go through the report before the link stopped working. Hopefully it is a temporary glitch and the link works for you. One of the charts from the Dennis Technology Labs report is shown below.

Virus Protection Rating Chart
It is good to see lots of green, a little bad to see yellow and really bad to see red. One of the more popular free choices has been Microsoft Security Essentials and it was only effective 45% of the time! And that was when it was completely updated with the latest malware signatures. There are many more charts and other valuable pieces of data in the report, but you can clearly see in this chart that the three packages shown on the left are the most effective.

This information is even more important if you continue to use Windows XP because it will be under full attack starting in April (2014) when Microsoft ends support. As of December 2012, Windows XP was on 28.98 percent of all (yes, that includes Macs and Linux) computers. If you are still using Windows XP, please read One More Reason To Leave Windows XP Soon and the linked articles. You can't wait any longer, you need to upgrade to a newer operating system immediately.

ZoneAlarm Security SuiteThose of you using security software that didn't do well in the Dennis Technology Labs testing should at the very least investigate other packages that perform better than what you are currently using. I've been a big fan of the ZoneAlarm Security Suite for the last ten years. The ZoneAlarm firewall has always been rated as one of the best and their suite uses the Kaspersky anti-virus engine (which blocked 99+% in the Dennis Technology Labs testing). Thanks to this protection, I've never had a computer infected.

If you are going to make a switch, I think you'll find the peace of mind delivered by the ZoneAlarm Security Suite to be well worth the cost. Of course you can continue using what you've got and take the risk of getting infected. How much will it cost in time and money to rid yourself of an infection?

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