Finding the Balance
When you shop, do you always seek a bargain? Do you buy only the cheapest products, regardless of quality? Or do you seek a balance between price and quality? Most of us try to weigh the options and find that harmony between a good price and decent features. We learn over time what items we can skimp on and which ones require a higher investment. For example: You may find that you have no need for a full featured smartphone, so you opt for one that costs less, yet offers all of the options you need; Later, when purchasing a computer, you may decide that you want to spend a little more to ensure that you are getting a high quality, dependable device.
When you do decide to sink a little extra money into something, you generally make sure you take good care of it. The iPad gets a nice case; the iPhone has a screen protector; the laptop is locked safely in your trunk when you aren’t carrying it; the desktop computer is in a place where it is less likely to get bumped or knocked over. It makes sense. You want to protect your investment. But here’s the thing: You have to protect it from all kinds of damage… not just external scratches and dents.
Inside and Out
The biggest threat to your new computer is from the inside. Not necessarily the actual inner components, but the external hazards that are trying to attack the internal parts. Knowing that hackers are out there sending viruses into the world and attempting to hijack your personal information should be motivation enough for you to start looking for protection before you even throw away the box from the computer.
Shopping for antivirus software is something few people enjoy. Nearly every computer comes with a trial of one to three months of free protection, so many of us decide to delay the decision to research antivirus software until we begin to get warnings that expiration is imminent. That’s also about the time friends, coworkers, and email spammers start to bombard you with advice about how you have to shop around because everything you really need to protect your computer is free. And free sounds good. Until you find out that you get what you pay for.
Free Is No Bargain
No matter what anyone tells you, free antivirus software will NOT protect you as well as the software programs you purchase. Before you start quoting what your cousin or neighbor or some anonymous poster on WikiAnswers told you, just think. There are viruses, worms, spyware programs, and more malware permutations every day. Free programs simply do not have the resources to keep you protected against each new evolution of whatever Trojan worm is currently barreling through the Internet toward your computer.
What’s the Diff?
Aside from keeping up to date with the latest malicious software, a full antivirus program will also protect your computer from spyware and rootkits. Spyware and rootkits frequently hide viruses and other malware as they do their damage. Many also provide spam blocking and can scan email and instant messaging programs for threats. Perhaps the most obvious and necessary difference is technical support. Free programs do not offer full service tech support and as anyone who has used any type of software knows, this can be very important.
To Pay or Not to Pay
Most Antivirus programs are a small investment, especially when compared to the cost of computer repair. So, when someone asks you, “Does paying for an antivirus software program make it any better than using a free one?” the correct answer is, “Yes.”