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How do I Choose the Best Computer Security Software?

By Jennifer Voight
Updated May 17, 2024
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The best computer security software choice depends on the purchaser’s individual situation and computer usage habits. A large company network with hundreds of users will have vastly different computer security requirements than an individual computer user who pays bills online. A business may have to purchase a security suite that includes several types of protection in one product. These often include anti-virus software, spyware detection and removal, and sometimes file backup. Individuals may be able to find adequate free software and install several stand-alone modules.

There are several well-known and highly respected companies that make computer security software at both the individual consumer and corporate user levels. Some have complete suites, while others have stand-alone modules that can be downloaded, often for free. These may include virus and spyware protection along with extras like e-mail virus scanning software or parental controls.

Individual consumers should consult reviews on internet websites and in computer magazines to determine how well computer security software has worked for others. There are many websites and forums with discussions about the best ways to protect computers. These will usually have a link to the company’s website and a link to download the software if it is free. To have complete protection, a consumer may need to download several different types of software, like an anti-virus tool, spyware protection, and firewall.

When using multiple products, it’s important to be careful that the products are not working against each other. Sometimes different computer security programs will recognize each other as a threat and disable the software. This is becoming less of a problem, however, as newer versions of computer security programs are able to recognize each other as safe.

One consideration with computer security software is to evaluate how much memory the program uses. If the software takes up a lot of memory, it could slow the computer down significantly. This makes it an undesirable choice no matter how well the computer security software protects.

A person should never click on an alert that pops up unexpectedly when using the internet. These pop-ups may warn the computer user that a threat has been detected and ask for permission to remove the threat. Windows like these should be closed immediately. These are usually viruses masquerading as legitimate anti-virus programs. They will lure a person into purchasing a program that doesn’t exist and will infect the computer with one or more harmful viruses that can be very difficult to remove.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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