We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

What is the Best Type of Virus Protection?

By M.R. Anglin
Updated: May 17, 2024

Many computers are vulnerable to various types of harmful software such as viruses, Trojans, and worms — collectively called malware. Having virus protection on a system is important to help protect data. As with most things, the best virus protection is prevention; an anti-malware program that will stop malware before it can get on your system. Possibly the most well known type of virus protection is an anti-virus software. However, it is also important to have an anti-spyware and a firewall installed and active on the system.

When looking for virus protection, consider first an anti-virus program. The important options for an anti-virus program are real time or on-access scanning, the ability to schedule a scan on a regular basis, and automatic e-mail scanning. It is also important to find an anti-virus that is easy to use and install, that is effective in both detecting and cleaning viruses, that will give you easy to understand notices of found viruses and what the program has done with it, and has good customer support. It is also necessary for the updating process to be easy so that the user can keep the software regularly updated. The scanning process should also be fast so the user does not get tempted to pause or stop the scan.

Firewalls are also important in keeping malicious objects off a computer. A firewall is a program that examines all messages going to and from the system and blocks those that do not meet certain criteria. This can stop malware from getting on to the system. A firewall does not, however, detect malware that has made its way onto the computer so regular anti-virus scanning is a must. Most computers will come with a firewall installed, but it is up to the user to make sure it is up and running.

Some users may find themselves being bombarded by pop-ups that are designed to sell them something. These pop-ups are types of spyware. Spyware can also steal personal information and change the computer’s configuration without the user’s knowledge. The solution to this is an anti-spyware program. A good anti-spyware will not only detect and remove spyware from the system but will also keep spyware off the system in the first place.

Those looking to protect their computers from viruses may find themselves tricked into buying fake virus protection. Such programs, called rogue anti-viruses, can be programmed to look just like legitimate anti-virus software. They often pop up when a user is on the internet and claim that the system is infected when, in fact, it may not be. If the user downloads the rogue software, it can cause problems on the system, including tricking the user into buying fake software, stealing information, corrupting files, disabling real computer and anti-virus updates, and stopping the user from visiting a real anti-virus website. Proper virus protection, coupled with knowledge of how these rogue anti-viruses work, will prevent users from succumbing to these attacks.

Of course, knowledge is the best form of virus protection. If an unknown — meaning that the user did not install it — virus protection window pops up claiming that the computer is at risk go to a trusted anti-virus scanner to check it out. It is wise to have an updated, running virus scanner on the system, but there are also good online virus scanners available. Viruses can also be stopped if the user does not click on any unexpected links—even if it looks like it is being sent by a person the user knows--before asking the sender if he or she sent it. Lastly, always try to download software straight from the publisher to ensure that the software is legitimate and not a virus.

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.
Discussion Comments
By everetra — On May 13, 2011

Whenever I see one of those anti-virus popup ads, I don’t click on any of the buttons. I think no matter what you click on, it will redirect you to the virus site and install that junk on your computer. Instead, I do a ctrl-alt-del to bring up Task Manager, and then manually kill the application from the list of processes. This will stop the programming from running. I then run anti virus protection or malware removal software to make sure that malicious program is removed from my computer.

By Charred — On May 11, 2011

@David09 - I don't know if you paid for your software, but you can get some free virus protection software on the Internet. AVG and Comodo Internet Security are just some of the names that come to mind. Some of the commercial packages have free or "lite" versions. You can also get trial virus protection software as well.

By MrMoody — On May 10, 2011

David09 - That’s good advice. You should also consider using anti-malware programs and programs which will scan your registry to see if there are any corrupted entries made by the viruses.

By David09 — On May 07, 2011

I recently downloaded some Windows virus protection software and overall it worked fine. However, the next day I got an alert that some Trojan virus had been spotted on my computer. Well, I ran the virus protection and it removed it. The next thing I know, however, was that I couldn’t connect to the Internet. I didn’t know if the two situations were directly related—I thought maybe my Internet service provider had some outages. I fought that thing for several hours, resetting my cable modem, rebooting my computer, everything I could think of.

Finally I called the Internet provider and they did a walkthrough. They said they could see my modem on the network and that I was getting the signal fine. Then they asked me to go to Internet Explorer and look for LAN settings, and see if proxy server was selected. It was. They told me to de-select it. The Internet worked fine after that.

So this is just a word of warning to you guys. There are some viruses out there whose sole purpose is to turn on your proxy server. That will disable your Internet connection (I don’t even know what a proxy server is). Check that first if you have connectivity issues, deselect it if it’s checked, and you should be good to go.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.