Should You Pay for Anti-Malware Programs?

A LockerGnome community member writes:

Considering that I could use every one on Earth and still be infected, should I pay for anti-malware programs? I was told that certain ones are updated every day or several times a day, but this wasn’t the case for McAfee.

virusPaying for software that safeguards your system against viruses, spyware, and/or malware has long been a double-edged sword. On one hand, you’re getting a guarantee of at least some level of protection against malicious scripting. On the other, you’re paying for something that still doesn’t absolutely protect you from these things. Norton and McAfee can only detect software that’s already been discovered in the wild. It can’t defend you against something that just came out or exploits a hole in the programs themselves.

There are plenty of free applications out there that do a more than reasonable job of defending your system. Windows Defender works very well at protecting your system from spyware and other malicious scripting and it costs nothing at all. If you have one of the latest versions of Windows, it’s already installed.

Many of the anti-malware programs you see advertised while surfing the Web are actually not very good at all. Some of them are malicious in and of themselves, and these clever evildoers are finding more and more ways to get people to install bad code on their machines. Stick with brand names you know, like Microsoft. Microsoft has a vested interest in seeing its operating system free of viruses and spyware. Windows has long had a reputation for being a hotbed of malicious scripting, and that reputation is quickly fading away thanks to Windows Defender and other programs supported by Microsoft doing a pretty decent job of keeping systems secure.

Should you pay for anti-malware? How much is your peace of mind worth? Do you trust Norton, McAfee, or one of these other companies so much more than any other that you’d be willing to pay for these services? Are there value-adds in paid versions of the software that make this upgrade a benefit to you? If so, then absolutely.

If you’re just worried about defending your system from malicious code, then you’re probably best served with a free solution from Microsoft, AVG, or even one of the free versions offered by Norton, McAfee, or one of any number of quality protective software makers out there.

The best anti-malware tool out there is free. It’s the setting of good usage habits to avoid malicious software and potential threats to your system’s integrity. Don’t visit sites that you don’t trust or at least recognize. Piracy sites are especially filled with malicious code either on the sites themselves or embedded within downloaded materials. Malware developers are clever, and they’ll do whatever it takes to get their code on your system.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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Chris has consistently expressed his convictions and visions outright, supplying practical information to targeted audiences: media agencies, business owners, technology consumers, software and hardware professionals, et al. He remains a passionate personality in the tech community-at-large. He's a geek.