Ur Advice on Computer Security

“Ur Advice on Computer Security” was the subject line to an email I received this morning from a friend and it dawned on me that this would make for a good real world blog post to hopefully incite some response and advice from some of the professionals out there.

Need Ur Advice

The email conversation went like this:


Hi Rick,

I have been using McAfee software for security purposes for more than a year. Now, it is time to renew.  Do you think McAfee is a good protection?  What do you recommend?



Good Morning Friend,

If you go the subscription route, McAfee’s is excellent protection. There is also Norton (by Symantec) that is also by subscription.

There are numerous FREE options out there as well, that are not as resource hungry as the paid versions. For example, on my PC’s I use Microsoft Security Essentials. Then you will find the likes, such as AVG, Avast, Avira, etc…

Now something to point out here. If you decide to discontinue with the McAfee’s protection it is important that you get it completely uninstalled from your PC so that it does not conflict with whatever you end up going with. The typical uninstall process in Windows “will not” remove it. Many of the antivirus/anti-malware products actually have there own uninstallers that you have to download, but there is a utility that I have used numerous times that is engineered to specifically remove security software called AppRemover. You simply download it, run it, and follow the prompts.

Security software is one of the biggest rackets out there. No matter what you install or have in place, you are always at risk. In today’s world of the internet, most malware attacks are the result of clicking on what appears to be a legitimate web link to only find out it was a bad link. Once the trigger is pulled, there is no going back… It will unleash a stream of trojans that most of the time happens so quickly (and quietly) that the user does not even know it is happening until they start seeing false warnings on their PC that looks like real professional software. These trojans often will completely shutdown your security software and other security components on the PC; and bribe you for money.

In the end, if McAfee’s has worked for you and you are happy, then go for it.



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18 thoughts on “Ur Advice on Computer Security

Add yours

  1. Very nicely done article here Rick, and it’s an important topic – one in which I hope people will take a continuing interest in.

    Though there is no bullet-proof “set it and forget it” solution, In my experience, I have become far more comfortable in recommending a full “Internet security suite” (paid, subscription-based) to “average users”, and only recommend the (top rated, such as you have listed) “free” tools to more advanced & experienced “power users”.

    And, I feel compelled to add, IMHO the best “antivirus” is between the ears. I think people need to exercise a little “paranoid common sense” when online, and not click willy-nilly on any old, mildy interesting-looking thing they see.
    And, no – you do not need a “codec” to watch that.. ahem, interesting video.. that’s a virus.

    (True, only visiting “safe” sites does not prevent hacker attack [safe sites get ‘poisoned’].)


    1. TechPaul,

      The best “antivirus” is between the ears. You are dead on with this. I don’t care what level of protection you maintain, there always has be that level of common sense.

      As always, my friend, thank you for your professional advice and opinion.



  2. Yes you should use what has worked for you, but most people don’t realize what is or isn’t working. I generally have had bad experiences with McAfee and although I used Symantec Endpoint protection for a long time, I now recommend ESET Smart Security 4 to just about everybody. Sure if you want free and you have a windows 7 machine MSE will probably be fine (I use it on my win7 box and haven’t had any problems). XP on the other hand is not as robust when it comes to security.

    An on access scanner like ESET, and piece of software like WinPatrol Plus to monitor specific files like the hosts file and startup items, up to date patches, a in browser linkscanner like Web of Trust (mywot.com) and software like MalwareBytes AntiMalware (MBAM) for on demand scanning all combined should keep you pretty safe.

    Just my $0.02.


    1. Tom,

      Thank you for your input, expressing your experiences and mentioning the layers of protect that you use. Everyone of those security apps you reflected are excellent choices. As TechPaul indicated, and I was hoping this would come out; the best “antivirus” is between the ears.

      Again, Thank you for commenting.



  3. with my experience i never use Mcafee or Esset , i prefer to avira to protect my laptop . i feel comfortable with that antivirus it’s so care with my system , with always give me a sign and always delete my crack and keygen :damn: . But that make my computer so secure . do you have another opinion with avira ,, if yes tell me 😉


  4. My first AV was McAfee and it was infuriating when I tried to uninstall it. Even their support just gave me the runaround and tried to sell instead of helping me. If you censor this comment Rick I’ll understand. I know you know better.


    1. Pochp,

      Uninstalling security software without the proper tools can be a frustrating process and if not completely uninstalled can cause conflicts. Pochp, I will never censor any of your comments. You are a very respected member of the What’s On My PC family.



  5. Practicing safe browsing habits and web know-how will probably go further along than any bloatware-ish security suites that makes loading an old PC feel like climbing Mount Doom.

    For most of my friends machines, I usually just recommend the excellent and light-weight MSFT Security Essential and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (http://www.malwarebytes.org), thus far still one of the best anti-spyware/malware program, especially for some of the more modern, harder to get rid of malware.


    1. Dealzon,

      Welcome as a new member of the What’s On My PC Blogroll… I agree with you on aspects of your response. Malwarebytes Anti-malware is one of the best; if not the best!



      1. I forgot to mention – for those who do not recognize the name, Neil is a long-time reviewer at PC Magazine.

        Keep up the great stuff here Rick. You are a daily read of mine!


  6. Rick,

    I’ve been following the comments with some interest, since I was curious to see how the recommendation to spend money on a security application would be accepted.

    Tom’s observation “most people don’t realize what is or isn’t working”, couldn’t be more correct. Installing a complicated suite (bloatware), which an average user can’t begin to understand, is pointless – a waste of money.

    Better to install a lightweight product such as MS Security Essentials, along with a good heuristic application like Threatfire, and a good multipurpose tool like WinPatrol – all of which are free. Better yet, each of these applications is simple enough for an average user to understand.

    For an average user to rely on so called “unbiased testing” of commercial security applications by Neil Rebenking, or anyone else who writes for profit, is patently absurd. These test are anything but unbiased.

    As someone who watches a broad swath of independent testing laboratories, I can assure you – the results of these test go up and down like a toilet seat – often in less than 3 months. It’s important for users to understand that testing captures perceived performance as a “snapshot in time” – nothing more.

    A simple read of any security application market penetration report will show, not a single security application vendor has yet captured a significant share of the market despite (or, perhaps because of), overblown effectiveness claims. It seems that users just don’t buy the BS.

    Finally, the question is essentially redundant – the majority of malware makes its way onto a system by invitation. There isn’t a security product on the market which will override the lack of common sense.

    Ask any one of the hundreds of enterprises who have been penetrated (caused by careless employees), just in the last few months – enterprises which have installed security solutions that rival science fiction. In the end, a pointless endeavor, since no consideration was given to employee education.

    You can’t cure “stupid” – except through education.



    1. Bill,

      It is all about marketing and hype. Something that just came to mind here… Did you not at one time (or still do) have a test computer in place with no protection on it to see what would occur?



      1. Rick,

        Yes, I ran an Internet connected test computer for over two years without any protection. Following common sense protocols which I have long advocated, kept this machine free of infection.



  7. Hi,
    Seriously speaking i don’t like McAfee Software’s they are nothing but resource hoggers.
    My personal favorite is ESET, light on system.
    But at last it depends on the user which AV to choose and better choose AV which suites you and your habits.



    1. Nikhil,

      Thanks for your 2 cents on this well. We all have varied opinions on this topic; but one thing in common. I think we are demonstrating that it is important to have some type of protection and to use commons sense.

      Again, Thank you…



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