Do you ever wonder whether it is safe to download items off the Net? I know that I am asked that question several times a month. The fact is, that it depends, like most solutions. It depends on two basic factors: how good your defences are and where you are downloading from.
You may be thinking: well, if my defences are decent, why would it be a problem where I download from and that is a good question, but so is: what do you think of as good protection?
If your idea of decent protection is a free version of Avira, then you are going to have trouble. One day or another you will have problems, guaranteed. I can say that with my hand on my heart, because they have a paid version too. If the free version is as decent as the paid version, why do surfers pay?
Because they are stupid? I do not think so. By the way, I am not having a go at Avira! They give away a marvelous product and as long as you are cautious, it might be all you need. Avira and all the other decent anti-virus software suites require a little help to keep you secure.
For instance, they will need you to run a firewall at the same time and use an anti-spyware program on a frequent basis. They will also require you to not put yourself at the greatest risk either by visiting certain forms of sites and not opening attachments from senders you do not trust.
If you run the free versions of these av software programs, you will notice that certain features like the firewall or and the email attachment scanner have been disabled. This is how you will pick up viruses. Another way that you lay yourself open to problems is by downloading free utilities. These fragments of software almost always include tracking routines.
The software will work, but it will install a tracking cookie on your computer which will email home every day to its boss and tell them where you have been surfing, so that they can spam you with similar things.
Porn sites are another good instance of dangerous web sites. You get ‘free porn’, but they get your IP address and possibly your email address as well, which means that they are able to either spam you themselves or and sell your email address on so that half the world can spam you.
So, free av software is OK, but you have to help it. On the other hand paid software from a dependable firm like Norton, Kaspersky and Nod, to name but a few, should take care of you without you having to do anything but pay and install and permit automatic updates. You can expect that from these businesses and they can deliver that level of protection for $50-60 a year and then you can download anything you like.
The Net is very much a case of ‘you pays your money and you takes your choice’ and ‘free’ is definitely not always the best option.
Owen Jones, the author of this article, writes on many subjects, but is currently involved with the network antivirus software. If you have an interest in such software, please go over to our website now at Computer Antivirus Software