Free and Paid Antivirus Compared

Posted by admin on Dec 29, 2010

Taken from PC World Magazine, January 2011 Edition

Depending on whom you ask, paying for antivirus software is either a good (even necessary) investment, or a total rip-off.  But you can find plenty of reasons to choose a free program or a paid antivirus program.

#1 Paid Anitivirus Program – Norton Antivirus 2011 based on best detection of malware and a very good interface.
Price: $70 per year for 3 PCs or $40 per year for 1 pC

#2 Paid Antivirus Program – BitDefender Antivirus Pro 2011 has a better interface but not as good at detection of malware.
Price: $40 per year for 3 PCs

#3 Paid Antivirus Program – Avast Pro Antivirus 5 finds most malware but does not have a great interface.
Price: $40 per year for 1 PC

#1 Free Antivirus Program – Avast Free Antivirus based on its speed and interface.

#2 Free Antivirus Program – Avira Antivir Personal has a better detection rate, but needs a makover of the interface.

#3 Free Antivirus Program – Microsoft Security Essentials is fast and has a nice interface, but sometimes needs help blocking all infections.

Essentially, all antivirus programs are only as good as their updates.  Keep your operating system, antivirus program, and all other applications up-to-date all the time… and run a full scan at least once a week. There is always a “window of opportunity” from the time when a new malware is identified and the software is patched to detect and remove it.  No software is better at protecting your system than smart surfing – don’t go to websites or open email attachments that you do no trust.

The Tech Brands You Can Trust

Posted by admin on Dec 29, 2010

Taken from PC World Magazine, January 2011 Edition

The original article is several pages long, and I suggest you check out the PC World website for the complete writeup.  What you will find here is just a sampling of the results. You may be surprised at the names you will see at the top of the lists… or maybe you won’t. They surveyed 79,000 tech aficionados to get their results.

Top 5 Laptops – Apple, Asus, Toshiba, MSI, Sony
At the Bottom – Dell for Home and HP for Home

Top 5 Desktops – Apple, Asus, Alienware, Compaq, Dell for Business
At the Bottom – Dell for Home and HP for Home

Top 5 HDTVs – Panasonic, LG, Sony, Hitachi, Olevia
At the Bottom – Mitsubishi and Viewsonic

Top 5 Cameras – Panasonic, Sony, Casio, Fujifilm, GE
At the Bottom – Kodak and Vivitar

Top 5 Printers – Canon, Brother, Epson, Samsung, Konica Minolta
At the Bottom – Lexmark and HP for Home

The Most Dangerous Places On The Web

Posted by admin on Dec 14, 2010

Taken from PC World Magazine, November 2010 Edition

The sacriest sites on the Net?  They’re not the ones you might suspect.  Here’s what to watch for and how to stay safe.

The Place: Websites That Use Flash
The Threat: Malicious Flash files that can infect your PC
If You Have To Go There: Make sure you keep your Flash plug-ins up-to-date, and you can configure the Flash plug-in to ask you before it downloads any Flash cookies.

The Place: Twitter
The Threat: Shortened links that lead you to potentially harmful places
If You Have To Go There: Simply don’t click links.

The Place: Your E-Mail Inbox
The Threat: E-mail scams/attachments that get you to install malware or give up personal info
If You Have To Go There: Don’t trust anything in your inbox.  Instead of clicking on links in a retailer’s e-mail, go directly to the retailer’s site.
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Take Care of Your Screen, Phone and Camera

Posted by admin on Dec 10, 2010

Taken from PC World Magazine, October 2010 Edition

Your HDTV, your smart phone, and your digital camera all need to stay clean, and each requires protection from accidents.  Let’s start with one maintenance chore that they have in common.

Clean Your Screen: A dirty LCD screen won’t give you much pleasure or information.  But screens are delicate.  Clean them the wrong way, and you’ll ruin them for good. Use a dry lint-free cloth whenever possible.  If you need to use a moist cloth, be careful.  Do not use any cleaning product… just a bit of water and vinegar… or the special wipes made for the job.

Clean your HDTV: Again, use a dry cloth whenever possible and keep moisture away from the screen. Don’t forget about the dust bunnies that collect on the rear of the TV… air flow is very important.

Protect your Phone: Be careful of where you put it, keep it charged up, keep it away from moisture and heat.  Best bet it to keep it in a protective case.

Care for Your Camera: Clean the lens with compressed air or a small brush.  You can also use a cleaning spray and cloth used for cleaning eye glasses.   And it goes without saying to store your camera in a padded case whenever it is not being used.

Technology’s Biggest Myths

Posted by admin on Dec 7, 2010

Taken from PC World Magazine, October 2010 Edition

As it turns out, Windows Vista really wasn’t all that slow; and no, your PC probably won’t fry if you open it up without wearing a wrist strap.  Thanks in large part to the Internet, the tech world is teeming with lies, half-truths, and misinformation.  We’ve dug up some of the Web’s most notorious nuggets of conventional wisdom to see which holds up to scrutiny and which are merely urban legends.

The following is just a synopsis, for the full article, click here.

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Security Apps Frequently Miss New Malware

Posted by admin on Dec 3, 2010

Taken from PC World Magazine, September 2010 Edition

New research further confirms that difficulties security vendors are having in keeping up with malware.

Security software can take an average of two days to block an attack Website, says a report from NSS Labs.  The firm developed a test that mimics how people browse the Web, and recorded how and when security suites blocked the threats – if they did so at all.  The latest test ran for 24 hours a day for nine days.

Some security vendors employ reputation systems, which usually involves checking a database of blacklisted sites.  But such systems are not widely used and are immature, according to NSS Labs.  Overall, vendors took an average of 45.8 hours to block a site, if the blocked it at all, the report states.

If a suite did not block a bad site the first time, NSS Labs continued to test every 8 hours to see how long the vendor took to add protection; times ranged from 4.62 hours to 92.48 hours.  The researchers also had a “sero hour” criterion, in which the test checked whether the software stopped newly found malware sites, and the results weren’t great: The best vendor blocked new sites only 60.6 percent of the time.

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