You are Damned if you do and Damned if you don’t.

Do I secure my computer with a security suite?   There are several protection packages that include a firewall, spyware protection, antivirus protection and web browsing protection.  Do they really help?

My answer to this is they do not help give your computer extra protection.  Instead, they slow down your computer from booting up and from opening applications. 

I recommend an antivirus program called Avast AntiVirus (free edition) which is found on the Computer Care Associates website LINK page.  Avast AntiVirus constantly scans your computer, giving the user protection from Viruses and Spyware. 

For the (at risk) individual who “surfs the internet” I often put on a free firewall.  However, there are risks associated with web sites.

People often ask me “how did I get that virus?”   The answer usually involves common sense; however occasionally spyware can be transmitted from a web site. 

Certain web sites that you trust and visit daily can be hacked to distribute spyware.  Most of the time, the spyware is in the form of “ransomeware” which can show up as a warning on your computer.  It may say you have viruses and tell you the only way to get rid of the spyware is to purchase a phony antivirus software over the internet. [so, be aware that there is this type of marketing ploy]  You can also fall victim of “drive by downloads” which happens automatically without any user action, other than visiting the site.

 All browsers (IE or Foxfire] are equally at risk for attacks.  There are ways to secure your computer so these risks are minimized. 

When I optimize a computer I look for certain software that is used to exploit the browsers.  One thing I make sure I do is to uninstall old “java” software and install the newest java software.  The newest java software has fixed many older problems.  So when I see old java” applications, that’s one red flag that I see.

 Although nothing is fool proof and nothing is fully protected from harm or from having your privacy invaded, there are things to look for.  Do you use software to share music such as LimeWire?  Do you download those cute smiley icons? Do you download “free” software without reading the license agreement?  (there is good SW and bad SW that will bring in a problem.  Personally, I have tested “free” software on the internet and know what is good and what is bad.)

A good rule of thumb is – if it seems too good to be true it probably is.