Free or pay for protection / security?

  wehatespurs 19:20 13 May 2007

I no many of you experts go for free securty (firewall, anti virus/spyware etc) than pay for it.
Can you please explain in plain English why (And don't say cus its free).
I have been told paid for internet security suites slow your pc down.
But if you are downloading different free stuff it surely slows system down doesn't it?
And doesn't paid for security suites offer more protection,
against hackers, credit card fraud etc?
Any advice greatly accepted

  Kate B 19:30 13 May 2007

Generally the free options have smaller footprints on your PC. I'd rather go for free - why pay for something if there are perfectly good free alternatives?

The argument in favour of the paid-for suites is that they are just that: suites of applications that work together. But you can protect yourself against web nasties with the free software and a modicum of common sense: warez and cracks often house trojans/viruses etc, so don't go to those sites or download things from them. Some porn sites are also home to malware: be careful with them. Be careful who you give your credit card details to online and check your statements carefully. No software will stop you doing something stupid.

  hodder 19:51 13 May 2007


Hi, most people I know use freeware such as ZoneAlarm and AVG. The reason is as was said above, a smaller footprint, in other words, the other ones take up too much memory and take too long to load!

Regards, Bob.

  Totally-braindead 20:07 13 May 2007

Downloading free stuff doesn't slow your computer down, it would if you kept adding on downloads but you only need one antivirus one firewall and a couple of antispyware. Then you keep them updated same as paid for ones.
I do understand why people want a paid for one, they believe it keeps your PC more protected but in magazine tests this is not always the case. The free AVG for example beat quite a few paid for ones in the Computer Shopper tests a couple of months ago.
I use a free AV, in my case AVG because it doesn't slow my PC down as much as the paid for ones and has kept my PC virus free for about 3 years now. Thats not to be sniffed at.
If you want a paid for all in one program then fine, as long as its on a fairly fast new PC you will probably be happy with it as you might not notice any slow down at all. But if your PC is an old one you would most certainly notice it.
Don't be deluded into believing that a paid for antivirus will completely protect you because it won't its impossible. A bit of common sense goes a long way to protecting you. Spend your time going to dodgy websites and downloading files from the P2P sites and you will soon find you get hit by all sorts of nasties whether your AV is paid for or not.
Common sense is the key.

  QuizMan 21:00 13 May 2007

Anitvirus is a must, but I see no need to pay for it. I'm using Avast and it works extremely well. A firewall is less mandatory in my opinion. You certainly don't need to pay for it. I rely on the hardware firewall within my router.

As Totally-braindead says, you need to surf sensibly, but it always pays to back up your data.

  squillary 23:51 13 May 2007

If the purpose of security products was to have a small footprint or smaller processing load then you may as well use a combination of common sense and the Windows firewall. Unsurprisingly, the real purpose of security products is to provide added levels of security, so forgive me if I judge them on that.

Not one AV program, free or commercial, detects process injection. The Security suite versions do to a varying degree. Rootkit detection is the same.

Magazine tests? I thought we agreed they were testing programs for things they weren't designed for. Go to the AV-Comparatives site and look at what they say for these one-off kinds of tests. The magazine made no test of security suites whatsoever, you may recall.

As a reminder, Adaware, Avast, Spybot, AVG, Spysweeper, Superantispyware, Kerio and Defender can be terminated from something as simple as the Task Manager. Norton, NOD32, Kaspersky can't. ZoneAlarm Free is nearly as leaky as the Windows Firewall. These aren't "security" programs by any definition I recognise.

  Totally-braindead 00:21 14 May 2007

squillary I agree with some of what you say especially about magazine tests, they can slant results by testing in a certain way so you can argue that they are unrealistic.

I had Norton one of the programs you mentioned and it was hit by a virus that Norton couldn't delete, it could recognise it but couldn't delete it. I disabled it loaded AVG and it found and deleted the virus.

Now I'm not argueing that AVG is better than Norton but for me it is quite sufficient. I have been using it for 3 years and am virus free. And Norton failed me so what does that say about Norton?

If I was buying an antivirus program then I personally would be looking at either NOD32 or more likely Kaspersky which seems particularly well thought of by many.

This is one of those eternal arguements that go round the Forum all the time. I like AVG, it does me and for 3 years I've been virus free as have half a dozen of my mates who use it as well. You like a paid for AV fine thats up to you. We'll agree to disagree.

  Belatucadrus 00:45 14 May 2007

1) Why ? The good freebies work, so why pay ?
2) "paid for internet security suites slow your pc down" All real-time software has an impact on system resources and slow things down somewhat. It's nothing to do with whether their free or not, but the freebies generally favoured here aren't that demanding. Some of the packages have a reputation for hogging more than their fair share of RAM and CPU and while OK on newer systems can virtually cripple older PCs.
3 "doesn't paid for security suites offer more protection, against hackers, credit card fraud etc?"
As a suite tends to be an everything but the kitchen sink approach it may offer more than any single one of the freebies, that's why we tend to create our own suites to fulfil all the functions. My own favourite combo of the moment is:-
avast! Antivirus click here
Spyware Terminator anti spyware click here
Sunbelt Kerio Firewall click here

Others have their own favoured combinations that have stood the test of time.

click here for a few more possibilities.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 15:45 14 May 2007

1) I've used AVG free for 4 years. I also use Spyware terminator and used to use spybot. I know many people who use AVG free and no-one has had a problem.
2) I cannot remember the last time I had to deal with a computer that had a virus...Trojans yes, but they are always downloaded inadvertently by inexperienced owners and no firewall or AV will stop them as they have effective,y had permission to load.
3) I have not use a firewall for 4 years and my computer is connected to the net everyday for at least 10 hours.
4) Tales of home computers being hacked are usually exaggerated. You have more chance of winning the Lotto than this happening. You need to ask yourself why anyone would want to hack a home comnputer in the first place.
5) credit card details are unlikely to have been gleaned form a computer. People rarely watch what happens to their cards in a restaurant or petrol station......any credit card fraud I would bet that these 2 places are top of the hit list for causes, not computers.
6) In spite of opening all attachments that I receive and trawling all over the net, AVG has never let me down. This is better than any so-called 'tests'.
7) There is a huge exaggeration about home computer security. There are many apocalyptic like sites warning of the mass dangers yet they rarely mention the two things that will keep you and your computer safe.............common sense and never accept freebies from pop-ups.


  SB23 16:57 14 May 2007

I was unsure of the freebies when I first purchased my pc, so when all the AV trials finished I bought Norton. It worked well for 12 months then a virus or something got onto my hd, and Norton couldn't help, so I binned it and went to McAfee.
Again after 12 months I couldn't justify the renewal costs, so I posted on here about what should I do, nearly everyone suggested the freebies, and thats where I am now.
The only bought program I have now is XP, and that came with the pc, all the rest are free.
I've used the free programs for years now, and would never go back to the "paid for programs".

  skidzy 20:32 14 May 2007

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