Freeware Home Security - Is it secure?

  OneInAMillion 21:42 25 Aug 2006

Hi All,
How good is free system security software?

My family network currently consists two Desktops and a Laptop. I anticipate the addition of a further two Laptops in the near future. Security software for all five is a considerable expense. I have been considering freeware.

My own preliminary research suggest that ZoneAlarm (Firewall), Spybot(Anti-Spyware) and AVG(Anti-Virus) are reasonable choices. I have download and set-up all three. All are easy and intuitive to run. All three companies have provided regular updates combat current threats.

A recent articles in PC Advisor stated that ZoneAlarm gave 100% protection when subjected to its test. Spybot and AVG both receive good reviews on the Web from users. However, I have never seen any test figures. I would like to see an empirical review before I feel confident that they are capable of offering protection. Can Forum Members point me in the direction of such data?

I'm a NTL customer. The Anti-Virus tool in the NTL all-in-one security suite is free to its customers. Does anyone know who supplies NTL with their security suite? I have asked NTL. Unsurprisingly they would not say. However, NTL did say "It is very good". Is it any good?

Have forum members any experience, views and recommendations?


  Jackcoms 21:51 25 Aug 2006

"How good is free system security software?"

It's perfectly good - and the 3 programs you mention are regularly supported/recommended/praised in these Forums.

An alternative (equally good) free AV program - which I use - is Avast.

You might also want to try Windows Defender anti-spyware from Microsoft.

There is absolutely no reason at all for the home user (or small network user) to waste money on AV and anti-malware programs.

  Diodorus Siculus 21:53 25 Aug 2006

All I can say is that many users of this forum get along nicely with free security software.

Personally I use Avast AV, nvidia firewall and spybot S&D. Never any problems...

  Stuartli 00:05 26 Aug 2006

I offer the same conclusion as Diodorus Siculus - n my case it's Avast!, Search and Destry, AdAware 1.6 and SpywareBlaster.

My broadband service is literally on 24/7.

  freaky 10:32 26 Aug 2006

I am on NTL and tried out their free anti-virus, but found it noticeably slowed down games - it took much longer to reload a saved game.

I now use AVG and the Sunbelt Software Kerio Firewall, plus Spybot Search & Destroy, SpywareBlaster, Ad-Aware and Windows Defender Beta. In fact we have a three PC network all using the above configuration - all works OK with no problems.

Prior to this we used Norton Internet Security, had no problems either but with three PC's it got too expensive!

  GANDALF <|:-)> 10:38 26 Aug 2006

There is a huge amount of hype written about 'security for home computers'. If you have an up to date AV and Windows Defender with Spybot or Adaware as a reserve you will have no problems. The problems occur when users inadvertently let spyware through such as clicking 'yes' to offers of 'free' registry scans which no amount of AVs or firewall will stop. My computers are on virtually 24/7, I use AVG and windows defender and have never used a firewall for over 3 years....I never have any problems whatsoever but I do exercise a lot of common sense.

I would suggest (if only to stop the usual debates) that you use a free firewall although I am not keen on Zonealarm as Steve Gibson is way over the top with his paranoia and 'reds under the beds' attitude.


  freaky 12:32 26 Aug 2006

"have never used a firewall for over 3 years....I never have any problems whatsoever but I do exercise a lot of common sense".

A very good point which you have stated in previous posts.

I am inclined to agree with you - firewalls can cause more problems than they solve.

Unfortunately, I have not got the courage of my will continue to use one!

As a matter of interest, how often do you run Spybot and Adaware?

  GANDALF <|:-)> 12:40 26 Aug 2006

Once every blue moon (2 months or so). I only have adaware on my computer , got rid of Spybot a few months ago. I always advise people to use a firewall but never to pay for one. Nearly every problem I see are trojans that people have inadvertently allowed onto their computer or from lack of an AV....firewalls and AVs are no good in stopping them as there is permission.


  freaky 18:42 26 Aug 2006

Regarding Trojans.....strangely enough AVG found and quarantined two on my workhorse PC during the past two idea where they came from though!

OneInAMillion - hope you don't mind this discussion, but it is in the context of your post.

  robgf 20:33 26 Aug 2006

I usually use AVG free, but for the last two weeks I have been trying AOL Active Virus Shield, which is free to anyone, not just AOL customers.

It is a rebadged Kaspersky Antivirus, so the detection rate should be high. So far it has run very well apart from the updates failing a couple of times.
It doesn't seem to slow my modest spec computer at all and is very similar to AVG in capabilities.

I was a bit worried that AOL would spam me to death (you have to register it), but I unticked all the "offers" boxes and didn't install the offered toolbar. And so far haven't recieved any email offers at all.

You can find it here:
click here

  Input Overload 21:29 26 Aug 2006

click here Seems to agree with G.

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