Linda Criddle, President of the Safe Internet Alliance, and LOOKBOTHWAYS Inc., was recently interviewed for the article Because spyware never sleeps… by Problem Solvers Jon Yates and Kristin Samuelson of the Chicago Tribune.
But fear not, there is a growing arsenal of anti-virus weapons at your disposal.
Linda Criddle, a technology expert and the author of several Internet safety books, says the question for computer users isn’t if you should install anti-virus software — but rather which one.
“You can’t live without it,” Criddle said. “It’s that flat-out simple.”
All anti-virus programs combat two types of intrusions: spyware and malware. Spyware is any type of software that infiltrates your computer without your consent, then monitors or controls your activities. Malware, short for malicious software, is specifically designed to steal your personal information, send spam and commit fraud.
Without anti-virus software in place to combat spyware and malware, your computer can be compromised in the blink of an eye.
“A brand new computer will be infected with malware within four minutes,” Criddle said. “It could be using your computer as a source to infect others with anything…The people writing malicious software are businessmen. They’re out there to make money.”
So which anti-virus software should you use? There are plenty of options out there, many of which are free.
Criddle suggests Googling “best free anti-virus software” and reviewing the list of free programs to compare which features are best suited for you. Choose one that updates automatically and gets good reviews from other users.
Although free anti-virus software can protect your computer, many of the free programs take more work on your part.
Popular anti-virus software from Norton, McAfee, Microsoft Defender and others cost money — but they’re generally more advanced and easier to use, Criddle said.
Among the free versions, Criddle recommends a version by AVG, which can be found at here.
Even with an anti-virus program installed, both Bolish and Criddle recommend being careful when cruising the Internet.
Avoid websites you don’t know and trust. Never click on pop-ups, and be selective about what you choose to download online.
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