| By Ian “Gizmo” Richards |
Yes, the Internet can be a dangerous place. But use smart computing practices and the right security products, and you can reduce your risk to very low levels.
What may surprise you is that safe Web browsing needn’t require very many computer security products, and you can put together an effective defense without spending a cent.
Break the security-industry-centric mentality
Security product vendors want you to believe that the only sure way to ward off malicious Web attacks is to load your PC to the gunnels with security products — theirs, of course.
I believe the vendors are abetted by some security experts and members of the computer press who have a vested interest in encouraging a climate of fear and promoting a blind belief in technological overkill.
They have been very effective in this mission. It’s now common for a typical PC to have four or more security products installed — not just antivirus scanners, but complex firewalls, anti-spyware programs, anti-Trojan programs, rootkit detectors, behavioral detectors, and the like. Ultimately, it’s a road to nowhere; it’s complex and expensive and can slow your computer to a crawl.
What’s worse, all that protection is not as effective as vendors would have you believe. They’re fond of quoting test results that show detection rates approaching 100%. For example, AV-Comparatives’ most-recent on-demand tests rating signature-file detection (listed on the company’s Main-Tests page), gave scores of 96.6% for Microsoft Security Essentials, 98.9% for McAfee, and 98.6% for Norton.