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I was on my boyfriend's computer the other day trying to look for travel deals at his place, when I got bombarded by “Your computer is not safe, do you want to renew your antivirus software??” or something like that. Every five minutes I was asked if I wanted to renew. Makes me very very glad I splurged on a MacBook Pro now… I'm so computer illiterate that I couldn't even protect my old PC from being bombarded by a virus. I remember I was so technologically challenged that when I thought I was hit by a Trojan (not that kind of Trojan, get that mind out of the gutter!), I had to call my sister to the rescue. It turned out that it was actually “scareware”. Scareware tricks you into buying their antivirus software by making you think you have a virus in your computer. Tricky, eh? Because of this experience, I thought I would reach out to my fellow computer illiterate folks out there (do I hear crickets chirping…is it just me?) and share what I learned on how to protect your computer with firewalls and antivirus software.
Let's first explain what antivirus software and firewalls are.
Antivirus software hunts and detects crap in your computer and kills it. Kind of like what the white blood cells do for you (remember biology class?). You need antivirus software to help you get rid of spyware, trojans, viruses and the sort.
Firewalls work by filtering the internet and blocking things so that the network can be protected. Firewalls are especially important for larger companies with huge networks of computers (some people can't access Facebook or certain websites from their work computer, and that's why). How Stuff Works (love that show!) explains in an easy to read format what firewalls are.
I would say that the key to using firewalls and antivirus software is to find something that is easy to use (if you're just like me, and not computer savvy), because if you screw up, it can cause a breach in your computer's security and it can be a pain to fix (not to mention cost you an arm and a leg). Or worst case scenario, your computer will crash and your photos and memories will be gone…forever.
You definitely don't want that worst case scenario happening to you. So to protect your computer, you can buy the antivirus software or firewall protection at your local computer/ electronics shop, which can cost anywhere between $20 to $60. To save money, you can also download basic versions of them for free too.
Here are some free basic antivirus software downloads:
Here are some cheap (or free) firewall downloads:
Of course, if you want added protection against malware, it will cost you. Also, you would want something that doesn't ask you whether you would like to download the “non-free” version of the software every five minutes. It's a pain in the butt to have to click “remind me later” while you're busy surfing the net. Not having to click “remind me the next day” was one of the primary reasons that drove me to switch to a Mac (sorry PC!). I heart my Macbook Pro.
I hope that helps save you some money (and not to mention a headache) with protecting your PC computer from the crazy crazy internet world out there.
Have you had an experience where you've had to deal with a virus on your computer? Any PC die-hards or Mac die-hards out there?
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