Don't Renew Your Antivirus Software

Am I serious? Yes, I am advising you not to renew your antivirus software.

There's a difference between renewing and upgrading to the latest version. Many antivirus programs allow you to purchase another year's worth of updates without upgrading the software, but it's not worth the slight savings. Upgraded software gives better protection.

Antivirus programs use a combination of definitions and heuristics. Definitions look for known virus code. Heuristics look for virus-like behavior, meaning they can detect both known and unknown viruses. When your antivirus software updates itself each day, it's getting new definitions to protect against newly released viruses. But it doesn't make sense to wait for a new virus to come out, write new definitions and send them out to millions of machines. With computers these days, by the time you do that it's already too late. What's needed is software with better heuristics. The newest antivirus programs have the latest heuristics available to consumers, so you are better off paying that little bit extra to upgrade instead of simply renewing for another year of definitions.

While we're talking about not renewing your antivirus software, if you Windows users are still running Norton, save yourself a headache and move to something else when your subscription expires. The 2009 versions are better but still memory hogs compared to Trend Micro, the free AVG and others (look under Windows Users in the Tech Tips blog sidebar).

In February I'll teach you how to Break The Internet Explorer Habit. Don't forget to subscribe to the email version of Tech Tips for the latest computer news.

Posted byTriona Guidry at 6:48 AM  

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