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Buying Peace of Mind for the Holidays

written by: Aaron R.•edited by: Bill Fulks•updated: 10/30/2011

Malware is a plague upon the Internet, and unfortunately it looks like it's here to stay. As long as there is a dollar to be made, criminals will try to use whatever means at their disposal to get it. As the holidays approach, it may not be a bad idea to spend a little for a more secure computer.

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    Friends Don't Let Friends Leave Their Computers Vulnerable Security should be on the mind of any person that uses a computer. It doesn't matter if you're an experienced Internet warrior, or a new user who's just online for email and Facebook. Anyone is vulnerable to malware, and once you're infected, it's pretty hard to get everything clean again. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

    That said, I understand that picking an antivirus program can be difficult. You have to pick from tons of available programs. There are a number of free programs that are available, and many of them are quite nice. But it's also perfectly reasonable to want to spend a little more and get a complete protection suite. And of course, there are plenty of false programs that only exist to scam you.

    Thankfully, we've got the information at hand to help you sort out the cream of the crop. If you're looking for a nice antivirus suite, the articles below should get you on the right path to a more secure computer.

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    The Dangers of Scareware

    While you're shopping for an anti-virus program, you may run into a few less than legitimate offers. In particular, there are a few popular pieces of scareware that like to claim that your computer is infested with every computer virus known to man, and that they'll need $30 to fix it. If you want to be sure that you haven't fallen for a bad product, it's not a bad idea to educate yourself on the issue.

    How Do Anti-Virus Programs Work?

    Along the same lines as for the first article, it's not a bad idea to understand how the average anti-virus program functions. Before you commit to buy anything, it helps to understand all the fancy marketing buzz. If you want to know just what you're getting, then this is the article for you.

    Budget Anti-Virus Software

    Saving money is almost always a good idea. If you just want to focus on the most cost effective programs, then starting here is a good idea. See which of old favorites gives you the most bang for your buck, and which ones are just a waste of your time and money.

    Top Ten Paid Anti-Virus Suites

    It usually helps to start at the very top of a list. Since there are plenty of anti-virus programs on the market, you should start by narrowing it down to the best of the best so that you can work from there. The big ten suites in the field are all described, along with a purchase link and some prices.

    The Top Windows 7 Security Tools

    If you're planning to upgrade your anti-virus software, I assume that you've taken the leap to Windows 7. See which of the top programs successfully made the upgrade with you, and get a better idea of the paid and free programs that are currently dominating the market.

    Top Internet Security Suite Comparison

    One more comparison guide should get you off to get a good start. This one divides up the best of the best and lets you know the typical price range you should be expecting for everything from complete security suites to simple scanners.

    BitDefender 2011 Review

    One potential choice for your anti-virus suite is BitDefender. It's fairly well reviewed, and should work for most users. Each user has different needs though, so look inside to see if the price and features are what you want.

    ESET Security Comparison Review

    You always have to keep your other options in mind, especially if you're shopping for anti-virus software. Thankfully, we make it a little easier by running a straight comparison review of ESET against all of the major competitors in the field. A quick look should let you know how it stacks up for the price.

    Kaspersky Internet Security 2011

    Kaspersky's has been a strong contender in the paid anti-virus field for a while now. This rising star is a bit of a costly option though, so make sure that you really need all of the extra bells and whistles that it offers.

    McAfee Total Protection 2011

    Another veteran of the field, McAfee's been a name in computer security for long time. Their new software seems to look pretty good amongst the competition. With features like built-in online backup and parental controls, it might be a good choice for a family computer.

    Norton Internet Security 2012 Review

    The Norton anti-virus program has been around for a very long time, often earning the ire of tech specialists due to its bulky nature. Things have changed with time though, and this fairly accessible program may be just what you're looking for.

    Panda Cloud Pro Review

    If you're looking for something that's a bit more advanced, Panda should be on the table. It uses a special cloud detection system to provide fairly complete protection. There are also extra features, such as a special gaming mode and URL filtering, which may catch your eye.

    PC Tools 2011 Review

    As the winner of a few awards, this scanning program might be a good match for your computer needs. Simple features like browsing protection should help keep you safe, and the powerful scanner's detection rate is among the best for Windows 7.

    Trend Micro Review

    Trend Micro is a fairly affordable option that is still quite robust. As our author puts it, it's light on resources and tough on malware. If you're looking for a program that won't overload your computer or break your budget, you could do a lot worse.

    Vipre Antispyware

    Vipre is fairly simple in what it offers. It's a simple scanner that doesn't put on a lot of decoration, and tends to keep the price quite low. Those just seeking basic protection without a lot of expensive frills might want to take a look.

    Hopefully this can get you off to a good start. I know that buying security software can be a bit tricky, but if you put the time in now to educate yourself and make a good decision, it'll pay off down the road. Keeping your computer and your personal information safe isn't something that you should rush through. Take your time, make your choices and follow the instructions, and you'll be fine.

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