Internet Security Software Buyers Guide
As the Internet becomes our default source for news, entertainment, connectivity, and shopping, criminals are getting smarter about how they steal. It’s often far more lucrative and much easier to get away with identity theft online than it is to break into your home, and that’s only the tip of the digital crime iceberg. There are many things that can infect a computer, and it can happen even when visiting sites that seem safe. So how do you protect your information and still enjoy the Internet?
For many computer users, the answer is a security suite, which is software that offers you a variety of security measures. There are many popular options for Internet security software, including big names like Norton, Kaspersky, and Bitdefender. Depending on what kind of computer you use, and what type of Internet surfing you do, there are different features that you should look for when choosing the right Internet security suite.
Most Internet security software starts with anti-virus software, which is the main type of security needed for surfing most of the web. There are some companies, like Bitdefender and F-Secure, that sell their basic anti-virus software separately from security software with other features. This is a good option for people who don’t often use the Internet for more than visiting a few secure bill-paying sites and checking the weather, or something similar.
Other popular features include total security functions like anti-phishing, anti-spam, anti-Trojan, and other firewalls. In addition, many security suites offer parental controls and clean-up functions that can get rid of suspicious files on your computer, check downloads for viruses or malware, and get rid of redundant files that make your computer run slower or less efficiently.
Some Internet security suites like Norton and Kaspersky, offer even more features, such as banking protection and password management, which can help protect users who rely on the Internet for all aspects of their life.
Pricing and Packages
Often with software, what you pay for is what you get, but in many cases, Internet security software is fairly comparable. It’s far better to compare the features list rather than the price. Some software, such as F-Secure, is more expensive than the competition, without offering the extra features that are so important for many users. Most Internet security software comes bundled into packages, so that you can purchase licenses for just one or two personal devices, or an entire package for your family or office. Additionally, certain suites like Kaspersky and Bitdefender, offer their products in tiers, so that you can purchase only the features you need. All the major Internet security suites offer free trials, and some even do a full sweep of your computer for free before you download a thing.
Most automatically enroll users in auto-renew, so you’ll need to be careful to watch for that if you don’t prefer that option. Only F-Secure has a clear opt-out option when you sign up on their site.
As with all software, customer service can frequently be a major selling point. By far, the least popular software in terms of customer service is Bitdefender. Users report long wait times, issues that go unresolved for weeks, and automated phone trees that don’t offer any helpful direction. Other services, such as Kaspersky, have great customer service – when they are available. The service isn’t 24/7, so you’re stuck waiting for them to open if you have an issue during off hours.
All in all, most Internet security suites work great if you just want a basic protective firewall running in the background while you browse the Internet. Some work better on Mac than others, though all are configured to work with Windows PC.