The Security Question

June 16th, 2010 in .Blogs .Home .Tech
Mrs Mario

It’s the never ending dilemma. What security should I install on my computer/netbook/laptop/device? Which solution is going to take up the least space and be the most effective? How do I choose the right one for my needs? And so on, etc, and so forth.

I must confess that I once went an entire year without any form of protection for my PC. No firewall, no anti-spyware, no anti-virus, nothing. While it is highly likely that I just got lucky, I never had a single problem. My computer didn’t start seizing up or contacting foreign shores with my bank account details, or initiate minor wars in small countries. It was fine.

Then one day, hot on the heels of a sudden scare that had caught me out on Live Messenger, I panicked and bought the first solution that appeared in Google Search. You see, a message had popped up from an old friend in a chat window and I’d clicked on it without thinking. She wasn’t even online. I even entered my log-in details. Suddenly the penny dropped. A phishing scam!

A part of me was rather excited. Finally I was experiencing the deadly drama of an online threat. Finally I was living the stores. Then, of course, I remembered that the password and login gave some nasty plenty of information, enough to get them into my Skype, my bank accounts and other such secret things that I am not fond of sharing.

Hence my panic buying and an hour of changing every password I owned. Sadly the solution I ended up with, slowed my system down to a crawl. Everything was sluggish and depressed. And this wasn’t when it was scanning, either. It was all the time. When it scanned, there was no point in using my computer at all. It was dead.

What made this worse was that my machine, while not state of the art, was certainly not rubbish. I could run all the latest games at top speed with all the settings on high. It was a dream. A bit of research soon revealed that many of the security offerings on the market have the tendency to do exactly what this solution did – eat space and kill all computing fun. I also found the constant need to approve things, adjust things and fine-tune the experience tedious in the extreme.

So what exactly DO we need from our security software? Well, it’s really all about your personal usage and how you function online. There are the usual simple rules that you should follow in order to avoid attracting, and entering into, the security hell that lurks online. Don’t enter your details into unknown or unsecure sites, don’t click on links in spam emails or from suspicious sources, etc.

I don’t do any of that but I do want some measure of protection, a mild and effective shield against potential threats that I can’t see or don’t recognise. I want something that suits me as someone who starts to get withdrawal symptoms if I’m away from the internet for three hours.

While there are a load of options that give you security software for every last detail, I was rather pleased to see that my latest netbook came with internet security built in. Back in September 2009, Trend Micro signed an agreement with ASUS to include its internet security on selected ASUS laptops, desktops and premium Eee PC models.

It’s light enough to not affect general performance and still offers a full range of protection against the usual internet threats. I can honestly say that it hasn’t made a blind bit of difference to the performance offered by my netbook and I really did expect it to.

After all, netbooks aren’t exactly geared towards high performance, rather for portability, and every dram of power is needed. So yes, this does strike me as a rather clever move by ASUS and one that could do good things for consumers.

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