Get The Best Security Suite For Your ComputerPosted 22 Nov 2017 Looking for all round software protection for your computer? Paul Rigby takes a look at what’s available
Most of us spend more and more time connected to computers but all too few of us spare much thought for PC security. And yet, without the protection of a security suite you might find your most important documents imprisoned by encrypting ransomware. A Trojan could force your poor PCs to labour at tasks like attacking websites or sending spam propaganda. You could find your very identity stolen. If you don’t have the protection of a security suite, now’s the time to enlist one.
Most security suites offer at least three levels of security products, a standalone antivirus utility, an entrylevel security suite and an advanced suite with additional features. Most entry-level suites include antivirus, firewall, antispam, parental control and some sort of additional privacy protection such as protection against phishing sites, those frauds that try to steal your passwords. The advanced package typically adds a backup component and some form of system tune-up utility, password managers and other security extras.
Malware protection is the heart of a security suite; without an antivirus component, there’s no suite. Naturally you want a suite whose antivirus is effective.
A typical personal firewall offers protection in two main areas. On the one hand, it monitors all network traffic to prevent inappropriate access from outside the network. On the other, it keeps a watchful eye on running applications to make sure they don’t misuse your network connection. The built-in Windows Firewall handles monitoring traffic but doesn’t include program control. A few security suites skip the firewall component, figuring that Windows Firewall already does the most essential firewall tasks.
The last thing you want is a firewall that bombards you with incomprehensible queries about online activity. Modern firewalls cut down the need for these queries by automatically configuring permissions for known programs. The very best ones also handle unknown programs by monitoring them closely for signs of improper network activity and other suspicious behaviour.
These days, most of us hardly ever see spam messages in our inboxes because your email provider filters them out. If you don’t get this service from your provider, it can be hard to even find your valid mail amid all the offers of male enhancements, Russian brides and quick-money schemes.
If your provider doesn’t squelch spam, it’s smart to choose a suite that has spam filtering built in. Look for one that integrates with your email client. Client integration lets it divert spam into its own folder and sometimes let you train the spam filter by flagging any spam messages that get through or, worse, valid messages that wound up in the spam pile.
Phishing and privacy protection
The best antivirus in the world can’t help you if a fraudulent website tricks you into giving away your security credentials. Phishing sites masquerade as bank sites, auction sites, even online game sites. When you enter your username and password, though, your account is instantly compromised. Some clever ones will even pass along your credentials to the real site, to avoid raising suspicions.
Steering users away from phishing sites definitely helps protect privacy but that’s not the only way suites can keep your private information out of the wrong hands. Some offer specific protection for user-defined sensitive data, credit cards, bank accounts, that sort of thing. Any attempt to transmit sensitive data from your computer sets of an alarm. Some contract with third-party vendors to offer credit protection. And some supply a hardened browser that lets you do online banking in an environment isolated from other processes.
Don’t bog me down
One big reason to use a security suite rather than a collection of individual utilities is that the integrated suite can do its tasks using fewer processes and a smaller chunk of your system’s resources. Or at least, that’s what ought to happen. Few modern suites have an appreciable effect on performance.
What’s the best security suite?
If you’re looking for a suite that covers the basics without getting in the way, Bitdefender Internet Security and Kaspersky Internet Security are recommended. For all dancing suites, Bitdefender Total Security and Kaspersky Total Security are excellent. Symantec Norton Security Premium protects up to 10 devices and McAfee LiveSafe doesn’t put any limit on the number of devices, great for a cross-platform multidevice security suite. With a powerful, integrated suite protecting your devices, you can stay protected without worrying about balancing security against performance.
Bitdefender Internet Security 2017
£24.99 at BitDefender UK Bitdefender Internet Security 2017 packs every feature you expect in a security suite, along with a wealth of bonus features. An updated user interface revitalises this excellent suite.
Bitdefender Total Security 2017
£29.99 at BitDefender UK Bitdefender Total Security 2017 offers a cornucopia of security features for Windows, with plenty of bonus features. You also get Android security and antivirus for Mac.
Kaspersky Internet Security (2017)
£31.49 at Kaspersky UK Excellent performance and a huge range of security-centric features, Kaspersky Internet Security is one of the top picks for keeping your PC and devices safe.
Symantec Norton Security Premium (2017)
£39.99 at Symantec UK In addition to a raft of top-notch suite features, Symantec Norton Security Premium comes with 25GB of online storage and a top-tier parental control system.
Kaspersky Total Security (2017)
£31.99 at Kaspersky UK To the impressive feature list of Kaspersky’s entry-level suite, Total Security adds password management, excellent parental control, file encryption, secure deletion and more.
McAfee LiveSafe (2017)
£89.99 at McAfee UK In addition to protecting all your Windows, Mac, iOS and Android devices, McAfee LiveSafe offers a unique encrypted cloud storage system.
McAfee Total Protection (2017)
£39.99 at McAfee UK To the feature set of McAfee’s entry-level suite, Total Protection adds file encryption and four additional licenses for the True Key password manager.
Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security Complete
£32.49 at Webroot UK Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security Complete includes a powerful, unusual antivirus, 25GB of hosted online backup and a system optimisation system.
Avast Internet Security 2017
£39.99 at AVAST Software UK Avast Internet Security 2017 includes an antivirus, a robust firewall, a simple spam filter and a wealth of bonus features.
Check Point ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2017
$89.95 Check Point’s ZoneAlarm Extreme
Security 2017 adds a wealth of security components to its core powerful firewall.
G Data Total Security 2017
$69.95 G Data Total Security 2017 adds significant bonus features that are well worth the price bump from the company’s entry-level suite.
Panda Global Protection (2017)
$49.99 Panda Global Protection boasts the wealth of features you’d expect in a security mega-suite but it doesn’t match quality of the top competitors and its pricing is confusing.
AVG Internet Security - Unlimited (2017)
$69.99 As the name implies, AVG Internet Security - Unlimited lets you install protection on an unlimited number of Windows, macOS and Android devices.
Avira Free Security Suite (2017)
Free Avira Free Security Suite, introduced this year, packs a goodly collection of features beyond antivirus but it doesn’t come close to the power of a full-scale, paid security suite. Read more like this< Back