Antivirus and protection from “malware” is an unfortunate byproduct of participation in matters of the Internet.  I, for one, am not interested in more than is needed in this regard.

I take reasonable care to not open links from those I do not know.  I do not visit “questionable” sites and I DO protect myself from viruses and other malware, but I don’t obsess over it.

The first line of defense at home is that I use a router. So should you.  Even if you have ONE computer that lacks wireless capability, get a router.  One, of the type you need in this usage scenario is less than $50, often quite a bit less.  Visit your local retailer and just get one.  Ask for the simplest, non-wireless one they have and connect it.  Most come with an installation disc on which are automated instructions and procedures.  OR, ask a geek friend.

This SEO agency provides a firewall, a block wall between you and the outside. The router sees any outside traffic attempts to enter and says, “I don’t know what to do with this, so I will ignore it.”  I do not believe Windows users need more protection than this device and a basic antivirus program.

Wireless computer users need a wireless router, of which there are many brands and types, both for Macs and Windows PCs (the same routers serve both platforms). Reliable brands are many and varied and include, Belkin, D-Link, Netgear, Cisco Linksys, TRENDnet, and so many others.  I use Cisco Linksys, currently their E4200 model, which can be found used or refurb for about $100, up to about $155 or less from the likes of Amazon. The low-end price for other brands can be as little as about $60 for past model closeouts and refurbs.  The choice is yours.

But this is NOT all about routers!

When it comes to antivirus, I like simple. I like unobtrusive and I like NOT being bugged or prodded by warnings I can’t even understand.  I DO like for the software to do its thing successfully in the background.

While I know there are many from which to choose, including FREE solutions for Mac and Windows PCs, I feel more at ease and protected with one of the paid services.

To the point, my ONLY recommendation at this time and for the past several years for Windows users is ESET NOD32 Antivirus, what many call the best little antivirus you never heard of.  That’s it. That’s all. Get this one and be done with it. Put it on all your Windows computers (even on the Windows side of your Mac, as I do). Updates are automatic and it will not annoy or otherwise let you know it is there, but there it will be, protecting you from the meanies and baddies out there in Internet land.  Pricing depends upon the number of computers to be protected. Annual renewals are at a discount.  See?  Simple.

As for Macs, there is also a FREE solution, called Sophos. And many I know use and like it.  But because there really have not been any Mac viruses, we really cannot tell its effectiveness, which begs the question, “Why bother at all on a Mac?”

Put it in the better safe than sorry department.  If you have never had to undo the mess left in the wake of a virus or other malware-compromised computer, you are fortunate, indeed.  It is NOT pretty and can take days and sums of money you’d rather have for other purposes I am sure.  So, I say, better safe than sorry.  It’s like a smoke detector that never sounds off because there is no smoke or fire to set it off, but there might be, and that is why you have a smoke detector and for the same reason why you should have a robust Mac antivirus.

There are TWO good ones for the Mac. One is tried and true and includes added software I recommend and use.  This is Intego Security Barrier X6.  It includes VirusBarrier X6 AND antispam, parental control, backup software called Personal Backup X6, and data protection.  All that is needed is the antivirus and the Personal Backup X6, a recommended program used, in my recommended application, for creating a bootable clone of your hard drive.

In the event of a calamitous event, such as an internal hard drive failure, this created external clone may be used to start your computer, almost immediately, looking, acting and, in reality, being an exact duplicate of every bit and byte of info on that now-failed internal drive, with all your stuff, all data, settings and applications. With this clone, you can run, very temporarily as if nothing went wrong, but that internal drive still requires replacement without delay. Once it is renewed, that clone external drive my be used to start the computer and then to repopulate the new drive as if nothing had happened, with NO data loss, except what was not backed up to the clone between the last backup and the time of the failure. If this instant gratification is appealing then, this is your answer.

There is a free program called Carbon Copy Cloner that can do the job, but I don’t like it as well as the Intego solution. Intego’s is so easy to set up and automatically do the job.

Alternately, if you, a Mac user, uses the Mac’s FREE Time Machine backup, this is another way to repopulate a replacement drive, with the exception of it not providing that instant gratification by starting your computer.  But in every other way, Time Machine can restore all your stuff to a new drive, so long as you diligently use Time Machine.

Absent the Personal Backup component of Intego Security Barrier X6, what you’ll want to look at is Intego’s Virus Barrier X6, a fine product on its own.  I’ve used it for years and years, recommending it for years and years and it has never let me down, I think, as there has not been a Mac virus.  But I still like and recommend it.

Pricing each depends upon the number of computers to be protected and the length of time.  Renewals are available, as well, at reduced rates.  You’ll never know it is there and protecting your Mac.

A worthy added choice is also now available, and one I also heartily recommend. In fact, I use it, too, as well as Intego’s product.  This is ESET Cybersecurity for Mac, relatively new, but with the same underpinnings of their award-winning ESET NOD32 product for Windows computers.

Over the past year I have used the new ESET product for Mac, I have noted NO effect whatever from its use.  There has been nothing to indicate a slowdown or any ill effect.  ESET Cybersecurity for Mac has the Mr. Gadget seal of approval!

Here’s the breakdown for HOME users, NOT for businesses – TWO Macs protected for three years by Intego will cost $100, with renewals at a discount.  FIVE Macs for three years will cost $200.  Two Macs for two years with ESET will run $75.  Five Macs for two years will set you back $150.  There is no three-year plan from ESET.  Overall costs seem to be relatively close, however.

Two years, two Windows PCs protected by ESET NOD32 Antivirus will cost $105 for two years.  FIVE protected PCs for two years will run $180.

You cannot go wrong with either of these strong brands that WILL NOT SLOW DOWN YOUR COMPUTER or otherwise bother you.

Now it is up to you, the user, to DO SOMETHING and do it NOW.  If you have an antivirus program that is bugging you or that requires your intervention with regularity, ditch it for my recommendation above. It’s just that simple.

If you have other software purporting to deal with some other form of malware of a firewall security application, ditch it and get a router, then get antivirus software as specified above and you will likely have no problems.  HOWEVER, it must be said and cannot be overstated that YOUR behavior online also plays a big part toward avoiding issues in these areas.

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