OK Snapzu, I just got a new laptop. Hook me up with some anti-virus/anti-malware!

As the title says, I just got a new laptop to replace my desperately aging one. I'm running Windows (hey now, don't judge!) and it's been a while since I needed anti-virus. I'm careful with my surfing habits and pretty up to speed when it comes to attachments, phishing, etc. I have strong, unique passwords and use 2FA whenever I can, but I'd like some anti-virus/anti-malware to really keep me protected, even if it is from just some bad cookies.

So what say you? What software is king in this department?

Edit: I should add, I'm running FireFox & Chrome (Chrome pretty much just for the Google part; Music, Keep, InBox, etc) and I am using LastPass, NoScript and ABP with FireFox.

7 years ago by PushPull with 19 comments

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  • Gozzin

    Linux. :D

    • callmefish

      Amen! (and I'm atheist!). I haven't booted windows on any computer or laptop I've owned in the last 10 years. Paperclip in the cd tray opener hole thingy, linux CD in, even before 1st boot. :)

      • ColonBowel

        Paperclip in the cd tray opener hole thingy, linux CD in, even before 1st boot. :)

        You're ridiculous

  • aj0690

    Been using Avast Antivirus since 2004, haven't had a virus issue since. They have a free home version that I have been using all this time and it's great.

    • Zeus

      I recommend Avast to everyone I know. Low on resources, good at avoiding false positives, never had any trouble.

      On top of that, I usually tell people to install Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. The free version is not a real-time scanner, so you manually run it every now and then, or when you think you have a problem. But it's saved my bacon multiple times. My brother's computer was basically wrecked, crippled with malware, and nothing could save it until I ran Malwarebytes.


  • zerozechs

    AVG for anti-virus; Malware Bytes for anti-malware, Spybot S&D for spybots (and immunizations).

    Also, run Chrome or Firefox with ad-blockers and blur.

  • NstealthL (edited 7 years ago)

    I used to run AVG free on my laptops but pretty much stick with Avira now. Every now and then I just go through the top free anti-virus reviews and make sure Avira keeps up to speed with its quality. And, when I decide it's time to do full system sweeps, I'll do complete scans with Avira, Malware Bytes, and CCleaner.

    Edit: Forgot to mention that with Chrome I run ad-blockers alongside Web of Truth. Handy little extension that, if a website is sketchy or dangerous, it will block you from entering and ask you first if you're sure you want to. Over the past couple years I've used it, I've only run across maybe a handful of sites where the rating was off and I knew the site as being trustworthy.

  • SirWinston

    This question is for the group : What about windows defender? I heard that that is all you need, or maybe I am just naive.

    • fred (edited 7 years ago)

      IT admin here. Windows Defender in the modern form (ie: Windows 8+) is basically Microsoft Security Essentials.

      Arguably they used to have good scores/detection rates, but in the recent couple of years have been the worst in terms of detection rates. That said once signatures are discovered and out there, pretty much everything will detect it.

      But keep in mind these results always move around and fluctuate. AVG used to be the tits, now it ships with a redundant firewall, pop ups to buy it, and can be a pain to clean. MSE was cream of the crop when it first came out, but got worse scores as time proceeded and people would code around its detection mechanisms. Norton/Symantec used to be HUGE, like #1 but is oft not reccomended even in the corporate world (for good reason, they suck now).

      My point is this is an industry that is constantly changing year to year.

      At work, MSE/Defender would be inadequate, and we use Trend for our corporate AV. Kaspersky is also currently rated one of the best AV out there.

      But there is a trade-off in many cases, as they tend to be more obtrusive to an end user (ie: Trend has deleted/quarantined mail in outlook, stopped legit executables from running or working,caused CPU cycles to freak out, memory leaks etc and just breaking installers etc). However we have the resources and expertise to troubleshoot and mitigate a lot of that.

      At home, i use MSE/windows defender and Malwarebytes Premium (like 25/year for 3 machines) and I am fine with it as a last line of defence. In fact even the Malwarebytes addition is recent (like the last couple months) and i just used MSE prior to that.

      The best thing you can do is have backups and learn some basic security practices are really mostly sufficient (dont click on pop-ups and other links you dont recognize, actually read prompts and look for check boxes, know what you are installing, nothing is free, dont randomly give login creds etc). So i would never waste time trying to clean an infected system (as once its comprimised its always comprimised, i would simply be restoring from backup.

      • daanish

        This is the correct answer.

      • PushPull

        Thank you for this. The more I've read about this, the more I tended to lean this direction. I just finished a mash-up review of the 'top' AV of 2015, and EVERY AV had a lot of negative comments about it taking over computers, being hard to remove, asking for $$$, etc. I started seeing a lot of information about people doing exactly what you recommend, and I think I'll go with that.

    • spaceghoti

      There's no such thing as "perfect security." If you want to go with Windows Defender you can, but never use any security application alone. Always run them in concert with other anti-malware programs like Malwarebytes and SpyBot.

  • Nerdeiro

    I have the same habits as you /PushPull, and I'm happy with the built-in Windows Defender plus Malware Bytes for an occasional manual scan.

    Also, to keep cookies in check, consider setting up a cookie manager on Firefox. I use one called "Cookie Controller". Firefox is set up to reject cookies by default, then I select site-by-site which ones I'll let set cookies, and in most cases I'll only authorize for the current session (I.e. once I close the browser, they're gone).

  • double2

    Nothing because I'm a badass.

  • sixstorm

    Never pay for AV and the best AV out there is COMMON SENSE. Just don't click on non-reputable things and you'll be fine. There is no such thing as perfect security, therefore there is no such thing as perfect AV. I stick with Windows Security Essentials and have been fine for years. But the key element is just simple common sense.

  • danielxvu

    I actually never had any issues with Windows Defender/Microsoft Security Essentials. The only time one runs a serious risk of being infected is when pirating, and even then, you can usually get a heads up from initial downloaders who have detected viruses/spyware themselves and leave warnings in threads/comment sections.

    For what it's worth, I think that uBlock Origin is better than AdBlock Plus these days, due to AdBlock Plus being heavy on memory and allowing some "nice" ads to show anyways. I don't use NoScript since I don't often visit sites that use JavaScript maliciously. LastPass I'm wary of, since the software is proprietary; I prefer KeepassX since it's light, multi-platform and open-source.