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Is free security software making your PC vulnerable? - pierrerosen [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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Is free security software making your PC vulnerable? [Sep. 10th, 2006|06:15 am]
pierrerosen
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I was very disappointed with the BBC article "Concerns over security software". The article purports to discuss problems with 'free' security software to protect your computer.

Sadly, the article appeared more concerned with attacking 'free' security software and promoting commercial software solutions.

For example, the link from the main BBC web page states, "Under attack: Is free security software making your PC vulnerable?" This is unhelpful and confusing. The article also hints that "when you download free security software you cannot be certain what you get." Well, how do you know what you are getting when you download closed source security software either?

Unfortunately, the article does not educate the public how to protect their computers on the Internet using free or commercial software.

I think the focus of the article should have been that wantonly downloading 'free' software security products without research or a recommendation from a trusted computer magazine/website or your local tech guru is dangerous since it could lead to spyware and viruses. In fact, downloading any program off the Internet is risky. A list of signs that your security program might not be safe would have been useful. (E.g. you have to pay by check to get the software)

A truly excellent news article would have outlined a number of trusted 'freeware' security firewall programs, such as ZoneAlarm and Kerio. It would have also discussed trusted freeware and GPL virus scanning solutions, such as Avast!, ClamWin, McAfee Stinger, and TrendMicro sysclean. A list of a number of trusted 'free' spyware removal programs such as SpybotS&D, AdAware, Windows Defender, Hijack This!, and Rootkit Revealer, would have also been helpful.

An informed and well researched news article would have also mentioned that antivirus applications from the three largest security companies, Symantec, McAfee or Trend Micro, are far less likely to detect new viruses and Trojans than other, less popular, brands.

With such poor reporting, I am not sure that computer users should rely on the BBC for helpful computer advice.

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