Virus and Internet spams are a moving target so good protection is required for your infrastructure against these threats. The different terms related to computer security are as follows:
- AnitVirus - AntiVirus is a program which detects and prevents viruses from harming the computer. They do this by looking into signatures of programs to identify the known patters for viruses. Anti Virus software can degrade the performance. Also their signature database should be updated regularly so that they can detect new kind of threats.
- Firewall - Firewall monitors the traffic in the network and stops unauthorized access. It can be implemented as a hardware or a software.
- Virus - A malicious computer program which runs without permission and its aim is to harm the computer in form of deleting data, sending data to unintended users and in extreme cases make the computer to crash and useless. Virus is a generic term which covers all kind of malwares, adware and spyware.
- Malware - Program which run without permission.
- Adware - Adware are advertisements. Adware are not really a virus which harms. But it is considered bad when the user is presented with an Ad which hinders his work.
- Spyware - Program which send the data without the permission to unintended users.
Following factors should be studied before you make an investment on an antivirus. These aspects apply equally well to a commercial as well as free antiviruses.
- How effective is the antivirus program: Everything aside the first and foremost feature you should be looking for an antivirus, the capability to prevent, detect and quarantine the threats. The effectiveness of an antivirus program can be judged on following parameters:
- How effective it is against present viruses?
- How effective it is to identify the new threats in a heuristic way? The new viruses keep coming everyday. The software should be smart enough that even if it does not have the signature in its database, it should be able to heuristically identify the new threats.
- Update frequency: How often the signatures are updated? Also what is the history in terms of reaction of the company making antivirus program when a major outbreak has happened in the past. How quickly they were able to come up with a solution?
- Check the details of antivirus detection capabilities. There is statistics collected at Virus Total. Make sure that you understand the way the data is captured.
- Compatibility : Check the compatibility with your version of operating system including OS version, hardware and if there are any issues with the existing stacks of product.
- Load on the System : Load on a system is another important parameter because you may not want that a running antivirus program makes all other programs to run slow. Also look for anitviruses which can run transparently on the background, so that they can guard the system continuously.
- Ease of upgradation: The antivirus program should have a good history of seamless migration to newer versions. The older versions should not leave hanging registry entires and unnecessary dll's which might bring trouble.
- Subscription Model: What is the commercial model? Understand both the updation and upgradation model. Updation is of the signatures of the new viruses which happens more frequently and Upgradation is the migration to new version.
- Management of Antivirus program: If you have to install in multiple machines in an organization, look for how easy it is to manage the antivirus installations.
- Can it be easily installed on all the machines without going to every machine individually.
- Can the virus signature be updated in a centralized way.
- If some threats happen at any corner of the network, does the notification goes to administrator.
- If you have a heterogeneous network with multiple versions of OS and hardware, how the antivirus is going to handle that.
- Can the Upgradation be done seamlessly in a centralized way.
- Service and support: Need I say more about this.:)
In this we will look into some of the choices that are available in this space. For windows there are many anti virus softwares in the market. Rightly so as the windows are the favorite target for the hackers. You can see listing of some anitvirus at the Comparison section down below. Here we will talk about two anti virus which are quite popular and has a good free version.
The free version of AVG anti virus can be downloaded from here. AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition is for private, non-commercial, single computer use only. There are two variations of paid version, which provide service and support and has more feature compare to the free version. The comparison can be seen here.
Comodo comes with anti virus and integrated firewall. It has a comprehensive range of security products. The free versions of Comodo products can be downloaded from here. There is a paid version which provides service and support. The paid version feature list can be seen here.