Saturday, December 13, 2008

Geek Squad: some ad hoc impressions about home PC security

Yesterday’s meeting with a Geek Squad “double agent” resulted in some new perceptions about Internet safety for me.

One of the most interesting is that the best anti-virus companies seem to vary from year to year. According to the conversation, McAfee is no longer at the top of the heap. Maybe it was best five years ago. (It also launches too many unnecessary processes.) The recommendation now is for Spysweeper. (I could not get the home page to come up this morning.) But he also said no one should subscribe to automatic renewal, because the best package relative to the threat matrix changes from year to year.

He also said that MacIntosh (note the spelling, with Mc it is a different trademark and business!) is orders of magnitude more secure and more stable than any windows system. Whatever the controversy about anti-virus on the Mac, it is simply much less of a target. But I know there is disagreement about this in the literature, as with a recent posting here.

The Best Buy Geek Squad page for virus removal is here.

He also said that the AOL dialup program is dangerous in the modern Windows environment, because it opens unprotected ports that hackers can use. AOL has lost its position in the business compared to how it was in the early and mid 1990s, when it was the leading ISP and content provider. Those almost sound like the good old days now.

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