Which antivirus or antispyware software should I use?

There are too many variables that must be considered when making a security suite recommendation to provide a concise answer to this question.

These variables include, but are not limited to:

  • The OS installed on the system,
  • How the system will be used. Also, are there regulatory concerns (i.e., HIPAA)?,
  • What information will be stored on the system (and in what form),
  • Who will have access to the system, and their level of IT knowledge. A 28 year-old software developer who is fluent in three high-level programming languages has far different needs than a 12 year-old who is just learning keyboarding skills,
  • What network(s), hardware, and/or media the system will access and how the system will connect to them,
  • Whether the system is a stationary desktop system, a portable (notebook or laptop), or a mobile device (cell phone or PDA).

See the Malware Research section of my Links page for resources that can help you choose the best security application(s) for your needs.

Which operating system is the most secure?

Contrary to popular belief, all operating systems have their inherent strengths and weaknesses. Any OS can be insecure one day and—through a new version release or security patch—relatively secure the next day.

The converse is also true. A previously secure system may suddenly become vulnerable because of the release of a new exploit.

You should choose the OS that you know best, like the best, and which affords you the greatest productivity.

What’s thing(s) can I do right now to improve the security of my computer system?

Keep both the OS and antivirus / antispyware software updated at all times, and use a hardware or software firewall.

Use common sense about what emails you choose to open and what Web sites you visit, and keep your Web browser updated at all times.

Use a password manager which will generate STRONG (long and complex) passwords and store them securely. Be sure to change all of your passwords on a regular basis (at least annually) and never reuse the same password.

What can I do to guarantee that my system doesn’t ever get breached / hacked?

Nothing. If you own or use computers there is always the possibility that they can be hacked.

Are you available to help me with an IT project or to give a talk about InfoSec best practices, safe Internet use, or online bullying to our school / business / organization?

Yes, simply contact me to discuss the details.