Windows users face a plethora of viruses and malware, but the problem can be minimized with a few simple steps.
As with any computer, the best defense for Windows users is prevention, including reliable backups and solid security software. Equally important, use strong unique passwords and learn how to recognize and avoid common Internet threats.
Using a supported version of Windows is critical, because the versions that are no longer supported by Microsoft do not receive security updates. That means you should be running Windows 10 or Windows 8. Windows 7 is set to reach the end of extended support by January 2020, so if you’re still on Win7 or earlier, you should upgrade as soon as possible.
Pro Tip: Lots of people think that they can keep using older versions forever, but the fact remains that old versions of any computer system, including Windows, are exponentially more vulnerable to viruses and malware. It’s not worth the risk of financial fraud or identity theft to keep using them.
Windows Antivirus Programs
Good security starts with a quality antivirus program. You can use the freebies, but I strongly recommend that you invest in a commercial security suite. It’s money well spent. Most of the free versions have a more robust paid counterpart, often with free trials.
- BitDefender (free)
- BitDefender (paid)
- AVG (free)
- AVG (paid – product comparison chart)
- Sophos (free)
- Sophos (paid – product comparison chart)
- Malwarebytes (free)
- Malwarebytes (paid)
- Avast (free)
- Avast (paid – product comparison chart)
- Norton (paid)
- McAfee AntiVirus (free)
- McAfee AntiVirus (paid)
Here are some additional resources that can help diagnose and protect your Windows computer.
- Tech Tips: How To Create Strong Passwords
- Tech Tips: How To Back Up Your Computer (For Windows and Mac)
- Tech Tips: Ransomware Spreads Across The Globe: How To Protect Your Computer
- FTC: How To Detect And Avoid Malware
- FTC: Ransomware
- Microsoft: Windows Lifecycle Fact Sheet