Security for your PC & costs


Legendary member
I would like to start a discussion on PC security.
In the past I have found to my cost that indeed some sort of security is needed to combat the nasty malware on the net.
I used to use Avast and was pleased with it until they started upping the costs considerably.
So I changed to AVG. This used to be a free programme but gradually fell behind in effectiveness and then recently they were taken over. They are behaving like typical capitalist companies now and offer new add-ons and upgrades. For instance they have recently improved ( by the look of it ) their for money programme. OK I say to myself they have something that I need but after only a few months I am invited to buy :-
AVG internet security for an extra £49.99
AVG Ultimate for an extra £69.99.

There are many out there that are more knowledgeable than I, so which security programme do you advise, keeping in mind costs and effectiveness.


Legendary member
I uninstalled Mcafee recently and my computer guy says don't bother with it, Norton little better. I currently have Windows Defender only.

He is wanting to sell me BullGuard - anyone care to comment if I need it and how good it is?


Experienced member
Last time i used antivirus was 2000ish, waste of money, computer resources and time.

Use chrome for safest web browsing, use Gmail or equivalent (for integrated anti virus) and common sense by not installing anything with an unverifiable source... Oh and use (slightly) different passwords for every account and turn on 2-step verification in Gmail/equivalent to stop phishing attacks.

Not the answer you were wanting to hear, but antivirus software peddlers prey on ph34r and ignorance imo.


Legendary member
Thanks guys for the above replies. I did try going it without any security and came badly unstuck.
Below are Norton's charges. Much more reasonable than AVG or Avast.


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Experienced member
I've rarely used the "paid for" stuff – it's main advantage seems to be real-time protection though you can get that for free with Windows Defender (there's a whole brigade that will argue that it's no good of course). Windows 10 firewall is perfectly good and no need to pay for one.

One of the best programs for getting rid of already installed bad stuff is Malwarebytes – the non-real-time version is completely free and with its associated subprograms is very effective. The real-time version is not too expensive if you feel you need it.

In my experience a lot of malware gets onto the PC (1) with downloads from sites offering legitimate "try and buy" or free software. The way round this is to download from the original vendors site. The other way to get malware onto your PC is to (2) click on something that you're not completely sure is safe. Avoiding both 1 & 2 will go a long way to keeping you safe – I very rarely, if ever, get a problem.

It's always worth looking to see what security services your Internet provider provides. There may be some free or low-cost options.

Whatever security programs you employ will have vulnerabilities and these will vary from time to time. There are plenty of serious reviews on the net and if you can maintain the will to live while ploughing through them, you will probably come to the conclusion that they're all a bit of a muchness. If I were cynical (and I often am) I would regard the paid-for sellers as a bit like vendors selling trading solutions. It's in their interest to worry you into buying the latest updated fancy interfaced version. Many years ago I used to use AVG free – it was simple, effective and just worked. But they kept "improving" it to the stage where it became over-complicated and began slowing down the running of the PC. So I dumped it. It helps if you are savvy with the workings of your PC – try looking at Windows task manager to get some idea, if you're not already familiar.

Another useful piece of software is a decent uninstaller. A lot of software even when uninstalled leaves stuff behind and sometimes it's not just junk. Best free uninstaller I've come across is Revo UnInstaller which will first of all run the "to be got rid of" program's own uninstall routine and then do its own deep search of all remaining stuff. An excellent free program which will surprise you with what it finds after you think software has been uninstalled.

Another source of dodgy software and download links is your email. Just make sure that everything not from trusted senders goes into your junk folder where its links and ability to do you harm will be disabled. This is dead easy with most email client programs.

Do also make sure that your router is correctly set up – this can be a first line of defence.

If it comes to the worst and you suspect you have something nasty infecting your computer then take action to disconnect it from the Internet – pull out the Internet cable or as is more likely, disable the Wi-Fi connection. Then run your antivirus sweep. If the AV software needs updating, download it from an alternative safe source.

If it comes to the worst and your computer is completely trashed by a virus and appears to be irrecoverable then you will have to rely upon your backups. (You do regularly backup your data don't you? :LOL::LOL::LOL:) In addition to that you also need your reinstall disc or a backup image of the operating system. Many commercial PCs have a special hidden partition on the hard drive which enables you to restore factory state to the main hard drive area. (Works well until the hard drive itself fails, in which case you are fairly well stuffed if you haven't got any kind of backup - though you can sometimes download the image from the manufacturers website).

As a trader it's always sensible to have an alternative means of access to your account (phone/tablet/laptop et cetera) should your main PC fail.

My last suggestion if you are non-PC savvy or don't have the time or inclination to become so: get your PC from the local tech-computer shop (not PC World!) who will, if they're worth their salt, custom build a PC for you. They will then know of its innards and be able to do any restoration work for you. Although I build my own PCs just for the fun of it, it doesn't actually save very much money compared to going to my local PC guys. They even have a service whereby they will remote into your computer from the workshop and fix any software problems without you having to take the kit in/them visiting you. I think they charge £6 monthly and I don't think that's bad value compared to brokerage fees – especially if you're not a computer geek.

Hope that's of some use. (Just reread your original question so apologies if this has rambled on a bit more than you asked) Just be careful what you click on!

PS – just read the excellent suggestions from f2calv at #3


Veteren member
No point in paying for anti virus or the all in one products. Here's my holistic approach to PC security:

Stop using windows and use a Mac - whilst malware and viruses are on the increase for Macs, windows is still the OS of choice for the crims. You can always run windows in a virtual machine using parallels if you need to run windows only apps.
You still need an AV Scanner though, Sophos or Avast for the Mac seem to work well, are both free and just untick everything except scanning.
As suggested, Google Chrome brings some piece of mind and just happens to be the best browser anyway (no need to sign in to a Chrome account to use it).
Use a VPN, some cost as little as $20/ year.
Make sure your wireless connection is secure and the router is correctly setup with firewall settings.
Don't click on dodgy email attachments.
Don't click on dodgy website links.
Use a free throwaway email address when signing up to services that you suspect may sell on details to 3rd party spammers.
Use a password manager to handle all password changes so you only have to remember one or two of them (again $20 a year for a decent one).
Ensure your login is password protected and that you change it on a reasonably frequent basis, never allow anyone else to know your login ( provide a guest account if necessary).
Use whole disk encryption if you feel it's necessary.
Use email encryption if you feel it's necessary.
Encrypt email attachments if you feel it's necessary.
Only provide minimal personal information on social media.
Destroy all unneeded paperwork containing personal details.
Don't allow apps to send you notifications, access your camera or microphone, use location services or have access to anything else that is not needed.
Use separate email when using devices such as internet connected TV services or Netflix or such like to avoid aggregation of personal details.

These are some of the common ones, the list is endless though and it's only getting worse with the internet of things, just think of compromised car systems, fridges, washing machines, all linked to mobile devices and in turn linked to your PC, email address, social media, personal details, bank accounts etc.

Remember treat anyone that holds your personal details as potentially compromised ( think yahoo and others not releasing details of compromise until years later) having a complex password for every account brings piece of mind that none of your other accounts will also be compromised.
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Veteren member
Almost forgot - make regular backups


I don't think Gmail is secure via phone. I had an experience of mass hacking of several of my gmail addresses from my phone. But gmail is more secure on laptop and tablet. As for the antivirus program, I use AVG Zen on Windows 10 for free.


Yeah PC security is very important thing, especially for those people who use PC for business, work or other important thing. I found here really good tips which I will use for sure. My suggestion will be to do not open unsecured sites and links, it is very dangerous Do not download strange apps, do not use different strange browsers and do not visit porn sites ahaha lol. Also you can try to use PC optimization software which is a great thing, you can find here the best ones
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Legendary member
I had a strange happening recently regarding security. My Norton went quite balmy. Up popped notices that I needed to renew it AND notices that I had over 100 days left. Well when I tried to renew it I filled out the usual guff and found that I had signed up to something called Bullguard and paid for it. As my Norton was still showing signs of life I didn't download and install what I had just bought. A few weeks later I found I couldn't download and install. They took some convincing that I wasn't trying it on. Now Bullguard is up and running, everything seems OK. Though Norton refused to be fully uninstalled. Fingers crossed it is OK.


Well-known member
Now Bullguard is up and running, everything seems OK.

BullGuard has mixed reviews.

  • Antivirus Review
    By Neil J. Rubenking
    Updated January 25, 2018
    The website for BullGuard Antivirus touts a new malware-fighting engine, but we didn't see it in testing. One ransomware sample took over a test system, with no protest by BullGuard.
    MSRP $29.95
    23.96 20% Spring Discount at BullGuard
    SEE IT

    PCMag editors select and review products independently. We may earn affiliate commissions from buying links, which help support our testing. Learn more.
    BullGuard Antivirus
    23.96 20% Spring Discount at BullGuard
    SEE IT

    • Good scores from independent labs.
    • Good phishing protection score.
    • Vulnerability scan.
    • Game booster.
    • Allowed takeover by a ransomware sample.
    • Poor score in hands-on malware protection test.
    • No longer includes spam filter.
    The basic tasks of an antivirus utility are straightforward. It should protect your computer and data in real time from attack by all kinds of malware, and it should run a full system scan when you tell it to, or on a schedule. Most also try to steer you away from malicious or fraudulent websites. The 2018 edition of BullGuard Antivirus sticks to those basics, for the most part. It no longer includes the spam filter found in previous editions, but the BullGuard vulnerability scan now comes with the standalone antivirus, as does a new Game Booster component. It earned good scores in several independent lab tests, but some of its scores in our hands-on tests weren't so great, and it completely missed a nasty ransomware attack in testing.
    At $29.95, a yearly BullGuard subscription costs less than many competing products. Bitdefender, Kaspersky Anti-Virus, Norton, and Webroot all cost 10 dollars more. McAfee seems more expensive, at $59.99 per year, but a McAfee subscription lets you install protection on every device you own, so it's not truly comparable.
    As noted, with this edition you lose the spam filter, but you do gain a new malware engine. BullGuard's website touts the 2018 edition's next generation anti-malware. It promises that "any malware it detects is locked down in quarantine and then neutralized before infection can take place," and describes the engine as "a sentry who never sleeps, constantly on the alert for intruders." As I'll explain, I did not see evidence of this sentry's tirelessness. Some malware samples managed to place executable files on the test system, and one ransomware sample completely took over.
    A modern, attractive installer displays information about the program while it's doing its job. Once it finishes, you create or log in to your online BullGuard account. I like the fact that it automatically downloads the latest antivirus definitions, rather than setting that as a task for the user.
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    BullGuard's main window contains seven square panels, but only the Antivirus, Vulnerabilities, and Game Booster panels are enabled. The other four (Firewall, Backup, PC Tune-up, and Parental Control) require an upgrade to BullGuard's full security suite. In a nice design touch, BullGuard does as much as possible without leaving this main window. For example, when you run a full scan, the progress bar appears inside the Antivirus panel. In testing, a full scan took 55 minutes, slightly less than the current average. In my testing of the previous edition, a repeat scan finished in five minutes. This time, the repeat scan wasn't significantly faster.

    Good Lab Results
    I look to four independent antivirus testing labs around the world for evidence that the antivirus I'm testing is (or isn't) effective. BullGuard participates with two of these, with a mix of results from decent to excellent.
    Researchers at AV-Comparatives regularly report on a wide variety of security product tests. I closely follow four of these. A product that does well enough to pass a test receives Standard certification, while those that go beyond the necessary minimum can reach Advanced or Advanced+ certification. In the latest of these tests, BullGuard got two Advanced and two Advanced+ certifications.
    Lab Test Results Chart
    Accurate detection of malware is important, but an antivirus also must avoid quarantining valid programs, and must not put a drag on system performance. Experts at AV-Test Institute assign antivirus programs up to six points each for protection, performance, and usability (meaning leaving valid programs alone). BullGuard earned 5.5 points each for protection and performance, but some false positive detections brought its usability score down to five, for a total of 16 points.

    BullGuard's scores are decent, but others have done quite a bit better. Kaspersky earned a perfect 18 points from AV-Test and took Advanced+ in all four tests by AV-Comparatives. It also earned AAA certification from SE Labs. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus ($26 at Bitdefender) also took four Advanced+ ratings from AV-Comparatives and AAA certification from SE Labs, but missed the top score from AV-Test by one-half point.
    Each of the testing labs has its own scoring methods. I've developed an algorithm to map them all onto a 10-point scale and derive an aggregate score. BullGuard's aggregate score is 8.9 points, with results from two labs. All four labs include Kaspersky and Bitdefender in their testing. Bitdefender's aggregate score is an impressive 9.9, but Kaspersky beat that with a perfect 10.
    So-So Malware Blocking
    The big testing labs have resources far beyond my own, but I also like to get a hands-on experience of each product's malware blocking abilities. I use a collection of several dozen malware samples that I've carefully analyzed, so I can confirm that the antivirus really has blocked the malware's installation.
    When I opened my folder full of samples, BullGuard's on-access scanner started checking them, displaying a small pop-up alert when it detected something amiss. If additional alerts occurred, they all shared the same pop-up, with a note indicating how many more were pending. You can click through to view and close them one at a time, or check a box to close them all at once. BullGuard detected about three quarters of the samples at this point.

    I maintain another folder containing hand-modified versions of the same samples. I rename each sample, append nulls to change its size, and overwrite a few non-executable bytes. Looking only at modified samples whose originals BullGuard wiped out on sight, I found that it missed fully a quarter of the modified ones. That's a contrast to my last such test, in which BullGuard detected some of the mods before it decided to remove the originals.
    One of the missed mods proved to be a virulent strain of ransomware. I launched the modified sample to see how BullGuard's vaunted next-generation malware-fighting engine would handle it. Like iolo System Shield, BullGuard did not stop the ransomware from encrypting my documents and displaying its ransom demand. Granted, BullGuard doesn't claim any special power against ransomware the way Check Point ZoneAlarm PRO Antivirus + Firewall($39.95 at ZoneAlarm), Trend Micro, and several others do, but it's still disheartening to see a ransomware attack succeed without a peep from the antivirus.
    In all, BullGuard detected 89 percent of the samples. Several samples that it detected during installation managed to place executable files on the test system, one of them actually running, which brought its overall score down to 8.2 of 10 possible points. That's pretty poor, considering that the built-in Microsoft Windows Defender Security Center managed 8.3.
    At the other end of the spectrum, Norton and Webroot earned a perfect 10 points against this same set of samples. Tested with my previous malware collection, Comodo Antivirus also managed 10 points. BullGuard's previous edition scored 9.0 points against the sample set I used in testing Comodo.
    Malware Protection Results Chart
    For a test using the very latest malware, I start with a feed of recently detected malware-hosting URLs supplied by London-based MRG-Effitas. Typically, these are no more than a day or two old. I launch each URL and note how the antivirus reacts. Does it steer the browser away from the dangerous website? Does it identify and eliminate the malware download? Or does it sit twiddling its thumbs? I keep up the test until I have 100 data points, and then analyze the results.
    BullGuard's Safe Browsing component blocked all access to 81 percent of the URLs, diverting the browser to a warning page. The real-time antivirus iced another eight percent during download. BullGuard's total detection rate of 89 percent is better than average, though not tip-top. That honor goes to Norton, which managed a 98 percent protection rate. Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security($29.95 Per Year at Trend Micro Small Business) is nipping at Norton's heels, with a 97 percent score.
    Improved Phishing Protection
    P. T. Barnum famously stated that there's a sucker born every minute. Creators of phishing websites know he's right. They create fraudulent websites that look exactly like PayPal, or your bank, or your email login. Some even try to steal logins for game sites, or dating sites. If you fall for the fake and enter your username and password, the fraudsters own your account. These fake sites quickly get blacklisted, but their creators simply put up new ones, trolling for a new batch of suckers.

    For testing purposes, I gather the very latest reported frauds from online sites that track such things. As much as possible, I use URLs that haven't gone through analysis yet. Detecting these is both more difficult and more important than blocking those that already hit the blacklist.
    I launch each of my collected URLs simultaneously in a browser protected by the product under testing and in another protected by Symantec Norton AntiVirus Basic, a longtime antiphishing champ. I also launch each URL in Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer, relying on each browser's built-in phishing protection.
    Phishing Protection Results Chart
    RELATEDWhen BullGuard detects a fraudulent page, it displays the same warning screen it uses for malware-hosting URLs. You can click a link for more detail, but the result is peculiar. It says, "The information we have indicate (sic) that this site," followed by a blank line. No information. I didn't check every single blocked site, but I clicked for more detail perhaps every 10 or 12 sites. None offered any information.
    BullGuard's performance in this test has had its ups and downs over time. In the version before last, it came within 6 percentage points of Norton's detection rate. However, the last version trailed Norton by 35 percentage points, and lost to two of the three browsers. This time around, it's out of that slump, just 5 percentage points behind Norton and better than all three browsers. That's pretty good, but 10 recent products have done better. Bitdefender and Trend Micro even beat Norton's detection rate, by 12 percent and 3 percent respectively.
    Safe Browsing
    Safe Browsing is the BullGuard feature that steers your browser away from dangerous and fraudulent websites. It also marks up links in Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Facebook, so you don't even click dangerous ones.
    A check mark in a green circle means the site is safe, while a red stop sign denotes a site you shouldn't visit. Pointing to the icon displays a small pop-up listing the website's categories and threat level. However, you can't click for a full-page site analysis the way you can with Norton's Safe Web feature.
    Vulnerability Scan
    BullGuard's previous edition included a spam filter, but, recognizing that few people need a local spam filter these days, the developers removed it. To keep things in balance, they moved the vulnerability scan to the standalone antivirus. This feature previously required an upgrade to one of the BullGuard suites. Even if you never actively launch it, this component runs in the background to check your system for security problems.
    Hackers just love finding security vulnerabilities in your favorite programs, things that let them execute arbitrary code on your computer. The best defense against this kind of attack is to apply all security patches as soon as they become available. Many security tools, among them McAfee AntiVirus Plus ($19.99 at McAfee) and Bitdefender, include a module to check for unpatched security vulnerabilities.

    However, the vulnerability scan in BullGuard is different. It looks for vulnerable security settings and related problems. As with the antivirus scanner, when you click to scan for vulnerabilities the progress bar appears right in the panel on the main window. On scan completion, you get a list of found security problems. It warns you if you've disabled automatic Windows updates, flags insecure Wi-Fi connections, lists unsigned device drivers, and more.
    Game Booster
    Many security products include a feature that suspends notifications and scheduled scans when you're playing a game or using another full-screen program. BullGuard's Game Booster feature does that, but also promises to "protect your gaming experience from framerate drops caused by other programs."
    Initially I couldn't enable this feature, because it requires at least four CPU cores. Fortunately, virtual machines are flexible. Even after I reconfigured the test system to have four virtual cores, there wasn't much to see. This feature kicks in automatically when you play full-screen games, and my test systems don't have any of those. But I'm sure avid gamers will appreciate it. They might also want to read our roundup of the top gaming VPNs, too.
    You Can Do Better
    BullGuard Antivirus sticks to the task of protecting your system against malware. The spam filter from previous editions has dropped out. In independent lab tests, its scores ranged from good to excellent, but its scores in our hands-on tests were all over the map. Its antiphishing score floats near the top, its malware protection score sinks toward the bottom, and its score for blocking malicious downloads is in between.
    With this release, the company promised a new, ever-vigilant malware-fighting engine. I'm sure it's in there, but it wasn't evident in my hands-on testing. It missed some of my malware samples and failed to fully block some that it did detect, winding up with a score lower than Windows Defender's. Worst of all, it totally failed to protect the test system against a slightly tweaked ransomware sample. I very much hope BullGuard performs better next time I review it.
    You'll pay a little more for our Editors' Choice antivirus products, but the extra cost is worth it. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus and Kaspersky Anti-Virus get top scores from the labs. Symantec Norton AntiVirus Basic scores well too, and includes a powerful Intrusion Protection System. McAfee AntiVirus Plus protects all your devices, not just one. And the unusual behavioral-analysis detection system used by Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus makes it the lightest and tiniest antivirus of all. With all these to choose from, there's little reason to opt for BullGuard.
    BullGuard Antivirus
    SEE IT
    23.96 20% Spring Discount at BullGuard

    MSRP $29.95
    • Good scores from independent labs.
    • Good phishing protection score.
    • Vulnerability scan.
    • Allowed takeover by a ransomware sample.
    • Poor score in hands-on malware protection test.
    • No longer includes spam filter.
    The website for BullGuard Antivirus touts a new malware-fighting engine, but we didn't see it in testing. One ransomware sample took over a test system, with no protest by BullGuard.
    Best Antivirus PicksFurther ReadingAbout Neil J. Rubenking
    Neil Rubenking served as vice president and president of the San Francisco PC User Group for three years when the IBM PC was brand new. He was present at the formation of the Association of Shareware Professionals, and served on its board of directors. In 1986, PC Magazine brought Neil on board to handle the torrent of Turbo Pascal tips submitted by readers. By 1990, he had become PC Magazine's technical editor, and a coast-to-coast telecommuter. His "User to User" column supplied readers with tips and solutions on using DOS and Windows, his technical columns clarified fine points in programming and operating systems, and his utility articles (over forty of them) provided both useful programs and examples of programming in Pascal, Visual Basic, and Delphi. Mr. Rubenking has also written seven books on DOS, Windows, and Pascal/Delphi programming, including PC Magazine DOS Batch File Lab Notes and the popular Delphi Programming for Dummies. In his current position as a PC Magazine Lead Analyst he evaluates and reports on security solutions such as firewalls, anti-virus, anti-spyware, ransomware protection, and full security suites. Mr. Rubenking is an Advisory Board member for the Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organization, an international non-profit group dedicated to coordinating and improving testing of anti-malware solutions.
    Read the latest from Neil J. Rubenking


Experienced member
I currently have Bullguard on my computer as it came free for a year when I bought my new rig. Once it runs out, I wont renew it, nor get any paid antivirus.

The free Malwarebytes and Windows Defender combo is enough security for me. That and not trying to gain 4 inches on my knob by clicking a link :sneaky:

Malwarebytes offers you a free trial of the premium in the beginning and then every few months there after. I ensure I get the trial and run the full scan
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