Before I discuss the software I currently use in this category, I think it only fair to explain my general reticence about anything that uses the “cloud”. From the early days of its inception, I did not like the idea. I very much prefer having all of my data on my own computers (and backup drives), mostly for security, but also for privacy purposes.
With that brief introduction, here are the three items I’ve chosen to list in this category:
- Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
- Windows Defender
- KeePass 2
The first two are obvious fits for the category. KeePass could just as easily have been included in the Productivity or Utility categories. I include it here because I believe having strong passwords is a key to online security, and this program makes it easy to not have to re-use passwords or resort to more simple ones because they are easier to remember. With KeePass, I only need to remember one password – the one to access KeePass itself.
I’ve chosen KeePass over several other options, mostly because it is NOT cloud based, as most of the others are, but also because of its relative simplicity to use and its features that include the ability to auto save a backup copy (sync) to another location, including another computer on my home, private, wi-fi network. Also, there are Apple and Android versions of KeePass allowing for use on any device, which I occasionally do, especially when traveling. If you are not yet using a password keeper/generator, I highly recommend you download and try this one.
Windows Defender is my choice as an anti-virus app, mostly because I believe the Malwarebytes program is so powerful, pairing it with this convenient, Windows 10 based option has been effective for me.
I bought Malwarebytes Anti-Malware several years ago, probably because it was so highly rated when I was looking for replacements for what came installed on my computers. Over the years, I’ve used many other programs – Zone Alarm was probably the first one. I’ve tried Avast, AVG, McAfee, Norton, Panda, and a few others, but have never been really satisfied. They tend to slow things down too much, especially for gaming.
When I bought Malwarebytes, it was a one-time purchase for a lifetime license, even transferable to a new computer when you sold and bought a new one. I bought two licenses – one for each computer at the time. A few years ago, Malwarebytes changed its policy and now charges an annual fee with no lifetime option, but I still think its power and ease of use are worth the price. There is a free trial option when using it for the first time. It will allow full scans for malware, and it works well. When the trial period ends, you will be bugged to buy a license, but you can continue to use it for manual malware scans free. What you get with the license is continuous, live protection.