While users will undoubtedly enjoy the first few weeks with their new system as they discover all the innovative tools and settings it offers – some things remain consistent and require immediate attention after upgrading.
One of those things is security software. Relying on your old security software after upgrading could be a fatal decision, especially if your software of choice hasn’t been updated for the new operating system.
Here we take a look at some of the best options that are currently Windows 10-friendly…
Windows Defender has been baked into the operating system since the Windows 8 release in 2012. It grew out of Microsoft Security Essentials, but is now a standalone real-time antivirus program.
For a long time it has been criticized as not being robust enough for most users. Although people on various online forums will claim they’ve used it for years without a problem, multiple independent tests have proved the concerns to be justified. Indeed, it was given just 0.5/6 in a recent study on AV-TEST.
Despite the concerns, it does have some benefits. Firstly, it works straight out of the box; there is no need for you to enable anything, set anything up, or register for anything. For people who are less computer literate, this is a huge positive.
Secondly, there are no nag screens. Lots of the free anti-virus suites now pester you at least once per day (if not more) to upgrade, add features, or sign up for trials – in truth some of them are on the verge of becoming malware in their own right. With Windows Defender you won’t even know it’s running unless it finds a problem.
Finally, it’s not going to monitor your browsing history. Some of the free options have now started harvesting you data in an attempt to make a profit. For example, in 2014 Avast was found to be tracking what sites you are visiting and using that data to insert their own adverts into pages.
In Windows 10 it’s not easy to turn off Windows Defender manually – it requires a registry hack or a Group Policy tweak. This is intentional and comes back to Microsoft’s policy of attempting to make sure you always have some basic cover.
If you install a third party anti-virus program, Windows Defender will be disabled automatically. This is the most sensible route to take.
If you’re adamant that you want to stay with Windows Defender and take advantage of the benefits listed above, you at least need to supplement it with some additional protections.
One of the best tools is Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit. It’s a free program that’s designed to protect you against one of the most dangerous forms of malware attacks – zero day browser exploits.
Most anti-virus software works off a signature database. This means that there needs to be a previously-recorded occurrence of a virus or malware in order for the program to know it exists. Zero day exploits refer to never-seen-before attacks, meaning there’s no way a signature could exist and consequently no way a typical anti-virus program could detect it.
It’s compatible with all the leading browser providers (including Windows 10’s Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Opera) and protects not only the browser itself but also any plugins. It won’t eat up your bandwidth by updating, and it’ll only take up 3 MB on your disk.
Whether you stick with Windows Defender or run third party software, this is a valuable addition to your armory.
Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit is part of the popular Malwarebytes suite. Probably the best-known part of that suite is the anti-malware tool.
It is important to understand that Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is not intended nor designed to be your only line of defense. It should not replace your existing anti-virus program, whether that’s Windows Defender or something else entirely.
Instead, you should use the program to complement your existing setup. It will detect and eliminate malware that your anti-virus will miss, as well as removing (and repairing) rootkits that may have slipped through the net. It’s also extremely good at removing infections like Search Protect and Trovi.
Installing either of the Malwarebytes options will not cause Windows Defender to automatically disable itself.
The debate around which is the best anti-virus suite is seemingly never-ending. It’s very difficult to produce a clear winner.
The main thing to focus on is whether you want to pay for your protection or if you’d rather use a free version.
If you’re happy to spend a little, you options for quality coverage improve immeasurably. You could spend a long time scouring various anti-virus testing sites like AV Comparatives, but in truth there is very little to choose between the market leaders in terms of performance.
Some of the best paid options include:
Webroot – Webroot is extremely lightweight (the program is just 2.1 MB large), it uses no more than 3 percent of your computer’s resources, it has no pop-ups, and it has no add-ons. It’s ideally suited to businesses, heavy gamers, and power users.
Kaspersky – Kaspersky is more of a resource-hog than lots of its competitors, but the flipside is that it is typically number one for detection and removal.
ESET NOD32 – NOD32 has some of the lowest false positive rates, is lightweight, and is consistently near the top of performance charts. Many power users swear by the holy-trinity of NOD32 (which focuses on system files), Malwarebytes (which focuses on web-based issues), and CCleaner (a PC optimization tool).
If you want to stick to free options, consider one of the programs below. Before installing any of them make sure you pay special attention to avoid installing bundled toolbars – they are now commonplace as the developers look to monetize their products.
AVG – AVG is one of the most popular free-antiviruses, but is not necessarily the best. The start-up impact is massive and it’s frequently outperformed by other products in performance tests.
Avast – Avast is arguably AVG’s biggest rival. The basic scan feature is solid, fast, and lightweight – but be warned, they have introduced a phenomenal number of nag screens and pop-ups in the last 18 months.
Avira – Avira makes up the final leg of the free anti-virus triumvirate. It’s a halfway house between the other two, more lightweight than AVG, but with better detection rates than Avast. It also has pop-ups, but not as many as Avast.
All the paid and free programs listed above have been made compatible with Windows 10, and they will all disable Windows Defender once installed.
What Security Software Are You Running on Windows 10?
What program(s) do you rely on in Windows 10? Have you decided to place your faith in the default Microsoft product, or did you immediately install a third-party tool?
Have you had any success stories or horror stories? We’d love to hear them. You can leave us you tales and feedback in the comments section below.