Many people still use Microsoft Security Essentials as their only system protection, as it is provided free by Microsoft and what’s better than free, right? Well to answer that simply, paying for a yearly subscription to an anti-virus program is often cheaper and better than paying for a full priced virus removal.

I know many people do not believe in paying for an anti-virus software, for various reasons, ranging from “it slows my computer down” to “it still lets viruses in”. Many of these quarrels with the software can be fixed, either within the program itself or by switching to a different product. The saying “You get what you pay for,” really applies to this situation, as you have to understand how an anti-virus works, and why you SHOULD pay for one.antivirus, check, protection, shield icon

Every time I hear someone ask why their system was still infected with a virus or malware, even though they have a anti-virus program, I explain how these programs work. Anti virus companies are on the defense for your computer, and they all typically work the same. They are defending themselves (really your computer) against the viruses. Well unfortunately for the end user, the virus makers greatly outnumber the anti-virus companies. Anti-virus companies have to defend themselves against thousands of viruses, malware, and spyware, while those bad software companies only have one objective: How can we beat the anti virus companies? So in theory, it is much easier for the virus makers to figure out how to bypass the anti-viruses, as they only have 1 general target to focus on. The anti-virus companies have to stay on top of the much larger offense, which makes it very hard for them. They are responsible for figuring out how EVERY malicious software work and how it may possibly slip through their defenses. It is a never ending battle for them, especially since it seems a new virus pops up almost daily. So when you pay for an anti-virus, you are actually helping to employee people who will sit there all day, working on your side. This is opposed to a free anti-virus, where you are simply awaiting a free update that may not come in time to protect you.

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This isn’t just assumptions, as Dennis Publishing’s posted findings may shock a majority of people. Two anti-virus programs in particular were REALLY bad in their findings. Both Microsoft Security Essentials and McAfee Anti-Virus offered a total accuracy of 65%, as opposed to other paid programs which boasted anywhere from 97% to 99%. Two free ones also put up some ugly numbers, as AVG only posted a score of 86%, and Avast at 92%. Paid programs, such as Norton Anti-Virus, and Kaspersky, are able to brag about their 99% Protection score, with an overall score of at least 97%. I’m not sure about the average person, but I would much rather sink my faith in something that is 99% sure, not 92%, or even lower!