Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Reflection: Those (Very) Protective Anti-Virus Programs

September 18 was the day Toto's free trial of McAfee ran out (or so it told me). It was hard to use the little netbook in the days leading up to September 18 as McAfee kept flashing dire warnings. I felt I had things under control, but the security program knew how to tug at my heart strings.

On the evening of the 17th, I looked up security programs, some free, some in the neighborhood of $30 to $40. It seemed like the free version of AVG did less than it used to -- understandable, I suppose, in a freemium world. Still, the free program would stave off crisis. Windows gave us a firewall, and AVG would at least momentarily give us our anti-virus; later I could decide if I wanted to purchase something additional for Toto and Snookums.

Now here is where things got curious: AVG proceeded to download more than it indicated it would -- or so it seems. (It wouldn't want to see anything happen on its shift.) Also, it is the 20th now, and McAfee is hanging around longer than indicated. It appears it is thoughtfully giving me a grace period. (Will it win my heart yet?) It put up an icon that we were in a state of alert (no protection? low protection?) But when I plugged my camera in, it warned me that there was this device connected... and did I want it to scan the thing? Perhaps McAfee has downgraded itself, but it has not left. I picture it like the Cheshire cat -- some part remaining.

Choices, choices... I guess most security program companies offer some sort of free download that's separate from their trial. Some offer more, some less. McAfee has a curious program that will let you know whether the security program you currently have installed (whatever it might be) is behaving properly. It will tell you things like, "CA Security reports that things are peachy keen. But if you want even more protection, you can upgrade to McAfee TOTAL Protection now." Snookums-the-Netbook has one of those programs. So far I have not felt the need to get Toto one.

photo: pittaya