Most people assume that just because their Antivirus Software subscription and version are up-to-date, they are fully protected from all malicious threats. Symantec, Trend Micro, AVG, and McAfee all do an extreme marketing job to make you believe that “their products are the best” and that as long as you have their top-of-the-line subscription, you are safe.
This is not entirely true. No single Antivirus software product can protect you from all threats all of the time. Even though many claim to protect you from unknown viruses and Zero Day Attacks, the practical reality is that every manufacture will miss some malicious threat some of the time.
How do you check the health of your computer to see what your Antivirus software missed? It’s easy. There are a number of free tools available that will allow you to scan for different types of malicious threats and most importantly, fix any problems found during the scans.
(Cautionary Note: Many of the so called Free Scan Tools advertised on download web sites, banner advertisements, and TV/Radio ads are nothing more than sales pitches to get you to purchase their full product which is the one that will do the fix. Their free tools just tell you there is a problem. What good is a free scan if the free product does not remove the malicious threat?)
It is best to use more than one tool because each will excel at diagnosing and eliminating a different type of threat. Some focus on mainstream viruses, others on Spyware, or Annoyances like browser toolbars or games and seemingly innocent programs violate best practices privacy policies for use of your personal information.
Here are the five best known of the bunch. Each uses a different methodology to detect and remove the nasty stuff that can get in to your computer. Take the time to run each program, accept all of the defaults and see what they find that your currently installed Anti-Virus Software product missed. (Sorry Mac users, most of these are Windows only programs but there are a few for Mac at the bottom of the list.)
Trend Micro – Housecall – General Viruses
SuperAntiSpyware – Spyware, Adware, and Malware
http://www.malwarebytes.org/ – Malware – Root Kits, Worns, Trojans
Spy-Bot Search and Destroy – Spyware, Adware, and Malware
Ad-Aware 10 – Adware and Spyware (and just added Anti-Virus detection)
BitDefender Online Virus Scanner (for Mac)
Note: The Mac Anti-Virus Products listed below require download and installation but are 100% Free.
Comodo Antivirus for Mac – FREE
iAntivirus (A Symantec/Norton Antivirus Product) – (Mac) FREE
ClamXav – (Mac) – FREE
Should you find a virus you cannot remove and your Software Anti-Virus vendor cannot help you, feel free to contact me for assistance.