No one PC security program best at doing it all

PC Pitstop has published the results of a pretty interesting PC security survey and found the two least effective anti-virus programs are the ones many of us use – McAfee and Symantec Norton. I use McAfee and as far as I know, there’s nothing sinister on my PCs.

That’s not to say McAfee and Symantec Norton don’t have their strengths:  Symantec was tops in Spyware protection and McAfee was second. The most prevalent threat is spyware. But the pair didn’t distinguish themselves like Kaspersky, which ranked first in protection against viruses and rogue security software.

In other words, no one program does it all. Here’s Pitstop’s conclusion:

“No one security provider is good at protecting against all aspects of security. As the analysis suggests, each vendor has some strengths and some weaknesses.”

A whopping 23 percent of the 50,258 PCs that Pitstop analyzed had no security protection at all and 14 percent had some sort of  “high level security threat.”

I’ve always found it annoying that I have to pay close attention to viruses and spyware that are so prevalent in the Microsoft Windows world when Macintosh users get off scot free. But the delta between Macs and PCs remains so great that I’ve stuck with the later (I am typing this post on a very good HP Pavilion dv4 that I bought for $290).

Before you rush out and start loading up on Kaspersky, Symantec or any other security programs, check out another study that I blogged about at It says that many of the security measures we take and pay for are often a waste of time.

The eye-opening study was done by Microsoft researcher Cormac Herley. Maybe Microsoft wants us to think the threats its software seems to attract are not so threatening, after all. While there may be some self-interest here, the study is work a look.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Users are never offered security, either on its own or as an alternative to anything else. They are offered long, complex and growing sets of advice, mandates, policy updates and tips. These sometimes carry vague and tentative suggestions of reduced risk, never security. We have shown that much of this advice does nothing to make users more secure, and some of it is harmful in its own right.”

Still feel insecure, confused and scared into buying these security programs? I wished the Pitstop study told us how the `unprotected’ 23 percent are doing.

Follow me on Twitter.

5 comments On No one PC security program best at doing it all

  • One of my computers has no security on it. It is an older computer, and every one slowed my computer to a crawl. So I just hope for the best and am glad it is my secondary (mostly used for storage) computer. That’s how I am doing, as part of the 23%.

  • Which is just fine and which is what I suspect with many of the 23 percent….J

  • I’m a rookie when it comes to so much in the PC/Mac world & wanted to clarify your statement about “sticking with the latter.” I’m assuming that means you’re staying with a Mac? Also, with the various strengths you mentioned, can’t one purchase all three (McAfee, Norton & Kaperski) and simply turn on only those features in the respective software. Again, just a rookie so please be patient…….

  • I have lots of computers (mostly older) and on each one I use one of the free versions of AV and firewall. Different combos on each computer not because they are free but because they are less intrusive. I have used many of the paid versions in the past and find that for the most part I get the same level of “alert” either way. The paid ones have too much bloat – I don’t need most of what they offer. I would (and have) paid for concise shareware programs that are small and do what they are supposed to do without a large strain on the computer.

  • @Steve Ashley
    Hi Steve. The “latter” is the last one in the list, so the author means PCs in this case.

    To answer your other question, no, one typically cannot run more than one security suite (like Norton) on a computer–they interfere with each other and can cause all kinds of problems Most of them are not as configurable as you suggest. Even if they were, you’d really have to know what you’re doing to be able to configure them to work together. There are also some known incompatibilities among antivirus, firewall, and other “ala carte” security software (i.e., not a suite).

    My experience with paid suites is similar to Judy F’s (post #4), and I use free software to this day on my 5 year-old computer.

Leave a reply:

Your email address will not be published.

Sliding Sidebar