Free softwares to protect PCs, tablets from viruses

January 10, 2012 2:59:19 PM PST
If you got a new computer or tablet for Christmas, then listen up, you need to protect it. But no need to spend a lot of money on new anti-virus software.

Whether your computer or tablet is new or you just want to keep your old computer a lot longer, there is free software that will protect your computer and keep it running smoothly.

"When I turned it on, it wouldn't let me do anything," said Adrian Jackson, who had a computer virus.

This is a typical problem the computer experts over at Top Tech Experts hear everyday.

"Every time you close it, it would continue to pop up, just continue to pop up," Jackson said.

Jackson's computer caught a virus.

"That's how they make a lot of money," said Alex Diaz with Top Tech Experts.

Diaz says a typical virus will lock up your computer and make it appear you need to purchase software, even scare you into buying it now! The fake anti-virus software site even looks official, but it's a scam if you enter you credit card information.

"We see a lot of people that get reoccurring payments and they are usually not big payments, not $200; it is usually $40 on a monthly basis and a lot of people do not notice that unfortunately," Diaz said.

But Jackson knew better and brought it over to the experts. For $50, she will get her virus removed and her computer working like new.

But to prevent viruses in the first place, you don't have to purchase any software. Diaz prefers two free anti-virus programs.

The first:

"It's by Microsoft, it's called Microsoft Security Essentials; you can get it on their website, it's a free download and installs," Diaz said.

The second is called AVG and offers a free anti-virus for those use their PC for surfing, searching or social networking. But with any anti-virus protection, be sure to update it.

"They release new updates, almost on a daily basis because new viruses come out so they need to update and apply to be able to protect from the new viruses," Diaz said.

When it comes to keeping your computer clutter free, try a free software program called CCleaner. It will keep you PC clean and running faster by removing temporary files, history and cookies.

And finally for tablets, although it's not as popular to catch viruses yet, be sure to review the apps you are thinking of downloading.

"See what others reviewers are saying; see if it says it's crashing your system or the app works great, that way you are aware of what you are downloading or installing," Diaz said.

Whether you buy your software or get a free version, you're computer can become infected so be careful opening attachments or clicking on software updates or ads that pop up.