Tech Bargains: Security Software

You're already paying for security software- and might not know it!

Welcome to Tech Bargains- the column where I try to save you money in the world of technology. Quick intro about me- I'm John Sand, the owner and operator of Connecticut Computer Associates. I’ve had several years of experience in both the home and corporate IT world, and I’m passing on that knowledge to you to help simplify and lower the cost of technology in your life.

This first article is about security software. If you’re not using security software, whether on a Mac or a PC, you need to start. Even though anti-virus software does have a negative impact on system performance, it’s definitely worth the peace of mind and safety it affords. It could potentially save you from a costly phone call to me.

The Mac Myth: Many Mac users, and even Apple Store employees will tell you that you do not need antivirus on a Mac. They’re wrong. Even though fewer viruses and malware are developed for them, Macs are prone to infection, just like Windows-based PCs. In fact, according to AV-Test, the number of viral samples for Mac grew by nearly 38,000 in 2017 alone.

However, anti-virus software can get expensive. These are products sold generally as a subscription service, where the user pays per computer, per year. There’s not just bad news however- if you’re paying for internet through a cable provider in Fairfield County, you can get anti-virus suites at no cost to you. Let’s go over the solutions you can get for free from each provider:

XFINITY Customers: If you’re paying for any internet package from XFINITY, then you’re entitled to protect five computers with Norton Security by Symantec. This is roughly equivalent to the Norton Security Deluxe package, which costs $100/year for 5 computers. They’re basically handing out free money! You can subscribe by clicking the link below, and sign in with your XFINITY account. https://internetsecurity.xfinity.com/products-and-services/norton-security-online/

Optimum/Altice Customers: If you’re an Optimum/Altice Internet customer- you’re in luck- you can protect up to 20 computers and devices with McAfee Internet Security- and receive five licenses to Intel True Key, which is a really great password manager with biometric security. If you were to pay full retail price for this subscription, you would be spending $200/year on McAfee Security and $100/year on True Key. In total, you’re saving well over $300/year! To take advantage of this offer, simply go to https://www.optimum.net/pages/security/mcafee.html and sign in with your Optimum account!

Charter Spectrum Customers: If you’re a Charter Spectrum customer- fear not- you get free security as well! Spectrum’s Security suite is branded, and based on F-Secure SAFE. You get to protect up to 10 devices for free- a value of $129/year direct from F-Secure! To take advantage of your free security, simply go to https://www.spectrum.net/security-suite/ and sign in with your Charter Spectrum account.

If you’re not using one of these internet providers, or otherwise don’t qualify for these offers- you’re not completely out of luck. There are still free solutions out there to save you money.

Avast Antivirus consistently scores at the top of antivirus testing, and it’s completely free for Mac and PC, although they do have a paid option. It’s very simple to setup, and has an extremely low impact on system performance. You can download it here: https://www.avast.com/

Malwarebytes Free is a malware scanner of choice by IT pros, and can be used to supplement any of the above security suites- just be aware that the free version affords you no real-time protection; you have to manually start it and start scans. I generally recommend you scan your system with Malwarebytes once a month.

Well, that’s all for this first edition of Tech Bargains. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to give me a call or text at my office number- 203-744-9871, or send an email to [email protected] I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article, and suggestions for future articles!