Alternatives to Norton, McAfee and big-name antivirus

Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

You should always have antivirus or internet security software on your computers. They will hopefully stop any viruses that might try to infect your computer and can help protect you from other dangers like scams. However, most of the big-name companies, like Norton or McAfee, keep raising prices and keep trying to push all their new features onto everyone.

Most average computer users use these big-name antivirus companies not because they are the best or priced-right, but just because they got a free trial on their computer when it was new, and now that’s what they’re used to. Some of the companies offer some useful features, but most users don’t need to utilize them, or they never even try to utilize them. So, I see most of our customers throwing money away, paying up to $300 a year for protection.

Malwarebytes Antimalware

I’ve always been a fan of Malwarebytes Antimalware. It’s free to download and manually run scans. But I recommend upgrading to the premium edition for all your computers, so it actively protects you and runs scans automatically. You can buy directly online from Malwarebytes (, or call a local reseller like us. Pricing starts at $44.99 for a single device or $49.99 for two devices.

Malwarebytes stops not only viruses, but other malware and junk most big-name antivirus software ignores. You can even run Malwarebytes along with the big-name anti-virus programs. Or like I suggest: just purchase Malwarebytes and get rid of the expensive big-name antivirus. You’ll also have the free basic antivirus included in Windows.

Malwarebytes does provide a few other products/features, like VPN, identity protection, and a computer cleaner program. But I don’t think most users need those. I suggest just sticking to their main product: Malwarebytes Premium.

Malwarebytes Browser Guard

Website ADs can be annoying, intrusive, and misleading. But there are browser extensions out there for computers that can automatically remove most of these ADs. Malwarebytes Browser Guard ( is one good extension that blocks junk and scams in addition to ADs.

Keep in mind, some websites don’t like these AD blockers because they rely on AD revenue. You might see a popup from some websites complaining if you have an AD blocker enabled, and some going a step further, blocking you from viewing the website. However, you can easily disable the AD blocking for select websites.

Better educate and protect yourself

Antivirus can only protect you so much. I see customers getting scammed on the daily that have full antivirus. You should consider safe browsing practices, like these two:

Don’t click on search engine ADs or sponsored links: If you don’t type in a website address directly, but rather perform a search, keep in mind most search engines display ADs that look like search results. Sometimes this is helpful, allowing you to discover new products and services. But remember scammers can also try to trick you by posting seemingly legit ADs that lead to phishing sites.

I don’t suggest clicking the ADs on search results. Stick to the real organic search results. Most search sites display several ADs on the top and bottom of each result page, and some spread ADs throughout the list. Some ADs are more identifiable as others but typically you’ll see the word AD or Sponsored next to each of those paid results or a section with a collection of them.

Never call someone because your computer or device said to: Sometimes your computer may prompt you of issues with pop-up alerts, but it’s a scam if it tells you to call a phone number, wants remote control of your computer, or wants money or gift cards to fix it. If you’re ever in doubt or have let a scammer remotely control your computer or other gadgets, I highly suggest contacting a local computer shop.

Eric Geier is the owner of On Spot Techs, a computer repair and IT services company offering on-site service at homes and businesses in the Dayton and Springfield areas and also a storefront at 4732 S Dixie Dr in Moraine. For more information, visit or call 937-315-0286.

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