Part I: Are Your Personal Devices Protected...?

One of the biggest headaches of working in technology, is having to repair an affected computer. Depending on what library department that computer is associated with, it could take a day and a half - just focusing on that one machine - to "wipe it out and restore it" to suitable working conditions. Needless to say, its very frustrating and very time-consuming on my part. But for some of you, when this involves your home computer, it can be a very crippling feeling, especially if that computer is the only computer in your entire household.

So to continue our discussion on free and paid software to help you save time and money, I want to tell you about ways to protect the data on your personal laptops, home computers, smartphones, and tablets by gaining an understanding of why ANTI-VIRUS PROGRAMS are important and how you can download/install one of these programs onto your personal devices for FREE.

ANTI-VIRUS EXPLAINED: defines anti-virus as "a utility used to spot and erase [computer] viruses from a system." As points: a "true virus cannot spread [to another computer] without human interaction" in that a virus is "a software program capable of reproducing itself and usually capable of causing great harm to files or other programs on the same computer." Therefore, EVERY DEVICE you own (and use) that connects to the Internet, from your home computer to even your smartphone, should have an anti-virus program installed on it.

Those who create viruses are getting clever and clever. Just like them, we too have to be just as clever in finding ways to safeguard our equipment. Therefore, installing an anti-virus program and forgetting about it, simply isn't enough. You need to make sure it stays up-to-date with the latest virus definitions. Now, virus definitions (or threat signatures) are databases that keep up with the latest viruses along with strategies to help your anti-virus program "get rid of it." So, why is all of this important?

According to an October 2011 report by Kaspersky Labs, makers of Kaspersky Anti-Virus, there are at least 70,000 new viruses introduced EVERYDAY. So whenever your anti-virus program notifies you that it is out-dated, needs to be updated, or has a new update to download/install, you should PAY VERY CLOSE ATTENTION!

It means that the anti-virus software really needs to connect back to its "home base" to obtain the latest updates. Why? - because today's viruses are brutal. Once your device is infected, the virus is likely designed to block your ability to get on the Internet thereby blocking your ability to update your anti-virus software. By then, its too late!

Here are two popular free antivirus programs.


  • Unlike AVG, Panda Cloud is currently only available for computers and laptops. 

  • Yet unlike any existing anti-virus program - paid or free, Panda Cloud is the first cloud-based anti-virus program on the market. Cloud-based means its a service available through the Internet. So you can only buy/download it via the Internet only, and not in stores.

  • In a January/February 2012 performance test conducted by, Panda Cloud was ranked #1, while AVG ranked third and Microsoft Security Essentials ranked lowest. In April 2012, PCWorld stated that Panda Cloud "...outperformed AVG in a malware [detection] test." Just so your know, malware is another name for a type of [computer] virus and it means "malicious software".

  • To download Panda Cloud for FREE:
    • Visit and click on the Download Free button.
    • Their FREE version offers protection against real-time anti-virus and anti-spyware protection, along with automatic, behind-the-scenes updates. In case you're wondering, spyware is a type of malware that monitors your actions as you're using your device and reports your actions back to someone else, likely a hacker.


  • In April 2012, PCWorld named AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition as their top pick in "Free Anti-Virus  You Can Trust".

  • Unlike Panda Cloud, AVG offers protection for your mobile devices as well as year-round telephone support for the FREE version installed on your personal computers and laptops.

  • To download AVG for FREE:
    • For Android-based devices, such as smartphones and tablets: 
      • Visit the Google Play Store and search for "Antivirus Free" by AVG Mobilization. 
      • Be sure to check the box to "Allow automatic updating" either before or after install.
      • Like most anti-virus programs for mobile devices, it will scan every new app that you install, perform scheduled scans on your existing apps, emails, text messages, etc., along with performing automatic updates - if you have the "Allow automatic updating" button checked.
    • For personal computers and laptops:  
      • Visit and find the Install button for the latest FREE version.
      • Their FREE 2012 version offers basic protection against viruses and spyware and don't forget about the year-round free telephone support.

Here are a few other FREE anti-virus programs:

PLEASE NOTE: Not all anti-virus programs "get along", so you only want to have ONE anti-virus (AV) program on your computer at any given time. Multiple AV programs on the same device could cause a "tug-of-war" whenever a virus is detected. So if you already have an anti-virus program installed, consider uninstalling it prior to installing something else. If you are unfamiliar with whether your current program is working for you, then seek out expert advice by visiting your local computer store like Best Buy, Office Depot, or Staples.


I personally used Panda Cloud on my personal laptop and AVG on my Android-based smartphone, so what do you use? Perhaps you use an anti-virus that is different from those mentioned here. If so, feel free to share your preferred AV program with us in the comments section below.

In Part Two, the discussion continues as I focus on how to protect and backup your smartphone data.

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