As it is Back to School, most of the virus-checking software in my house is about to expire (maybe in your house, too? Better check). The entire virus scan/Internet safety/firewall industry seems to be at times, running their own “shell game” on their customers.
In our house, we have been using Norton Anti-Virus ( the 360 product), and it seems to work fine to protect us from viruses and such (whether the software is a vast system hog, I will leave it to other folks to discuss). I bought the package last year for my daughter’s computer that she was taking off to University, and it came with a 3-computer license (i.e. I can put this 1 piece of software on 3 separate computers), so I put Norton 360 on two other computers in our house (seemed like a good deal at the time).
Time has passed, and the year’s subscription is about to expire How do I know that? The Norton software kindly reminds me every day (when you are within two weeks of expiration), which is suitable for forgetful folks like me, to make sure our machines are not infected with nasty malware (remember if you are connected to the web, you must have protection). I am saying run a virus scan program, just be aware of the subscription scam.
Virus Scan the Subscription Scam
The problem is that these reminders aim me directly at a Norton website, where I can conveniently use my credit card and my subscription will be renewed. However, my price is much more than I paid for the 3 computer software the previous year. If I look at Best Buy, Tiger Direct, Future Shop or Staples online, I can see that I can buy the software “off the shelf” for less than this renewal fee, which I think is a bit of a dirty trick.
With this in mind I started looking around at the various Anti-Virus software out there. I decided to change my allegiances for this year and try out McAfee’s Anti-virus type software, so I went out and bought a 3-license software CD, for much less than a single renewal with Norton, and it all seems to work just fine.
I realize that this kind of practice is attempting to catch Lazy consumers at their weakest moment (when they feel they will be inconvenienced by having to think or shop around), but it still seems like a dirty trick (my opinion).
You should run virus scan software (unless your computer never ever connects to the Internet and you never install software on your computer), and I think most of the manufacturers do a good job with their product, so your major differentiating point must now be price, although check with friends in the know about whether there is any performance hits for installing the software is another good point as well.
I am happy with my decision (saved me about $100 at the end of it, if I had gone with the Lazy solution), but only time will tell whether McAfee is better or the same as Norton (but it sure was cheaper for me).
Formerly on Canadian Personal Finance.