Almost all new Windows computers from a reputable brand come coupled with trails version of internet security suites with an overabundance of features which you are asked to purchase or subscribe to when the trail period ends. These features normally include an antivirus component, email scanning and phishing filters, firewalls, and a lot of other features, most of which you will never use or need.
Nothing can undermine the importance of internet security suites. The antivirus component they incorporate is helpful and efficient; so are some of the other features that come with them. But, the high subscription fees they charge are justified by providing many features that you don’t really need.
1. Anti-virus: the most important feature you will need
The antivirus is the most important element of any internet security suite. It protects your device against direct or hidden malware attacks, even the sneaky ones that infiltrate your system through security flaws in the browsers or browser plug-ins.
Even antiviruses may overlook some threats here and there, and are not flawless in protecting your device against all kinds of malware threats, but they are an essential security feature for all Windows users as they will protect the computer against most threats. This is the reason why Microsoft Windows 8, 8.1, and 10 come with an in-built antivirus feature.
2. Protective firewall features
Another important feature that internet security suite comes with is firewall protection. It certainly is a good idea to use a firewall, as it protects exposed Windows services from being compromised on the web, and restrict access to the services on a public or an un-protected Wi-Fi network.
The Microsoft firewall feature newer Windows incorporate restricts access of applications that act as servers for incoming traffic and asks the users for clearance. It does not, however, restrict outgoing traffic. The Windows firewall in exceptionally capable and flexible; users can install a third-party program for the purpose of blocking outgoing traffic with Windows Firewall or control it through the advanced interface.
If blocking outgoing traffic is a priority, then doing so is more convenient with an internet security suite, although there are other free alternatives for it as well. However, for most people, this feature will not hold much importance, and an easy way to protect your system from outgoing software that may harm it is to not run programs that you do not trust.
3. Phishing emails and website filters
Paid internet security suites also provide email-client and browser protection features. They will scan and quarantine emails that are considered phishing threats and deny access to most phishing websites on your browser, providing protection against malware and identity theft while you are on the web.
What the security suites fail to mention is that email-clients and browsers now come incorporated with protection against malware and phishing, which is capable enough the keep the user safe from most vulnerabilities. This renders it unnecessary for the user to subscribe to an internet security suite.
4. Intelligent scans for cookies
Cookies, in general, do not pose a security risk. Internet security suites will scan and mark many cookies, especially advertising cookies as threats nonetheless. By doing this, internet security suites want to show the user that they made an intelligent choice subscribing to the service and that their application is actively protecting the user against continuous threats.
Advertising tracking cookies monitor the users’ purchase activity on particular websites to deliver customized advertisements the user may be interested in. They do not pose a threat and removing them will not improve your internet security.
If you still want to remove advertising cookies, this can be achieved by setting the browser settings to automatically delete cookies for the session when the browser is closed, and an internet security suite is not required to accomplish this.
5. Parental controls
Another feature security suites offer is parental control, which is another one most users won’t require as all operating systems from Windows 8 onwards incorporate it as part of the Windows basic features. This will let you monitor computer usage, restrict access to certain websites, and to the internet during specified time periods. Windows 7 also incorporates its own set of parental control features.
In order to acquire an edge, some Internet security suites offer a few other parental control features, but Windows’ in-built controls will be sufficient to address most of your needs.
6. Website trust rating
Some Internet security suites will let you install browser extensions to display a “trust” rating for any website you visit, or one that shows up in Google search results. If this is a feature that interest you, there are many free independent alternatives that provide the same functionality without the need to subscribing to a security suite.
7. Spam and junk email filters
Most security suites also provide spam filtering capabilities. But, most modern email-clients and online email systems like Outlook and Gmail do a very good job of isolating and flagging spam emails as it is. This renders any third-party features being offered by security suites useless.
Even if you do, most features are already incorporated into Windows, and free alternatives for others can easily be found online from trusted sources. All you would really need, is an antivirus, the features Windows already provides, and some common sense to keep yourself safe while surfing the web.