Windows 10 Protection

Windows-Defender-and-malwarebytes-iconsWindows 10 Protection: a reader asks…

Ok, one more time, what protection should I use for my Windows 10 computer?

Short answer: the built-in Windows Defender supplemented by a subscription to Malwarebytes Premium. Sure, Norton, Bitdefender, ESET, McAfee and others will attempt to convince you that you need their protection, but the truth is that for many/most consumers, Windows Defender does an adequate job. To add another strong layer of protection I recommend you add on a premium subscription to Malwarebytes, $40/year for one computer with discounted pricing as you add more computers to your license.

In the past, built-in Windows protection was pretty poor, practically non-existent. So over time, 3rd party software developers created anti-virus and anti-malware programs that provided a measure of protection that everyone using Microsoft Windows needed. But with the release of Windows 10 in July 2015, Microsoft finally started giving consumers a reasonable level of protection against the most common threats to your digital life. As time has gone by, the built-in Windows Defender has only gotten better at its job, and has, frankly, kicked the bottom out of these 3rd party developers’ business model.

Bitdefender-internet-security-boxed-software-image-from-bitdefenderdotcomOf course, they don’t want you to know that, so they continue to push advertising resources and purchased recommendations from all sorts of tech news sites and such, and even fund comparison reviews that get published to help them make you think you still need them. But you don’t. Of course, that’s just my opinion, but based on my experience dealing with thousands of people who are themselves dealing with hundreds of thousands of threats. And these 3rd party developers have added feature upon feature to make their offerings more attractive. In most cases, the extra features are meaningless for most people.


There is one consumer use case for having a 3rd party protection program – the consumer who willfully disregards all computer and online security recommendations, surfs the web indiscriminately, clicks on links, popups and embedded adverts without a thought, and ignores even the most basic password management recommendations. Often this person will use the password “123456” or “password” or other stupid and easily guessed password. Plus, they’ll use the same password in all their different online places.

For that type of person, they need all the protection they can get. Of course for this idiot, they won’t take my advice on which are the best 3rd party protection programs anyway, and they’ll get whatever gets thrust in front of them, often by a computer store salesperson. Generally, the last person you’d depend on for advice about computer security… So even if I tell them that Bitdefender Internet Security is the best of the bunch, They may ignore that, or neglect to keep it up-to-date (the current version is 2018 by the way, which came out in 2017).

hacker-with-code-superimposed-image-from-shutterstockHaving out-of-date protection software is actually worse than having no protection software. The reason is that it gives the user a false sense of security. Hackers can get the same software any consumer can, and routinely buy and reverse-engineer the software. So at least once a year or so, security software developers put out a new version of their software, which users have to find, then download and install, otherwise their protection becomes useless. With Windows Defender, the updates to that software are part of Windows Update (which for most consumers should be set to install updates automatically) so they need not do anything else to remain well-protected.

The reason why I recommend Malwarebytes is that:

  1. it’s a strong anti-malware, anti-virus anti-spyware program that proactively prevents infection. If you go to an infected website, Malwarebytes will block you and warn you that the site is unsafe. It will also monitor the traffic in and out of your computer and warn you if it sees something happening that looks suspicious. And finally, it will run automatically, both updating itself and running periodic scans to keep your computer clean.
  2. It works alongside of and with Windows Defender. Other protection programs deactivate Windows Defender in favor of their own protection service. Part of the benefit of having Malwarebytes is that you have two different protection programs working together to protect your computer. No protection program is 100% effective, and Malwarebytes well-complements the Windows Defender’s area of protection.

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