Nobody ever thinks it will happen to them.  After all, we practice safe surfing methods while exploring the internet, right?  But there’s always that one site that comes up in search engine results that lights up every keyword we’re looking for and we can’t resist the impulse to click on it.  And then it’s too late!  Those unscrupulous programmers and masters of all things evil on the web snare you with a page you can’t go back on, can’t click out of or get rid of unless you do one of two things: 1) ctrl/alt/delete and stop the internet browser from running altogether or 2) play the “Click here to” do-something-that-won’t-work box game.

The scary thing is that it’s just one way that starts the infiltration of your computer by unwanted little invaders that steal your passwords, personal information and send e-mails out to your friends telling them how much enjoyment you’ve gotten out of medication to assist your flag that apparently only stands at half mast.  Or how your spouse is now screaming in ecstasy…when in fact she’s 80 and screaming at you for going somewhere on the net she thinks you went for a peek when you really didn’t.  Or did you?

Regardless, there are precautions you can take.  If you’re a relative newcomer or general computer user, chances are you’re relying on whatever virus program came installed on your machine or whatever the knowledgeable Justin Bieber-loving teen next door told you about.  Maybe you went to one of those stores where computer gurus work for minimum wage and they suggested something that they could then install for you for a nominal fee.

My partner suggested several years back that I take a look at something called AVG.  Naturally, I thought this was yet another sequel in the Aliens Vs Predator series, only was this one Aliens Vs Gremlins or Godzilla?  No, it stands for AVG, which may or may not spell out something longer (Anti-Virus Guard, actually).  The point is that the program offers a couple of versions; a paid one for business, another paid one for home and a free version.  Being the poor, starving artist that I am, I opted for the free version and have been using it for years.  Imagine how my face lit up when I first walked into the Trademark Productions office and discovered they were using AVG, too!  It just went to show that my partner is really as smart as he says he is.  Annoying, but smart.

Previous versions of AVG have tended to slow down my computer when it was updating itself and then running its scan.  The 2011 version isn’t nearly as bad, plus you can still set it to update and run if you have a regular daily schedule and know you’ll be away for a little while.  It completely runs at your convenience.  The only thing I’m not crazy about is the number of times it asks me to restart my machine after an update.  I don’t recall other versions requiring it this many times and it can be annoying if you’re in the middle of something or have a number of programs open.  Maybe it’ll go away as the updates progress.  I hope so.

Aside from that, the good news is that we’re not the only folks who have come to love the protection that this free program gives.  It’s won a number of awards and even the admiration of Bob Rankin of The Internet Tourbus.  True, the free version doesn’t come in as many languages nor do you get technical support, but for the level of protection you get, it’s certainly more than one could expect at no cost.

We recommend that you at least download a copy of the Free Version of AVG to keep yourself protected. Make sure that you scan your computer regularly and update your virus database regularly too! AVG can be configured to do both of these things automatically.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled surfing…

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