Gold'en Rant : Free security software: you get what you paid for

As a so-called IT security expert (please don't laugh) I get more than a few friends, colleagues and rellos asking me what the best IT security software is for them.

And as a man (or woman) they rarely want to pay anything, so I patiently explain that they should be looking for three applications - anti-spyware, anti-virus and a personal firewall package.

The first category is pretty easy, as it's a straight choice between Lavasoft's Ad-aware or Spybot Search & Destroy. They're both free, easy to download and work well.

But AV and firewall software? Personally I recommend Grisoft's AVG and Zone Labs' ZoneAlarm and point people at the relevant Web site(s).

Which is when the follow-up emails and phone calls start. "It wants me to pay for the software" says the indignant friend/colleague/rello.

The reason for this is quite simple - both Grisoft's and Zone Labs' sites bombard users wanting to download the freebie version of their software with promos and confusing messages about the pay-for premium super-duper editions.

I can't blame them, but since they're often dealing with PC/Internet novices, this isn't very fair, is it?

More often often than note I have to download the relevant freebie software for the friend/colleague/rello and supply them with printed

instructions. Tedious, but it works.

It would be a lot nicer if Grisoft and Zone Labs allows a simple download procedure for their free software. Or is THAT ASKING TOO MUCH?

Rant mode off...