Unlike the antivirus software makers, the makers of antispyware and antimalware software do not have a governing body behind them ensuring that they protect your PC from all the latest threats.
The various antivirus software developers have a governing body behind them that shares any newly discovered threats among all the antivirus companies so that threats can be eradicated as quickly as possible. This means that when one of the antivirus software companies find a new virus or virus variant they share that knowledge with all the other antivirus software companies.
Having Antivirus software on your PC is a necessity but typically one antivirus software package is not much better than another at protecting you from the latest threats, they should all protect you equally. What you need to look for in antivirus software package is ease of use and the overhead that it places on your machine.
The makers of anti-spyware and anti-malware software do not have any sort of governing body behind them and there for usually do not share and information on the latest threats out there. In fact, most of these companies protect that knowledge and keep it as their edge or advantage over the other companies.
Because there is no sharing of this knowledge, none of the spyware and malware protection software available can protect you from 100% of the threats out there. We typically do not recommend purchasing any of the available antispyware or antimalware packages, instead we recommend using several of the free versions available together for the best chance at catching the majority of the threats out there.
You also need to be aware that what works this week may not work next week and because of that the programs we recommend change on a regular basis. Some of the free software available can also be very intrusive and may need to be removed or have settings chugged to keep your system free of performance robbing add-ons. If an anti-spyware program has portions of it that stay in memory we typically uninstall it after we have used it to scan. Most of the popular packages do not have components that stay resident in memory or have the option to disable them.
An important item to be aware of is that not all of the spyware and malware removal tools out there are legitimate. Remember, this stuff is malicious and we have found many cases of people buying what they thought was good, legitimate, software only to find out that the very software they purchased was the problem.
Another common deceptive practice used is some spyware will tell you that you are infected when you are not and try to trick or persuade you into buying it or infect your PC and tell you the only way to remove it is to pay for a specific removal product.
A good rule of thumb is if something pops up on your screen telling you that your PC is infected or that for a small fee you can be scanned and cleaned it is most likely a scam and you should close it by the “X” in the upper right hand corner immediately. Buying these products only makes the problem worse by encouraging and funding the makers of these malicious exploits.