Annual fees paid for protection against criminal activities and other abuses on the World Wide Web are estimated to comfortably exceed $10,000,000,000,000 globally. That’s probably much more than the annual cost of harm done by hackers etc.

The cost of all such protection is unknown but must be much higher than that once the time of all those handling web security is added in. That time includes your’s trying to cope with incompatibilities between your devices’ security or operating software and that of say McAfee or Symantec or IBM’s Rapport.

The whole industry is rather like a protection racket. Often when you buy devices that can access the web, anti-virus and firewall software is already implanted and difficult to remove. After a few months’ free usage you acquiesce to paying for it just to avoid the hassle of replacing it. Then you upgrade your browser and hey presto you suddenly find your existing anti-virus software doesn’t work and you have installed another firewall and yet more web security software.

Why pay fees when most of us can protect ourselves just as well for free?
In any event, most of that $10 trillion plus is spent on futile defences that would not withstand serious hacking or denial of service attacks. Let’s face it, if the FBI, the CIA, the FSB, MI5 and MI6 let alone countless other sensitive and security conscious governmental organisations and banks can’t defend themselves what real hope has your company or organisation got?

Indeed, at a personal level what hope have you got in properly defending your private and/or family’s combo of linked up cell phones, notebooks, tablets, laptops and/or desktops and so on? The sheer complexity of many private or family IT requirements nowadays means that easily exploitable vulnerabilities pop up all over the place in the least expected places. Think about it next time you’re watching TV, printing a photo or driving your car.

There are many free services available which are just as fit for purpose for most individuals and small businesses as many of the fee charging services that exist worldwide. There are a few truly independent websites (including ““) that provide sound advice on free security software: just Google “free security software reviews” and start saving yourself or your business some real dosh.

You can use one or more of the free versions available from the likes of Avast, AVG, Comodo, Malwarebytes, Qihoo, Rapport, Windows Defender and/or ZoneAlarm. We’ve even come across one person who used the lot!

If they don’t suit you or your business you can always use one of them in conjunction with other web security services that are probably far less expensive than those you or your business are paying through the nose for.

There are many other options but insufficient space to cover them all in this article. One of the best places to start looking at whether free security software works as well as paid-for software for you or your business is at and there is guidance on assessing your personal needs too. What’s more, even though it is a UK based website the advice given is just as useful to someone living in either Tajikistan, Togo, Tokelau, Tuvalu or Timbuktu!

This article was first published on 19th March 2015.

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