Regular readers of Cheapskate know that when it comes to PC security, I rely mostly on Windows' built-in tools and a couple of free extras. But that approach isn't for everyone.
Indeed, shortly before Thanksgiving, my poor mother-in-law fell victim to CryptoWall, a ransomware virus that hijacks your PC, encrypts your files and demands payment if you want it removed. Although a tech-savvy relative was able to remove the actual virus, the damage remained: All her documents were corrupted, and to date I've found no way to restore them.
Shame on you, hackers. Shame on you.
This is an unfortunate reminder that for many computer users, a commercial, comprehensive security suite makes sense -- even if it means spending money. Thankfully, you can get that money back with today's deal: Newegg has Panda Internet Security 2015 (Win) for $55 shipped, but a mail-in rebate (PDF) brings your total cost down to $0.
(Although it's not specifically mentioned, what you're getting here is a one-year license, the same as most commercial security tools. After the year is up, you'll have to choose whether you want to continue subscribing. Panda currently charges $49.99 for one year, with price breaks for two- and three-year subscriptions.)
In addition to rock-solid virus protection, Panda offers extras like parental controls, online backup, and "data shield." This last would ostensibly fend off the likes of CryptoWall, as it prevents unauthorized access to your documents and data.
However, one of the big advantages to a paid security suite is technical support, and Panda doesn't offer help by phone -- only via e-mail and online forums. Also, the online backup -- which, again, would have saved the day for my mother-in-law -- is merely a 2GB MozyHome account, which anybody can get. Weak, Panda. Weak.
CNET hasn't reviewed Panda Internet Security 2015, so I'll refer you to PC Mag's review. Spoiler alert: It's a great anti-virus tool, but everything else is just so-so.
So why bother with this, especially if it means waiting 6-8 weeks to get your $55 back? Because if you're not especially savvy when it comes to PC security (and, frankly, most users aren't), you need something. I wish I'd done a better job protecting my mother-in-law's computer, and, going forward, you can bet I will.
Bonus deal: Remember that Urge Basics Bluetooth speaker from last week? If you didn't necessarily need or want the NFC version, Groupon has the Urge Basics Sound Brick for $24.99 shipped -- the lowest price I've seen. It's available in your choice of colors, and by all accounts it sounds very good. And if you do want NFC, you can get that version for $34.99.
Bonus deal No. 2: That speaker is compact and portable. If you want something larger, louder, and better suited to the bookshelf in your den, look no further than this: the Fluance Fi30 wood speaker system for $97.96 shipped. That's after applying coupon code FI30WCNET at the checkout. It's available in your choice of black, white, or bamboo. Earlier this year, CNET's David Carnoy called this -- and that was based on a $150 price tag.
Bonus deal No. 3: Backblaze competes with the likes of Carbonite and Mozy, offering continuous, automated backup of all your data. Today, however, it's on sale: AppSumo is offering one year of Backblaze unlimited backup for $25. Normally $50, this deal is for new users only, and it comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee. Backblaze's client software (available for Windows and Mac) will automatically sift through your hard drive to find all your backup-worthy data, thus eliminating a lot of the usual backup hassles.
Bonus deal No. 4: CNET'sgives you the chance to win a sweet smart-appliance prize every day from now until December 12. Just enter your name and e-mail address and presto, you're entered to win. Then remember to come back tomorrow, and the next day, and so on so you can enter again for the next prize.