Anti-Virus Software – is it all the same?

CA, McAfee, Panda, Symantec and Trend Micro, Microsoft and Zone Labs make anti-virus, firewall and anti-spyware software to protect your computer. Is it all the same? I’ve been a long time user of Symantec Anti-virus and over the past 2 years or so have been using Trend Micro’s PC-cillin Internet Suite. I really think the overall protection is the same – if not similar – but the interfaces are different.
Overall the security-software should sit quietly in the background keeping your computer safe and alerting you to problems when needed.
The Washington Post reviews five of these products and recommends that a product from AVG software.
Overall, the best security solution you can come up with is your own vigilance.
The Washington Post writes If you must use one of these suites, McAfee edges out the others. But none of them makes a convincing argument against mixing and matching separate security programs.
Here’s what WP writes says about stability Stability: All of these packages must interact with the deepest innards of Windows, and having two of them active risks severe conflicts. But Symantec’s Norton Internet Security 2007 (Win XP, $70) didn’t even warn me about the presence of an older security suite on the test computer.
McAfee Internet Security Suite 2007 (Win 2000 or newer, $70), Panda Internet Security 2007 (Win 98 or newer, $70) and Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security 2007 (Win 2000 or newer, $50) did issue that heads-up, but left it to the user to clean out the other security programs.
Only CA Internet Security Suite 2007 (Win 98 SE or newer, $70) extracted the old software automatically.