"having plugins like flash installed on the browser and for instance by visiting any site, as soon as one allow flash to activate, say for streaming a content, that would defeat the purpose of having a VPN or Tor browser"
Correct. However SOME extensions and plugins might work alright with tor, for example tor comes (atleast it did when I last used ti years ago) with NoScript built in, this extension obviously does work well with the tor system or they wouldn't provide it. Noscript does something pretty similar to ublock. Other extensions and plugins probably do exist which respect tor's method of connecting from you to a site you visit via a chain of multiple anonymised links, if you want to run a particular extension or plugin through tor you will need to do some research about that particular plugin/extension.
If a video is flash based and country restricted tor won't usually be able to play it, you could installl flash into tor but doing so would make your anonymity collapse and the site you were visiting would quickly realise you were not from the country your tor IP claimed you were from, and it would refuse to play the content. Some VPNs probably exist which are designed to work well with flash, these would have better success in use for such a purpose. If a video is html 5 based then it might well be able to be played through tor.
If you don't trust your antivirus look into one of these instead: avast, AVG, bit defender free, all are free and should be trustworthy, I use avast, used to use AVG. The type of protection an antivirus offers is quite different to what you need for securely logging into websites (bank/email) and very different to the type of "protection" tor or a VPN offers.
An antivirus keeps your system free of malicious programs, it can be strengthened by running an antimalware tool or some second opinion scanners alongside it, or a scriptblocker in your browser.
Security for logging into banks/email accounts is mainly controlled by the browser, but also important is making sure you are using a trustworthy connection to the internet. Basically if your browser has a successful https connection to the secure website, and you are using a safe connection (like your home one, not a public wi-fi one) and you know your system is virus free then you are safe to log into secure sites without having your password stolen.
The "protection" offered by tor or a vpn is not against malicious software or hackers, tor and VPNs protect you against being spied on online, they allow you to browse without letting your ISP, government or people on the same network as you know what sites you are visiting. Things like tor can be useful: for those with a need to post things online without leaving tracks back to them in the real world, for those who live somewhere where the government/ISP/someone on their network heavily censors or monitors their activity, for those who want to see what sites look like for users in other parts of the world (news sites sometimes only display certain content to visitors who's IP address corresponds to certain regions), for those who would like to maintain two or more utterly separte online personalities, VPNs are also used by some companies to allw employees to remotely access their internal facilities in a secure way. Basically think of the private browsing functions in your browser, recall the sorts of warnings you see on the page when private browsing windows are opened "private browsing lets you browse without leaving traces on your machine, it does NOT keep your activity secret from your ISP, government, network administrator, people standing over your shoulder.", tor lets you browse in a way like private browsing but with tor only the people looking over your shoulder can see what you are doing.
Edited by rp88, 16 May 2015 - 10:02 AM.
Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.
My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB