Why use an antivirus?

5 min read

Antivirus software is just another crucial layer of protection in your digital life. Bad actors are always looking for new ways to get into your computer and grab your personal information, stay ahead of the game with a solid wall to protect your system and personal data.

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What is an Antivirus?

There’s always going to be bad actors in cyberspace. You must keep your systems safe. An antivirus program is just another layer of protection to your system, especially if you’re using a personal computer, you don't want bad actors getting their hands on your bank information, credentials, and other sensitive information. An antivirus is an important piece of software that helps prevent attacks on your system. Anti-viruses aren’t the only thing that you need or ensure is working correctly to keep yourself safe there are other measures like firewalls, strong passwords, email awareness, secure WIFI, and many other factors that work together to ensure a safer computing experience.

What an anti-virus does more specifically, it ensures that your systems are kept up to date with the latest protections against malware and viruses. With many different types of anti-virus programs out there, it’s important to find the right one for you. In this post, you’ll learn the differences between different types of anti-virus software to protect your home or work computers and keep your data safe.

Anti-virus programs have access to your whole system to be able to scan for any changes made that are made in bad faith. There are manual, and automatic scan options depending on your preference. These programs are capable of detecting and removing modern malicious software and attacks like:

·      Trojans

·      Adware

·      Spyware

·      Ransomware

·      Rootkits

·      Keyloggers

·      Worms

·      Spam

·      And yes just like the name implies viruses are also targeted by this software.

Is my operating system antivirus enough?

More recently, operating systems like Windows and macOS have been shipping with native antivirus software built-in. But is this built-in protection enough?

WINDOWS DEFENDER

Windows Defender Antivirus is bundled into the Windows 10 operating system. This provides Windows users with basic protection from the moment they boot their computers for the first time. Because of its basic nature, it doesn’t provide the most protection to its customers, but it is better than nothing. There are notable shortcoming with the native antivirus, compared to third party antivirus software Microsoft’s database of known threats to protect against isn’t as large and up to date as many other specialized programs. Third-party antiviruses also have the benefit of more effective malware scanners, better-advanced cybersecurity protections, and are easier to use.

Microsoft has spent a lot of time making sure that Windows Defender is a good baseline for system-wide protection against common vulnerabilities. Additionally, there are a couple of other features that are provided by the native security software:

·      Virus & Threat protection

·      Account protection

·      Firewall & Network protection

·      App & Browser control

·      Device security

·      Device performance & health

·      Family options

You can learn more about windows 10 built-in security software here

MACOS BUILT-IN PROTECTION

macOS is the safest operating system, right? Well, no, marketing aside macOS does have a lot of security protocols, but it’s not incapable of getting a virus. XProtect, a Mac anti-malware, and anti-virus program protect your system from the moment you turn your Mac on for the first time, just like Windows Defender Antivirus. You’ve probably come across this security protocol whenever you download a new program, and you get a popup about a suspicious file from the internet.

Apple keeps their library of malware and viruses by regularly updating macOS. The database still isn’t as large as other third-party applications that are specified in the business of protecting your Mac. Apple does a great job protecting many levels throughout the personal computing experience:

·      Antivirus and Antimalware Protection

·      Find my

·      Hardware-level security

·      Online privacy with safari

·      FileVault 2

·      Regular software updates

Learn more about the security of macOS here

Apple does a great job at providing security software for Mac users, there are still security measures that apple doesn’t cover. Adware, Fake ads and URLs, phishing emails, key-logging scripts, and much more attackers are always ready for any new vulnerability to get access to what’s on your system.

SO IS NATIVE PROTECTION ENOUGH?

While both Apple and Microsoft have made great leaps in their native security measures to protect their user’s systems from the very first time, they turn them on, there are some issues downfalls. Because Microsoft and Apple aren’t security companies they aren’t as focused on the latest protections. Other third-party software specializes in antivirus and antimalware protection, leading with greater libraries of virus and malicious programs to protect against, and updated as the variabilities are discovered to provide the greatest security as they can. At KCS we recommended taking a look at your options from third-party antivirus apps and see what will best work with you.

Free vs. Paid

One main difference between free and paid antivirus software is going to be the ads that are displayed to get you to upgrade your software to a paid version. If you can live with ads constantly popping up, then getting a free version of a third-party antivirus is still a step up from no antivirus software. Another issue with free software, is that for the company to make money they bundle junkware into the programs download, so when you download free antivirus, you could be downloading unwanted programs (learn more about unwanted programs)

When we get to the paid options there are two options, you can either choose to pay a one-time payment or a subscription, this varies depending on the company you choose to buy from. Since you’re paying for the software you also get some added features; some companies will give you 24/7 customer support and some will give you a guarantee that you don’t get a virus or a real person will help you remove it. It all depends on which antivirus you decide to go with, but ultimately paying for antivirus will give you a lot more peace of mind compared to dealing with the issues by yourself whenever they arise.

Different types of Antivirus

Depending on which company you go with you’ll have different tiers and options to choose from, but what you’ll find is that there are standalone, cloud-based, and AI-powered antivirus software versions. Some key factors that play a role in how an antivirus will work with your system:

SYSTEM MONITORING ANTIVIRUS

System monitoring antivirus keeps an eye on your system and the use of resources by the system. By tracking your activity it’s able to detect any irregular patterns in performance and resources, basically being able to alert you whenever it thinks there is an issue with your system.

MACHINE LEARNING POWERED ANTIVIRUS

Machine learning antiviruses are powerful because they include algorithms for malware detection. This type of antivirus works in tandem with other antivirus applications to provide another layer of protection for your computer.

MALWARE SIGNATURE ANTIVIRUS

Malware signature antiviruses are a type of software that can track the digital footprint of the suspected malicious software. It can scan for specific mode and disable the programs.

KCS Recommended Antivirus

BITDEFENDER – PAID OPTION

Depending on your tier of choice, you’ll be getting a variety of powerful protection for your devices. Starting with Basic antivirus protection for your PC to a complete protection bundle for your PC, Mac, and mobile devices. In some plans, you’ll find even more features like advanced firewall protections and other threat detection technology.

MALWAREBYTES – FREE OPTION

The free version of Malwarebytes gives you a powerful scan feature that you can activate to scan your system and ensure everything is how it’s supposed to be. But like stated earlier, you will be receiving a lot of pop-ups and ads for the premium tear of the service.

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