Data security

The Importance of an Antivirus Software

antivirus-softwareLaptops and PCs are such important tools for many of us and it’s worth protecting them properly. Our personal details, systems and files are all at risk unless we take sufficient steps to guard against threats. When it comes to anti-virus software there are now a multitude of options on the market.

To understand why you need antivirus software it helps to understand its function. There are now a number of threats to our computers that go way beyond standard viruses. ‘Malware’ is the umbrella term that describes the many things that can attack your machine. These include viruses, Trojan horses, key loggers, worms, adware, spyware and a number of other nasty threats that can put your personal information and systems at risk. Antivirus software detects these threats and blocks them to prevent them from doing any harm.

Do I need antivirus software?

If you are using the internet at all on your machine, downloading or transferring files then you need anti-virus software. Whatever you use your laptop or PC for its likely that you will be exposing it to risks in one form or another so it’s best to get protected.

If you use a Mac as opposed to a PC then the good news is that you are at lower risk; there is less malware out there targeted at Macs. Still, that doesn’t mean you couldn’t get a virus and it’s best to protect your machine.

Can I rely on pre-installed software?

In many cases antivirus software may be installed on your laptop or PC when you buy it. Speak to the sales assistant about the software and the level of protection it offers to ensure that you don’t need additional software. There are also a variety of antivirus apps for smartphones in the market, readily available to be installed.

Another key factor here is that you always remember to update the software once installed. Reminders should pop up on screen but you may need to prompt them manually. Updates should always be installed as new malware is constantly coming into play. A full systems scan once a week is recommended on top of updates.

Is Free Antivirus software any good?

There are several examples of free antivirus software that have excellent reputations. These include Microsoft Security Essentials, Avast!, AVG Free and Sophos Antivirus for Mac. If you are thinking of going for free software then the most important thing is that you research around the software to find out what it defends against and how effective it is deemed to be. Online reviews from other customers can be a good way to determine effectiveness as well as reviews and ratings by reputable tech websites. Again, the most important thing is that you update your software regularly, as in every day, to avoid threats. Overall it is important to invest in a robust protection, comparing different products and features.

Why pay for antivirus software?

When free software performs so well and offers sound protection you may wonder why anyone pays for antivirus software at all. The key difference in most cases is that the software you pay for has additional features that increase protection. These could include identity theft protection, parental controls and tools to analyse how your systems are performing. The other big advantage is support. With free software you will likely be on your own if any problem comes up but with software that you pay for there tends to be telephone support to help you through any queries or emergencies.

Whether you go for free software or choose to pay, the most important thing is that you keep it regularly updated and stay vigilant when it comes to online security. Don’t download unless you trust the source, be wary of links in emails and conduct an antivirus scan on your computer every week to ensure maximum protection.

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