Now, more than ever, users need to feel secure. Technology and cyber security seem to constantly be in the news. People need a sense of safety when they interact with their gadgets. They have sensitive data saved across multiple platforms and on multiple services. Given all the risks, there are ways to stay safe. Is your traditional antivirus software one of them, though?
Antivirus Software Today
When people think of antivirus software, they think of the dedicated programs of the computing world. In the past, it was not uncommon to find antivirus software pre-loaded onto a new PC. Over the course of the free trial, they performed admirably. They scanned downloaded documents. They stayed up to date with the latest virus definitions and alerts. Detecting and removing viruses was their sole purpose. Antivirus and security software today is far more advanced.
These days, antivirus software consists of much more than just scanning for viruses. Antivirus programs scan your computer for all kinds of malware. The most effective malware sneaks onto your computer undetected, doing things you don’t want it to do. More advanced programs run a number of security checks. Many also include a firewall that protects access to your internet connection. Contrary to its name, antivirus software today is about so much more than that. It is about securing every piece of technology you use.
Users need antivirus and security programs no matter what devices they have. Today’s technology landscape is always online. That means you’re vulnerable to data-stealing viruses and malware wherever you are.
Why Wouldn’t You Need antivirus Protection?
Many devices and operating systems today come loaded with their own security programs. For example, Windows 10 comes with the Windows Defender program. This security and antivirus tool scans your computer for threats, features a firewall, and uses SmartScreen to ask permission to run unknown programs. Free alternatives are available for Apple products, as well. These tools, coupled with regular software updates, keep your computer safe from many threats.
Programs themselves boast heavy security features, too. Web browsers such as Chrome, Edge, and Firefox use a number of methods to deter infection or a data breach on your computer. These programs warn you about suspicious sites. You can choose a number of customization options to make sure that the security is right for you. You can set parameters for cookies, enable phishing protection when browsing, and turn on a built-in pop-up blocker.
Antivirus software and scans are key to your online security. They can only do so much, though. There is more that you can do. Even if you don’t use any additional software, smart browsing needs to be your first line of defense. People often fail to check links or files before they click them. Make sure that the content you’re viewing is reputable and secure. Most security threats come from things like clicking unsafe links in emails or downloading infected files. When keeping yourself safe from cyberattacks, knowledge is your best defense.
Phishing emails are a common way in which an attacker can compromise your computer’s security. When you get an email requesting personal information such as banking information or social security number, make sure that you’re dealing with a real company. Phishing scams attempt to gather your information directly from you. If you are ever in doubt, don’t reply.
Unverified downloads contribute to security threats, too. When downloading programs or files from the internet, make sure you know what you’re getting. Questionable sites have multiple buttons with which to download a file. Almost all of them are ads. They bypass whatever file you wanted. Instead, you download programs riddled with malware. Only download programs and data from trusted sources. If it looks fishy, avoid it.
Using an adblocker is an effective way to cut down on the amount of malicious ads that show up. Since these are common sources of spyware and malware, you can avoid infecting your computer when all you want to do is download a free program. You also avoid pop-up ads which are not only annoying but can be just as dangerous as other forms of malware.
Both sides of the argument have valid points. There are those who think that traditional antivirus software is the only way to be completely safe. Still, there are others who would argue that built-in security features across different operating systems and programs make such software unnecessary. Though, neither of them would argue that everyone should practice caution when browsing the internet.
What are your thoughts? Do you think that you need to have an antivirus program on your computer to be safe? What security programs do you use on your computer? What are your best tips for staying safe on the internet?