Since so much of our lives is spent online between our smartphones, laptops, and even the amount of time we spend streaming television shows and movies, it is easy to take for granted the security of our actions. It is an easy assumption that because the internet is so available that it would be safe to use. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Computer Safety Has Always Been a Concern
Since there has been computer technology, computer safety has been threatened. Even before we had the internet to worry about, people were out there trying to be mischievous with data and information. Even as technology has advanced, the knowledge of hackers and other people who want to cause harm has also increased and advanced right alongside technology. Cybercriminals will always look for a way to get what they want and it is up to us to make sure that they don’t get their way.
What Antivirus Software Does
Antivirus software is essentially a tool that you can use to defend yourself against cybercriminals. It has a few different uses.
- It prevents malicious malware from being downloaded onto your computer.
- It can also remove malware that has been already downloaded on your computer.
What Viruses and Malware Do?
While you may understand what antivirus software does in a general sense, it is also important to understand what is at risk if you do not protect your information online.
- Malware can steal your personal and sensitive information, leading to identity theft. Identity theft is of course dangerous because cybercriminals can recreate your identification to take out loans and credit cards, wrecking your credit and racking up debt.
- Malware can steal your bank account information and your credit cards.
- Malware can delete files on your computer.
- Malware can also hold your computer ransom. It does this by locking up specific things in your computer and forcing you to pay a fee to unlock your computer.
Types of Viruses
Fortunately as malware has grown and changed, the defenses against it has also grown. There are many types of viruses out there that the antiviral software can help against.
- Trojan horses
- Browser Hijackers
- Infected spam
- Phishing attacks
- Identity Theft
- Fraud tools
Can Smartphones use Antiviral Software?
As most of us are on our smartphones the majority of the time we are online, it is important to question how safe we are when we use our phones. The truth is that for many of the major OS for phones, there are antivirus software options out there to give your phone the added protection. For iOS users, however, this is not the case. Apple does not permit the use of antiviral software on their devices because they have such a stiff policy for keeping illicit software out. They believe their software is adequately developed to keep malware away.
Weakness of Antivirus Software
It is true that antivirus software cannot keep you protected from every type of virus or hacker that is out there. As long as you keep your software current, however, you will have a better chance of keeping your information protected. Doing nothing is the equivalent of not locking your door because someone might break in through a window. It is still better to have some kind of protection than no protection at all.
Types of Antiviral Software
There are a few different types of antiviral software that you can get, which may make it confusing when you are trying to purchase one to use. The biggest companies of antivirus software that you can use on your computer are:
- Ad Aware
All of the major ones will do a good job of keeping you safe online when it comes to the computer. There are different software available on smart phones, but still mostly by the same companies.
- Symantec Norton
- McAfee AntiVirus
- Avast Pro
- Webroot SecureAnywhere
Just like the computer version, most of these software will do their job keeping your online activity safe. They all operate in the way of putting up a defense against malware and letting you know when something has appeared that should not be there. They will also remove any threats that they can, as long as they can do it. The software is, of course, not perfect, but using it is better than doing nothing at all.
Other Ways of Keeping Safe
Using antivirus software is not the only way that you can keep yourself protected online, however. There are several tools at your disposal.
To begin with, keeping away from websites that seem shady, like sites that ask you to download something, ask for any of your personal information, and websites that have a lot of pop-ups.
The second thing that you can do is keep cookies from being activated on your browser. Cookies track your information from one website to another and some sites won’t even allow you to use them without activating cookies. If you turn them off, the ability to trace you and what you have viewed from one place to another will be safe.
You should also make sure that you are not sharing any unnecessary information with anyone that you are not certain is who they say they are. This means unreliable websites to order from, anything asking for your identification number or credit cards.
Keep your passwords and logins random. If your passwords are not predictable, people are less likely to solve your passwords. You should also store them in a place that they cannot be easily discovered and used against you.
Your network login should also be password protected so that no one can just hop on and see what you have been up to online. This also means that you need to be careful when you are looking online using a public Wi-Fi. Just because a public Wi-Fi is password protected does not mean that you are safe. Other users and strangers will be on the same network.