Antivirus Softwares: Get One for Your Own Sake
Why Buy Antivirus Software?
An unprotected computer is a vulnerable computer, plain and simple. Every year there are hundreds of viruses, Trojans, worms and other malware, released into cyberspace designed to harm your computer. Most people don’t realize that malware is everywhere and avoiding a malicious computer invader is very difficult. And usually, you won’t even know you’ve become a victim.
Malware is an umbrella term for all malicious software. The most common are viruses and spyware. There are many different types of viruses floating through the Internet. Consider yourself lucky if you have never been the victim of a virus. There are a number of talented programmers out there with a lot of time on their hands writing software programs intended to harm your computer or your reputation.
If you have ever come back to your computer and found it won’t start or all your files erased and unrecoverable, you know exactly why you need to protect your computer. A typical virus will essentially wipe out the master boot record (MBR) of your computer, making it completely unusable. In some cases, the only thing left to do is to reformat your hard drive and reinstall your operating system losing all your pictures of the kids, work-related spreadsheets, email and more. The best Antivirus programs will stop viruses before they ever reach your hard drive and keep your computer safe, usually without you even noticing.
A recent study found that more than 80% of home computers have spyware installed on them and the users don’t even know it. Sypware, or sometimes called adware, is a small, seemingly innocent piece of software that embeds itself in your Internet browser.As you surf the internet, signing into email, social networks or bank accounts, the spyware program reports back to home base with all your personal information. Before long, your resources are drained, your computer slows down, and some stranger knows everything about you.
Rootkits are also a type of spyware. In this case, a hacker takes control of your computer, without you knowing, and uses your hard drive and IP address to infect others. This type spyware is difficult to detect on your own, but top antivirus software will detect a dangerous download and immediately delete the file.
Computers are expensive pieces of equipment. For the same reasons you lock your home and car (to keep others out), you need to have some type of antivirus protection on your computer. There is an arms race out there between malware producers and antivirus software producers. And it escalates daily. Remaining unprotected is a sure-fire way to become collateral damage in this war. The cost to prevent and protect yourself is much lower than the cost of replacing your computer and restoring your identity.
On this site, you’ll find a side-by-side comparison of antivirus software products, Learning Center articles on computer virus topics, news stories and comprehensive antivirus software reviews that will help you make an informed decision on which antivirus program is right for you.
What to Look for in Antivirus Software
All antivirus software is not created equal. Like any other category of consumer goods, it has its good, its bad and its mediocre. The choices are broad and wide. Software offerings from around the globe grace the reviews of antivirus software at TopTenReviews, but in your efforts to decide which best antivirus software to buy, remember that it really comes down to just two factors: user-friendliness and effectiveness.
Top antivirus software should be easy enough for a computer user to both install and install. The software should effectively seek out and identify virus threats, as well as clean or isolate infected files. There should be understandable reporting available for each scan and plenty of help support available, so you can be well-informed of the software’s activities and capabilities. Below are the criteria TopTenREVIEWS uses to evaluate antivirus software.
- Ease of Use – Exceptional antivirus software is simple to use, regardless of a user’s computer experience or knowledge of viruses. The software should be easy to install and configure. If you need to use the interface to change settings, it should be intuitive and non-threatening to beginners. Ideally, most features will be enable/disable toggles with the power to fine-tune if desired. The best antivirus software is the kind you simply install on your system and then let it do its work.
- Effective at Identifying Viruses and Worms – The best antivirus products identify infected files quickly through realtime scanning, searching for viruses in a multitude of sources, including email, instant message applications, web browsing, etc. Scanning speed is also important. Slow antivirus software will tend to interfere with your work or gaming, and if it’s very slow or you are particularly impatient, you might have the tendency to stop or pause the scan, rendering the software useless. Generally, antivirus software scans your hard drive and files looking for known viruses.
- Effective at Cleaning or Isolating Infected Files – Truly capable antivirus software thoroughly cleans, deletes or quarantines infected files, keeping them from spreading throughout the hard drive or network. Proactive/heuristic testing enables the antivirus software to detect and quarantine code that looks and acts like a virus even before it has been reported. This could be critical in protecting you on a “Day Zero” attack and spare you from being one of the first casualties.
- Activity Reporting – Antivirus programs should give immediate notification of viruses found by realtime scanners and should provide an easy to read report of scan results, including what was found and what was done with infected files.
- Feature Set – A well-rounded feature set allows antivirus software to provide absolute protection. The best programs are those that offer a wide variety of tools, from basic realtime scanning to more advanced heuristic scanning and script blocking. When it comes to virus protection, the more options the better. Many of the best antivirus packages now include multiple protection schemes at no extra cost. These include antispyware, antimalware, rootkit detection, parental controls and email screening, as many of the new threats are not literally viruses, but rather a variety of malware.
- Ease of Installation and Setup – Antivirus programs should be a breeze to install, making it easy to go from installation to initial scan in just a couple clicks of the mouse.
- Help Documentation – High-end antivirus software comes with plenty of help, including support via email, online chat or via telephone. There should also be online resources, such as knowledge bases and FAQs available for quick and convenient help.
If you would like more background on computer viruses, we encourage you to read these popular articles:
- Worm or Virus…What’s the Difference?
- Understanding Viruses
- Viruses: Faster and More Complex Than Ever
No matter how serious a computer virus is or how quickly it’s passed around, with today’s antivirus software, you’ll always have a cure. To view our top choice, read our BitDefender Antivirus review and find out why we think it’s the best antivirus software on the market.
Check this link for a comprehensive review of the latest and best AV software