Hi friends! I hope that you’re well today. I was recently speaking with a client of mine here about the importance of anti-virus software on their computer and the question came up as to why they needed software in the first place.
Well theres plenty of reasons why you need virus protection and today I’d like to share a few great reasons why you need it.
Many people think that you can only get malware by downloading suspicious files, running unpatched software, visiting the wrong websites, and doing other irresponsible things like having the Java plug-in enabled in your web browser. It’s true – this is how most people pick up malware. But this isn’t the only way malware can spread.
We have previously written about “zero-day” exploits – vulnerabilities that the bad guys find first. Ones we don’t know about, which we can’t protect ourselves from. At events like Pwn2Own and Pwnium, contestants are challenged to compromise fully patched software like Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Adobe Flash, and more for a financial reward. These browsers and plug-ins inevitably fall as the contestants use unpatched security flaws to crack their security.
These flaws are corrected as soon as they’re found, but new ones inevitably pop up.
In other words, your computer could be infected just from you visiting a website. Even if you only visit websites you trust, the website itself could be compromised – something that happens with alarming frequency these days.
An antivirus is your final layer of protection. If a website uses a security flaw in your browser or a plug-in like Flash to compromise your computer, it will often attempt to install malware – keyloggers, Trojans, rootkits, and all sorts of other bad things. These days, malware is the domain of organized crime looking to gather financial information and harness your computer for botnets.
If a zero-day in a piece of software you use does give the bad guys an opportunity to get malware onto your system, an antivirus is your last layer of defense. It shouldn’t be your only layer of protection, but it is an important one. And there’s no good reason not to run an antivirus on Windows.
Some people believe that antivirus software is heavy and slows down your computer. This was certainly true in the past. Older Norton and McAfee antivirus software suites were infamous for slowing down your computer more than actual viruses would. They’re full of notifications and inducements to keep paying for a subscription and buy more expensive security suites, just as adware annoys you with requests to buy products.
This isn’t true anymore. Computers have become so fast that antivirus software doesn’t weigh them down like it used to. There are also more efficient security suites that are lighter on resources. The free Windows Defender on Windows 8 are lightweight antivirus programs created by Microsoft. They don’t try to sell you anything at all.