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Anti-Virus – Do I need it and should I Pay for it?

With new viruses/infections and malware being released constantly, it’s important that you protect yourself with as many layers of security as possible. It’s important to understand the main types of threats, how you could become infected and how to prevent and/or remove viruses, malware and more recently, ransomware.

Protect Your Identity

With most online threats now trying to steal your information, it’s important to use different passwords for each website that you use. Head over to our article on the Best Password Manager to use to create your random secure passwords and automatically store them.

Running Trusted Applications

It is imperative that any software that you install is genuine. For any freeware, try to use well-known websites such as CNET or Softpedia. Try to stay away from files ending in .exe and watch out for Word Documents that have Macros enabled ending in .docm rather than .docx

See our Sandbox Guide if you want to check applications or files in total safety!

Banks could hold you liable

If you’re a user of internet banking, it’s best checking with your bank which software they suggest you use to stay safe, some banks have specific providers in which they keep a level of banking compliance with them, failure to use their specified software could render you liable if something was to happen to your banking due to lack of anti-virus.

Disclaimer: Although we do our best to provide you with all of the most suitable anti-virus solutions from trusted providers, no solution is 100% secure and can guarantee you will never get infected, they are simply there as a line of defence.

1. Avast Anti-Virus (Windows & Mac)

One of the most powerful 3rd party anti-virus tools on the market, Avast is feature-rich with Wi-Fi Inspection, CyberCapture, Spyware/Ransomware scans. Avast has grown more popular over the years, in 2016 acquiring AVG, they have combined the power of both platforms in one, cloud-ready security platform. Newer features of Avast include Behaviour Shield, where your computer applications are being monitored to stop them from being infected and a Do Not Disturb mode for if you’re gaming or watching movies.

2. Windows Defender Anti-Virus

Windows Defender is built-in to all Windows 10 Devices (previously called Microsoft Security Essentials on Windows 7). Windows Defender was one of the top independently tested Anti-Virus products in the September 2019 tests with a 99.96% protection rate. The Windows Defender Security Centre gives you a single pane of glass with features such as Parental Controls, Spyware Protection, Email Protection with Microsoft stating:

When your PC is protected by Windows Defender Antivirus you are receiving comprehensive protection for your system, files and online activities from viruses, malware, spyware, and other threats. Peace of mind has never been this easy.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows/comprehensive-security

Firewalls

Another important aspect of your computer security is the Firewall, you can think of the Firewall as the barrier between the outside world and your device, if the Firewall lets something through that turns out to be dangerous, the anti-virus should stop it, giving you a layered approach to security.

So what should you do? Firewalls come built-in with both Windows and Mac Operating Systems, and it’s pretty good for most cases. In a scenario whereby you may want to set up some advanced rules, Windows Firewall will suffice quite easily, allowing custom TCP/UDP settings per rule, specific source or destination IP’s.

Further Considerations

  • Pop Up Blockers – Using ad blockers can increase safety massively as they can remove parts of your webpages that advertise things that you don’t want to see.
  • Maintenance – Take the time to go through your old applications and remove any that you don’t need any more, it’ll free up space, speed up your computer and remove any potential risks in the software’s security.
  • Backups – Ensure to backup your files on a regular basis to ensure that in a worst-case scenario, you have a secondary local and cloud copy of your data.

Matthew Mclaughlin

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