Which is the Best Anti-virus Software for You?
Why use anti-virus software? What about anti-spyware, anti-adware, and ransomware protection? What's the difference between free and subscription anti-virus software? Do you even need anti-virus software? Read more about anti-virus software and the best anti-virus software for you.
What about other malware?
Hackers no longer limit themselves to writing viruses. Threats come under a variety of names, spyware, adware, and ransomware. These threats are usually known as malware.
Spyware obtains information about your computer activities, such as internet browsing habits, logins, and bank and credit card information, without your knowledge. The program sends the information to another computer for analysis. Adware can be a part of a larger spyware program, or a stand-alone program. Although some legitimate products have built-in ads, adware here refers to malicious software that pops up windows, sometimes "uncloseable", while you browse the internet. Ransomware blocks access to some or all the data on your computer, or threatens to publish data, unless a ransom is paid. The ransom is usually demanded in cryptocurrency to make tracing the perpetrators more difficult.
Depending on your browsing and downloading habits, you are at more or less risk from these threats. A good anti-virus program that incorporates anti-spyware, anti-adware, and anti-ransomware protections will help keep you safe. Read more about how to keep your computer up-to-date.
What's the difference between free and subscription services?
There are multiple freeware anti-virus applications. There are also multiple subscription services that provide anti-virus software and periodic updates.
Most of the free services are completely adequate for the average consumer. The service sends software updates as attack methods change and new attacks are begun. The drawback to freeware is that some programs install unwanted bloatware.
A purchased subscription service also works well. After you sign up and download the software, the service takes over, scheduling checks of your computer and keeping you safe while you browse the internet. The drawback to subscription services is the annual fee.
Do you need anti-virus software?
This is becoming a complicated question. Computer viruses aren't as much of a threat any more, because there's no money it. But anti-virus has become the catchall term for a variety of malware that can infect your computer. There are many versions of software, so it can be difficult to choose the best anti-virus for a computer.
If you have a computer running Microsoft® Windows® 8.1 or later, it comes with anti-virus software called Windows Defender. This program, that came free with your operating system, is a reputable defense against most of the attacks that are coming through.
If you have a computer running a Windows version before 8.1, you need anti-virus protection. Microsoft did sell a version of Windows Defender prior to Windows 8.1.
If you have a Mac®, you need anti-virus protection. Although Macs have traditionally been safer from viruses, as hackers expand into other areas, the popularity of Macs makes them more vulnerable.
To protect your computer, you should always be running anti-virus software, whether that's a pre-installed program, freeware, or a purchased subscription service.
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