Antivirus Software is a data security utility which is installed in a computer system with a purpose of protection from viruses, spyware, malware, rootkits, Trojans, phishing attacks, spam attack, and other online cyber threats.
Let’s know a bit about the Virus.
A virus is any unwanted program that enters a user’s system without their knowledge. It can self-replicate and spread. It performs unwanted and malicious actions that end up affecting the system’s performance and user’s data/files. A computer virus can be thought of as an illness of the computer, just like human viruses that cause diseases in humans.
And what about Antivirus?
An antivirus software, as the name indicates, is a program that works against a virus. It detects or recognizes the virus, and then after detecting the presence of the virus, it works on removing it from the computer system. Antivirus software works as a prophylactic so that it not only eliminates a virus but also prevents any potential virus from infecting your computer in the future.
Why do you need antivirus software?
A system without an antivirus is just like a house with an open door. An open and unprotected door will attract all the intruders and burglars into your home. Similarly, an unprotected computer will end up inviting all the viruses to the system. An antivirus will act as a closed door with a security guard for your computer fending off all the malicious intruding viruses. So, will you leave your door open for intruders?
What harm can a virus do to your computer?
In case your computer is attacked by a virus, it can affect your computer in the following ways:
Slow down the computer
Damage or delete files
Reformat hard disk
Frequent computer crashes
Inability to perform any task on the computer or the internet
Antivirus software is like a ray of bright light in a world full of dark viruses. The number of advantages that they offer are countless. Some of the most prominent advantages are:
Protection from viruses and their transmission
An antivirus software mainly performs a prophylactic function. It detects any potential virus and then works to remove it. Keep in mind that all this is mostly done before the virus gets to harm the system. So, this means that most of the viruses are countered way before they get to do any harm to your systems. An antivirus may combat many viruses in a single day without your knowledge. Avast and Norton are some of the most popular antivirus software that is available in the market these days.
If a virus has attacked your system, you can potentially transfer that to your friends, family, and networks. So, if you want to protect your computer system as well as computers of your acquaintances, then consider getting an antivirus.
Block spam and ads
If you do a quick survey on how viruses enter the computer systems of its victims, you will be amazed by the proportion of viruses that use pop up ads and websites to make their way into your computers. Pop-up ads and spam websites are one the most used gateways by the viruses to infect your computer and then damage your files.
Software such as Bullguard Internet Security works against these malicious virus-containing ads and websites by blocking their direct access to your computer network.
Defense against hackers and data thieves
Hackers usually use a malware or virus program to access their victim’s computer. They install malware into the computer without the knowledge of the victim. Hackers do so by sending malicious emails to the victims. Then the hacker can easily hack into their desired files and programs.
After that, they can use the victim’s data as per their will; they can delete or damage it and steal it to demand ransom later on. Antimalware such as Malwarebytes either put an antihacking lock, or they perform regular scans to detect the presence of any hacker or hacking based programs in the computer network. So, antivirus software provides full-proof protection against hackers.
Ensures protection from removable devices
Think of the times you have transferred data to and from your computer by using removable devices such as USBs. Countless, right?
You might have suffered from slowing down your computer or a computer crash after connecting a friend’s USB. Ever wondered why that happened? That is so because the USB or removable device served as a transmission device for a virus. So, should you stop using removable devices because you never know which USB might contain a virus?
No! Just get antivirus software that will scan all the removable devices for any potential viruses to make sure that no virus is transferred.
Protects your data and files
Antivirus software keeps an eye on all the files that enter your system. All those files are put under a scan to check for any peculiarity or maliciousness. Viruses can easily be transmitted to your network via infected files, and these, in turn, can potentially harm your data and files. You may even suffer the complete loss of your precious data at the hands of such viruses.
A solution from Avira software makes sure that your data and files are adequately protected.
Supercharge your PC
Think of two computers side by side.
One is suffering from the consequences of a virus attack, such as slow processing speed and frequent crashes. The other is antivirus protected. Which amongst the both will have a better speed?
The one with antivirus for sure. It is so because that computer has no problems because antivirus has stopped the virus before it can cause any real harm. Some antiviruses may even delete and remove useless files from unknown sources to free up disk space, increasing the speed of the PC.
Firewall protection from spyware and phishing attacks
A firewall, in general, monitors incoming and outgoing traffic from your computer network. When coupled with antivirus, firewall protection double checks every file or piece of data that you send or transfer from your computer via the internet to another network.
The same goes for the files and data that you receive from an external network. You can unintentionally open a downright malicious website or email and then fall prey to a phishing attack. A phishing attack occurs when the attackers specifically aim for your login credentials, credit card information, or any other personal information/data. Such an attack can result in substantial financial loss or personal leaks. Two-Way firewall protection from antivirus software such as Avast blocks and removes any such emails or files that can harm you in any such way.
Limit the access of websites to enhance web protection
Accessing unauthorized websites can expose your computer system to several cyber threats, including spyware, hackers, ransomware, etc. These threats can potentially risk your data and files. An antivirus software limits your web access to restrict your activities on unauthorized networks. This is done to make sure that you only access the websites that are safe and harmless for your computer system.
Keeping an eye on kids
The biggest headache for parents in these advance times is that their children can openly access anything using the internet, whether it be good or bad.
A parent can’t always keep an eye on what their children are doing on the computer. And they can’t school their kids about the good and bad web all the time because kids get annoyed easily. Antivirus software can be the solution for such worrisome parents. It can provide a monitoring tool via which you can keep tabs on the activities of your children in a safe yet efficient manner. Antivirus software provides you with proper logs of your kid’s activities. ESET is one of the most prominent antiviruses that offers parental control.
Protects your password
You protect your valuable data and accounts with a password, and then you think that your data and accounts are protected.
But what if someone steals your passwords using a virus?
The password thief can, later on, blackmail you for ransom or use your password to access sensitive information. On top of using antivirus, you can also think of using a password manager for better security.
Most of the antivirus software is quite cost-effective. The monthly or yearly packages that antivirus manufacturing companies offer are inexpensive. If you consider the variety of services that come with the premium package of the antivirus, you will surely think that the cost they are offering is quite less.
In addition to that, if you are low on budget and don’t want to spend money on buying the premium version of antiviruses, then you can get free antivirus.
Is your computer better off without antivirus software?
A virus attack can inflict as much damage as forcing you to buy a new computer because your old computer has been damaged beyond repair. Not having a protective mechanism for your computer system is like inviting viruses to your computer by providing them with a clear and accessible entrance.
Will you ever want to damage your computer with your own hands on your own will? If no, then get an antivirus software as soon as possible so you can use your computer without the constant fear of falling prey to a virus attack.
I am a technical enthusiast and love to write about antivirus software and other data security products.