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Cyber Security Newsletter

All about Anti-Virus

What is it?

Anti-virus programs such as Avast!, Webroot, or Windows Defender are programs that protect your computer from other software. That other software is often referred to as viruses, or malware. There is many different names for malware that you have probably heard of: Trojans, Worms, Viruses, Ransomware, or Spyware. There are actually many different terms out there for the different types of malware.

Learn more about malware >

Malware’s different variants can be spotted though. Through different methods, such as signatures or behaviors, anti-virus programs can spot malicious programs before they get a chance to fully infect your PC.

Infections from malware can lead to many different types of problems. Some malware is designed to let attackers see what websites you visit, what you type, and what you do overall on a PC. Other types of malware actually encrypt your files and hold them for a ransom (thus ‘Ransomware’). Another type of infection forces a PC to join a botnet and attack other PC’s.

Anti-virus will help prevent these types of infections by blocking their installation, assisting with their removal, or informing you of strange happenings with the PC. In fact, some anti-virus have additional built in features that can help keep your PC and data secure. Including things such as: URL Reputation Filtering, Secure Data Storage, and some even have social media account protection.

Do I need it?

The short answer is: yes.

If you are running a Windows PC, there is simply too many vulnerabilities throughout the Internet today for one person to be constantly vigilant. Websites today may have drive-by downloads, which are downloads which happen without your permission and without notification.

Emails are constantly being pushed out that have malicious attachments. Every day these emails look better, more professional, and are harder to detect by the human eye. Certain Anti-Virus can help prevent these programs from running malicious attachments or website links.

Learn more About Windows requires AntiVirus >

I heard I didn’t need it…

If you are running Linux, then you are probably aware of most of the risks on this page. If you are running Linux though, then you probably know that Windows is much more dangerous.

There is a thought process currently sweeping the tech community that anti-virus simply isn’t work the money or drain on PC resources.

This idea cites the fact that malware is increasingly becoming tougher to see, even by the best of anti-virus program. In fact, nearly 75% of malware is unique to the intended target. However, that still leaves 25% of living malware that is extremely dangerous.

If for some reason, you’re still not convinced that anti-virus is needed, try answering these 40 sarcastic questions about your need

40 Reasons You Don’t Need AntiVirus >

I have heard of anti-malware too, though

Awesome! You are actually a bit ahead of the curve. So there is a difference between the various types of malware discussed above, and viruses are just one variant. Luckily in today’s consumer anti-virus market, most providers double as an anti-virus/anti-malware vendors.

However, there are specific anti-malware vendors who are only looking for a smaller segment of malware. MalwareBytes is a wonderful tool that does just that. Instead of searching for every type of virus signature, it scans your PC’s files for new threats, and hard to find threats.

Who makes it?

So now, you know a bit more about what anti-virus programs are, and what they do to help you. Here are a few different reviews out there by trusted companies about consumer based anti-virus programs.

Consumer Affairs >

PCMag >

TomsITPro >

Please keep in mind that no anti-virus or malware program will be 100% effective. The range of threats is simply to great. The goal is to minimize the chance of an infection occurring. To this end a firewall will help, keeping backups of your data will help, and keeping your software up to date will do wonders! Finally, make sure you’re using common sense when browsing, and only going to trusted sites and emails.

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