It's almost an open secret that the perception of modern anti-virus software is little more than a paid protection racket. But that perception can be misleading and it is entirely dependent on your internet habits.
What is Security Software?
The term security software is used to describe the many types of security you can use to protect your computer from threats. They include antivirus software, encryption software, firewall software and spyware removal software.
Is Microsoft's Windows Defender Enough?
Windows Security Essentials (aka Defender) can be used as a free baseline in protection. It certainly won't slow down your computer (like many antivirus products can) and has its advantages. It’s already built-in and doesn't bombard you with popups, but it isn't as effective as some other commercial antivirus software.
"Macs don't get viruses," or do they?
While Mac users can still be pretty smug when it comes to being safer and more virus secure than their Microsoft counterparts, the landscape is changing. Apple no longer uses the "Mac's don't get viruses" slogan after it got hit by an attack a few years back. More and more threats are appearing, and of course you can still be hit with a phishing attack or other malicious bugs.
Does my Internet Browser have Security?
Securing your web browser is the first step to take to stay protected. All modern browsers, IE, Chrome, Firefox operate security features of their own. Think about it, most threats come through your internet habits anyway, so any protection here is essential. Any browser vulnerability becomes a favourite weakness for threats to exploit and compromise operating systems.
"I Don't Need Security"
For some, no security is security enough. We all know of at least one person - and let's face it, if you are reading this then you might be one of them - who has never had any third-party security software installed and manages to sail along, untouched by malware, personal information theft or huge financial losses.
The fact is there is still a big argument to say that you don't need to pay for internet security at all. In fact the 'I don't need security' friend might have a point. Most antivirus and antispyware software still doesn't stop all those browser cookies you are now forced to accept anyway.
What is the Biggest Threat to Internet Security?
There are two main offenders; unsafe links and contaminated downloads. The first means that by clicking on it you are taken to a site where, just viewing it, can mean installing malware. The latter can pose as either an unsafe download link or as on one of those many image ads offering you something innocent, only for it to download a malware program, fatal to your notion of personal information security.
Whatever you do, don't fool yourself into thinking you can ignore all security; no one is too clever to get a virus. Any free antivirus program will still catch more than you can.
However, being vigilant about your browser habits and what you visit, open and download is still the best advice you can have. Whether you have security or not, every virus that slips through is another you could pass on to your contacts. Virus protection might be racket, but it might also protect your online friends too.