Why Do I Need Antivirus Software?

Security Resources > How to Choose the Best Antivirus

Being cautious while checking email or browsing the web is no longer enough. Cybercriminals and hackers are becoming increasingly advanced. They are finding original ways to steal people’s money online or sell people’s private information on the black market. Home computers are some of the best targets for cybercriminals. Antivirus software can keep you safe from the latest threats on your computer, smartphone and other devices.

Home Computer Users Are Vulnerable to Cybercriminals

Many people are aware of the spectacular cyberattacks on major businesses and other organizations. WikiLeaks retaliated against clearance giant Paypal in December 2010. Even governments are not exempt. The Canadian government was hacked in February 2011. Perhaps the most controversial were the cyber-attacks against the Church of Scientology. Many individuals watch the exploits of these high-profile cybercriminals and believe that they can hide in plain sight, being one of millions and not likely to be important to anyone. Here are some reasons why this may not be the case:

  • Businesses generally afford the best security measures. In contrast, many home users do not take internet security seriously enough. That makes individuals easier pickings.
  • Personal users underestimate the value of their sensitive information. Identify theft, a common goal of malware, cost Americans $10 billion dollars in 2014. The average loss per person was over $1900.
  • Hackers can take advantage of economies of scale. A spybot can gather information from a thousand users as easily as from one.
  • Following are some reasons for personal users to take internet security as seriously as if they were a major corporation.
  • All Operating Systems Are Vulnerable

In spite of the intense effort of operating systems publishers to publish and maintain secure software, all are vulnerable to cybercriminals. Among computing enthusiasts, a debate continually rages about which operating system is the most secure and why that should be the overriding factor in choosing a particular system is security. But all agree that all are at risk.

Getting an Infected Computer Is Easy

Most computer users know that they are in particular danger if they visit seedy or otherwise illegitimate sites. However, keeping only to well-known sites is not enough to prevent an infection. A simple web search can let users know of the spectacular breaches on the security of even the most-protected sites. In addition, malware can be spread by the innocent action of opening an email attachment from a friend. In some cases, web sites create a trojan horse software that users install by innocently clicking on an advertising box. These types of attacks particularly proliferate on sites frequented by youth who are less likely to avoid the enticement of a well-crafted popup.

Protection Software and Malware Authors Are In a Continual Race

As operating systems publishers create a secure release against the current known threats, malware authors continue to come up with new problems. The publishers respond by regularly publishing updates and patches. Unfortunately, not all users are religious about keeping their patches up to date. This “update gap” is exploited by many hackers who specialize in this type of vulnerability.

Applications Are Also Vulnerable

Recently, popular programs such as Adobe Reader and Java Runtime have also been vulnerable to attacks. They too must be kept up to date to remain secure.

The Solution: Antivirus Protection

Home computers eventually discover that the most effective counter against cybercriminals and malware is an effective protection package. This frees computer users of having to protect themselves on their own and worry that they may not have done enough. Every home computer user should spend some time choosing the best protection program for their needs, and then keeping it installed and up to date on their personal computers.