Antivirus software is an important and integral component of any computer security system, whether home PCs, office networks or even mobile devices. The internet has opened up extraordinary avenues of entertainment and information, but with that has come the danger of malicious code – viruses. Unfortunately as the internet grows exponentially day by day, the amount of viruses increase in tandem and it becomes more difficult to safeguard yourself against the threats. This is where the choice of security software comes in – making an informed decision on how to protect your system can be the most important choice you make. Knowing which antivirus software is best for your individual set of requirements may be the difference between the freedom and joy of the internet, or repeated repairs and replacements.
Basic Virus Protection
All antivirus software is built upon the ability to scan your computer system, identify problems and issues and then deal with them. The difference between the varieties of security software available is primarily the ability to detect certain types of those problems and issues, how many the software can identify and how it goes about dealing with them. The most basic antivirus software will be able to perform on-demand scans of your system and attempt to delete any viruses, malware, spyware and adware that it detects.
Advanced Antivirus Protection
Not all antivirus software was created equal. With the rise of viruses, a number of different software houses have become involved with safeguarding systems from harm – meaning they have begun to develop new features to provide the highest protection. Some features to look out for in the more advanced virus protection software includes the ability to quarantine problems if they cannot be fully removed. Irreparable issues can be relocated to a safe and protected folder that cannot interfere with the system. Most modern antivirus and internet security programs will also perform active scanning and protection – meaning that alongside the ability to run on-demand sweeps of your system, the software will be constantly monitoring all incoming and outgoing traffic with the aim of stopping viruses at the gate before they manage to infect your computer.
Finding Antivirus Software
Traditionally, antivirus software was sold as a CD-ROM and later as a DVD-ROM. Whilst you can still buy the programs in this physical format from retailers, by far the most popular and convenient mode of accessing antivirus software is now through a digital download. Most providers will offer direct payment through their website and instant download, giving you instant protection against malicious code rather than having to visit a shop or store yourself.
Choosing the Best Antivirus Software
With such variety in the antivirus market, it can be difficult to know which one is best for your system. The primary factor will be your operating system, which can change between different devices and even those running the same hardware. Is your home computer a Windows PC or does it run on Mac OS? Is your laptop running Linux, is your smartphone an Android device? Different operating systems are vulnerable to different types of virus – so establishing which you have is the first step to take.
Once you have found the antivirus software which will run on your system and give you the best protection, next you need to look at the prices involved and the features that comes with that cost. Most antivirus software is subscription based, meaning that you pay a monthly or annual fee which gives you the ability to run the software and access those all-important updates. Shop around for a good product that offers internet security at a good price but don’t forget that in most cases, the more you pay means the better your protection. Most companies have a free antivirus option, but they don’t offer the same level of protection and don’t necessary run scans as efficiently. Some of the less expensive software might offer the same features, but if their database of viruses isn’t up-to-scratch; they won’t be worth the money.
Updating Antivirus Software
Keeping your antivirus security software up-to-date is the most important thing you can do to help increase your immunity to malicious code. Most software works on a database of signatures, with each virus having its own identifiable signature. Keeping this list of signatures current with all the latest releases of malware, spyware and viruses ensures that the software can correctly identify harmful applications and take the appropriate action against them.