Failing to keep your PC protected from computer viruses, trojans, and harmful spyware can cause your desktop to lag, lose essential files, and provide cybercriminals with sensitive information such as credit card details. With that said, if you’re not familiar with how the
Windows operating system works, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the countless antivirus protection options in the market, both free and paid, that all promise to keep your PC safe from cyber threats, corrupted files, and more.
4 Things You Should Know About Antivirus Protection for PC
Without further ado, here are 4 of the most important things you should know about antivirus protection for your desktop.
1. Windows Defender Is Not Enough
You might be wondering why you would need to purchase antivirus software when your desktop computer already comes with one built-in. While the program does successfully detect infections and blocks them from accessing your drive, it only works with some minor to major threats and fails to detect adware and spyware.
It also doesn’t come with ad-blocking add-ons or features that allow you to browse the internet safely. While Windows Defender can keep your new PC protected to an extent, it’s not recommended for long-term protection purposes.
With that said, if you mostly use your computer for offline work and only download files and software from trusted websites, Windows Defender can provide you with sufficient protection, just make sure you update it regularly and keep the Windows firewall running as well.
2. How Antivirus Software Works
While it goes without saying that antiviruses, by definition, protect your desktop from “virus” infections, that’s not the only kind of threat that they can shield your PC from. In fact, the tech-savvy team at softwarelab.org states that most high-quality antivirus programs provide what’s known as real-time protection, where the program scans all incoming messages and emails, any files you open, and any applications that you download or run. Most paid software programs also provide protection against cyberthreats and spyware, both of which can steal, share and sell your sensitive information.
While almost all software programs now offer real-time protection, you’ll need to also consider other features, such as boot scans, driver updates, disk cleaning and defragmentation, and other features that maintain the quality of your PC’s performance and prevent it from lagging.
While all these features can be helpful, they’re best reserved for gaming desktop computers and other devices with powerful processing power as well as enough disk space, seeing as these advanced programs can slow down an old or compact PC.
3. False Positives Are Not Uncommon
The majority of the threats that your antivirus detects are harmful programs and files; however, it can also catch a number of false positives. Pirated content is most commonly marked as a threat by advanced programs, primarily because software cracking is seen as suspicious activity by your antivirus program.
For that reason, before you purchase your software, make sure the program features “sandbox” protection, where potential threats are trapped instead of deleted. This allows you to manually look for the deleted file and restore it, but only if you’re absolutely certain that it’s a false positive.
4. What Makes an Antivirus Program Reliable
Depending on your online activity and what kind of files you usually download and run, you may need anything from moderate to heavy protection. If you constantly download content from untrusted sources, you’ll need to focus on cyber protection against malware and scams. This will help you browse the internet safely, prevent pop-up pages from opening, and block network access altogether if you accidentally click on a sketchy link.
However, if you only use social media and trustworthy websites, you could simply use free antivirus programs that allow you to use their services for free or upgrade to a more sophisticated protection plan if needed.
Further, while some programs are perfectly reliable and effective, some of them take up too much disk space and memory. If you have a compact PC and laptop, you’re better off using beta versions and avoiding risky websites altogether.
If you want to keep your PC protected from all kinds of cyber threats, corrupted files, spyware, and other files that can infect your system and affect performance, an all-encompassing antivirus program is your go-to.
Depending on your internet activity and how frequently you browse risky websites or not secure servers, you’ll want to invest in a well-reviewed antivirus program that keeps your sensitive data safe and your PC running smoothly.
Most importantly, you should always try the demo or free-trial version of any program before you make a purchase, seeing as some advanced protection programs can be very pricey.