Though technology is always developing, we haven’t yet gotten to the point where our devices and web browsing can no longer be targets of hacking and malware. The truth is, we likely never will. That’s why, now more than ever, it’s essential to have high-quality antivirus software running at all times on phones, laptops, and computers.
As the devices we use grow slicker and smarter, so do the techniques and tools of the modern-day hacker. Without antivirus, and the various other programs we need to ensure online safety, your laptop could be loaded with keyloggers, malware, or something equally nefarious, and discovering and removing these threats is a lot tougher.
Unfortunately, much like with hosting and VPNs, the market is saturated with subpar providers and those that don’t deliver on their promises. That being said, there are telltale signs that you can look out for when picking your first antivirus or migrating from an existing subscription. Keep reading to find out what they are.
Key Features to Look Out For
Price: It’s really not that difficult to find an antivirus tool that’s effective but also works for your budget. Chances are, several of the providers you compare will be running some kind of promotion or deal. If they’re not, you just need to shop around until you find a price that works.
While some are rather restrictive in their options, certain providers let you pay monthly or with terms ranging from 1-3 years. To make it even cheaper, you can tailor your plan to protection for just one device. If you’d rather not pay at all, there are some decent free antiviruses out there, from brands like Kaspersky and Bitdefender, but they come with less protection than the paid alternatives.
Download Protection: Sometimes, there’s no easy way of knowing what’s sneaking its way into our downloads. Depending on what you’re downloading and from where, there’s a good chance that some kind of adware or malware has been included. Oftentimes, though the software is legitimate, the site hosting it might look to include files that don’t belong, that can be used to monitor your activity and steal logins and card details.
If you accidentally download something you shouldn’t, the antivirus will quickly point this out and prevent the file from installing on your computer.
Real-Time Monitoring: The best security software will always include real-time protection. This is key to keeping you safe on the web whether you’re on the move or at home. Essentially, this means that your antivirus software will detect any malicious programs and websites in real-time, so you’ll always be protected.
This feature runs perfectly in the background so you won’t need to set anything up. Plus, it won’t use much processing power at all. You can just continue using the internet the way you usually would and expect notifications on your desktop should anything go wrong.
Malware Scanning/Threat Removal: Knowing whether or not you already have threats on your device is half the problem of not owning an antivirus. If you’re experiencing performance interruptions, unusual behavior, or an inexplicable amount of RAM being used, it’s likely that you already have some kind of ransomware or bloatware.
Having an antivirus installed means that you can easily identify problem files as they invade your devices, making damage control much more likely.
Antiviruses take the stress out of removing bad files too, not just scanning for them. Once nefarious files and their locations are found, you can remove and quarantine them effortlessly.
Email Scanning: Our email inboxes are one of the biggest targets for phishing scams, monetary theft, and malware. According to a recent study, of all the data breaches in 2019, 32% of them were through phishing alone. Emails are constructed to look just like they would from your bank and the social media sites you use, making it all too easy to fall victim to these kinds of scams.
Whether it’s to get your login details or to make you install malicious files, these kinds of emails can easily be spotted with an antivirus. Your software will scan all emails based on the sender, the files attached, and more, ensuring you don’t get exposed.
Antivirus software is just one of the sophisticated tools available to combat online threats. Though it’s always better to use alongside other useful programs, just installing an antivirus alone provides a much greater defense than having nothing at all. When deciding which provider to go with, remember to keep an eye out for these important features.