Antivirus software is a program that protects your PC, Mac, tablet or phone from malware threats. These cyber threats can come in many forms such as adware, spyware, viruses, and more. As they can damage your device or steal information from your device, it is essential to erase them from your device.
Antivirus software protects your device by scanning and detecting malware threats. Once a threat is detected, antivirus software will remove or isolate it. Quick action is essential because malware is designed to spread to other devices or infect deeper parts of your system.
In addition to on-demand scans, most modern antivirus programs also offer real-time protection. This means they will continually scan your device for threats and block them as they emerge.
Types of antivirus
Regarding the purpose, we can divide antiviruses into 3 specific types, as described below.
Preventive antiviruses can be characterized by anticipating infections to prevent malicious programs from entering computers. They monitor system actions and functions and give early warning about possible infection. They are usually installed directly into the computer’s memory.
The purpose of this type of antivirus is, as its name implies, to identify all threats that are capable of affecting the efficiency or performance of operating systems. To do this, it scans the system and can also examine the byte order of each code found related to all dangerous programs.
The main objective of decontamination antiviruses is to be able to eliminate the infections that have damaged the computer. Likewise, they also try to return systems to the states they were in before being affected by a malicious program.
Types of antivirus according to purpose
The main threats to which a computer or network can be exposed are spyware programs, data leakage based on fraudulent purposes, unwanted message entries in emails and pop-ups. For the prevention of all of them, there are several and specific tools that are made up of antivirus, generally in complete versions. We explain each of them below.
They fall within the classification of preventive tools, as they act as a kind of defense wall based on being able to block access to a system by all malicious programs.
They are generally recommended, especially on computers that have a permanent connection to a network or the Internet. The main purpose of the firewall is to be able to control incoming and outgoing traffic, and to be able to stop all suspicious activities.
They are those applications capable of detecting and eliminating all spyware, that is, all those that are installed in the computer or device in a hidden way to know the user’s browsing habits, such as their passwords and even other data, which could later be transmitted to an unauthorized entity.
The main objective of anti-pop-ups is to identify and prevent the action of all annoying pop-ups that usually appear when surfing the Internet. Hundreds of them can hide various spyware.
They are utilities that prevent the arrival of electronic waste — that is, spam — to the inboxes of any e-mail address, transferring it directly to the electronic trash tray or to the trash.
Antimalware are programs capable of blocking and eliminating any type of malware , which can be malicious software or even a program capable of infiltrating a computer to damage it.
Types of antivirus according to function
All antiviruses are capable of fulfilling several roles in the battle to identify all threats and eliminate them. Thus, the various requests for defense can be classified as follows.
The specific aim of every antivirus is to be able to eliminate all threats from the affected areas of the system. Also, later on, it tries to repair the computer or device to return it to its previous state.
The purpose of the detectors is to notify about the presence of the known virus. However, in this case, it is the user who deals with the solution of the problem to eliminate the infection.
Immunizers are important because they offer great security. For this reason, they anticipate attacks or attacks by threats or malicious programs that are located in the memory of the computer or device.
Their main purpose is to monitor the execution of all applications . In addition, they are suitable for formatting disks, and they can also copy files.
The heuristics act as a simulator, that is, they simulate the execution of several programs to observe behaviors, in the same way that they identify possible suspicious situations.
They are similar to immunizers, as they remain in the device’s memory and their main function is to analyze the different programs, from the moment the user opens them, to verify whether or not the file has some type of virus.
The threat of cyber attacks is real for absolutely any computer, and cybercriminals are getting more and more advanced in the development of malicious software.
It is no longer a case of whether a threat will occur, but a matter of when. That’s why everyone needs to install an effective antivirus.
Here are some factors to consider when selecting the right software security:
- Layered security: In addition to antivirus protection, it’s important to ensure your security software offers firewall protection, for web browsing, VPN , and more.
- ease of use: the software should be easy to navigate and understand, provide access to documentation, and empower you and your team;
- customer support: ask about customer support teams, hours of operation and response time to ensure help is always available;
- Reliability: Ideally, the software should not conflict with any existing security systems in your IT environment and offer up-to-date protection that addresses ever-evolving cyber threats.
Like software security updates, hackers are also working to develop more technical modes of cyber attack, which makes choosing antivirus types one of the biggest decisions in terms of IT investment . Highly rated multi-layer security software is a valuable investment that will protect you and your customers from security threats.
How to choose antivirus software?
There are many factors to consider when choosing antivirus software for your device. An important factor is compatibility with their operating systems. It is also essential to select a program that provides strong protection against known malware threats, and that has a good track record of detecting and blocking unknown threats.
Impact on performance is another important consideration. Some antivirus programs can slow down your device or consume a lot of system resources, which can be frustrating. Therefore, choosing a program that balances solid protection and minimal impact on performance is crucial.
Another factor to consider is the prevalence of false positives, which are instances where antivirus software incorrectly identifies a benign file as a threat. This can be frustrating and could result in the loss of important files or data. Therefore, choosing a program with a low false positive rate is vital.
The prime example is Avast which tracked and sold the browsing habits of millions of its users. It collected this data through its online security browser extension and sold it through its subsidiary, Jumpshot. Although she claims to have stopped these activities and was sold to Norton , the reputation lives on.
Cost is an important factor to consider as well. The more security features beyond anti-malware that you want, the more expensive the product becomes. Only you can decide where the perfect compromise between price and protection lies. The following are the main features to consider:
Firewall : A firewall is a security system that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules. A firewall can be hardware-based, software-based, or a combination of both. Its primary purpose is to keep unauthorized users and malicious software out of a private network while allowing authorized users and legitimate traffic to pass through.
Password Manager : A password manager is a software tool that helps users securely store and manage their login credentials for various online accounts. It generates strong and unique passwords for each account and stores them in a secure, encrypted format. This helps users avoid using weak or reused passwords that can be easily guessed or hacked.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) : A VPN is a networking technology that creates a secure, encrypted connection over a public network (such as the Internet). It allows users to transmit data as if their devices were directly connected to a private network, even if they are physically located elsewhere. VPNs are often used to protect online privacy and anonymity, as well as to bypass censorship and geo-restrictions.
Parental Controls : Parental controls allow parents or guardians to limit their children’s Internet usage and access to certain content. They can block inappropriate websites and apps, set time limits on device usage, and monitor online activity. Parental controls can help protect children from online dangers such as cyberbullying, predatory behavior, and exposure to inappropriate content.
Identity Theft Protection : Identity Theft Protection is a service that helps users monitor and protect their personal information from being used for fraudulent purposes. It typically includes credit monitoring, alert notifications, and recovery assistance. In addition, identity theft protection can help users detect and prevent unauthorized use of their personal information, such as credit card numbers or social security numbers.
Secure Cloud Storage (Cloud Backup) : Cloud backup is a service that allows users to store copies of their data on a remote server (the “cloud”) to protect it from local disasters, hardware failure, or loss. of data. Cloud backup can be configured to automatically save new or changed files on a regular basis, making it a convenient and reliable way to ensure that data is always backed up and available for recovery.
Anti-phishing : Anti-phishing is a security feature that helps users identify themselves and protect themselves from fraudulent websites or emails designed to steal sensitive information (such as login credentials or financial information). It can be implemented as a software tool that analyzes websites and emails for known indicators of phishing, or as an education program that teaches users how to recognize and avoid phishing attacks.
Anti-ransomware : Anti-ransomware is a security feature that helps users protect their devices and data from ransomware attacks. Ransomware is a type of malicious code that encodes a user’s files and demands payment (the “ransom”) in exchange for the decryption key. Anti-ransomware can detect and block ransom attacks in real time, or provide tools for recovering encrypted data.
Other features you might consider are:
- ad blocker
- Dark web monitoring (identity protection)
- email protection
- file encryption
- file shredder
- Game mode
- microphone protection
- PC maintenance features
- Secure Browser (enhanced browser to protect your online banking)
- Spam Filter
- Startup Optimizer
- fine tune the tools
- Virtual keyboard
- Web camera protection
Examples of excellent antivirus software
There are many antivirus companies available, and it can be overwhelming to choose the right company. Some well-known and trusted antivirus programs include Norton , Bitdefender , Panda , Kaspersky , and McAfee . The first three being our favorites.
Norton is one of the largest consumer cybersecurity brands in the world. It is a US publicly traded company. It’s the only antivirus program with a 100% malware protection score in every AV-Test test since 2016. Plus, it includes a free unlimited VPN with its antivirus software. It is currently both the best antivirus software for Windows and Mac.
Bitdefender is one of its main rivals. The Romanian company has an exceptional reputation for innovative products that offer excellent antivirus protection while having minimal impact on device performance. Furthermore, their antivirus software is also affordable.
Panda is a smaller antivirus provider from Spain. But it’s not just about size. Its results in AV-Comparatives are unmatched by the biggest brands, and many users find Panda’s antivirus for Windows to be one of the easiest to use.