At least one data breach has impacted 64 percent of Americans, according to estimates. Personal data is at risk, including Social Security numbers, birth dates, bank account information, and credit card details.
That information is then made available on the dark web, where it can be utilized to wreck your finances. In reality, on the dark web, the personal information of persons with a high credit score can be sold for a very low price.
Cyberattacks on businesses are extremely expensive. In 2021, the cost of compromising records, neutralizing an attack, downtime, and repairs, among other things, totaled $4.24 million. Installing the correct antivirus software at home or at work is one step you can take to avoid becoming a statistic in the future.
Antivirus software nowadays does more than just identify viruses; it also protects against malware and other types of attacks. It’s difficult to know which antivirus software is best for you when there are hundreds to choose from.
We looked into 20 solutions that cybersecurity professionals suggested as their software of choice, taking into account the software’s antivirus, malware, and ransomware protection. We also took into account things like different device safeguards and free version options.
What Is Antivirus Software?
Antivirus (AV) software detects, blocks, and removes harmful malware from a computer or a network. AV software is a recommended layer of any cybersecurity system since it is frequently the first line of defense to protect the computer before malicious malware has a chance to dig too deep.
The first port of call is to invest in an effective and comprehensive antivirus program. Antivirus software, at its most basic level, is designed to prevent attacks and stop network intrusions. However, many programs now go far beyond this.
Alongside protecting your system from viruses, which you can pick up from clicking on content from an unknown or questionable source, your software will stop other cyberattacks that you may previously have been unaware of.
It protects a computer or network by preventing the virus or other dangerous code from propagating to other computers or networks.
Do You Really Need Antivirus Software?
Hackers can exploit your personal information to buy products fraudulently, ruin your credit score, deplete your bank account, and overall cause financial chaos for you and your business. The very least you can do to protect yourself is install antivirus software on your PCs.
In a study conducted between November 2019 and May 2020, it was discovered that having antivirus software thwarted up to 95% of threats.
Windows continues to fight viruses that exploit operating system flaws, and until those flaws are corrected, antivirus software is the first line of defense. Windows 10 is the first version of the operating system to incorporate its own antivirus software.
Microsoft Defender is a decent free solution that provides basic security without requiring consumers to worry about it. However, if you require certain protections, the best alternative is to purchase a paid version that meets your requirements.
However, there is a long-held misunderstanding that Mac and Apple computers are impervious to viruses and other harmful software attacks. That was true two decades ago, but as Apple devices grew in popularity, fraudsters saw an opportunity to create viruses and malware for them.
In addition, a rising number of assaults are bypassing the operating system and going straight to apps and web portals, putting any computer system at risk.
Other things you should consider doing to protect yourself against hacks are: installing anti-malware software, using a VPN, improving your password, and setting up two-factor authentication on your devices.
Every business should include antivirus coverage as a standard minimum baseline for any of their security requirements.
While it’s easy to consider the security of our physical documents (locked drawers and cabinets). It’s also imperative that you manage the security of your digital files similarly.
While many of us now know that viruses can be picked up from disreputable sites, malware can hide in legitimate websites (read our malvertising blog) making it extremely difficult for a user to be able to differentiate between where it’s safe to browse and where there may be dangers.
Downloads from emails and the internet can introduce Trojan Horses into your system. These look like legitimate downloads but are in fact viruses in disguise.
Antivirus software will alert you to potentially dangerous content contained in the download. Also, in some cases, antivirus software can overcome potential user errors by stopping a download.
Peace Of Mind
Having that failsafe available to protect your data provides the peace of mind of an extra pair of eyes. Antivirus will also defend against possible infiltrations by spyware. Spyware is a virus that instead of changing the operations of your computer actually steals data and information.
Any organization that stores client and Staff data must show measures are in place to secure that data. If a data breach or hack were to happen, proof that antivirus precautions were in place could prevent a fine.
The standard fine for companies that the ICO can impose for a GDPR breach where the company is found to be at fault is 20 million Euro or 4% of total worldwide annual turnover from the previous year, whichever is higher.
If this threat isn’t enough to spur a company into action, there is also the consideration that a cyberattack can potentially disable your business, locking you out of your system and essentially rendering you unable to function.
What Does Antivirus Software Cost?
While there are free options, you get better protection and more features with a paid subscription. Paid versions offer features such as VPNs, password management, and parental controls.
Prices range from $20 to over $100 a year, depending on the number of licenses, number of devices you want to be covered, and the features you prefer.
Is It Worth Paying for Antivirus Software?
Free AV software has improved greatly over the years, and again, anyone using Windows 10 already has free AV software that works pretty well. If all you want is software that detects malicious software, blocks it from doing damage, and scans your system, then free is good.
Paid versions, however, will offer protection against web browsing, protect identity, or offer VPN services, as well as password managers and parental control across multiple devices and operating systems.
These are more essential now, as more people are working remotely or using a single device for work and personal computing.
What Is the Difference Between Antivirus Software and Antimalware?
Viruses are created to multiply and propagate, whereas malware refers to any harmful code that is intended to harm a computer or network. Not all malware is a virus, but not all viruses are malware.
Signature detections in antivirus software identify threats based on what is previously known in the signature database. This is why antivirus software must be updated on a regular basis.
More advanced malware attacks are detected by antimalware software. The two types of security software complement each other, and some antivirus software includes antimalware, but the two are distinct, and real safety requires protection against both.
How We Chose the Best Antivirus Software
There are a plethora of antivirus software options to choose from. We looked over 20 notable solutions that are frequently regarded as the software of choice by cybersecurity professionals. The ease of use with all providers was key, making it something that any consumer could browse and use.
We then looked into if the company offered anything other than antivirus software. Malware protection, ransomware prevention, and numerous device protections were all incorporated.
Those who had a free trial or version were given priority. We placed a premium on platforms that were simple to use and integrate.