Antivirus, Security, & Utilities

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FAQ About Antivirus, Security and Utilities Software

Computer viruses, malicious software, and all kinds of internet threats are like the Julius Caesars of the online world, relentless in their pursuit to invade and conquer your system. Some are downright Machiavellian, prying on your personal affairs or stealing sensitive data. Antivirus software is your personal knight in shining armour, blocking or stamping out these malicious, well-disguised pirates of the internet before they can hold your important data hostage, and spread like a plague. Take a look at some commonly asked questions about this computer essential before making a purchasing decision.

How do I choose the best antivirus software?

Viruses can sneak past you whether you're downloading from the internet, or innocently clicking an email attachment. The best security software provides the features you want and is easy to use. To find the best antivirus program for you:

Look for reputable products approved by major certification authorities.
Ensure the antivirus software is compatible with your operating system.
Check if any antivirus software comes integrated with your operating system, like Windows Defender for Windows 8.
Consider paid software suites that can provide all-inclusive protection, offering antivirus for Mac and PC devices in one household.
Consider antivirus software with proactive protection that can make your system less vulnerable to new and unknown viruses. It can minimize the time between when the virus is "in the wild" to when your system is unprotected.
Look for software with fast scanning and virus detection that won't slow down your system by hogging your computer's memory.

What's the difference between free and paid software?

Whether free or paid, an antivirus software is designed to search for already identified malware. The software will either ask you to choose or automatically run a response, such as deleting the virus.

A paid software suite goes beyond the basic scans by looking for new threats, and takes the guesswork out of your security regimen by simplifying installation and upgrades. It generally offers comprehensive protection, customer support lines, and extra features like a built-in firewall, which fends off attempts by malware to tap into personal data. Add-ons could include spam filtering, a secure browser for financial transactions, secure deletion of critical files, sandboxing (testing unknown files by running them in a virtual environment to isolate any harmful effects), and more.

How does antispyware differ from antivirus software?

Like antivirus software, antispyware flags bad programs that threaten your system. However, antispyware specifically targets stealthy programs designed to steal valuable info from your computer. Some security software suites incorporate both tools to harness a larger database of malware so it can better detect them.

Can I run 2 antivirus programs at the same time?

While it's not recommended, you could run 2 antivirus scanners at the same time, with one on manual scan and the other automatically enabled. Sometimes, a new security software won't let you install if an antivirus program already exists in your system. Remember, having more than one antivirus program doesn't offer more protection. In fact, using additional antivirus programs can do more harm than good, creating conflicts between different applications.

What is the difference between external hardware-based virus removal and antivirus software?

Antivirus software is great for preventing, detecting, and removing malicious software from your computer. But, it can't offer 100% protection, detection, and removal of everything. An external hardware-based virus protection device works in tandem with your antivirus software, offering increased protection. It removes viruses, adware, and other malware that goes undetected by software-based antivirus programs. Devices, like the FixMeStick, even offer a virus removal guarantee. If the device fails to remove a virus, technical support can remotely connect to your computer and remove the virus for you manually.

Want more info about antivirus, security, and utilities software? Check out some of our resources:

Awesome security tips from Geek Squad for cybersecurity month
5 ways to keep your personal data safe on your smartphone What kind of computer is better for Internet security?