These days, most people are aware enough about the dangers on the Internet to know that there are viruses and antivirus software protects against them. But people often fall into the trap of thinking they know better than to fall for some of the tricks and traps attackers use and wonder, “Do I really need antivirus?” The fact is you need antivirus because it’s a very dangerous world online and you can do everything right and still find your system compromised, and your personal information stolen, if you don’t have adequate protections.
Some people think that they can recognize spam and phishing emails and know not to open them. Or maybe they think that people only get computer viruses if they go to illegal sites (like file sharing sites) or illicit ones (like online porn sites). Being smart online will help protect you and your information, but vulnerabilities are found in software and websites all the time. Even if you’re only going to reputable sites, it’s still possible that you could find yourself with malware on your system.
Another argument people make against antivirus is that they’re not using a Windows PC and so they’re not at risk. Nothing could be further from the truth. Increasingly, attackers are targeting the Mac with Trojan horses and other malware focused on stealing personal information. And in the past year, over 350,000 pieces of malware were found on the Android mobile platform. You shouldn’t think of viruses, malware and attacks as a problem specific to what you use to access the Internet; you should think of them as a pervasive problem across the Internet itself. Anything you use that connects to the Internet should have some kind of antivirus security.
The type of user you are also affects what kinds of risks you’re exposed to. Avid social networkers may be more exposed to privacy risks, while a busy executive may risk losing company data on his smartphone. While many software vendors build some security directly into their products, paid security solutions offer more layers of protection, plus features specific to your Internet activity such as social networking, kids’ online safety and the like, and so are worth evaluating. In today’s Internet world where Web threats are pervasive across nearly all devices that connect to it, and good computing practices aren’t sufficient to completely protect yourself, there’s really no reason not to go out and get yourself some form of antivirus or security software. If nothing else, because infected computer systems are a risk to others, if you don’t do it for yourself, do it for the rest of us.