Antivirus: The Myths and The Reality

Although having smart digital habits are an important line of cyber-defense, antivirus solutions are another important tool for data security. Yet, when it comes to antivirus software, users tend to be extreme in their assumptions. Some believe that installing an antivirus is the only thing that protects data from being hijacked. Other users don’t install antivirus software due to absurd myths. To help ensure your data is protected, we will discuss some common antivirus myths and facts.

Five Common Antivirus Myths

Myth 1: Macs Can’t Get Viruses
This myth probably best explains why many (almost 50% of internet users in the US!!) people don’t use antivirus. Some time ago it was common to assume that Mac computers were secure, hence there was no need for antivirus protection. It is important to understand that hackers primarily target systems that are favored by users. Over the past few years, Apple products became more popular worldwide, which only made them more appealing to hackers. Remember – NO operating system is 100% secure.

Myth 2: Antivirus Is Too Expensive
This is just incorrect. There are plenty of free antivirus software for both Windows (i.e. AVG AntiVirus, Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition, Avira Antivirus, etc.) and Mac machines (i.e. Avast Free Mac Security, Avira Free Antivirus for Mac, Bitdefender Virus Scanner for Mac, Malwarebytes for Mac, etc.) Just like paid antivirus, these free programs download updates to protect your devices and strengthen your overall cybersecurity. Although it might not be as effective as a paid antivirus, having an additional security layer will help your device to stay secure.

Myth 3: Free Antivirus Software Does Not Provide Adequate Protection
As we mentioned, installing a free antivirus software is better than having none. Yet, it is important to understand that paid antivirus software will have extended features and protects your family and computers in multiple ways. For instance, one of the best antivirus software – Bitdefender Internet Security – cost around 60$ per year and includes features like parental control, file encryption, two-way firewall, anti-spam screening, and webcam and microphone protection.

Myth 4: Antivirus Slows Down Your Computer
Some antivirus programs do utilize more resources than others, but as a whole will not cause any speed issues on your device. First of all, antivirus programs allow you to schedule your full device scan so it only makes sense to have this run during your off-peak usage hours. Second, real time checks and balances have little to no impact on real-time usage. While there are periodic encounters where your AV software may block the installation of software that you know is OK, most will ask you if you want to “allow” specific programs to be installed and will simply walk you through the process. The biggest fear of AV is to not have it running on your device.

Myth 5: Antivirus Provides Ultimate Protection From Cyber Attacks
Considering the rapid evolution and frequency of cyber attacks, there is no single solution to protect yourself from hackers. Antivirus is just one level of protection in the war on cyber criminals. Anti-Malware, firewalls, and other layers all work together to provide you with the best effort to keep your digital world safe.

Antivirus Tips

If you can’t afford a paid antivirus make sure to install a reputable free antivirus solutions

Always have antivirus (paid or free) installed and kept up to date on your computer, even if you use Mac

Make sure to layer your security approach by using additional security tools (i.e. firewall, anti-malware, training, etc.) – no antivirus can completely secure your computer