Here's why you need antivirus software for Windows PC security
Think about it this way, would you leave your front door wide open at night? Doing so would be like an open invitation to intruders and burglars. In the same manner, leaving your Windows PC unprotected will attract all sorts of malicious threats - viruses, botnets, DDoS attacks, ransomware, malware infection, phishing, among others.
Your free antivirus program is not sufficient for PC protection
Being the most popular operating system in the world certainly makes Windows a magnet for viruses and malware. Thankfully, every PC from Windows Version 8 and up now comes with a built-in free antivirus called Windows Defender. But the question is, is it even enough? Is it able to fend off serious threats such as ransomware and spyware? Is it good enough on its own or would you need to bundle it with yet another free software?
The reality is that you can’t really rely on free antivirus software to keep your computer and personal info safe. Even the enhanced Microsoft Defender version that comes pre-installed on your Windows 10 is not entirely foolproof.
Studies also showed that Defender lags behind other antivirus software when it comes to protection against ransomware and zero-day attacks. It also failed to block malware as it was coming in and there were instances when the malware scans failed altogether. Another thing is that it lacks all the useful extras that now come with other antivirus solutions: password manager, parental control, backup up options, and more.
Just like any free antivirus program, Defender does basic cybersecurity protection but we wouldn’t trust it to keep our devices 100% protected. After all, our computers are chock-full of sensitive information such as passwords, credit card info, bank account details, and personal photos. Decent Internet Security for Windows now costs less than $40 per year on average so you're better off getting protection than risk everything just to pinch a few pennies.
What to look for in decent antivirus software for Windows
Choosing the best antivirus solution can be an overwhelming task with so many options available. Considering that your online identity, personal data, and financial information are at stake, it’s definitely not something to be hasty about. In general, there are a few factors we consider important regardless of your individual needs.
First of all, you need something that offers 24/7 protection through constant updates and automatic scans. This guarantees the maximum detection rate so you can detect the presence of any malware or adware before it’s too late.
It is also worth noting that phishing and ransomware attacks are often sent through attachments and email links. Your spam filter is usually able to keep most of these phishing emails out of your inbox but not all. Thus, it is important to have antivirus software that offers an extra layer of protection to prevent phishing attacks.
Another thing that should be on your checklist is compatibility. There are antivirus programs that work best on Mac and others that are more suitable for Windows devices. If you’re a Windows user, make sure you are choosing the right version for your specific OS.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Do I need antivirus software if I already have Windows Defender?
Yes. Windows Defender is a standard antivirus protection plan that comes with Windows 10 and while it’s certainly better than no protection, it’s not enough to give you optimal protection. Because it is so common and works the same for every computer, it has made it that much easier for cybercriminals to predict and circumvent, which may leave you vulnerable to attacks.
What else do I get from a paid antivirus software that I’m not already getting from Windows Defender?
While Microsoft’s built-in security software has improved quite a lot in recent years, it still doesn’t offer the same arsenal of protection that the best third-party vendors do. For example, many antivirus packages nowadays offer handy extras such as backup protection, a password manager, parental controls, security for your mobile and tablet, and even a built-in VPN. In terms of protection against threats like viruses, malware, and spyware, Microsoft Defender is OK, but certainly not the best. Often, high-quality antivirus suites provide far more protection and will do a better job at keeping you and your computer safe.
Do I need to turn off Windows Defender when running another antivirus software?
Not necessarily. Most of the antivirus software we recommend on this page is compatible with Microsoft Defender and should not cause any issues. It can run simultaneously with your paid antivirus plan.
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