What is antivirus software, and do you really need it?

Our last article touched on the definition of antivirus software. This article focuses on antivirus software in more detail, so you can understand more about what it is and why you need it for your personal devices.

Does Internet security include antivirus software?

It’s a common question, but it’s rather vague. To answer this question we must first understand what it means.

What is Internet security?

Our previous article defined cyber security and various other terms. Internet security, though, refers specifically to the Internet. McAfee (2020) defines Internet security as a range of security tactics for protecting activities and transactions conducted online over the Internet.

What is antivirus software?

Antivirus software is a specific software application, separate from your Internet browser application, designed to prevent, scan for and detect, identify, contain and eliminate cyber threats of various formats.

This naturally means that antivirus software is not included in Internet security. The correct way of looking at the relationship would be to ask if Internet security is included in antivirus software – a bit like comparing if it’s the Earth that revolves around the Sun or the other way around! (HINT: Bidvest Insurance Cyber Rescue clients get antivirus software, which has Internet Security features to protect your personal devices.)

Do you need to buy antivirus software?

This really depends on your individual needs, but it’s always encouraged to use antivirus software on your personal devices. Most antivirus software providers have a very basic free version which you can get by with, but it’s important to remember that free versions don’t always have everything you need, like updates or support.

If you have insurance, banking, and online shopping apps and data on your devices, you need a more comprehensive solution. Buying antivirus software is a good decision if you send and receive any sensitive or confidential information, or use your device to log in to things like your email account or an educational portal.

(HINT: Our Bidvest Insurance Cyber Rescue comes with a 12-month antivirus subscription)

Whether you need antivirus software or not can depend on many other factors, like your device brand, your operating system (eg. Android, iOS, Windows, Linux etc.), your personal software application suite and dependency on being connected to the Internet. (HINT: In addition to the complimentary antivirus software subscription, Bidvest Insurance Cyber Rescue clients also get access to a dedicated IT helpline, to get more detailed advice on situations like this, and other issues.)

How antivirus software identifies viruses:

Antivirus software applications have databases of malicious code which are constantly updated and refreshed. When you run a scan (manual or automatic) for viruses, the antivirus software applications seek to match snippets or lengths of code from their databases with code snippets of tasks, programmes and other applications you’re running on your respective devices.

Sources:

Comodo Cybersecurity. 2020. How antivirus works. Web page online. Available at: https://antivirus.comodo.com/how-antivirus-software-works.php#:~:text=Antivirus%20software%20scans%20the%20file,or%20delete%20that%20particular%20file. [Accessed 20 August 2020].

McAfee. 2020. What is Internet security? Web page online. Available at: https://www.mcafee.com/enterprise/en-us/security-awareness/cybersecurity/what-is-internet-security.html [Accessed 20 August 2020].

Panda Security. 2020. Home users. Web page online. Available at: https://www.pandasecurity.com/en/homeusers/ [Accessed 20 August 2020].

Cover for you and for your car.

Bidvest Insurance offers a wide range of insurance products to meet both your personal and vehicular needs.

Insurance options for you:

  • Cyber Rescue
  • Panic Alert
  • Legal Angel
  • Personal Accident Insurance

Insurance options for your car:

  • Scratch and Dent
  • Tyre Angel
  • Theftbuster Plus
  • Warranty
  • Driver Assist
  • Key Angel

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