With so many different antivirus security products available on the market, it’s often hard to figure out which one to go for. What’s the difference between paid anti-virus vs free Internet security? In this article, we will go through what to look for and which features are best to consider when purchasing your best computer antivirus software.
With the web growing larger day by day, the threat of cybersecurity attacks grows at exponential levels. With threats occurring daily, comprising of botnets, DDOS or Denial Of Service Attacks or ransomware that can lockdown & disable a computer, the array of attacks are plentiful. Thankfully, there are quite a large range of top antivirus security programs out there that protect us from the vast majority of these threats.
Malicious software or malware
Over the years, cybercriminals have come up with many different types of malicious code to allow them to exploit or take advantage of the vulnerable everyday user. The list of threats include worms, ransomware, viruses, trojans, rootkits and spyware, to name a few. Most commonly, malware goes after vulnerabilities within Windows as well as other third-party applications like Java, web browsers, Adobe Flash, and Adobe Acrobat Reader.
This malicious software is distributed by cyber criminals with the intent of compromising the victim’s machine to gain access to personal data such as banking information or other password credentials. The goal and main features of any virus software are to protect you from malware and it’s malicious code from executing. As a result of running antivirus software in windows, the malware is not able to establish itself on the host system.
To avoid the dreaded windows reset scenario, it’s strongly advisable that antivirus programs should be updated on a daily basis. This is to ensure that the chosen Internet Security protection comprises of the latest virus-fighting definitions, as well as containing definitions by which malicious software can be identified as well as the most up-to-date techniques to find and combat malicious software. Not only is it important to keep your antivirus software up-to-date, but you can’t forget about your Windows operating system. Major Windows updates include core operating system patches as well as updates to fix software vulnerabilities.
You’ve probably asked your friends or family or perhaps even the salesperson at your local computer repairs provider, which antivirus is best for me? With the massive range of leading antivirus products on the market today, it can certainly be difficult to make a decision on which product to buy.
Related Article: Best Antivirus Software Round-up
Types of scans included
Deep scanning features for malware are often a primary feature of all major antivirus software products. Most of these products offer both quick scan and full or deep scan features. Most commonly real-time protection scanning through the use of examining files immediately upon their execution offer industry standard protection. A feature of a lot of top antivirus products are scheduled, full or partial scans that can assist you to identify in-active malware residing within the backend of your operating system.
Most antivirus products have a behaviour based or heuristic detection feature. Rather than searching for a particular file type to match itself against, this kind of virus scan takes a look at files and code for unusual or suspicious attributes that the anti-malware software might classify as virus-like. Behaviour-based detection allows the antivirus to pick up zero-day threats. Zero-day threats are the kind of malicious code that has just hit the market and are yet to have their file signature documented within antivirus databases.
Some higher-priced antivirus software can include cloud scanning features. Cloud scanning works by sending the suspicious file to a remote server where it is then scanned for malicious like structures returning the results to the local machine. Being able to upload the potentially malicious software to the cloud also enables your computer to avoid having to crunch the scanning process locally, which intern frees up valuable system resources.
Additional protective features
The latest antivirus software offers far more protection than simply scanning for threats or files. With browser extensions offered by developers like Trend Micro, you’re much safer when browsing online, because it knows whether the sites you visit a safe or not. Known as malicious URL blocking, this feature works by identifying sites that are known for hosting malware and putting them into a database where all users can benefit. This feature, in turn, offers passive DNS or Domain Name System protection, which works by hijacking the users’ browser and attempting to mislead them with a fake “real site”. Here, the user might reveal his or her precious banking or social media credentials, thinking the site is, in fact, real and asking them to confirm their details.
Rates of malware detection
By far the most important feature of antivirus software is, in fact, their detection rate. Detection rates are the percentage of the known malicious software they pick up. Only the best antivirus products properly detect and remove known malicious software. In addition to this, also preventing the unknown zero-day exploits from taking hold of the user systems through deploying behavioural scanning techniques. Real-time antivirus protection aims to safeguard you against a vast array of threats on the computers hard disk, the running process memory as well as when browsing on the Internet. Ideally, when researching which antimalware or antivirus is right for you, you want to take a look at what the lab says and compare their detection results. The leading antivirus scorers will protect you against malware like viruses, trojans, identity theft, worms and also the newer type of cyber threat – Ransomware!
Our take on it
We spoke about how Windows 8 and Windows 10 updated their built-in security platform known as Windows Defender. However, in our opinion, their malware detection rates are simply subpar and their success rate significantly lag behind third-party antivirus solutions like Norton, Trend Micro, AVG & Avast.
Out of all the different antivirus products available on the market today, we reviewed the top ones which also scored favourably in the labs.