antivirus software still effective

Is Antivirus Software Still Effective? What You Need To Know In 2021

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Last Updated on April 8, 2021 by Calvin C.

An antivirus is used to prevent, search and remove common malware infecting your network or device, be it a computer or mobile device, but is this antivirus software still effective? This article goes deeper on that, beginning with the basics of an antivirus.

  • Quick Fact: You should run an antivirus software on your device…but…

Background of antivirus

To learn more about the various types of malware, there is a detailed list of common types of malicious software here.

Early antivirus became popular in 1987, when G Data Software released the first antivirus for the Atari ST platform.

Later that same year John McAFee released VirusScan (later called McAFee) and in Czechoslovakia, NOD antivirus was born.

Once an antivirus is installed, it automatically runs in the background.

You can schedule a manual scan of your device per rising need and it’s important to keep the virus database up-to-date.

Malware is created frequently and if antivirus software is not updated to recognize new malware, your device is defenseless.

  • Failure to update your antivirus means you cannot detect any new virus.

An icon should appear in the notification bar to show that the antivirus is running in the background.

When the software detects malware, you get a warning and the malware is either quarantined, removed, moved to the vault or ignored.

It’s possible to get false positives cases, so it’s up to you to decide what should be done with any potential threat.

Ideally, with the best antivirus software, you should have 100% protection from malware as long as you keep your antivirus software up-to-date.

However, the reality on the ground now is that it’s no longer the case.

antivirus software still effective

Shocking statistics concerning antivirus software

According statistics published by Brian Krebs in 2012, the best antivirus software is only able to detect 25% of malware that is emailed to people.

Most of the malware is flying below the radar and causing harm without the slightest detection by antivirus software.

This figure stands irregardless of the antivirus that is used confirming that malware is winning the battle.

Yes, the 25% is still significant but you should never rely on antivirus software alone to keep malware at bay.

Businesses have lost a lot of money after falling victim to malware attacks.

In the case study above, attackers used Trojans to steal passwords or establish remote control, all with zero detection in most cases.

What can be done to be safe?

Use your computer as a restricted user

One of the ways in which malware damages your device is by tampering with the operating system.

If you always use your computer as as Admin, you have 100% access to the bowels of the operating system and this poses a security threat should there be an attack.

On the contrary, a Restricted User cannot make any changes to the operating system.

This means any malware that enters the system while using a Restricted User account cannot do any major damage to the operating system.

To implement this effectively, create 2 accounts where one is for the Admin and the other is for a Restricted User.

Only use the Admin account when necessary, else you should do most of your work using the Restricted User account.

High index of suspicion

Cybercriminals always have new ways to break into protected systems and private networks.

One of the most common means to lure victims is by sending malicious emails with links or attachments that deliver payloads to susceptible devices.

Make sure you treat every email with suspicion, even from a known sender because cybercriminals can forge details.

In some cases, you may receive links via Ads, chat messengers or notifications.

To stay safe, avoid clicking any suspicious links.

Use a VPN

A lot of malware is found online and cybercriminals can hack into your network if it is not secured.

One way to hide your identity and online activity is to use a VPN.

This tool adds an extra layer of privacy and security such that not even your ISP, the government or hackers can see what you do online.

  • Only use trusted VPN services and we recommend these top VPN services:

Reduce your exposure online with a VPN.

Avoid free antivirus

When it comes to privacy and security, avoid free products because providers have other sneaky ways to make you pay.

A free antivirus is not going to have all the features of a paid antivirus. Never!

In some cases, Ads are displayed even when you are not interested in them.

This is one way to generate revenue and keep the software free.

These Ads can act as portals to malicious websites.

In worse cases, the provider gathers your data without your consent and this personal data can be sold to third parties.

When it comes to antivirus software, the best product we recommend is Norton Antivirus.

Other two antivirus software that get the job done are Bitdefender and Kaspersky.

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antivirus software still effective


Antivirus software is not totally out of the toolbox but you need extra measures to increase protection against malware.

Relying on antivirus alone is not advisable because some of the cyberattacks take place without any trace.

That means if you are going to pick an antivirus, go for the best.

  • Our top 3 antivirus software are:

Also check out these time-sensitive, huge discounts on top VPN services.

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Tech writer and VPN expert. DIY enthusiast and loves anything to do with space science.

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