Don’t Pay for Anti-virus Software Anymore, Experts Say

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The intensity and frequency of virus and malware attacks on your smartphone and computer systems may be increasing, but researchers feel that none of us really need to be paying for any of these services, reports NBC News.

Most modern computers, both Windows and Apple come with in-built protection against software viruses. Paid anti-virus software offers a multitude of additional features like personal data leaks, VPN connectivity, and a password ledger of sorts.

Examples include Avast, Norton, McAfee among many. While they may feel like bonus add-ons, these features are available online for free as well.

Digital threats have evolved

The issue is that the world’s biggest threats online no longer stem for viruses, especially not the way we understood them 10 years ago when antivirus software were the norm on every computer.

In conversation with NBC News, experts highlighted how built-in antivirus mechanisms on Windows, Apple computers and Android, iPhone smartphones are enough to get the job done. For an added layer of protection, an antivirus doesn’t sound too bad. But it simply isn’t required anymore.

By keeping your devices updated, you’re already protecting yourself and your data. In terms of Windows, Simon Edwards, who founded SE Labs told NBC that Microsoft Defender does the job of preventing viruses just as effectively as any paid software.

Edwards added how most companies including Apple and Microsoft push updates on their users for the same reason – to keep the entire OS ecosystem safe from virus and malware attacks.

According to a Security.org survey, about 45 million households pay for antivirus software still, something even governments warn against.

For instance – UK government urges people not to buy antivirus software for their phones, unless they have a tendency to click on suspicious links or installing programmes through third-party stores, in which case everyone should have a robust antivirus mechanism.

Hackers are adapting

Instead of attacking your devices, hackers now want access to your email, social media accounts, and banking credentials. According to Harlo Holmes, the chief information security officer at the Freedom of the Press Foundation, there are certain tricks to keep in mind.

For starters, using a combination of several words for passwords is a good habit. Automated programmes are unable to guess passwords that are longer and have multiple types of characters. Holmes also suggests enabling two-factor authentication for all accounts, which adds an extra personalised layer of security. Best is to use an app like Google Authenticator instead of through a text message for the same.

Bottom line – you don’t need to pay for antivirus software if you exercise enough caution online and follow basic safety measures. If you don’t, it’s probably still a good idea to keep paying for a service.

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Source: NBC News

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