Updated 1, January 2020

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Frequently Ask Questions

Antivirus software is a set of programs that helps you to detect, prevent, cure and remove all forms of malware present on the internet, such as viruses, worms, and other malware from a computer.

It does this by scanning your system using the signature and heuristic file detection methods described in the previous section, and by offering you a wide range of user-focused protection features, such as anti-phishing, password managers, and web advisors.

According to recent statistics, a hacker attack takes place every 39 seconds, affecting one in three Americans per year. Nearly 73 percent of all Americans have fallen victim to some type of cybercrime at least once. To be safe from these threats it is absolutely vital to equip a Windows device with a quality antivirus software package in order to have it protected at all times.

How it does that will be dependent upon which program you have installed but, in general, most security software will try and move suspicious files into a quarantine area to swiftly eliminate the risk of an infection spreading. Once there, the software will probably give you the option of trying to remove the infection or just deleting it altogether.

We live in an increasingly complex environment that requires us to actively protect our connected devices from all kinds of threats, around the clock. Whether it concerns internet browsing protection, secure interfacing between our different devices, or safe interconnection with our cloud platforms: antivirus programs are busy on many different platforms, working overtime by default.

Viruses can potentially infect other computers or devices since they have the ability to jump from device to device, for example when transported via email, through a local network connection, via SMS and other messenger services, and even through storage devices such as USB drives or sticks. They can cause real havoc, which can go as far as stealing data or even money from the infected device’s user.

While purchasing an antivirus software, you should look for the following key features

  • Real-time Scanner
  • Scheduled Scans
  • Automatic Virus Updates
  • Automatic Program Updates
  • On-access Scanner
  • On-demand Scanner
  • Heuristic Scanner
  • Compressed File Scanner
  • Script Blocking
  • POP3 Email Scanning
  • Webmail Protection
  • Instant Messaging Protection

Before making a final decision, ask yourself

1. Does the antivirus software protect my Windows device against viruses, ransomware, Trojans and other malware?

2. Does it significantly impact the Windows device’s processing speed?

3. Does it protect my Windows device 24/7?

4. Does it come with extra protection features such as password managers and VPN?

5. Can the software be used on my other devices, even when running on different operating systems?

6. Does the antivirus software offer the option to not simply protect my Windows device, but to do it in real-time, without interfering with the device’s performance?

7. Does it come with any extra protection features?

Finally, consider the necessary investments you need to make in terms of money and time to get the software up and running.

Antivirus is largely signature-based. The signatures are created by the individual vendors and are unique to their products (or the products that use those particular scanning engines. Hence one vendor may have added detection (i.e. a signature) for a particular malware while another vendor may not have. For this reason, it is oftentimes better to run 2 different anti-virus applications.

Nowadays antivirus programs are an extremely low maintenance option, requiring very little interaction from you in order to continue working effectively. Assuming you’ve set it up correctly, the only tasks you should engage in on a regular basis are:

  • Checking the status of your antivirus program daily – many offer a colour-coded scheme to alert you to any issues. If the program says everything is ok then all is good.
  • Manually run an in-depth scan on a regular basis, maybe once a week, or use the functionality of the antivirus program itself to schedule a detailed scan, perhaps at a time when you are away from the machine
  • Checking that the program is fully up to date. This should happen automatically but I would advise confirming that all updates have been downloaded and installed from time to time
  • It is also worth leaving a note somewhere prominent to remind you when your subscription runs out so that you never find yourself in the position of not having a valid license.