It’s 2023 – what kinds of antivirus software do you really need? It’s a question that’s surprisingly hard to answer. There are so many different antivirus products available, as well as standalone tools like spam filters and password managers.
Antivirus software no longer fills the same role in computing as it once did, because it is no longer the only security precaution that computer users must take. And many devices today come with more built-in protection than they did in the past. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t need antivirus software.
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You Need an Additional Layer of Protection
It’s true that today’s computing devices come with a little more built-in protection than the devices of the past did. You no longer have to install a paid antivirus program right away because the computer comes completely unprotected. Microsoft Defender Antivirus offers some protection for Windows PCs and Gateway offers protection for machines running macOS.
However, these built-in antivirus programs may not be as effective as a third-party antivirus. Microsoft Defender in particular has had a poor track record in the past, although it’s getting better now. Gateway is pretty good, but hackers are still writing malicious software designed to get around its safeguards. Macs are no longer safe from malware and hacking threats, because hackers have realized how vulnerable Macs can actually be and they’re ready to harvest what might seem like the easy pickings of Mac owners, who can afford more expensive devices and who have been told they don’t need antivirus software.
You need an extra layer of protection from malware, viruses, ransomware, and hacking, especially these days when remote access attacks are becoming more common, people are hacking into webcams and security cams, and email scams are getting more convincing. Antivirus software can detect malware on your device and get rid of it – you might not even know you have spyware or other potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) on your machine. Antivirus software can also monitor the data coming and going from your device to stop infections as they are happening.
More Features Can Be Nice
There are lots of free antivirus options out there, and you may be perfectly content to use a bare-bones program for your antivirus protection needs. Free antivirus programs offer system scanning and real-time threat detection, spam filters, and extra security for shopping and banking. A free tool can help you detect new devices on your network, which can be a sign that someone is about to hack into your devices. Free antivirus programs can also offer you some protection against ransomware, a leading malware threat.
However, free programs don’t have a lot of features. You’re not going to get parental control and tools to help kids understand safe web browsing or protect them from cyberbullying. You’re not going to get app sandboxing and you’re probably not going to get file shredding to make sure your private information is really destroyed when you delete a file. You will get constant prompts to upgrade, and lots of ads, though.
If you want a lot of features, you should choose a paid antivirus program. You can get a free trial of most products, like Trend Micro Maximum Security. You’ll get features like parental controls, identity protection, automatic updating for other apps, and protection from hackers who might try to take over your system and control it remotely or hack into your webcam and capture personal images of you. You won’t have to deal with any pop-ups prompting you to upgrade, or with advertisements. And you’ll have access to live customer support, which can really be helpful when something goes wrong and you need guidance to repair it.
Paid Antivirus Combines More Tools
When you choose a free antivirus program, you’re often forced to download several other apps to make up for functions that you could get under one umbrella if you purchased antivirus software. For example, free antivirus programs typically don’t have password managers, but a paid suite will have one built-in – and it’s a lot easier to have everything all together than it is to have to download another program and remember to update it. Plus, with a paid program, you won’t have to worry about missing out on any of the features you would miss with a patchwork of free programs, and you’ll be able to use the same program on all your family’s devices.
A paid antivirus program from a major developer is definitely the way to go if you’re looking to protect your computer in 2023. Paid programs offer more features and more support, so they’re perfect for protecting your whole family.