Is your antivirus good enough?

posted 7 Apr 2016, 06:20 by WillisITServices   [ updated 25 Nov 2016, 01:55 ]
I often have conversations about computer security. Unfortunately, no anti-virus program can offer a guaranteed protection against all problems. 

  • Web Browser. i.e. Chrome or Firefox (must be fully up to date)
  • Advert and popup blocker within your web browser
  • A Firewall (usually the built in Windows Firewall)
  • Safe browsing habits.
The most common types of infections I encounter on customers' computers are malicious programs (AKA malware) designed to not appear as a virus, and therefore to bypass anti-virus protection. This is possible because it is too easy to accidentally install malware when in fact the user thinks they may be installing something useful.

I do however have some techniques you can use to avoid this:

Internet Safety

  • Never accept any offers of software that offers to improve or maintain your computer in any way i.e. speed improvements, security, cleaning, boosting etc. They are all scams and do not make proven improvements.
  • Do not search the internet for media that is not legally free i.e. games, live sport TV broadcasts, music, videos. These types of content are only available from reputable sources and normally involve payment i.e. Amazon, iTunes, Sky, BBC.

I can also install some software that can protect against installing some of the above types of malware. I recommend Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. However, there is no software available that can block everything.

  What does an anti-virus protect?

An anti-virus is only designed to block web sites, emails and files that contain hidden software. Malware is generally presented to the user, but designed to trick the user into accepting it. Because the user has accepted it, it is not detected as a virus. The difference between a free anti-virus and paid, is only that the paid product includes other programs besides anti-virus i.e.anti-spam, firewall which you will already have. So it does not protect against more viruses. My previous article from 2012 explains these differences in more detail.

Willis IT Services recommends Avast free anti-virus.