It wasn’t that long ago that the idea of using a computer without antivirus protection was unthinkable. Open just one email, and your machine could be rendered useless — and the hundreds or thousands of others who received the virus from you.
Times have changed though. Viruses have become more sophisticated, and work in different ways. Ransomware, spyware, adware, phishing, and other forms of malware have become dominant, and are designed to do more than just replicate themselves and be a nuisance. The level of harm that a single piece of malware can cause is substantial, and for every threat that’s eliminated, thousands more pop up in its place.
Still, there are some who argue that antivirus protection is no longer necessary. We have more tools than ever at our disposal to keep our data and devices safe. Most devices, for instance, have at least some type of security built into their operating system that can protect against many known threats. Some programs use a significant amount of computing resources, affecting performance to the point that users would rather take their chances. Still, other programs have been accused of nefarious activity themselves, collecting the very data they are supposed to be defending.
While all of these are valid arguments, the fact remains that there are still serious threats to cybersecurity. Even with strong protocols like built-in protection, firewalls, secure networking, and “good behavior,” you still need to invest in max security antivirus protection for your PC. If you don’t, there’s a good chance you’ll regret it.
The Changing Face of Virus Protection
Some experts argue that the term “antivirus software” has actually become somewhat of a misnomer, due in large part to the fact that viruses tend to be the least of anyone’s worries. There are still, however, bad actors who want to get inside your computer and cause all sorts of mayhem, usually in an attempt to steal money, information, or both. And the simple fact that they are still able to do so, despite the proliferation of tools designed to stop them, shows that a determined cybercriminal can still find ways to get their malicious code out into the world.
In fact, even if you are a model PC user, taking care to only visit “legitimate” websites, only downloading software from official stores, and doing everything possible to protect your personal information, there’s still a chance you could become infected. Some of the most notorious data breaches in history were actually caused by human error, and people who are typically smart about their online behavior.
The problem is that hackers are usually smarter. When they are after a specific target — such as access to a database containing reams of financial information — they do their homework, identifying the weakest links in the security chain and exploiting them. They use social engineering to develop targeted messages designed to trick people into doing what they want, and if the victim doesn’t have the right protection in place, those tricks are likely to be successful.
Now, the likelihood of any specific individual being used as the conduit to a larger payload for a hacker is admittedly pretty slim. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t fall victim to attacks on larger targets like operating systems, web browsers, and software. When hackers exploit security holes in these, it’s a game of numbers. It’s much easier to spread their malware far and wide by exploiting a flaw in an operating system that hasn’t been addressed and isn’t blocked by antivirus software.
An Extra Layer of Safety
Ultimately, using virus protection is similar to wearing a helmet when you ride a bike. You may have years of experience, and never been injured. Even if you have fallen, maybe you’ve only gotten a scratch. But all it takes is one accident, and if you’re not wearing a helmet, you could have a serious injury.
Likewise, antivirus software provides that extra protection. Not having antivirus doesn’t mean that you’re automatically going to end up with an infected computer, especially when your operating system has extra security protocols built-in. But having it installed provides an extra layer of safety, so if the unexpected does happen, you’re less likely to experience serious harm.