Antivirus and Anti-Malware

home network setup this article discusses security software and websites that can help keep you safe

In previous articles, we have discussed device maintenance across all types of devices.  Continuing our conversation around the secure and straightforward home network setup this article discusses security software and websites that can help keep you safe.

Antivirus Software

Antivirus software is the most common security element most people have in place on their machines today.  Put simply, antivirus software helps protect your computer against malware and cybercriminals. Antivirus software looks at data — web pages, files, software, applications — travelling over the network to your devices. It searches for known threats and monitors the behaviour of all programs, flagging suspicious behaviour. Some applications also seek to block or remove malware as quickly as possible.

There are a number of products that can provide suitable defence, including:

–          Windows Defender

–          McAfee

–          Norton

–          BitDefender

–          Kaspersky

–          Trend Micro

–          Total AV

Your choice of product will depend on your requirements and budget.  Some things to consider include frequency of updates, quality of the antivirus engine, free vs paid, and additional features such as a VPN and online backups.  TechRadar has a good article going through some of the key considerations.  Based on your specific requirements you can then make an educated decision and choose the right product for you.

I tend to focus on the detection rate (efficacy) and frequency and size of updates.  These items ultimately determine the effectiveness of the software, which determines how protected you will be.  Additional functions are great, and budget is always a factor but first and foremost the solution needs to protect me.

Computer developer working with computers at night

Antivirus vs Anti-Malware

The KR Group provide a great explanation of the difference between anti-virus and anti-malware.  In short, antivirus is a legacy term dating back to the 90’s and encompasses specific types of cyberattacks.  Anti-Malware is a newer term encompassing the more modern methods of attack.  Put simply, all viruses are malware, but not all malware are viruses.

The two terms are used interchangeably these days, particularly when it comes to marketing material so please be sure to review the features and functions of software packages regardless of what they’re called to ensure you’re getting the protection you need.

Anti-Malware Software

Anti-Malware, also known as endpoint protection, is a large market with many players as well, including:

–          Malwarebytes

–          McAfee

–          Trend Micro

–          F-Secure

–          Avast

Tom’s Guide provides a good overview for selecting anti-malware software, but again we’re looking for functionality that will protect you in your particular circumstance, efficacy of the engine (detection rate), size and frequency of the updates, usability, additional features such as email and web protection, and cost.

As with all product choices consider how they will operate with your other products and solutions in use.  In an ideal world the products will integrate and work together to provide tighter security as opposed to being separate stand-alone solutions, but this is not always possible.

Additional Security

In addition to the products installed on your machine consider additional websites that are useful to help you remain aware of current scams, attacks or breaches to your accounts.  2 of these are ScamWatch and HaveIBeenPwned.

ScamWatch is an Australian Government website that provides details about how to recognise, avoid and report scams.  Subscribing to the ScamWatch Radar service is one of the best things you can do to keep across new threats as they emerge.

HaveIBeenPwned checks your email address against its database of known breaches globally and tells you if it appears anywhere.  This is a handy search to do on a regular basis.  If you come up as a positive then you should change your password and ensure you have multi-factor authentication enabled as we’ve discussed previously.  You can also subscribe to the service to get more details should you wish to do so.

I hope this has helped you understand antivirus and anti-malware software better, to be able to improve your security.  I am keen to hear from people about what software they’re running and how they’ve found it.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

For more information please contact me at enquiries@roadmapit.com.au

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About the author

I specialise in driving digital transformation in organisations. My success is based on a philosophy that is business-led, where I align best-practice in technology with business strategy and customer requirements in a way that is efficient and cost-effective. I enjoy wearing multiple hats leading a ... more

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