Antivirus Software vs. Internet Security Suite
Most computers are connected to the Internet these days, so it is more important than ever to make sure that you are protected against security threats such as viruses. Before picking an antivirus software package, it is important to consider the level of cover you require. The two options you are likely to be faced with are basic antivirus software, or an Internet security suite.
Basic Antivirus Software
Antivirus software will typically monitor your computer, and remove any viruses that are installed onto your computer. Viruses come in all shapes and sizes, and will typically disrupt your experience, often slowing your computer down by hogging its resources, and in extreme cases, can render it unusable.
- Real-time protection – Antivirus software offering real-time protection will scan any new files you download, as well as removable storage devices such as memory sticks, stopping the virus before it has a chance to take hold.
- Automatic updates – Viruses are constantly evolving, so it is important to make sure your computer is protected against the latest threats.
- System scan – Performing a full system scan is important in order to make sure nothing has slipped through the net, for example if your computer was infected by a virus before you had the necessary update to protect against it.
Internet Security Suite
As well as doing everything that basic antivirus software does, an Internet security suite will keep your computer protected in other ways. Features will ultimately depend on the package you choose to go with, but could include the following:
- Spyware protection – Whilst a lot of developers genuinely give their software away for free, there are many whose free software has an additional purpose – monitoring your activities. This could mean that while the software is running, they are monitoring the websites you visit, and the login credentials, or even credit card details you enter. A good Internet security package can warn you if the software you are about to install contains spyware, and remove any that you already have installed.
- Parental control – There are many things on the Internet that are not suitable for young children to be seeing, yet it is easy for them to accidentally stumble across something they shouldn’t. Parental control can allow you to block certain types of website, or only permit specific websites. You can also use this to monitor what your children are getting up to when they go online.
- Phishing protection – Personal information can be worth a lot of money, and there are people out there who will go to a lot of effort to trick you into giving yours away. Phishing websites are often set up to look identical to their genuine counterpart. You are likely to realise something suspicious is going on once you try to log in, but by this time, it is already too late; you have already handed over your username and password. An Internet security suite can block known phishing sites, as well as warn you before you try to submit login credentials you have already used elsewhere.
- Password storage –With so many websites requiring you to log in to use their services, it is tempting to use the same password over and over again in order to make it easier to remember. A security suite can store your passwords for you, meaning that you can use a different password for each site you visit, without having to worry about remembering it. This way, if your password is compromised, nobody can use it to gain access to your accounts elsewhere.
- E-mail scanner – Spam filters used by e-mail providers are constantly improving, yet junk mail can still slip through the net from time to time. An e-mail scanner can provide an extra level of security, warning you if it thinks a piece of mail looks suspect, and preventing the pictures and attachments from downloading until you have manually given it the all clear.
- Firewall – A firewall creates a barrier between your computer and the Internet, making it much harder for a hacker, or a worm virus gaining access.