Antivirus software protects your mobile, laptops and other devices from harmful viruses that intend to steal or destroy your data like personal information, login credentials, and bank details. As antivirus companies are improving their security, hackers are also developing new viruses to try and infect devices. It is a never-ending cycle of one faction trying to beat the other. Now, you might have an antivirus on your device to protect yourself from these threats, but it might be useless.
It does not offer value for money
Generally, paid antiviruses are better than free counterparts. However, just because it is paid does not mean it will work better than other paid competitors. There are some brands whose products are simply poor in terms of virus detection. They rarely or never update their database. As a result, the user will be vulnerable to various new viruses in a few months. Furthermore, they might also be poorly optimized causing your devices to use significant computing resources. They can also have problems like a bad user interface, making it difficult for users to navigate through options. And most of all, your antivirus might not offer real-time protection, email scans, spam protection, VPN, firewall, password manager, etc. Most popular brands are similar in the price range. As such, choose a reliable antivirus that offers more services to get the most value for your money.
It has a high maintenance cost
Most free antiviruses only offer core protection like scanning and virus detection. However, you might need to pay for the product to remove those viruses. Some brands aggressively advertise their product and falsely alert users about viruses in the free version and trick gullible users into paying for their service. Now, some people pirate cracked free antivirus software to protect themselves from threats. And ironically, they might actually end up infecting themselves with malware as pirated files are infamous to have malware in them. Thus, free antivirus software can offer more value than the cracked software.
If you want the best level of security for your device, then obviously paid antivirus is the solution. Popular antivirus companies will frequently update their database so that they can easily detect newly created viruses. Their other security features like password managers, firewalls and VPN also mean you do not have to pay extra bucks if you want to purchase these other services as well. Moreover, paying customers get good customer support and the support team also quickly solves your queries & problems through live chat or other channels.
However, if you are well-informed about computers and security, then paid antivirus software might be useless to you. Yet, you can have an antivirus as a secondary line of defense. A free version might suffice you if you don’t click malicious links to get a free iPhone or visit unsafe websites. If you follow good security practices, paying for antivirus and its subscription might be a waste. Anyway, if you are looking for free antivirus on Windows, its built-in anti-malware feature and Firewall perform an excellent job.
It negatively impacts your device’s performance
Antiviruses generally run in real-time by default. They monitor the activities in your PC at all times to check for abnormalities and scan viruses, ensuring your device’s safety. But the downside of real-time protection is the high utilization of resources. Every time you download or install new files, plugin external drives or perform other actions, your antivirus scan your system. While this means better protection, it can noticeably slow down your device and negatively affect overall performance. If you know what you are doing and if you download, install or perform other actions from a trusted source, real-time protection might be a hassle. You can turn off real-time protection, but only if you browse the internet securely and run regular scans.
It falsely detects the viruses
Antivirus programs are known to interrupt or block installations and generate false positives. A false positive is a classification error where an antivirus may label a safe file or program as dangerous malware. Antivirus programs can make mistakes and if they suspect a file to be malware, they can delete it. In the worst case, it might delete an important file during installation and can stop the installed program from functioning properly. There isn’t a way to avoid false positives as it depends on the antivirus’s database of virus definitions and its detection quality.
You have more than one antivirus
One might think that if one antivirus provides a lot of security, then two would be even better. This is when conflicts can happen. Antiviruses work with the inherent design to interrupt actions performed by other programs to ensure maximum security. Now, let’s say two antivirus programs M and N are running simultaneously and they happen to detect a possible threat. When antivirus M copies this potentially infected file to a temporary location for scanning, antivirus N will detect this and copy it from M’s temporary location to its own for scanning. M also notices this action and repeats the process of copying a file from N’s temporary location to its own. This creates an endless loop of copying and scanning until it eats up all your computing power.
While this problem has turned a bit obsolete due to development in the antivirus industry, it persists in some antiviruses where McAfee and Norton label each other as malware. To avoid this, you can run two antiviruses at separate instances or separate regular intervals. Yet two antiviruses can still be overkill if you are already taking necessary precautions on your computer. Going back to the previous point, using two antiviruses also means a massive performance slow down.
If you browse securely and follow secure computer practices, there is very little to no chance of getting infected. Most virus infections happen because of a lack of user awareness or user carelessness. Ultimately, you are the only thing that can protect your device and if you use an antivirus, which you should, then think of them as a secondary line of defense in case you slip up or your device is shared with other users who aren’t as well-informed.