A lot of current antivirus software is simply not good enough because the smartest cybercriminals are getting much harder to fight. Many antivirus products are either useless or — at worst — actively harmful. I’ve tested some antivirus software that was dangerously ineffective and left my computer more vulnerable than before. Worse yet — some antivirus software is actually malware in disguise, designed to infect your computer and steal your personal information.
Antiviruses used to do two things — detect and remove computer viruses. Nowadays, it’s a lot more complicated. Most antivirus companies now offer full-suite software packages designed to protect every aspect of your online life.
At a minimum, antivirus software should include protection against all new and advanced forms of malware — not just viruses, but other malicious threats such as spyware, rootkits, and ransomware.
Several antivirus providers now also offer bonus features, including:
- Phishing protection — to help you search, shop, and bank online with confidence.
- VPN — a secure internet connection that protects your personal information.
- Parental controls — to help keep your kids safe online.
To choose an antivirus product, you first need to know how well it defends against malware. But that’s not all — you also need to know what extra features the product has, how good they are, and whether or not you actually need them.
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