You are probably aware that going online puts you at risk of catching viruses or malware, even if you don’t visit questionable websites. And if you are a careful person, you most likely have a decent antivirus program installed on your computer. Do you believe with all your heart that your computer is safe and your antivirus is able to protect it against any threat that tries getting through? Think again!
There are certain conditions or circumstances, which may lead to a major security breach that may result in an infection or data loss. Even if you believe you are well protected, read on to see the top 5 reasons your antivirus may fail to protect your computer.
1. License Expired
Oftentimes, when you buy a new computer, it comes with some antivirus program preinstalled on it. And most of the time it is a 30-day trial that requires you to purchase a license after 30 days, which a vast majority of users fail to do on time.
Same goes for a regular antivirus license, which is normally good for 1 year and which a lot of users fail to renew before the year ends.
Both of these situations lead to your PC remaining without proper protection until you renew your license or buy/install a different antivirus program. The antivirus program you have may still work with the expired license: it may let you run scans and even clean up threats, but it will usually NOT allow you to update virus definitions. This means that malware and viruses released after your license expiration date will not be detected.
Make sure your antivirus license is active and don’t let your PC go even for a day with no AV protection when your license expires: renew or replace beforehand.
2. No Updates Installed
Some security programs require you to run database updates manually or you may have set up the program to require manual database updating. Either way, your antivirus will not be aware of the latest viruses and will not detect them if you don’t update the virus definitions database. And the sad truth is that not very many users understand the importance of this task. You’ll be surprised at how many users have antivirus programs on their PC’s using outdated virus databases. All of those computers are at risk of getting infected anytime.
Have your antivirus program set up to automatically update its virus database when needed. If that’s not possible, update the database manually every day or think of getting a different antivirus that offers automatic updates.
3. You come across malware not covered by antivirus
Most antivirus programs are not designed to catch every single bit of malicious code available on the web. There are various types of malware that require a special anti-malware program or an anti-malware component to your antivirus. This is something that comes as a surprise to most PC users, as we tend to believe that installing an antivirus was all that was required to get our computers well protected against any threat or infection. In most cases that is not so. Unless you have a good anti-malware program to supplement your antivirus, your PC may still be at risk of getting infected with malware that an antivirus program is simply not designed to detect.
Research and install a good anti-malware program to keep your computer safe from threats your antivirus may miss.
4. The program you have is not an antivirus
What? Yes, you read it right. There are a lot of users out there who install some other kind of software, such as a disk cleanup program or a PC optimization suite and believe that it is going to protect their computer from viruses and malware. The reason for such a misunderstanding is unclear. It may be because advertisements for that software include the word “protection” and the user automatically thinks it has something to do with viruses, while the software may merely protect PC from glitches, protect data from accidental loss (as in backup software), etc. When their PC gets infected with malware, the user is genuinely surprised and blames that program, while the program wasn’t even meant as an antivirus.
Please don’t consider this an insult, but do check your antivirus software to make sure it really is what you believe it to be.
5. Your antivirus is not the best
And the last reason we will mention here is the simple fact that your antivirus may not be the best one out there. Not all security programs are created equal. When you look at various independent comparative tests of antivirus products, you may see detection rates of anywhere from about 70% to 100%. What does that mean in reality? It means that a program with a 70% detection rate misses 30% of threats, as simple as that. Take a look at comparative tests and see where your antivirus program stands in their charts. 95% detection rate is considered good, 98% is awesome. Basically, the closer the program is to 100%, the better. If the security program you have on your PC is located low on the chart, your PC may be at a higher risk of getting infected. Consider replacing the program with another one from higher up on the chart.
Besides eliminating the five factors we mentioned above, what else can you do to prevent getting infected? The most important thing you can do is learn some safe browsing habits.
We all love free software downloads and sometimes we get careless when trying to get our hands on freebie games, free software of the day or game of the day titles, or other things that may often sound too good to be true. There are legitimate free software giveaway sites, like GiveawayOfTheDay, Giveaway Club and a few others, but there are also sites that advertise daily free software or game giveaway deals, but are in fact set up by crooks with the sole purpose of getting you to click on infected links.
Learn how to check whether a site is legitimate: read user reviews and see what independent sources say about the site. Have your antivirus scan any unknown link that you are about to click on. There are more useful habits you can adopt and we will be talking about them in another article.
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