Malware and viruses are the primary tools cybercriminals use to break into a network and steal crucial data. So, anti-malware software is often used to keep your system and personal data secure. Such tools can scan the hard drive for virus infections and eliminate them automatically.
However, with time, cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated. Cybercriminals are using different techniques to break in. If you are using anti-malware, it serves as a multi-layer defense system. But not all anti-viruses have been created equal. There are some that are poorly created. It often leaves a gaping hole in your cyber defense. A good antivirus ensures that your devices and data are safe.
How does an Antivirus Program Protect Your Computer?
An antivirus uses different methods to detect malware before making any changes on the computer. Often malware hides in innocent files, such as MP3, movies, images, and program files. Just by looking at the file, you might not be able to tell if the file has hidden malware. This is when an antivirus can prove to be useful.
Here are a few methods antivirus scanners use to detect malware-
Malware database: It is one of the most common methods that antiviruses use. Malware databases have thousands of types of malware, and they are updated frequently for the scanners to identify them easily.
Sandboxing- A sandbox is an artificial virtual element, and running within it cannot affect it outside the sandbox. When any change is made to the malware, it tries to erase the moment as soon as the sandbox is closed down.
Heuristics- Viruses can be altered or encrypted to deceive malware database tools. A scanner working on heuristic makes logical assumptions. It analyses safe files for unmasking encrypted malware.
Reasons An Antivirus is Not Enough for Online Protection
Here are some reasons as to why antivirus is not enough for online protection-
Too Many Threats
A typical antivirus software is effective against many known threats. However, there are also many unknown threats that you have to take into account. Thousands of new malware variants are detected daily. So, it is unrealistic for an antivirus to be able to offer protection to all devices from this malware.
An antivirus engineer has to find out how a certain virus is working before instructing its software to detect and eliminate the identified attack. It can be anywhere between a month or an hour. It means the virus will be able to infect many businesses before protection is developed.
Previously antivirus vendors were able to keep up with the new threats, but in the last few years, the explosion of new malware has become almost impossible.
An Attack can Happen Anytime
Back in time, you could have stayed by avoiding malicious websites or suspicious links. You could have kept yourself secure by scanning files from the internet prior to opening them. But this approach is now history due to drive-by downloads and malicious scripts.
Even if something appears to be harmless, it can be a way for malware to get into your system. Malware can infect your system just because you are visiting it. This usually happens when you click on malicious ads. These are called malvertising attacks, which will take you to a page that can compromise your system.
Attacks can Remain Hidden from Site
The number of threats for mobile devices, cloud services, and social media is increasing. For instance, social media alone is a $3.25 billion revenue source for cybercriminals. They will not just collect revenue from the social media malware but will take advantage of you in various other ways.
Cybercriminals use techniques, such as malicious ads, applications, links, and plugins on the sites for tricking users to download the crypto mining software on their system.
Other types of attacks tend to be invisible to the user, including spam from social media sites. Spamming attacks will spread malicious website links and spam to your contacts who may not even inform you that you have been hacked.
Using a VPN to Keep Yourself Safe
Many corporate firms use VPN technology to allow their employees to access digital resources remotely. When you switch on the VPN, it will create an encrypted connection between the device and the remote server that the VPN service is operating. Your internet traffic will be routed through this tunnel to the server. Then it sends traffic to the public internet.
VPNs make it difficult for scam advertisers and others to track you over the internet. Usually, data is transmitted to your device through the internet using the IP address. So, if the VPN is active, your actual IP address stays hidden.
Many VPN providers claim that it offers protection against malicious files. Basically, a VPN service will scan the files that are passing through the system prior to it reaching the machine.
A VPN hides the contents of your web traffic from some observers and will make it difficult for you to be tracked over the internet.
Bottom Line: Is AntiVirus Enough?
An antivirus can protect you from malware. But to enjoy complete protection, you should also use a VPN. It will provide you protection against threats that you are likely to encounter over the internet: social engineering scams, malware, and phishing sites.
One of the best VPN services to use for your online security and privacy is FastVPN. Once you install this, no one can get access to your business or personal accounts on the road. Moreover, you can keep your browsing history to yourself. It is available for Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, and iOS. So, all your devices are well-protected.