As time changes, so do the ways people operate, including maliciously. Take robbery by going to the bank and stealing money for example—the method is outdated. Instead, hackers use malevolent software to conduct fraudulent activities nowadays. They take control of their victim’s devices to pocket money. That’s where antivirus software comes into the picture, protecting users from getting attacked in the first place.
Computer viruses mostly spread through attachments, malicious websites, and USB sticks. Antivirus examines these files and software to detect if they are harmful. In other words, an antivirus is software that uses signature-based or behavior-based methods to block the computer virus and prevent it from altering users’ devices. Now that you have an idea of what antivirus is, let’s explore its advantages and disadvantages.
Comparison Table of the Advantages and Disadvantages of Antivirus
|Protects against spyware and viruses
|Requires regular updates for new threats
|Provides real-time protection
|Slows down system speed due to ongoing scans
|Offers a firewall feature
|No guarantee of absolute protection with free versions
|Ensures spam protection
|Free versions often display advertisements
|Cost-effective solution for protection
|Limited or no customer support for free versions
|Can safeguard personal and financial information
|Resource-intensive for older computer systems
|Scheduled scans for automated protection
|False positives, blocking legitimate software
|Protects against phishing attacks
|Subscription costs for premium versions
|Frequent definition updates
|Potential for compatibility issues with certain software
|Quarantine and removal of infected files
|Some antivirus software may be susceptible to malware attacks
|Malicious website blocking
|May impact system performance during scans
|May not detect all zero-day threats
|Dependency on timely definition updates
|File encryption and secure file deletion
|Compatibility issues with other security software
|Remote management for multiple devices
|Conflicts with existing software
|Efficient threat detection and removal
|Resource consumption during full system scans
|Supports various operating systems
|Privacy concerns with data collection
|Can be integrated into a security suite
|May not protect against highly sophisticated malware
|Virus recovery and restoration features
|Overhead in managing subscription renewals
Advantages of antivirus
Beginning the analysis in favor of antivirus, here are some of its benefits.
It protects against spyware and various viruses
Spyware is malicious software that enters users’ devices and collects personal and sensitive information which is then shared with third parties. It can be sent without the user’s consent to data collection firms, advertisers, and malicious actors for profits. Antivirus protects users from spyware attacks.
More precisely, it detects spyware and other forms of malware and viruses and works to remove them. That way, you can protect your system so that a shady program cannot cause harm. Additionally, if the virus has already attacked the system, antivirus prevents it from transferring to other devices.
Antivirus provides real-time protection
Antivirus delivers protection round the clock which is essential for maintaining system security. Without real-time protection, malware and viruses will be detected only when you run a scan. This can then compromise the security of your device.
Therefore, the protection of an antivirus ensures that security threats are detected and neutralized before they can potentially cause damage or exploit personal data. This is to say, it prevents the malware from being installed on the user’s device.
It offers a firewall feature
Antivirus software with the firewall component monitors security by observing and filtering incoming and outgoing traffic from a computer network. It does so to shield users from network attacks while enabling protection from data leaks and spoofing. It stops unauthorized access to the user’s network and blocks incoming traffic categorized as unsafe.
Antivirus ensures spam protection
The most common way of exploiting victims with malware and viruses is through spam. This includes spam emails with malicious links or downloads. When victims accidentally install the malware, it damages their devices and network.
Antivirus provides spam protection to combat this issue. It detects malicious emails and virus-containing websites and ads and blocks their immediate access to the user’s computer network. That way, it neutralizes malicious threats and prevents them from infecting the device.
It is a cost-effective solution
Antivirus companies offer inexpensive monthly and yearly packages for their product or service. Some vendors also offer free versions, which is great for small companies with limited budgets. This is to say, they can opt for a free antivirus version instead of upgrading to the premium one.
Additionally, the cost of the security breach is much higher than that of protection. The negative impact of cyberattacks is not only immediate but also has a long-term effect. Businesses that suffered from cyberattacks are forced to close up shop as customers are less likely to trust them with their information.
Disadvantages of antivirus
Some people find antivirus a nuisance and for a good reason. With that in mind, let’s inspect several downsides of antivirus.
It requires regular updates
New viruses emerge constantly, so the antivirus software needs to be updated frequently. With every update, signature files are released to combat new viruses and protect the system. Users need to keep the antivirus software updated otherwise it won’t be effective.
There are security holes discovered all the time, and antivirus replaces outdated features with the most relevant ones. For all these reasons, updating this protective software is essential.
Antivirus affects system speed
Everything comes with a price, and so does the security. Antivirus delivers system safety, but it also impacts its speed negatively. While it can be frustrating for some, it is still advised to keep antivirus in place to protect your system.
The reason for slowing down is the processing power it utilizes to run in-depth checks. These scans are ongoing and automatic and conducted when users install applications or download files from the web.
It doesn’t guarantee absolute protection
Even though users can opt for the free iteration of antivirus, the list of features it brings is limited. This version usually offers basic protection and can combat only specific types of threats. In other words, there’s no promise that users will get complete security.
Antivirus software may display a bunch of ads
Providers of antivirus software need to generate income for products and services they offer. From premium users, they can easily generate revenue through subscriptions, add-ons, and digital licenses. However, they must look for profitable alternatives for their free software.
The alternative, in this case, is advertisements, which allow them to provide their service to users at no cost. Eventually, the frequency, quality, and size of advertisements harm the user experience.
No customer support for free versions
It’s easy for premium users to get excellent customer service from antivirus software providers. They may reach out whenever they encounter a problem or face difficulty understanding something related to features and services. But the same is not true for free users. Besides getting limited security features and plenty of ads, they often miss out on any form of a customer care system.
In such cases, they are forced to either upgrade to the premium version or look for assistance online, commonly on antivirus forums of the provider itself.
Coming to the end of the analysis, after exploring the upsides and downsides of antivirus, we can say that protecting your system is crucial. Moreover, antivirus is one of the best solutions we have for deterring malware from causing damage.
Do you need an Antivirus?
If you are not someone who visits a lot of malicious/unknown websites or downloads a lot of stuff, you probably won’t need additional antivirus software. All modern operating systems such as Windows come with a default way to secure your device from malware.
With that being said, if you want to be absolutely sure about your security, using an antivirus program is not a bad idea. It will help you to prevent running into newer threats, which are usually covered slightly slower on in-built security programs such as Windows Defender.