Antivirus software is a protective measure against malware or also known as malicious software, which is an umbrella term for:
- Computer viruses
- Trojan Horses
How does Malware Infect Your Computer?
In most cases, you have infected your computer with malware, probably without realizing it. One of the most popular places to see potential malware risks is on Facebook. In this case, an individual’s Facebook account ends up being compromised. The intruder will then log into the compromised account and make a post to its friend’s list with a harmful link attached. Several people on the friend’s list will click the link, which will most likely compromise their accounts as well and create a continuous domino effect.
One of the original ways to infect your computer is by clicking on a link sent to you through email. The same process occurs like a Facebook profile, except this time the intruder will email all of your contacts.
Another angle the malware might take is by placing certain codes and scripts within a free download you find on another website. Oddly enough, some of these websites will have user agreements you must accept. The majority of the time it will tell you they will be installing the malware on your computer. See more about how it works: http://computer.howstuffworks.com/spyware.htm.
What Happens Once Your Computer is infected by Malicious Software?
Anytime malware has infected a computer, the user will begin to notice different problems. The most common is that the system seems to slow down. It could be the loading time of your web browser or web pages, the computer reboots itself unexpectedly, or it continuously crashes without warning.
It is also possible for your Internet connection to bog down. If this occurs, the computer has been infected by a worm. The reason for the slower connection is that the worm is trying to find other computers it can infect.
However, the most devastating effect is when the malicious software records your typing or keystrokes. The intruder then tries to look for various patterns, which allows him to discover important passwords. These could be for accessing personal bank accounts, Facebook accounts, or anywhere else, you might have registered on the Internet.
With Antivirus, you will have systems in place to detect these potential threats before they are downloaded.
How Does Adware Infect Your Computer?
While malicious software utilizes emails and downloads to infect your computer, adware (advertising-supported software) focuses on freeware and shareware to infest your computer with advertisements. Anytime you download free software or shareware, there is a good chance adware is somewhere within the code. Its goal is to find out your Internet browsing habits. Once they receive this information, it is sent to advertising companies for marketing purposes.
What happens once Your Computer is infected by Advertising-Supported Software?
The first thing you will notice when browsing the Internet is an increase in advertisements. These can be in the form of pop-ups or you could click on a link and it takes you to an advertisement page not associated with the original link you clicked.
There is also a possibility your home page has changed. Some adware also likes to change your computer settings once it has been installed. It could also add a toolbar to your web browser. Typically, these are just annoyances, but there is a possibility your computer will run slower as a result.
Finding the best antivirus depends on your own personal security requirements. The decision-making starts with these basic options:
Free or Purchased Antivirus Software
Deciding whether to purchase antivirus software or find free versions is entirely up to you. However, in our opinion, additional security should always be purchased. Free versions tend to offer no-cost scans with misleading scare tactics, which can easily persuade you into purchasing a full version.
Free versions do not come with all the bells and whistles either. Once installed, these options could also come with malware or adware without your knowledge.
Features and Benefits of Antivirus Software
While keeping your computer safe from malware is important, there are additional features and benefits associated with antivirus software. Take the time to find out if you need any of the “extras” that one company might offer over another.
For instance, some of the antivirus software will scan incoming files. It will check to see if there is anything harmful in emails, downloads, and a variety of other areas. You are then notified of the potential risk, which will keep your computer protected.
Other features and benefits you might need are:
- Computer clean up tools
- Computer scanning for additional security
- Spam prevention
- Automatic Virus Updates
A crucial part of your research should revolve around automatic virus updates. Keeping the system up-to-date is a common problem among users. Most versions will offer an opportunity to download any new updates regularly.
One of the most productive research strategies is reading reviews. Even though you are looking for certain security requirements, reviews can give you an inside-look about the antivirus product. Here is a list of review websites will help get you started: