Cybersecurity and data protection can be overwhelming. There is an enormous amount of advice on the Internet, but it is quite difficult to know how to get to start. At CyberSmart, we believe that Cyber Security should be accessible and easy for everyone.  So we’ve compiled a series of actionable steps to help you protect your data. This week, we’re talking anti-virus software.

Anti-Malware (Anti-Virus)

What?

Install Anti-Malware on all devices! Yes, all devices, including Macs, iPhones and Android Phones.

Why?

Anti-malware or anti-virus (AV) is a powerful software with the primary goal to detect malicious software (malware) by scanning files, web pages, networks and more. It can be seen as a layer of protection, so for instance, if you download a file from the Internet the AV will scan it in the background and allow execution of the file (installing, opening, etc.) if it is safe. Most malware is picked up from downloading suspicious files, using unpatched software, streaming movies or visiting the dark web – if you do any of the above, you should install an AV. If you don’t do anything unreasonable, you should still install AV because an additional layer of protection has never hurt anybody.

How?

A decade ago installing an Anti-Virus meant that your PC would slow down and you would get annoyed by the numerous pop-up messages and warnings. Luckily today, AVs run in the background and you hardly ever notice them. If you are still unsure, you can try a free version of Avast, AVG or Bitdefender for a couple of weeks. Installing an AV is super simple – just choose your operating system and download the AV like any other software or program. Once the AV is downloaded and installed, check the settings and make sure that the AV updates itself daily and scans files and web pages automatically upon access.

Frequently asked questions:

Do I still need to install an AV even if I’m cautious when browsing the Internet?

Yes, even though most malware is picked up from unsafe browsing/ computer use, there is an increasing possibility that a trusted website you regularly visit, could be compromised and no one knows yet. It also can happen that the bad guys find vulnerabilities in Chrome or Firefox first and exploit them for their benefits.

Will the Anti-Virus protect my computer from hackers?

No, BUT it will make their job much harder. Most of the time, hackers go for the easiest targets. So if you already have an AV as the first layer of protection, that is a good start.

I only use a Mac – do I still need to download an AV?

Yes, you should. Not until long ago, there was the general consent that the majority of malware was on Windows and not Mac or Android, but that changed. Today, there’s ransomware for Mac and Android, where infections are now as common as for Windows.

If you have any questions around Antivirus or Cyber Security in general or just want to have a chat, drop us a line at hello@cybersmart.co.uk

Looking to improve your cybersecurity but not sure where to begin? Start by getting certified in Cyber Essentials, the UK government scheme that covers all the fundamentals of cyber hygiene.

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