In today’s online world, a computer without antivirus software is like driving a car without a seatbelt.There are over 2 billion personal computers (and around 2 billion more smartphones!) being used all over the world - more than half of these computers are connected to the internet. Most of these users are likely to be legitimate people browsing the internet, sending emails and looking at their social media accounts. Sadly, there are a small portion of these users who take advantage of the fact there are innocent people online, designing programs called viruses in order to cause damage to other computers / networks.
Unfortunately, viruses are only one of many dangers people face on the internet. As well as viruses, there are other malicious software types littered around the web, these software types are also known as ‘malware’
One popular example of malware is ‘Spyware’, which sits on your computer and logs your actions. The program (which you won’t know is on your computer) can recognize when you visit websites like PayPal or your online banking platform and it begins logging your keyboard activity, revealing your login details to the spyware creator. This spyware which does this are known as ‘keyloggers’. Over the course of a few days or weeks, you will have revealed every email address, username and password combinations for every site you log in to. These certainly aren’t details you want in the hands of a criminal!
But how do these bits of software even get on your PC? Surely you could just not download a virus and you will be fine? Unfortunately this isn’t the case - the hackers which make the software are very smart and cunning in getting to your PC, hiding download links on pages and masking their criminal activity under trusted names. What seems like a download for an windows update or a movie file can be something far less innocent.
You might be asking - ‘How can I protect myself and my PC?’. The first option is to disconnect your PC from the internet, but I’m sure that’s not the answer you were looking for. The most popular way of protecting PCs from Keyloggers, Viruses and other types of Malware is by installing Antivirus software. Good antivirus software will pick up on every single suspicious piece of software on your computer and will tackle the problem at it’s source. The best antivirus software will even stop the malicious software from ever reaching your hard drive, recognising and erasing it before it has a chance to collect or return any data about you or your computer.