The first thing that comes to mind when you think computer security is the antivirus software . Keeping in mind that Windows comes with its own inbuilt security, aka, Windows Defender, there are still chances that something or the other might get through while you’re gallivanting around on the internet. And it’s not limited to just the internet, even plugging in an unknown storage device like a flash drive or an external hard drive can pose a risk to your system’s security. Now picking the right antivirus can be difficult considering the plethora of antivirus software out there, especially when each of them claims to be the best at what they do. So keep these things in mind when selecting the right antivirus for yourself.
What to consider
- Malware detection – The first and most obvious thing to consider. There are a lot of different types of malware including various viruses and worms. Then there is the kind that conceals themselves and is harder to detect like trojans and such. There are new malware threats every day so you need to pick an antivirus that’s constantly updated and has good detection ratio.
- Performance – One of the things that deter people from getting an antivirus is the resources it takes up. Older PCs will struggle to run resource-heavy antiviruses, which will, in turn, just slow the PC down. In these cases, you need to consider a lighter antivirus that won’t affect the performance adversely.
- Features – In addition to basic features offered by most antiviruses like scheduled scans, email scanning, USB scanning, firewall and more, many antiviruses provide different features to give themselves an edge over the competition. These could be features like parental control or registry protection or file quarantine etc. It could be a more thorough scan of emails such as warning you of phishing scams and IM scanning etc. Different antiviruses offer different features, so consider all of them before making your choice.
- Price – We don’t need to tell you how important price is. Naturally, the most obvious thing to do here would be to get the antivirus that gives you good features at the cheapest price. Also, note that there are many free antivirus programs available as well which do a decent job of providing protection.There are antivirus programs that cost in the thousands as well, but the cost of an antivirus is most definitely not directly proportional to its ability to protect your system.
- Support – Consider an antivirus that has active help and support. This is important in case anything ever goes south when dealing with malware or your antivirus software. Most antiviruses have a help section on the software itself which offer basic help.Readily available online support is even better. This could be in the form of an online forum, or an FAQ section on the site, or even video tutorials. In some cases, they may go the extra step and connect you directly with a specialist.Finally, if they provide direct support that would be best. This would include being able to email, chat or speak with support directly when you need to.
- Free-trials – If you’re not ready to invest yet, many antiviruses offer a free trial period so that you can get a good idea of how it works. Features are often limited during this time but it’ll still give a good idea of how effective it is and if it’s worth spending money on.
What not to consider
- False positives – An antivirus that flags anything other a than a threat to your system as malware is not doing its job properly. This also impedes your work, as the file or files that were probably removed or quarantined may prevent certain software from running or starting up. Overprotection is bad.
- UI – While a good UI doesn’t mean the software does a good job of protecting your system, it definitely doesn’t mean that it should avoid it all together. A light and easy UI is preferable on an AV as opposed to a heavy and complicated UI which leaves the user confused.
- AVs that don’t update regularly – Many AVs have a list of signatures which they scan for when detecting threats. However, if they aren’t constantly updated, it’s very easy for newer malware to get through undetected. This is why it’s important to pick an AV that’s regularly updated to keep up with the constantly new and evolving malware threats.
- AVs that meddle with your other programs – Antivirus that prevent software from working and meddle with your work are a big no-no and a major annoyance. If a single conflict between a file and the AV puts your productivity to a stop, you don’t want that AV.
The best place to get it
- Respective AV website (they have prices listed in INR)