Since the earliest days of the web when the Morris worm and the Blaster virus plagued systems worldwide, antivirus protection has been a priority for computer users around the world. Despite the widespread popularity of antivirus tools, few people actually understand how they work. This ignorance results in a fair number of misconceptions. Here are 5 of the more common antivirus myths currently circulating.
5 Common Myths Regarding Antivirus Software
They Prevent Virus Infection
One persistent belief that refuses to die is the idea that antivirus can prevent infection. That’s simply not the case and most antivirus programs make no such claim. Preventing virus installation is what firewalls and sound security practices are for. Generally speaking, an antivirus can only detect the presence of potential threats and alert the user.
Antivirus Programs Remove Infections
Another erroneous belief held by many computer users is that an antivirus program is designed to remove malware, Trojans and viruses. Being able to detect a threat and actually removing it is two different tasks. While antivirus programs can attempt to remove potential threats, they can’t always neutralize all virus infections automatically.
Programs That Report a Lot of Alerts Are Superior
One metric often touted as a sign of effectiveness by antivirus companies is the sheer number of potential viruses detected. This doesn’t really tell consumers much of anything, since there’s no way to really quantify false positives. Detecting a lot of potential viruses doesn’t necessarily make an antivirus suite worth using.
The More AV Programs, the Better
Arguably the most dangerous antivirus myth in existence is the idea that it’s necessary to have multiple competing programs running simultaneously. The reality is that installing more than one antivirus program can bog down your system, produce many false positives and in the end actually do more harm than good.
Antivirus Tools Equal Good Security
People tend to develop a false sense of security when using an antivirus tool. No matter how sophisticated it may be, no antivirus suite can make up for poor security practices. If you open unsolicited emails and choose weak passwords, you’ll get into trouble regardless of the antivirus program you choose.
Using AV Software Intelligently
The key to achieving a positive outcome is researching your options prior to buying. The antivirus comparison page at Top Ten Reviews is an excellent place to start if you’re window shopping for antivirus protection. Ultimately, a responsive, well-tuned antivirus program is a must nowadays regardless of the operating system you use.