Now more than ever before, computer users need to take measures to protect themselves online, and choosing the right antivirus software is a key step in defending against cyberthreats.
New malware is created everyday, and hackers have grown more sophisticated – logging hours of time following social media sites to engineer new forms of hacking attacks against consumers. There are nearly as many choices when it comes to Internet Security protection – and the decision could have a major impact on a user’s privacy and the performance of his or her computer.
“When you consider the increased threat of a virus or a hack with the increased amount of information the average computer user shares electronically – bank account numbers, credit card data, professional and personal contacts, family photos and information – deciding what security measures to take becomes as, if not more important, than deciding between a Mac and a PC,” said Melih Abdulhayoglu, Comodo’s CEO and chief security architect.
“With this in mind, Comodo offers consumers some basic background – in the form of tips and educational videos – that will help them make more informed choices.“
Here are five things Comodo believes consumers should know before they select security software.
- Cleaning and protecting are not the same – Ridding an infected PC of malware is not the same as protecting a clean PC from potential threats. Many Internet security vendors claim their software works in both scenarios, but that is not the case. Just as vitamins are designed to prevent illness and antibiotics are designed to cure illness, the software that cleans an infected computer is not the best solution for protecting a computer. Do not confuse cleaning tools with antivirus protection. This distinction is explained in a Comodo video titled “Virus Protection vs. Virus Cleaning”
- Much of the antivirus software on the market was developed in the 1980s – Chances are you’re no longer using the same luggable PC or CPU tower you bought in the 80s, so why would you rely on the same security created 30 years ago, when solutions began focusing on protecting the user from published “blacklists” of known malware? You wouldn’t assume a stranger is trustworthy and invite them into your house just because their face isn’t on the FBI Most Wanted list, yet many computer users are doing just that when they trust their security to ‘default-allow’ software that grants access to unknown files. Consumers should look for Internet Security Software that relies on “default-deny” technology which scans all unknown applications before allowing them into your system.
- Pop-up alerts are easier to manage than trojans, spyware and hacks – Leading security technology relies on auto sandbox technology that restricts the ability of potential viruses to run even before they become identified as a threat, but few solutions use this approach. With sandboxing, unrecognized files and applications are set aside and not allowed access to a user’s computer until they are identified as safe – or if found to be a threat, denied access. These unknown files are sandboxed so that they cannot do any harm to your system. Some industry analysts consider antivirus software with sandboxing an inconvenience because the program will send users pop-up messages alerting them when good or infected files are located, but savvy computer users understand x-ing out of a pop-up alert is far easier than losing critical and confidential information from a cyberattack. This approach is spotlighted in a Comodo video titled, appropriately, the “Good, the Bad and the Unknown.”
- Not all reviews are complete and unbiased – For years, consumers have looked to “industry experts” for advice when considering which Internet security software to use, but here again, the choice they make – on what review or reviewer to consider – can make a big difference in how well they are protected. Consumers should educate themselves on how software reviewers determine a software program’s rating. Some testing labs aren’t able to adequately review approaches like autosandboxing or are subject to the same traditional “default allow” prejudices of the solution providers themselves. In some cases, the connection between reviewers and vendors is even more questionable, with reviewers requiring software manufacturers to pay a fee for a review and forbidding the solution provider from revealing the relationship.
- Consider insights from other consumers – While many industry ratings and reviews may be valuable, consumers should also consider real-world reviewers – like other, knowledgeable users – who offer unsolicited and unbiased opinions on YouTube, Facebook, blogs, forums and other places online.