Antivirus Software: Are They Still Relevant In Today’s Cybersecurity Landscape?

The need of an antivirus software has become a debatable topic nowadays. A closer look at the trends, benefits and increasing number of cybercrimes portray a clearer picture, and settles the debate once and for all.

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As more cyberattacks are happening daily, it’s crucial to find methods to protect your system. You can implement cybersecurity measures such as using stronger passwords and checking for intrusions to protect your accounts and cyber network.

On the other hand, if you’re leading an organization, it’s ideal to hire a cyber recovery professional to regain access to critical IT infrastructures and data systems in the event of a cyberattack. 

With data protection strategies in place, you can guarantee that your organization can get up to speed again with zero data loss. Besides cyber recovery, another data protection measure that has been popularly used over the years is the use of antivirus software. 

What Is An Antivirus Software?

Antivirus software scans, prevents, detects, and deletes malicious codes and viruses from a computer. If you install an antivirus, you can ensure it will automatically operate in the background to protect your computer in real-time. 

Most antivirus software offers free and premium (paid) versions. Currently, 61% of antivirus users rely on free versions installed on their computers. Though free versions offer basic protection, premium ones provide more features such as mobile security, identity theft protection, and more.

Is Antivirus Software Still Relevant In 2023?

Yes, antivirus software continues to serve its designed function. For one, it can identify and prevent computer viruses. There are also multi-feature antivirus solutions with internet security features, such as firewalls, identity theft protection, and virtual private networks (VPNs). These features may help as more people work remotely and do online transactions. For these reasons, an antivirus program is still useful and relevant in 2023.

Though helpful, the most pressing cyber threats many people and organizations must address are no longer viruses. Today, the most significant cyber threat is from hackers and social engineers who employ manipulative schemes to gather sensitive information and gain access to private networks. 

Though you should still use an antivirus, it is not enough to prevent newer, more sophisticated cyber threats. Therefore, it is also recommended to do the following:

  • Enable automatic software updates provided by your antivirus software provider. This ensures your antivirus can detect new types of viruses and malware.
  • Implement multi-factor authentication, allowing you to use your mobile device to confirm your identity. 
  • Using complex passwords that are hard for automated programs to determine.

Ultimately, applying these strategies helps prevent hackers from exploiting your data and systems.

Benefits Of Antivirus Software

Antivirus software is an ideal tool that you can use as a cybersecurity measure. Aside from protecting your main device, it also offers the following benefits:

  1. Secure Your Removable Devices

A universal serial bus (USB) can transmit viruses and malware from one device to another. So, if you’re using a USB or any other removable device, your computer is always at risk of getting infected. This is how antivirus software can help. With this software, you scan removable devices to detect possible viruses or malware before they get transmitted to your computer or laptop.

  1. Prevent Access To Certain Website For Web Security

Antivirus software can prevent cyber threats like hacking, spyware, and viruses by restricting access to particular websites. This ensures users can only access safe websites on the computer. Technically, this feature is possible if the program comes with a firewall.

  1. Offer Boot-Time Scan

Most modern viruses are capable of duplicating themselves whenever you delete them. Luckily, antivirus software provides a boot-time scan feature. With such a feature, your antivirus program will shut down and restart the computer to scan your hard drive for potential viruses and malware. As this feature will deactivate the operating system, all viruses identified through the scanning procedure will be incapable of duplication.

Disadvantages Of Antivirus Software

While still useful, antivirus software also has its share of disadvantages:

  1. Lack Total Security

As already mentioned, using antivirus software doesn’t guarantee total protection. You must employ other cybersecurity practices to protect your IT infrastructure and computer systems. 

One additional measure is to use an updated firewall. A firewall is a tool that prevents the transmission of viruses and spyware from the web into your computer. It also restricts computer access and exploitation from hackers. 

Updating passwords and knowing how to spot phishing attempts are also good cybersecurity measures that must be employed alongside the use of antivirus programs.

  1. Leads To System Slowdown

The antivirus program scans a computer whenever it reboots as a form of protection against self-duplicating viruses and malware. While it keeps your device protected, constant scanning can slow down your system and affect the use of your device. This software can also use significant computer memory, which could be very heavy for the disk drive.  

  1. Might Cause Conflicts With Other Cybersecurity Software

Since antivirus software does not offer complete protection, some users do install more than one antivirus program or even add anti-malware software for good measure. While this seems like a good idea, it can also cause problems. For one, the programs might conflict with each other and not function the way they should. Second, it may cause your system to run even slower.

  1. Brings Intrusive Ads

As mentioned earlier, more than half of antivirus users just use the free version of the software. So, how are antivirus program providers earning money? Through ads, of course. This is a huge disadvantage since these ads might tempt you to check malicious websites. Worse, they may carry adware that can affect your device. Because of this, you may experience slow load times and an even slower operating system.

Wrapping Up

The tech evolution has given new tools and tricks to cybercriminals to employe new strategies to dupe unsuspecting internet users. For an example, ChatGPT has become a most favourite tool for cybercriminals. As a result even the most technologically advanced countries like Singapore is struggling to deal with cybercriminals now. The UK had the highest number of cyber crime victims per million internet users at 4783 in 2022 – up 40% over 2020 figures.

It’s estimated that the world would start losing $10.5 billion annually to cybercriminals from 2025.

Hence, the need of an effective antivirus can not be ignored!

An antivirus program serves as the most essential tool to protect all types of users from viruses and malware. However, as cybercriminals and hackers have become more sophisticated, antivirus software is not enough to protect a network from all sorts of cyber-attack. Therefore, employing other cybersecurity strategies to ensure full protection is recommended.  

That does not mean, however, that antivirus software is outdated or irrelevant in the modern cybersecurity landscape. It still has an important function as it serves as the most basic protection against viruses and malware that can come from multiple websites, USBs, and other removable storage devices.

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