Security 101

If you use your computer to surf the Internet, download images, pay bills or any number of other activities, antivirus software is essential to the security of your personal information. For that reason, most computers come with antivirus software preinstalled. But as viruses grow more sophisticated, it is critical to make sure that your computer's antivirus software is up to date and providing all the protection you need.

The key to computer security is prevention. The first line of defense is your brain. Most viruses must be installed or 'executed' by you.

Computer security consists of three components:

1) Update and patch your operating system.

2) Antivirus software with updated signatures.

3) A firewall (preferably hardware and software).

Windows update is easy to use and can run automatically on your computer. Patches and updates are imperative.

ESET software scans all files being used, accessed or opened on your computer and will stop malicious software in it's tracks.

A firewall monitors communication to and from your computer, then permits what is safe or what you allow. Firewalls will deny access to your computer from the internet. Without a firewall you are a target and your computer WILL be hacked.

Anatomy of a virus

   What is antivirus software?

Antivirus software identifies and removes malicious programs that could infect your computer and interfere with its performance or worse, threaten your personal information. Originally, these threats were limited to viruses. Today, they also include worms, spyware, rootkits, phishing attacks, keyloggers and trojans—known collectively as "malware."

Antivirus software detects malware by scanning files on your computer and comparing the contents to a database of known threats. Malware can also be detected by searching for suspicious activity and/or by detecting new and unknown threats using sophisticated technologies such as "heuristics" algorithms. Once a threat is detected, it can be removed by deleting, isolating, or repairing the offending file.

   What antivirus software is best?

When choosing antivirus software it is important to keep a variety of factors in mind. Here are some key criteria to use when comparing antivirus software products. See how ESET stacks up.

Proactive protection
The essential criterion for any antivirus software is effective protection. The software must provide the highest level of protection against the widest range of threats, including "In-the-Wild" viruses (those that are active, spreading, and causing problems) and those that are new and unknown.

You can compare the effectiveness of antivirus software products by reviewing the test results of independent agencies such as AV-Comparatives (av-comparatives.org) and the VB100 Award (virusbtn.com).

Scanning speed
Antivirus software should be effective without slowing your system down. Look for a product with fast scanning and virus detection that won't hog computer memory, interrupt your work, or waste your time with false alarms.

Ease of use
Antivirus software should be easy to install and intuitive to use. Installation and daily updates should be automatic and unobtrusive.

Customer support
If you can find it, free customer support is always the best option. Not that you will necessarily need it, but it's nice to know it's there.

Free trial offer
Seeing is believing. A free 30-day trial is the best way to see which antivirus software delivers what you're looking for.

       

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