The Internet is a scary place, especially for a computer that dives in without the proper protection. All over the Web there are Trojans, bugs, bots, adware, spyware, worms, and more looking for ways to wriggle through your device’s meager defenses and collect all sorts of precious information, like your passwords, your credit card numbers, and even your location. The only way to protect your tech — and yourself — from vicious malware is to have outstanding security software on guard 24/7, but with so many antivirus, antimalware providers on the market, it can be overwhelming to find the right one for your device and your needs.
Consider Your OS
Your device’s operating system is like a car’s model — it determines what the machine looks like and how it runs. Just as you wouldn’t put a Big Block Engine in a Toyota Prius and expect fantastic results, you shouldn’t download and install software designed for operating systems other than your own. Security software is particularly important to match with the proper OS; while most software developers adapt their programs to function with any operating system, security software must work intimately with the OS to keep out malware 24/7. Thus, by knowing your operating system, you can narrow your pool of options to those that will at least boot up correctly on your device.
Evaluate Your Patterns
Two computers may be alike in every way, from their RAM to their video cards, but one could easily become infected while the other remains safe due entirely to their owners’ usage habits. Malware comes from different sources — and different antimalware software provides users different services — so how you use your device will dictate what type of protection you need. For example, if you are a gamer, you might appreciate security software that recognizes when games (or other media) are being played and appropriately delays non-essential activities that could drain speed and power.
Alternatively, if you are rarely off the Web, you probably need security software that can scan sites and pages for malware before you click and visit. Once you understand how you use your device, you should spend some time considering what security features will best suit your habits.
By now, you should have a good idea of the type of security software you need based on your OS and practices. Now, you can do research on available software options that fit your needs. Reviews and ratings from websites are perhaps your best options for finding the best software on the market. Usually, online reviews come from exceedingly knowledgeable IT professionals who have abundant experience combating malware, which means the ratings you receive should be reliable. You may also find useful leads from family and friends who use the same devices and display similar habits.
No matter where you do your research, it is important to remember that malware creators are crafty, and some have disguised their dangerous programs as security software. That is why it is important to do further research and testing before taking anyone’s word — on- or offline — on malware security.
There are a number of agencies that work with security software developers to ensure their products provide adequate protection against the range of malware on the Web, from the smallest spybots to the nastiest viruses. The malware environment is constantly changing, and having strong, up-to-date protection is crucial to staying safe. Once you have a list of security software candidates, you should look into their certification from agencies like Checkmark, AV-Test, and NSS Labs to weed out any of your top picks that don’t pass the rigorous tests these IT professionals perform.
Test and Retest
Even after you have chosen security software — even after you have downloaded it, installed it, and used it for a couple weeks — your work isn’t over. While you use your device, you should pay attention to how your security software works with you to ensure your safety. Every machine is different, and some highly rated antimalware programs may not perform well on your device. If you are ever dissatisfied with your software, you should test one of your other top candidates.
Because malware is an international issue that affects millions of device users every year, Internet safety is big business. You have plenty of options when it comes to your security software suite, and it is worthwhile to find the service that suits you.