We regularly get the same questions about anti-virus programs, which tells me that there is a lot of confusion out there. In this short post, I’ll try to provide answers for some of the most common questions that we get.
What does the anti-virus actually DO?
An anti-virus is a software program written to catch viruses and other malware. (Remember from your high school Latin class? “Mal” means “bad”!) It looks for programs that look like they might be a virus, and quarantines them so they don’t get mingled with the other programs on your machine. The best AV programs will look for characteristics similar to other viruses, and quarantine them as well. Anticipation is your friend.
The “bad guys” are always one step ahead. Anti-virus programs are written to catch already know viruses, and viruses that LOOK LIKE something they already know about. As mentioned before, the best anti-virus programs will look for characteristics of known viruses, and protect you from them too. So you may have gotten a virus, because your anti-virus doesn’t know about that particular strain.
Can I have two different anti-virus programs? (and its corollary) Do I need an Anti-virus and a malware program?
Short answer is “NO!” Any anti-virus installed on a machine expects itself to be the most senior program for reviewing all incoming files. When you have two anti-virus programs, they will be in constant conflict with each and cause your machine to slow down.
I have a Mac. Do I need an anti-virus?
Mac’s get viruses. This isn’t 2010. Spend the forty bucks and protect your data.
How often should I update my anti-virus?
Theoretically, you should never have to update your anti-virus. The best anti-virus programs will automatically keep the software up-to-date. When new virus strains are found, and new software is written (and tested), it is then pushed out to all the subscribers.
How often should I run my anti-virus?
If you suspect that you have clicked on a bad link, run your anti-virus right away. Otherwise, maybe once a month or so.
Which anti-virus programs do you recommend?
We have been using, and recommending, ESET for the past ten years or more. Chris is constantly exposed, through our new customers, to every anti-virus program out there and knows which works well, and which does not. The ESET program consistently performs ahead of the pack.
What other questions do you have about anti-virus programs and its functionality? Let us know!
Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.
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