The downside is, the more time we spend online, the more we’re exposed to threats like phishing, identity theft, and ransomware attacks. From 2019 to 2020, for example, ransomware attacks increased by 62%, while nearly 70% of businesses became victims of ransomware in 2021.
Some are More Vulnerable Than Others
Windows computers are the most prone to cyberattacks as far as devices go. In a 2020 survey of managed services providers, 91% of respondents reported seeing Windows being targeted by ransomware, while 76% reported attacks on Windows Server OSes. In comparison, only 7% of respondents saw macOS X ransomware attacks, 6% on Android, and just 4% on iOS.
That’s not to say mobile devices have it better. For example, security researchers discovered a mobile malware called Xenomorph, which attacks online banking users. It has been downloaded over 50,000 times and affected users of at least 56 European banks.
Despite the popular belief that macOS is immune to viruses, it can’t escape getting infected either. Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting these devices. In fact, macOS malware detections rose by 31% among businesses in 2020, which may be a compelling reason why you need antivirus for macOS.
Yet, some people believe downloading antivirus software these days is unnecessary. Modern operating systems already have built-in protection that keeps viruses and other malware at bay: Windows’ Microsoft Defender Antivirus, XProtect on macOS, and Google Play Protect on Android, while Apple’s tight control on iOS effectively prevents viruses from spreading. Simply relying on built-in tools isn’t enough to protect you, though, as we’ll cover further in the next section.
If you ask cybersecurity experts, they’ll also typically tell you to use your common sense to keep yourself safe online. This means not clicking on suspicious links or downloading software from untrusted sources. Their advice is valid but you still need a reputable antivirus to secure your devices.
A third-party antivirus helps cover all your bases and secures you in ways your OS and good cyber hygiene can’t. Think of it as having several protective layers with your OS, antivirus, and yourself all working together to keep you safe online. Let’s talk about the reasons why this makes sense.
Reasons Why You Need Antivirus Software
Still unsure whether or not your devices need an antivirus? If one or all of the following apply to you, then chances are you do:
✅ You’re not a techie. Let’s face it — not all of us have the skill or the patience to check if we’re taking the right steps to keep ourselves safe online. Threats multiply every day, so it’s difficult to track them all unless it’s your job to do so. In that case, antivirus software will give you peace of mind minus the headache.
✅ You want more protection. Modern antivirus software does more than just sniff out and remove malware. Many offer extra features like VPNs, secure browsers, cybersecurity reports, and firewalls to multiply your protection. Sure, you can download these separately from different vendors, but an all-in-one solution is ideal if you want security and convenience.
✅ You understand no system is perfect. Built-in virus protection won’t always be able to block threats. For example, cybercriminals have been exploiting a vulnerability in Defender since 2014, which Microsoft only patched in 2022.
Apple, meanwhile, patched two “zero-day” or previously unknown vulnerabilities on the latest macOS Monterey, iOS 15, and iPadOS 15, while leaving two previous macOS versions — Big Sur and Catalina — unpatched. This left an estimated 40% of Mac users exposed.
✅ No one is perfect either. It’s risky to rely completely on your common sense. Everyone eventually makes mistakes and lets their guard down, after all.
How many times have you reused your passwords or nearly entered your details on a phishing website? If you’re like most people, you’ve probably done so at least once. Having antivirus software can act as a failsafe if you ever slip up.
How Does Antivirus Software Protect You Anyway?
Antivirus software comes in many shapes and sizes. Each developer will have its own proprietary technology to deal with viruses. Despite that, all offer the same basic set of the following functions:
💡 Virus scanning. You can set your software to automatically scan for threats or you may do so manually as needed. Here, the software checks for any viruses either through signature or heuristic detection.
Signature detection matches a file’s signature with known threats in the software’s database to detect a virus. Heuristic detection, on the other hand, checks for suspicious behavior in files to detect new or unknown viruses.
💡 Quarantine. When the software detects a virus, it moves the file to a folder only the antivirus can access to prevent it from infecting your device. This can be done automatically or manually.
💡 Virus removal. Finally, you can choose to delete detected viruses or those quarantined in your device.
Cybercriminals constantly work hard at looking for and exploiting vulnerabilities in your devices. That’s why you need an antivirus that works as hard as they do.
The best antiviruses out there come from companies that understand malware is no longer the only type of threat to devices. These companies, therefore, bundle other security software to keep you safer, including the following:
- VPN. Identity theft, spying, Man-in-the-Middle (MiTM), and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks are other threats you might encounter online. VPNs like CyberGhost let you change your IP address and route your traffic through an encrypted tunnel to protect you from these threats, and keep your identity and online activity private.
- Browser protection. Tired of getting tracked online? A private browser blocks ads and trackers, and deletes your browsing activity once you’re done, to protect your privacy on the internet. You can make it extra effective when used with a VPN.
- Security patch checker. Threats also come from outdated OSes and apps. That’s why some antiviruses come bundled with software that checks and reminds you to update outdated apps to avoid any vulnerabilities.
- Firewall. This monitors your network’s traffic and then blocks anything it considers unsafe or suspicious. A firewall is ideal if you want to prevent attacks on your device when you connect to the internet. Some also let you manually block websites of choice.
- Parental controls. Although it’s a great source of information and entertainment, the internet can be a dangerous place for kids. Parental controls in some software let you choose which websites your kids can visit and set the times of the day when they can access the internet, among other things.
A Free Antivirus can Keep You Safe, But…
Consider several things when choosing a free third-party antivirus. First, check if it’s from a reliable developer or you might put yourself at risk. Also, see how many devices you can use it on and the features that come with it — expect both to be limited in a free antivirus. Running a trial version? Find out if you’ll still get adequate protection once the trial period ends.
You get the CyberGhost Security Suite included for free when you subscribe to CyberGhost VPN. We’ve partnered with Intego to bring you a world-class antivirus powered by behavior analysis and a best-in-class malware engine. Even better — it works straight from your VPN app so you don’t have to install any additional software.
Why Buy Antivirus Software Instead
You can download antivirus software for free, so why should you consider buying one instead? Paid software offers several advantages, including the following:
- You get more security. A paid antivirus often comes with extra features to boost your security. Aside from scanning and removing malware, antivirus software might come bundled with programs such as a VPN and firewall, which could help keep your privacy and protect you from cyberattacks.
- You get a better product. When you pay antivirus software developers, you provide them with resources to constantly improve and support their products. This means you’ll ideally get better security with each update. Free ones, on the other hand, likely won’t be as safe and might even treat you as the product and try to make money off your data.
- You get regular updates. This applies not only to its malware database but also to the other bundled security features. If you have a VPN, for example, you’ll enjoy new servers and stronger security as the developer updates its infrastructure.
- You’ll receive support. Not sure how to use your antivirus? Can’t figure out what the notification you received means? Paid software gives you access to live support to help you get the most out of your investment.
- Get a better deal. This is especially true if you’re looking into buying different programs separately. You’ll enjoy bigger discounts and more value for your money when you buy a software bundle.
Want More Protection?
Threats will always be a part of your online experience. Anyone from cybercriminals to government authorities will want to control and access your devices, which is why you need antivirus software for Windows and macOS.
Shady entities won’t stop with malware, though. Want more peace of mind when you go online? Consider getting a product like CyberGhost’s Security Suite for Windows, which offers several protective layers. Bundled security software covers all your bases, including your online privacy and security updates.
Play the video below and see CyberGhost Security Suite in action…
CyberGhost VPN is included in the Security Suite, although you can also subscribe to our VPN separately if you don’t want to download the antivirus. CyberGhost VPN encrypts your traffic to take your security up a notch and blocks anyone from seeing your online activity.
Encryption offers several benefits, like preventing attackers from intercepting your online activity, making it impossible for your ISP to slow down your connection when you’re streaming, and keeping your identity private.
It’s always great to have these tools at your disposal if you want to stay safe online. At the end of the day, though, your safety and security will still depend a lot on you. That’s why it’s important to practice good cyber hygiene, like avoiding reusing your passwords and not clicking on links from untrusted sources.
Ready to create a safer online experience? Protect your Windows devices from threats like malware and DDoS attacks with CyberGhost Security Suite, so you can browse, stream, and play safely 24/7. If that sounds good to you, then, become a Ghostie today and subscribe to CyberGhost VPN.
If you don’t consider yourself a techie or prefer more protection than your device’s built-in antivirus, then you’ll need one from a third-party developer. The best antivirus software today offer additional features like keeping your online identity private and reminding you to update your programs, which protect you from online threats.
While Windows and macOS operating systems already have built-in malware protection, they’re not completely safe. Both Windows and macOS devices have been subjected to cyberattacks over the years.
Consider third-party antivirus software, especially if it’s bundled with other security features like a VPN, browser protection, and a software updater. This gives you an added layer of protection to keep your data safe where regular built-in antivirus programs fail.
You’ll get some protection from modern operating systems’ built-in antivirus software. Their features are basic, though, and malware can still get through the cracks, which may leave you vulnerable to serious threats like DDoS attacks and password theft. Because of that, get a third-party antivirus bundled with other security features.
Yes, we partnered with our friends at Intego to give you more protection than your device’s built-in antivirus. CyberGhost Security Suite is designed for Windows users who want robust security from our best-in-class VPN and security updater.
You can use the bundled CyberGhost VPN subscription to level up your security. Protect up to 7 devices simultaneously, change your IP address with our global network of servers, enjoy 24/7 customer support for all your VPN-related questions, and more with CyberGhost VPN.