Do You Really Need an Anti-Virus?

Buying an anti-virus software for your PC or laptop can easily cost you anywhere between $30 and $60. Moreover, you have to pay this amount every year. But, the big question is do you really need to buy an anti-virus software. Or the entire computer and internet security thing is just a marketing gimmick to take the money out from your pocket. Do computer viruses, malware, spyware etc. really pose a threat or are they just ways to intimidate you and make you pay for anti-virus security software?

Well, the answer to that is both a yes and a no. Which answer applies to you will depend on your proficiency with computers and software and how you use the internet. Here are some observations that will help you decide.

You need an anti-virus when:

  • You are not very knowledgeable about how computers work and what are computer viruses and anti-virus software. In such cases, your computer and your personal data can be safeguarded with antivirus software.
  • You use a lot of external storage devices such as pen drives, external hard disks, CD/DVD, etc. A lot of viruses are transmitted through external storage devices and these can easily corrupt your system.
  • You surf a lot of unknown websites, especially the ones that are not well known and have the potential of infecting your computer with malware or ransomware.
  • You are using an old Operating System (OS) on your computer, which may no longer be secure. Hackers target such computers, as they are easy to break into. It’s quite similar to a home without a proper lock.
  • You allow other people to use your computer and you are not sure which sites they are visiting or what they are downloading.

You don’t need an anti-virus when:

  • You have good knowledge about computer systems and can work to isolate and remove viruses, malware, spyware etc.
  • You are using a Linux Operating System, which is said to be more secure than Windows Operating Systems.
  • You do not use any external storage devices and even if you do, you take precautions that the storage devices are never connected to computers that may have viruses or other malware.
  • You only browse reputable websites and never click on potentially harmful links and
  • You are not using your computer for checking emails, carrying out banking transactions, etc. You are using your computer only for entertainment purposes.

Overall, your choice will depend on the risks you face. For example, if a computer crash can affect your work and your life, then you should definitely install anti-virus software on your computer. And if you do not have such risks, you can avoid spending money on buying anti-virus software. You can also choose a free anti-virus software if you are not comfortable with saying either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the prospect of buying anti-virus software.

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