What’s the best antivirus program I can use with teenagers in the house?
This question was answered on February 4, 2015. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.
Securing your computer has gone well beyond just an antivirus program these days because the list of threats has grown.
Hackers will take advantage of any opportunity to exploit you: software vulnerabilities, spam, rigged e-mail messages, fake social media profiles and phishing scams just to name a few.
If you don’t regularly keep your utilities, programs and operating systems updated, having a solid security program is even more important.
Your biggest challenge will always be keeping 'the humans' from falling for tricks.
In many cases, an antivirus program will not be able to protect you if you fall for any of the clever tricks that convince you to unknowingly install malicious software (a.k.a. malware).
No antivirus program on the market will ever provide you with 100% security because the hackers have the upper hand.
They can literally test their new threats in minutes against all the major antivirus programs at sites such as http://virustotal.com to make sure that they can’t be detected.
Antivirus companies that rely on ‘signature-based’ detection, especially free programs, can’t provide protection for new threats until they’ve been discovered and even then, each user has to be diligent in downloading updates in order to stay protected.
With this in mind, Trend Micro started using a second active layer of protection years ago that they refer to as their “Smart Protection Network” to battle the sheer speed in which new threats appear every day.
For situations where the users may be more adventurous (i.e. teenagers) this cloud-based protection component doesn’t require updates to be downloaded in order to be protected from newly discovered threats.
The cloud layer literally blocks access to newly discovered threats on the Internet so users can’t ever get to the malicious sites in the first place.
We started installing Trend Micro’s internet security package on our customer’s computers years ago, primarily because of this extra layer of protection.
A well-known third-party testing site, AV Comparatives, has also listed Trend Micro as the best real-world protection in their recent reports: http://goo.gl/uMpHb4.
The recent discovery of three different zero-day vulnerabilities found in Adobe Flash (which is used for online animation and video playback) underscores how important moving away from traditional ‘signature-based’ detection has become.
Zero-day refers to the fact that there are now zero days between when a vulnerability is discovered and when hackers can take advantage of that vulnerability.
These recent vulnerabilities were being exploited by malicious web ads, also known as ‘malvertisments’, to infect unprotected users when they visited rigged sites.
Trend Micro users received an email assuring them that they were protected from this new threat even before Adobe makes a patch available.
As I stated before, even with advanced tools like those offered by Trend Micro, malware can slip through, especially if you have adventurous users.
Think of security software on your computer like safety equipment on your car; just because you have airbags, seatbelts, anti-lock brakes and crash avoidance technology doesn’t mean you can drive carelessly and expect to always be safe.
About the author
Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on February 4, 2015