Antivirus - Online Virus Scans vs. Norton AntiVirus
Scanning a computer for all the different types of malware is an important part of keeping a computer clean. Luckily, there are many options for people looking for programs that can scan for malicious software.
There are quite a few online antivirus scanning programs. Most of these are free, and quite a few are produced by reputable companies. However, free isn’t always good, especially in this instance.
With many of the online scanning programs, that’s all you’ll ever get: a scan. (Think of a football player going out onto the field and only putting on shoulder pads.) However, most experts agree that multiple layers of protection are vital to keeping a computer healthy and free from intrusive attacks.
The best way to keep a computer protected is to buy high quality, subscription-based antivirus software that can do more than just run a scan. These types of programs, aside from running real-time scans, can also do the following:
Most of the time, when malware appears on a computer, it’s already too late. That’s not to say that all malware is devastating. Some malware programs are in and of themselves pretty harmless, usually weak attempts by amateurs just trying to see if they can pull off getting a computer virus to spread. They may or may not trigger computer virus symptoms. However, some can cause great harm to an individual computer or even become a launching pad to distribute more malware – like with bots.
Either way, once malware is on a computer, even the most innocuous forms of it can act as a homing device to cybercriminals. Mostly, the people who commit cybercrime are computer experts and can detect the irregularities that any type of malware causes as they’re looking for targets through cyberspace.
Also, online scans are not done in real time. They have to be done manually, and most people who use this method are not going to want to scan multiple times a day. So, by the time a person gets around to scanning their computer after they’ve checked it, there may be multiple attacks of someone planting viruses or depositing spyware.
Truly, the most important part of keeping a computer clean is not to catch the malware after it’s been deposited onto a computer, but before it even gets there. Most subscription-based antivirus software offer multiple preventative layers that can stop any kind of malware. They can stop:
It also should be able to stop malware from entering via e-mails, instant messages, and through vulnerabilities in the operating system. Plus, it can also keep up with the latest threats, even before a threat becomes a known quantity.
As mentioned before, many times an online scan is only going to tell its user that there is a problem with their computer. If it finds something, it’s not going to remove it.
Even the best, most expensive antivirus software programs have cleanup features built into the program. Why? Simple: Even the experts know they’ll never be able to match the cybercriminals who constantly put out malware. By their very nature, cybercriminals are constantly looking for ways around antivirus software, and improving their methods for delivering their malicious software.
Granted, there are a few places that offer to perform a cleanup after its done scanning, many times leads to a fee, or worse.
Be Aware - Social Engineering
Social engineering is the accepted term for using digital sources in order to scam someone remotely. One of the most common forms of social engineering is fake antivirus programs. These programs mask as helpful, looking to scan a computer, and then clean it up if it’s found anything.
Unfortunately, a person who doesn’t research which online scanning program they’re using may find they got way more than they bargained for. Some of these sites may say they’ve found a virus (when actually they haven’t), and charge to perform a cleanup that isn’t necessary, or they just record the payment information that was freely given to them. Other types of social engineering involve downloading a scanning program that is actually a Trojan horse that disguises malware.
It’s also important to have support service in case something does go wrong. Some of the support can be life saving, such as Norton AntiVirus’ Bootable Recovery Tool, which allows a subscriber to get their computer up an running again, even after a malware attack bad enough to crash the computer completely.
On top of that, most subscription-based antivirus software like Norton AntiVirus also offers free technical support via phone, e-mail, and online chat as long as a user has a valid subscription in place. This way, if something happens during the course of a scan – or any other functions of the software – there’s someone on the other end to lend assistance.
Most online scans are decent programs that can scan for the basics. But when it comes to full protection, nothing can beat a subscription-based antivirus software program.