DO I NEED ANTI-MALWARE IF I HAVE AN ANTI-VIRUS PROGRAM ON MY COMPUTERS?
That is a good question, and one that we hear a lot at Foresite USA …
In order to answer that question; here are several individual considerations, some definitions and a little history which will help answer that for both individuals as well as companies. Basically, it comes down to your level of concern for your system security.
COMPUTER VIRUSES: THE DEVIL YOU KNOW
Historically, the fear with a virus was that it would infiltrate your computer, and create a problem that would range from slowing down your processes, to erasing your hard drive. Since viruses also leave tell-tale signs like the slow downs or blank screens, their presence calls for action like virus removal, and the installation of a preventive anti-virus solution like our Avast line-up. A solution that offered automatic updates would keep your computer ahead of any new viruses you one might encounter.
MALWARE: THE DEVIL YOU DONT…
Malware, short for malicious software, is often linked to the word: stealthy, for it’s ability to enter your computer system through emails, downloads and links, and to reside there completely undetectable. Often it is not going to appear as an obvious threat, and will typically not set off any alarms, because it’s goal is not to damage your computer or erase your hard drive. Malware is seeking information.
WHAT KIND OF INFORMATION DOES MAL-WARE WANT?
Exactly!! And that is the grave concern… Malware has a broad scope of categories. It can come in the form of a spyware, which may looking for your shopping patterns, a trojan horse (remember your mythology?) which opens doors for other invaders. The greatest concern for individuals and businesses
is financial malware, which is designed to look for account numbers, PINS and passwords.
HOW CAN MAL-WARE GET THAT PERSONAL INFORMATION?
Let’s say you download a game, an app, a song or an update for a current program you have on your computer, any of those could possibly contain spyware or even financial malware. It could be designed to do nothing until it senses a payment made to Master Card or Visa, then it would transfer that information to the group who created the information in the first place. You can be perfectly vigilant, and then one day open an email with a subject line like “Your order information” or Thank you for your application”. Without a bonafide, automatically updated anti-malware program, the malware carried in that message could already be transferring your computer or server for credit card and bank account information faster than any pick-pocket could get to an ATM.
BUT DON’T I HAVE MAL-WARE PROTECTION WITH MY ANTI-VIRUS?
Most AV programs will offer some degree of protection from malware, but considering the stealthy methods of infiltration, and the personal nature of the information that malware is seeking, you may want to consider “seeking a specialist”. A good example to is snow tires vs “all season” tires. You may only need snow tires for “really deep snow”, or situations where you happen to be on a road that is not plowed, and if that only happens 2 or 3 times per winter, maybe it is worth the gamble to you, but those same odds played with your company’s financial information is a bit different than the $100 you might spend calling a tow truck…