What would happen if someone hacked into your computer or smartphone and stole your personal information? Would you be able to recover it? If yes, then why don’t you install antivirus software?
Antivirus protection programs protect against viruses, spyware, adware, and other malicious programs. The problem with antivirus software is that they often slow down computers and cause them to crash. In addition, some antivirus apps require constant updates, which can be expensive.
There are two main types of security software: VPN (a virtual private network) and antivirus. Both are essential tools to keep your devices safe from cyber attacks. Which should you choose? Let’s compare their pros and cons.
VPN: Benefits and Drawbacks
Why use a virtual private network? A VPN encrypts all the traffic between your device and its server, making it unreadable to hackers. It also makes sure that no one else can access this encrypted traffic. As such, it hides what websites and applications you’re accessing from others. This means it protects you from people who want to snoop on your internet activity.
It works by tunneling data through another server in a different location, so your IP address remains unchanged. However, as soon as your connection leaves the VPN network, anyone can see where you’re going and what sites you’re visiting. You may need a valid reason to connect to a public Wi-Fi hotspot. For example, you might have an important business meeting at 8 am, but you wouldn’t want to do anything illegal over there. You could go to Starbucks instead.
In general, VPNs offer strong encryption and reliable connections, while also being simple to set up. They cost more than antivirus apps because they come with additional features such as unlimited bandwidth, extra storage space, and priority support.
When choosing a VPN service provider, make sure that they provide services like these:
- Unlimited bandwidth – Make sure that your VPN has enough resources to handle any amount of data traffic.
- Priority support – Some providers offer 24/7 customer care via phone, email, chat, or live support. This way, even after hours, you will get assistance.
- Extra storage – Have lots of unused storage available for adding new files and videos.
- Unmetered bandwidth – Allow users to download as much as possible without worrying about bills.
How to Find a Good VPN Provider?
If you’re interested in using VPN technology, here are some points to consider when choosing one:
- Find out how many servers it offers. More options mean better performance.
- Know how many locations it covers. If you plan to travel abroad frequently, it’d be great to know whether it provides service not only in Canada, the United States, Australia, etc., but also in countries across Europe, Asia, and Africa.
- Ask if it uses open-source or proprietary protocols. Open-source protocols are less likely to be corrupted, while proprietary protocols are easier to update.
- Look into privacy policies. What information does it collect? Is it willing to share user data? Do you get to control what data it collects? There are plenty of free VPN apps that don’t record metadata information about users.
- Consider the price. Do they charge per month or year? Be wary of cheap plans. While subscription fees are lower, companies tend to keep raising prices every time a new version comes out.
The downside of VPNs is that they take up quite a bit of bandwidth. Depending on the type of subscription you purchase, they can hog resources and affect speeds. Additionally, VPNs aren’t able to protect against malware. So, if someone manages to compromise your computer, they’ll still have full access to everything stored on it.
Pros and Cons of Antivirus
Antivirus software is probably the most well-known form of cybersecurity software. But why should you buy it? Let’s look at both sides of the coin.
Antivirus programs are designed to monitor computers and alert users whenever they detect malicious code. If you’ve decided to install it, here’s a list of the best ones. Most antivirus software detects viruses, spyware, adware, worms, Trojans, rootkits, keyloggers, ransomware, dialers, spyware, hijackers, botnets, and other types of malware.
They typically work by monitoring system calls, looking for certain file formats, and examining memory regions. Once detected, an antivirus program attempts to remove the virus before it spreads further. To this end, it often blocks infected websites and removes browser extensions.
There are two main categories of antivirus software: those that prevent attacks from occurring in the first place (preventive), and those that clean up infections once they’ve occurred (detective).
- Preventive measures include anti-spyware products, which scan computers’ hard drives and removable media such as USB flash drives.
- Detective programs examine existing threats, determine their origin, and attempt to identify them. These types of programs come in three varieties: signature updates, heuristic analysis, and behavior blocking.
With all forms, antivirus software monitors changes to known attack vectors, including suspicious process activity, network connections, web browsing history, and more. It then attempts to block the infection based on its pattern.
Why Do People Use Antivirus Software?
People who need to safeguard their online activities rely on antivirus software because it protects them against malware, Trojan horses, and other harmful software. The biggest drawback, however, is that antivirus programs are very resource intensive. They require a processor with enough power to run multiple applications at once. That means older machines that lack the required processing power will suffer performance issues when running an antivirus application.
Additionally, antivirus programs aren’t perfect. Many contain false positives, meaning that they incorrectly flag innocuous files as containing malware. This results in unnecessary removals and delays. Antivirus programs also occasionally fail to recognize legitimate software as malicious, resulting in missed detections.
Furthermore, some antivirus products don’t offer any kind of real-time protection, so users must wait until a scheduled update to fix an issue before resuming normal operations. Finally, despite being advertised as “free,” many antivirus vendors charge fees for support or additional features.
When comparing VPN and antivirus solutions, you need to consider how each product performs under different conditions. For example, if your needs involve remote access, you’ll want a solution that can withstand potential network disruptions, while if you’re concerned about protecting sensitive information, you’ll need one that offers robust encryption. A comprehensive comparison chart of the best VPN services and the top antivirus solutions can help you choose the right security solution for your specific needs.