In this highly digital era, antivirus software is a must for every computer. Antiviruses run in the background, so we usually don’t appreciate just how much work they do to protect our systems from perilous computer malware. One of the few times that we pay attention is if there is a notification about an antivirus software update that pops up. And sometimes, we don’t even notice that at all.
We’re here to tell you that you should always upgrade your antivirus program whenever possible. All it takes is one click and perhaps a few minutes of your screen time. In this article, we tell you why it’s important to constantly update your antivirus, and what can happen if you don’t.
What does an antivirus do?
Simply put, an antivirus fights against malware by preventing, detecting, and removing it from the system. It is one of the security layers that an individual can have for their computer, and it is also one of the most accessible and low-key. It works on the down-low and only gives an occasional report on your system’s privacy.
Some users opt for paid premium antiviruses that offer additional privacy features, but free antivirus software is more than enough to give your computer a strong defense against most malware. Avast and Norton offer competent free versions of their antivirus software, with an option to upgrade to premium and avail of features like a firewall and VPN.
Why should I regularly update my antivirus software?
Protect your computer from newly released malware.
New viruses are released every day, and an antivirus is only as good as its last update. It can only protect your computer from the threats that it was previously taught to look out for and remove. What an antivirus update carries is the latest signature files, or the codes that are used by the software to identify a virus and deal with it accordingly.
If you don’t update your antivirus, then you fail to “teach” it to protect you against newly detected malware. Thus, you leave your laptop or computer vulnerable to these new viruses.
Strengthen your antivirus’s scanning ability.
Some updates also seek to improve the scan engine, which is the heart of the antivirus software. The scan engine is what does the scanning of your system and detecting malware, as well as quarantining and ultimately deleting malware.
Antivirus updates fix any bugs in the scan engine or improve its efficiency, such as increasing its scan speed or detecting fewer false positives. Scan engine updates are less frequent than signature file updates, but both are equally important to keep your antivirus in tip-top shape.
Patch up holes in your operating system.
Malicious cybercriminals are always on the lookout for soft spots in your system’s security which they can use as an entry point to hack your computer or steal your information. Some antivirus updates also scan your system and check if it’s vulnerable, and then install the necessary patches to solve the issue.
Stop the spread of newly released viruses.
Failing to update or upgrade your antivirus doesn’t just affect you; it also affects everybody worldwide. If your system gets infected by malware that goes undetected because you did not update your antivirus, then it’s likely that you also pass the malware on and infect other systems. This may be your immediate relations at home or work, or online to other unsuspecting users.
A regularly updated antivirus is important so that newly released malware can be detected and that its spread stops with you and your system.
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How often should I update my antivirus?
The goal is to have your antivirus software regularly updated so that it’s always in optimum shape to protect against the newest malware. As new viruses are released and identified every day, antiviruses should also be ideally updated every day.
These daily updates are meant for updating the signature file database. Antivirus software usually allows you to set automatic updates, so you can have an updated database every day or every time your computer is connected to the internet. Make sure that the automatic setting is set up with your antivirus.
For other updates such as scan engine updates, notifications may come in the form of pop-ups if you have allowed the option for your system to automatically notify you if a new update is available. Make sure to diligently get these updates as soon as they are made available by the developers in order to stay maximally protected.
Antivirus softwares are the unsung hero of our computer systems. They do not get enough credit for how much they do to keep our computers safe and secure from malicious malware and stop the spread of the virus from one unprotected system to another.
Whenever you receive a notification for a new antivirus update, now you know to pay attention and give it some mind. It only takes one click to keep your system more protected.