Should I use Antivirus Software?

Keep online security simple. It’s in our name. Simplicity means to have as few moving parts as possible. It also means to avoid unnecessary complications. You should avoid anything that fails to improve your online security profile. If you’re asking, “Should I use antivirus software?, our answer is “No.”

Still, you need to make the decision that’s best for you.

If we just surprised you, continue reading to find out why you should avoid antivirus software.

Should I use antivirus software?

I remember the days when Windows was chock full of viruses. Everywhere you looked, you found viruses on floppy disks, hard drives, CD ROM disks, and even in online storage.

People transmitted viruses via illegal downloads, email attachments, malicious links, and other unhealthy digital practices.

In desperation, computer users made antivirus software a staple of “modern” life.

Some people posed the theory that antivirus companies were the source of viruses. They created a problem which you needed to pay them to solve.

They also accused Microsoft of purposefully leaving holes in their software to create opportunities for their business partners in the antivirus industry.

Some questions may never get answered. However, when you ask, “Do I need antivirus software?”, we have the answer.

That was then. This is now. At Simple Online Security, LLC, we do not recommend antivirus software.

Why you shouldn’t bother with antivirus software.

When you asked, “Should I use antivirus software?”, I told you “no” for several reasons:

  • It’s expensive. Now that most antivirus products have adopted the subscription model, you pay a hefty fee every month in return for near-zero benefits.
  • It slows you down. Again, anitvirus software offers a poor return on investment. In exchange for your money, antivirus providers hog your computing power and memory capacity. The loss of productivity makes antivirus software a bad deal.
  • Antivirus software doesn’t work. Sure, it makes you feel better. Your antivirus purchase makes you feel you’ve improved your online security. It’s a waste of time.

A brief history of viruses

Computer viruses became infamous in the 1980’s, driving the creation of a new segment of the software industry: Antiviruses.

John McAfee launched one of the most famous antivirus brands. To this day, McAfee and continues to be synonymous with “antivirus.” Just a few years later, Norton emerged. Decades later, people still associate that brand with online security.

Get Norton 360 protection as a direct download from Amazon.

How antivirus software works

At first, most antivirus products worked by storing catalogs of known viruses and comparing the contents of a computer disk or file with that database. When the software discovered a match, it gave you the option to clean the offending software from your system.

At the turn of the century, experts estimated that about 100,000 viruses existed. Now, over 100 million viruses exist.

Viruses now mutate, making traditional virus databases obsolete.

“Modern” antivirus software monitors the behavior of software, trying to recognize malicious patterns. The software either detects too many “issues” as false positives or cannot detect genuine threats. Either way, antivirus software provides few benefits.

A fresh approach

In the past, operating systems allowed practically all software operations. To fight viruses, you’d build a list of exceptions to block.

Nowadays, operating systems work differently. They instinctively block behaviors that lead to infections, requiring users to approve them.

In other words, modern viruses and malware spread via user interactions rather than via self-replicating code. If a user intentionally approves a download or clicks a suspicious link, antivirus won’t prevent an infection.

Online Security training and education

Now that the spread of malicious software depends on user behavior, antivirus apps usually offer little protection in exchange for your lost time, money, and productivity. Focus on training and education instead.

When users know how to recognize and avoid threats, the virus problem diminishes. The need for users to approve malicious actions slows the spread of viruses and other malware.

You need to know to avoid opening suspicious attachments. Only click on links and attachments that come from trusted sources. Learn how to spot spoofed email addresses and phishing attacks.

Mitigating the threat

Use the following tips to help you reduce your exposure to malicious software.

Install updates

Many operating system updates fix vulnerabilities and harden your system against rogue software. When you receive notifications that updates are available, install them.

Backup your files

Regardless of whether you backup your hole computer or just your data files, create a backup routine. Without a backup, you could lose vital data, including bookkeeping files, work in progress, and other important records.

Can I use antivirus software?

Yes. If you are aware that you get few benefits for the money you spend, go ahead. You should also prepare yourself for degraded system performance and reduced productivity.

Our recommendation may not be right for you. You must make the best decision based on your preferences and circumstances.