As you surf the internet, you want peace of mind knowing you’re protected from viruses, malware, and threats to your security and identity. It’s best to protect yourself when surfing the internet. But be careful! Some malicious antivirus software is fake and can infect your computer. You might wonder, “How do I protect myself against fake antiviruses? How can I know what is a legitimate antivirus program?” We’re here to help.
There are 1.86 billion websites online. Of those, 18,500,000 are infected with malware (SecurityWeek). Because of the staggering statistics regarding malicious software, it’s essential to prioritize antivirus software. Let’s start with the basics.
What is a virus (in the computer world)?
Viruses are codes that are downloaded onto your device that can have adverse effects on your data. All viruses are created to do different things. Some viruses can corrupt your files, steal your data, or damage your system entirely.
What is an Antivirus?
Antivirus software is a program or collection of programs that you can download on your computer to help detect, prevent, and delete malware from your computer. Many companies offer antivirus protection, and you have to pay for them most of the time, so keep that in mind when shopping for protection.
Why would you want an antivirus program?
In short, you want to take any measures to protect yourself against malicious software online. Any time you explore the internet, you are open and at risk of being affected by dangerous viruses. Just like paying for insurance in case you need medical care, you pay for an antivirus just in case you encounter a virus. Having the antivirus in place can help prevent an issue before it has even happened. If some malware reaches your system, you will need antivirus software to help remove it.
Now that we’ve covered the basics let’s talk about the daunting issue at hand: fake antivirus software.
Fake antivirus software falsely portrays actual software capable of removing malicious threats to your system. Sometimes, this software is malware in disguise, while sometimes, it simply doesn’t block or remove harmful code, sends pop-up warning messages, and gets you to pay for them to “remove” the issue.
To protect yourself against these fake antivirus programs, you need to be able to recognize what is genuine and legitimate. Here are a few ways you can spot if an antivirus program is legitimate:
Unknown or suspicious source:
If you come across antivirus software from an unfamiliar or untrusted source, it’s a good idea to be cautious. Stick to well-known and reputable antivirus providers.
Poor website design and presentation:
Fake antivirus software often has poorly designed websites with grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, or an unprofessional appearance. Legitimate software providers usually have well-maintained websites.
Unsolicited pop-up ads:
Be wary of sudden pop-up ads claiming that your system is infected with a virus and offering to clean it. These ads are often a ploy to deceive users into downloading fake antivirus software.
Aggressive scare tactics:
Fake antivirus software often use scare tactics to intimidate users into downloading their product. They may display alarming messages claiming that your system is severely infected and that immediate action is required.
Excessive false positives:
Fake antivirus software may deliberately misinterpret legitimate files as viruses, presenting many false positives. This tactic is used to create the illusion that the software is effective.
Lack of reputable certifications:
Legitimate antivirus software providers usually obtain certifications from reputable organizations or independent testing labs. It could be a warning sign if the software you’re considering lacks such credentials.
Limited or non-existent customer support:
Fake antivirus software typically lacks proper customer support channels or provides only generic email addresses. They may also have no clear refund or money-back policy.
Absence of regular updates:
Authentic antivirus programs regularly release updates to improve their virus detection capabilities and address new threats. If the software you’re evaluating does not provide regular updates, it could be a fake.
Unusually low or high pricing:
Be cautious if the antivirus software is offered at an unusually low or high price compared to other reputable products in the market. Fake software often tries to lure users with exceptionally low prices.
Poor or no reviews:
Legitimate antivirus software typically has reviews and ratings from reputable sources or users. If you can’t find any reviews or come across multiple negative reviews, it’s a cause for concern.
While it is vital to you and your system’s well-being to be protected when you surf the internet, you should be wary of fake antiviruses. Be sure to research and pick a software that is best for your needs and is reputable.
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