Why An Antivirus-Password Manager Combo Is a Must For Any Device
Worms, trojan horses, keyloggers, backdoors, dialers, phishing …if all of these words seem like a different language to you then you’re not alone. The problem with an advanced technological society is that there will always be people trying to ruin it for everyone else and create scams to get a free piece of the action. What we’re talking about here is, of course, computer viruses. A large percentage of the world owns at least one piece of computer technology, be it a smartphone or laptop, but how many of those people are at risk of some serious threats? The answer is, sadly, everyone.
In this article, we will look at why it’s vital to use antivirus software in combination with a password manager in order to get the best form of protection for your system and personal data. We’ll look at antivirus software and password managers, talk about how they can help you and look at why these viruses are more of a threat than you realized.
Keep reading to discover how antivirus software and password managers can benefit everyone.
What is Antivirus Software?
The invention of the computer system was a wonderful thing and let’s face it – where would we be without it? When computers were in their infancy (pre-internet) computer viruses were a rare thing, only spread through the sharing of infected floppy discs. Since the emergence of the internet, things have moved in a not-so-nice direction in that the spread of viruses and nasty malware is now commonplace. Arguably, the first type of antivirus software was invented back in 1987 by a German hacker and security expert named Bernd Fix. Although, there are opposing claims to suggest other people got there first. Nowadays, purchasing antivirus software is as common as buying a can of soda and this isn’t a bad thing at all.
Antivirus software was first designed to detect viruses and then remove them accordingly but now serves to protect a number of different “newer” threats such as worms, adware, and spyware – which we will talk about more later.
How Does Antivirus Software Work?
There are a number of companies that design sophisticated antivirus software with Norton and McAfee being two of the biggest names on the market. This type of software normally runs as a background process and you often won’t be aware that it’s doing its job. Whilst you’re tapping away on your laptop keyboard, the software is busy scanning your system to look for malware in order to prevent it from spreading if detected. The software normally operates real-time threat detection to guard your system against possible vulnerabilities. Antivirus software obviously differs from company to company but they normally share the same basic functions. As well as scanning your computer or IT system for potential threats, the software can also normally schedule scans to automatically run for you or allow you to initiate a specific scan on a particular file, CD or flash drive at any time. Antivirus software can also remove any malicious code detected and show the health of your computer on a regular basis. Many antivirus software programs will download malware definitions direct to your computer and then scan for matches but the problem with this is that malware regularly changes its appearance to avoid detection. So with antivirus software, it’s always worth noting that it can never protect you 100% if new viruses threaten the system but it does provide a very good level of security. Especially when coupled with a password manager.
As with all software, it’s vital to perform regular updates in order for the software to be able to detect the newest viruses. Antivirus updates will contain the latest files needed to fight brand new viruses and keep your system protected.
What is a Password Manager?
In theory, passwords are wonderful combinations of words, characters, and numbers that keep our files and documents private. The reality is that they can be a bit of a nightmare. If you use the same password for everything then you are putting your personal data at serious risk. If someone hacks into your system or guesses your password then they will have access to everything, and you’ll be surprised just how much of your information is online: names, addresses, bank details, health information – everything is out there on the net. On the opposite end of the scale, there are people who create unique passwords for everything, using character and letter combinations that no-one could ever guess. The problem with this is that people often forget their own passwords and can easily get locked out of their own documents and accounts.
Using a password manager will not only prevent this but also give you extra safety online. What a password manager does is store all of your unique passwords in one database so you are able to log in fast. The databases are encrypted and all you need is a master password to be able to access your list of unique passwords.
How Does it Work?
There are a number of different password managers which all operate in unique ways. Different types include locally installed software apps, online services which are accessed through web portals and locally accessed hardware devices that serve as a type of key.
Where your passwords are stored depends on the type of password manager used. The encrypted databases are usually either stored on your device or they can be stored remotely through an online file-hosting service. You’ll typically need a master password to access these.
Locally installed software will keep your database of passwords stored on your computer or mobile device. These apps can be used offline as the password database is stored both independently and locally on the same device as the software. Some password managers offer cloud storage where the password database is dependent on the online file hosting service and stored remotely but handled on your device. Web-based services differ in that these websites store your login details online which means that they can be used with any computer with a browser and network connection – no software required. Of course, this type of service requires that you have to trust the hosting site. This is why it’s vital that the passwords are fully encrypted with a user-defined key. Many of you will already be familiar with browser-based password managers that automatically input your data into the system. This is possibly the easiest way to manage your passwords on your computer but definitely not the safest. A password management tool is by far the safest way to store your passwords.
Why Every Device Needs An Antivirus Password Manager Combination
There are many arguments as to why you should use an antivirus software on your device and we wholeheartedly agree with all of them. We do believe, however, that you should go one step further and use a combination of antivirus software and a password manager and here’s why…
Staying Safe On The Internet
It isn’t just your device that can be destroyed if you are infected with malware, it could be your livelihood. When you connect your computer to the internet you can be infected within minutes – it really can be as easy as that. It is estimated that up to 60,000 pieces of malware are created each day, which means that the longer you stay unprotected, the more chance you have to get infected. At the very least, malicious software can disable or slow down your computer and at its worst can destroy it. Computer viruses and malware can be specifically designed to break your system or to trawl through your personal data and steal information/money/identity from you. Even worse still, they can steal and share your personal data so you can say bye-bye to your bank details, personal identity and more.
Different Types Of Viruses And How They Infect Your Computer
There are countless different types of viruses that can infect your computer system and they all work differently. The problem is, by the time you have finished reading this article there will no doubt be thousands more.
Here are the usual suspects:
- Virus – A computer virus is a piece of malicious code that actually replicates by copying itself to another program or document. It changes the way a computer works by adding its own code and requires someone to spread the infection without permission from the user. It is thought that computer viruses cost the world’s economy billions of dollars each year. A virus (which can also be referred to as malware) can be spread by opening an infected email, clicking on an executable file, viewing an infected internet advert or visiting an infected website. It can also be spread through removable storage devices such as USB and CDs.
- Ransomware – This is particularly nasty in that the hacker will steal files and sometimes entire hard drives and then demand money from their owner in exchange for a special key that will decrypt the data that they’ve encrypted (making it unreadable).
- Trojan Horses – Named after the horse that led to the fall of the city of Troy – Trojan Horse viruses mislead users by hiding their true intent. Often mimicking harmless software they trick users into allowing them access to confidential and personal information.
- Worms – This type of malware does not need to replicate itself to a host or require humans to spread. These attack entire networks of devices jumping from computer to computer.
- Adware – Annoying malware that you’ve likely encountered previously. This floods victims with unwanted ads and opens up vulnerable security spots for other malware to enter.
- Spyware – As expected, this type of malware has been designed to spy on users in order to steal their passwords, credit card details and other personal data.
It should now start to become apparent why it’s vital to have good antivirus software in place. It isn’t just your device that’s at risk. By leaving your computer unprotected you are putting your personal data at risk too. That’s why the healthiest way to look after your computer is to use a password manager in combination with antivirus software. You could have the best antivirus software available but if anyone is able to obtain your passwords then your data suddenly becomes public. Scary thought.
As we mentioned above, there are a few different types of password managers and most people already use web browsers with integrated password managers – but have you ever wondered how safe they are? Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox and others have integrated password managers. Unfortunately, there are several problems with these managers. Firstly, Internet Explorer and Chrome do not encrypt your passwords so unless you encrypt your computer’s hard drive, anyone could access the password files and view them. Secondly, they often lack the extra features of dedicated password managers and therefore lack essential safety measures.
Using a password manager which encrypts your passwords and keeps them safe alongside good quality antivirus software makes sense. Double protection means that it will be less likely that you’ll encounter any safety issues with your computer.
Do You Need Antivirus Software For A Mac?
One of the most commonly asked queries from Mac users is whether or not they need antivirus software. There is a theory regarding Mac computers that they are totally immune from viruses but is this just a myth? If you have been reading this article and have a device running on MacOS then you should read on to discover if your system is safe.
When we hear of malware attacks we normally associate this with the Windows operating system on PCs. If you have an iMac, Mac Pro, MacBook or any other Mac device such as an iPhone then are you safe?
Macs have a reputation for having one of the most secure operating systems in the world; one which is immune to malware. The truth is that although they are significantly more secure than Windows systems, they are still prone to certain virus attacks. Macs have an in-built security system that keeps them protected from most viruses but over the years they have seen an increase in viral attacks and there are many reasons why. Firstly, Macs have increased in popularity over the years which means that they are attractive targets to hackers. Secondly, Windows has become more and more secure and so attackers are targeting Macs as an alternative and lastly, Mac users are seen as wealthy so find themselves targets to those wishing to steal private data, bank details, etc.
Mac malware has seen a massive increase in June 2019 there were no less than six threats circulating and several were able to bypass security protection. The virus dubbed OSX/CrescentCore, infects systems by masquerading as an Adobe Flash Media Player or updater. Better to be as safe as possible and use an antivirus and password manager combo for Mac.
What Should You Look For When You Buy Antivirus Software?
There are lots of different antivirus products on the market and it can be tricky knowing which one to try. Some are 100% free whereas others require a monthly or yearly subscription. We believe you get what you pay for when it comes to online protection and if you opt for a free version you might be missing out on some valuable features.
Here are our most important features:
High Malware Detection Rate
Make sure that you choose a product that can stop more than 95% malware and this statistic shouldn’t include false positives (files mistakenly flagged as malware). For extra protection always opt for the paid subscriptions as they offer better features and this is especially true for Windows users. Look out for additional features such as ransomware protection, file shredders, and a combined password manager for that double security that we deeply favor. Recommended products include: Kaspersky Lab, Norton, Bitdefender, and AVG.
Ease of Use
It goes without saying that the best software is also the simplest to use and shouldn’t require a masters in computing to figure it out. With most antivirus software you just leave it running in the background, but we still believe it should have a clean, user-friendly interface so if you need to change your settings or read any reports, it’s a straightforward process.
Light System Load
You could have the most advanced system out there but if it slows your system down as its running in the background or performing scans, then this is a negative for us. Look for software that can handle its job well whilst not affecting speed.
Expect to pay for a monthly or yearly subscription if you want to download antivirus software combined with a password manager. Free software normally does a grand job but paid packages offer more. Compare the packages on the market to get a feel for average prices.
Free Trial or Money Back Guarantee
We rate this feature highly as it shows confidence in the product if the company is prepared to offer you a free trial or money-back guarantee. Obviously, the highlight of this feature is the ability to try a few different products before you settle on the best one for your needs.
When malware creation and cybercrime is at an all-time high we can’t see why anyone would skip this element of security. For the best online protection, it’s always better to combine two secure elements and we feel that antivirus software that provides a password manager is the ultimate safety measure for your device and ultimately your peace of mind.