Why You Need to Keep Your Antivirus Updated
We Know, We Know…
You’re in the middle of something. Maybe you’re trying to get some work done. Maybe you’re watching a film. Maybe you’re completely focused on the game you’re playing and you were winning, dammit.
And then, in the corner of the screen, up pops a window insisting you update your antivirus software. You cross it off or postpone it until later. Then, later rolls around, and you’re middle of something else. And back it comes again, distracting you from what you really need to get done.
Surely it can’t be that important… right?
What Those Pesky Antivirus Updates Really Do
Well, yes, actually. An antivirus update can be that important.
Your PC isn’t going to implode just because you snooze an update for a few hours, but at some point, you really do need to get around to installing those antivirus updates.
That’s because installing an antivirus is only the start of the process. Hackers and cyber criminals are coming up with new ways to mess up your computer all the time – and your device needs to stay up to speed. That’s where an antivirus update comes in to play.
Typically, antivirus software will do much of its work by cross-referencing any files or programs your device tries to download with a constantly updated database of known threats. These threats are evolving all the time, and any antivirus provider worth spending your money on in the first place will be working hard behind the scenes to make sure no new nasties are cropping up that don’t end up on the list.
If you ignore prompts to update your antivirus software, it means it almost certainly isn’t using the latest version of the database to check for dangerous malware. In IT security terms, the local branch of police on your PC is basically working with a Crime Watch list that’s 10 years out of date. The most vicious criminal at large right now could walk right in through the door and your antivirus would have no idea until it’s too late.
Zero Day Threats
As well as common malware, spyware and the like, security companies are increasingly on the lookout for a sinister-sounding phenomenon known as Zero Day Threats.
These are so-called because they take software developers by surprise, giving them “zero days” to figure out an effective strategy for resistance. Basically, a zero day threat (or zero day exploit) is when hackers figure out a vulnerability that’s inherent in the design of a system, software or website before its developers do.
They figure out a way of exploiting the vulnerability to get into the system and attack before the developers have had a chance to fight back.
To prevent these situations, developers have to keep scanning their own creations all the time, obsessively hunting for the tiniest glitches and weaknesses and releasing patches and updates to fix them before hackers find them. If a breach happens, they need to respond incredibly fast quickly with a solution or, at the very least, a temporary fix that stops the virus spreading. They then need to get this solution out as fast as they possibly can to their users before the problem escalates.
In a scenario like this, failing to keep your system updated could be an absolute disaster. By ignoring a prompt to stay on top of security, you could leave yourself open to a virus that’s totally preventable, potentially racking up a ton of costs on top of the money you’ve already spent on protecting your PC.
The Times, They are A-Changing
If you’ve splashed out on a decent security package, you will most likely have a range of tools and features that go far beyond the most basic anti-malware and anti-spyware protection on the market.
You may well have password protection. You might have parental controls. You might have a powerful two-way firewall. You could have privacy protection for social media, online shopping and the like, as well as controls in place to detect malicious URLs. You could have any number of awesome extras in place, all of which will have shaped your decision to buy this particular security suite in the first place.
Since you went to all this trouble to get the best of the best in the first place, wouldn’t you rather keep it that way?
Your interest security provider is no doubt working hard to hone their offering all the time, giving you the latest, state-of-the-art technology for maintaining your privacy and safety online. And the way they get these things out to you is via those little updates that keep cropping up to let you know.
So for goodness’ sake, don’t ignore them. Make use of them. They’re there to help.
Why Turn Down Free Stuff?
At the end of the day, you really do have to ask yourself: why am I turning down something that’s going to help me - and that I’m getting for free?
Installing your antivirus updates isn’t going to cost you any more money. In fact, it could end up saving you a ton of cash in repairs, or on shelling out on new technology because your devices are damaged beyond repair by viruses!
What’s more, you might think you’re saving a few minutes by putting off that update, but you’re probably doing the opposite in the long term. If you keep ignoring these popups, the chances are that viruses are already getting into your PC. These will be wrecking your device’s performance, slowing you down at every step and causing you to waste a ton of time.
For the sake of your finances, your productivity, your privacy and, of course, your security, don’t ignore those pesky pop-ups. Run regular scans to stay on top of threats, and keep your antivirus software updated all the time.
If you want to check the best antivirus today, read our expert reviews here.