According to a recent report from statista.com, an online statistics portal, 74% of Americans own laptops. That makes for a pretty big target for hackers who are always looking to take advantage of the vulnerabilities in these laptops. The best way to protect laptops from hackers is with antivirus software. But how do you know which antivirus is best for a Windows 10 laptop?
The best way to answer this question is to learn about some of the different security features that antivirus (AV) software can offer. With that in mind, we’ve listed some of these features below, but the list is by no means exhaustive. Security features will vary depending on the company that developed the AV software, whether the software is a paid or free version, and whether it’s a basic or advanced AV package.
To begin with, there are malware scans, which every AV will perform. However, ‘the devil is in the details’, as they say, or in this case, ‘the security is in the details’. Malware scans rely on a database of virus signatures to detect viruses. AV software scans files and collects their signatures and then compares them to the database of virus signatures. If a file’s signature matches a virus signature in the database, the AV software sends an alert about the file. To detect effectively, however, the AV must use the largest signature database possible and the database and the software must be frequently updated.
AV software should also remove threats when they’re detected. Some do this automatically while others will first ask you if you want the threat removed. In addition, protection against malware should be in real-time, but it shouldn’t impact your laptop’s performance.
Protection against ransomware is another important security feature. Ransomware works by encrypting a system’s data so that authorized users can’t access it. The ransomware then threatens to destroy or make public-private data unless a ransom fee is paid. This can be ruinous to businesses and individuals. Ransomware protection blocks ransomware from being downloaded onto a system and prevents the encryption of the data.
Detection methods such as heuristics, behavioral, or sandbox methods that can detect previously unknown malware threats should also be a part of every antivirus software. These detection methods are in addition to signature-based detection, which only detects known malware.
Other important security features are browsing protection, which stops you from navigating to malicious URLs, and camera and microphone protection, which prevents hackers from spying on you and listening in on your personal conversations.
Short but sweet
The features listed above are just a small sample of the many different types of security features that AV software can and do offer, but while they aren’t the only features, they are some of the most important.