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The worst advice we've ever heard about antivirus software

Bad advice is like the common cold: Everybody's gotten it. This can be especially damaging when it comes to antivirus software.

Bad advice is like the common cold: Everybody’s gotten it. And just like a nagging cold in winter, terrible advice is always going around. This can be especially damaging when it comes to antivirus software.

"Not all advice is good advice, and this holds especially true when discussing antivirus software."

See, in our experience, a lot of people seem to think they know more about protecting their computers than they actually do. And beyond simply thinking they’re more knowledgeable, they feel the need to share misinformation with their friends. Spreading bad advice about antivirus software is one of the main reasons that so many people’s computers aren’t suitably defended. So to dispel misconceptions and clean up the mess left by awful advice, we’ve decided to highlight some of the worst advice we’ve ever heard about antivirus software.

Bad Piece of Advice #1: "If you’re not a bank or a company with a lot of money, don’t worry about antivirus software."

Wouldn’t it be nice if hackers only went after the highest-rolling enterprises on Wall Street? A surprising number of people are under the mistaken (rather, wishful)impression that cybercrime focuses only on top-tier targets like major banks and large government organizations. This idea isn’t entirely unfounded - after all, financial and government institutions certainly represent the most lucrative target for cybercrime. But they also tend to be the hardest to breach. And for most cybercriminals out there, attacking a high-value target rarely takes priority over simply making as much money in the moment as possible. This is why everyone is a target.

As a 2014 breach report found, banking/credit/financial cyberattacks only accounted for 5.5 percent of breaches in 2014. The largest percentage of breaches - 42.5 - actually occurred in the medical/health sector. And educational institutions and small businesses were also hit hard. The lesson from this report is clear: Everyone needs antivirus software. If you don’t have it, you’re automatically vulnerable.

Without antivirus software policing your system, you open yourself up to attack.Without antivirus software policing your system, you open yourself up to attack.

Bad Piece of Advice #2: "Forget buying a package, just download the free stuff online."

Yeah, this doesn’t work. Firstly, for all the legit freeware out there, there’s a whole host of fake stuff, as TopTenReviewshas pointed out. And guess what this fake antivirus software does to your system? It infects it. Thus, downloading a supposedly free antivirus app can easily lead you to inadvertently upload a malware strain onto your system - one that could end up stealing your money or personal data. And even when free antivirus software is a valid offering, that doesn’t mean it’s effective. As an industry blog reported, free antivirus software often returns false positives while at the same time overlooking real threats. But since you didn’t pay a cent for it, how can you really complain?

Bad Piece of Advice #3: "An occasional virus scan is just as good as the protection antivirus software provides."

"Hackers work 24/7, so you need antivirus protection that keeps the same hours."

Many individuals are under the impression that antivirus software and a once-in-a-while system check accomplish the same things. They don’t. Antivirus software like Norton works 24/7 to keep your computer guarded. An occasional checkup is exactly that - occasional. If a threat finds its way into your system in between security checks, then guess what?That threat has ample time to become an attacker. Robust antivirus software works in real time to guard against threats. And in a world where hackers are everywhere - and working all the time - that’s what you need.

Bad Piece of Advice #3: "No need to update your antivirus package - the 2010 version is the same as the 2015."

Just as threats evolve, so too do the means to defend against them. But if you’re using outdated software, you’ll be behind the curve in terms of defense. That’s why it’s vital to remain up to date with your antivirus software. Of course, this can be a hassle. Luckily, though, there’s an alternative: Look for antivirus offerings that guarantee "always up-to-date" protection, such as this Norton package. After all, you want your software to keep pace with your security needs.

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