Computer viruses are much like real viruses in that an infection can ruin everything. Systems that once worked well grind to a halt as your computer struggles to recover. That’s why antivirus programs are non-negotiable: They keep your digital life safe if you avoid the most common mistakes.
One of the most common misconceptions about antivirus software is thinking that anything will do. They download the first free program they can find, thinking it will work just as well as a paid product from a legitimate company. In reality, using free antivirus software could cost you dearly.
When you’re protecting your computer, you get what you pay for. That’s why Kim recommends her sponsor, TotalAV, which has an industry-leading security suite that offers the best protection possible. No matter what program you use, avoid these common security mistakes.
Mistake No. 1: You don’t do your research
This might sound bizarre, but many antivirus programs are just malware in disguise. Cybercriminals know that many people are trusting. They’re banking on you not doing your research and taking the word “antivirus” at face value.
If you fall for one of these fakes, you could download malware onto your device. We recommend avoiding free antivirus programs since they’re more likely to come from scammers. After all, cybercriminals know they can reel in more people by offering free services.
Bottom line: Do research when you’re trying to protect your computer. Choose poorly, and you could inadvertently destroy it. Read reviews to see what people like you think about the antivirus program. If people say it’s a scam, believe them.
Mistake No. 2: You don’t download your antivirus software from the official sources
Maybe you see an ad for a reliable program and you click it. This takes you to a website that looks legitimate. If you download the program from this site, you could be putting your digital life in danger.
Cybercriminals often try to get your guard down by pretending to be something they’re not. According to Bemidji State University, many fake antivirus or malware removal programs pose as legitimate tools from trustworthy companies.
That’s why you should never download a program from a random website — no matter how official the site’s design looks. Otherwise, you could be buying a fraudulent program riddled with malware.
Instead, you should look up the official website and purchase the software there. You need to take a few extra steps, but it’s worth it. If you’re worried about imposter cons, we’ve got you covered.
Luckily, there are a few surefire red flags you can look for. Tap or click here for a few ways to avoid impersonation scams.
Mistake No. 3: Not having backups is one of the most common antivirus mistakes
Although antivirus programs are an essential tool in your cybersecurity kit, you shouldn’t rely on them alone. You should also use firewalls, VPNs and other protective strategies. Depending on just one program is expecting a lot.
Remember that each cybersecurity tool protects you differently. There are countless threats you’ll have to deal with, like:
- Phishing schemes.
- Data breaches.
Those are just a few examples. There are many other cyberattacks you need to watch out for. To protect yourself as much as possible, use more than just an antivirus program.
Tap or click here for the difference between a firewall and an antivirus program. We’ll break down why you need both to maximize cybersecurity.
Mistake No. 4: You don’t update your antivirus program
Many people will download an antivirus program and never think about it again. They think of installing it as another task they can cross off their to-do list.
In reality, you need to participate in your cybersecurity strategy. You can’t just sit back and wipe your hands clean. One of the most common antivirus mistakes people make is not staying up-to-date on their program of choice.
To protect yourself, watch for updates. Whenever the company releases new patches, download them. This way, you won’t miss out on critical security features. If you don’t do this, you’re putting yourself at risk. Hackers often find old errors and vulnerabilities in popular programs.
Your device could be hacked if you don’t update your antivirus software. Staying up-to-date protects your computer from preventable infections.
Mistake No. 5: You’re using multiple antivirus programs
The more, the merrier! This only applies to parties. When discussing cybersecurity, you only need one antivirus program at your beck and call.
If you double up, you might put yourself in danger. That’s because each antivirus program has a unique way of interacting with your computer. If you download two at once, they might counteract each other.
In fact, they might misinterpret the other as malware. Thus, one antivirus program might designate the other as a harmful program and quarantine it. Just like that, a program you paid for has been rendered useless.
BONUS: One of the most common antivirus mistakes is not going for the best of the best
Cyberattacks are on the rise, and the more we rely on our devices for work, school and our personal lives, the more we have to lose. Whether it’s bank accounts, personal data, photos or conversations, there’s just so much to preserve and protect. That’s why we recommend TotalAV.
TotalAV’s industry-leading security suite is easy to use and offers the best protection in the business. In fact, it’s received the renowned VB100 award for detecting more than 99% of malware samples over the last three years.
Not only do you get continuous protection from the latest threats, but its AI-driven Web Shield browser extension blocks dangerous websites automatically, and its Junk Cleaner can help you quickly clear out your old files.
Right now, get an annual plan of TotalAV Internet Security for only $19 at ProtectWithKim.com. That’s over 85% off the regular price!