The best antivirus software provides strong protection against malware, a range of other cybersecurity protections, and exceptional performance across all operating systems. It should be light on your computer so that it doesn’t cause slowdowns or even crash.

The antivirus software of the past checked for viruses when files were being written to disk or downloaded from the internet. If a file looked suspicious, the program would remove or quarantine it, thereby preventing the spread of malware. This program was excellent at combating basic viruses but as the number of new malware threats grew rapidly over the last decade, the older antivirus programs were unable to recognize new threats and stop them from causing damage.

Antivirus replacements, often referred to EDR (Enterprise Endpoint Detection and Response) solutions, employ the full range of protection technologies to detect and stop everything from common malware to new attacks that haven’t been seen before. This method has proven to be more efficient than traditional antivirus programs that rely on signature-based identification.

You need to use your computer and possess an understanding of common sense before you can determine if you are in need of an antivirus program. A reliable antivirus program is essential if you visit questionable websites or download pirated software or don’t have any other form of cybersecurity protection. If you’re a Mac user who uses the app store exclusively and maintains high security settings, you may be able to do without one. However, all users should at a minimum consider purchasing an antivirus tool to protect against attacks from phishing.

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