Tag Archives: antivirus

VPNs Protect You but Aren’t a Substitute for Antivirus

VPNs get a lot of praise for their ability to boost one’s privacy online. Many wrongfully assume that because VPNs hide their IP address and offer a high level of encryption, they’re protected without antivirus software.

In actuality, VPNs and antivirus software serve completely different purposes.

Although using a VPN makes it nearly impossible to determine your identity through certain means, it won’t stop other methods to get hold of your private data such as phishing.

It’s estimated that one-fourth of PCs have no virus protection. That’s a camp you don’t want to be in. Unprotected machines are 5.5 times as likely to get infected.

Cybercriminals have gotten craftier and bolder than ever. On top of that, bad actors are taking more action than ever. Cyberattacks increased 125% in 2021 compared to the previous year. And there are no signs of it slowing down.

The bad guys have adapted and so will internet users. Those who use both antivirus and VPN are being proactive and are best prepared for threats now and in the future.

How Antivirus Software Protects You Online

One of the key components of antivirus software is its database. Online threats are always evolving so antivirus software downloads the latest threat database automatically before scanning your computer.

Security software either detects threats in real-time as soon as they appear or during a scheduled or manual scan of your hard drive. If malicious code is detected it’s either quarantined or deleted.

Malware is a generic term that includes many types of harmful software such as viruses, trojans, worms, and spyware. The next category everyone needs to be aware of is phishing. This is when bad actors pretend to be legitimate companies and services to extract personal data such as login details and credit card numbers.

Security software such as Norton 360 and Kaspersky Internet Security have a comprehensive approach so you’re defended from information security threats, network attacks, phishing attacks, and spam.

How VPNs Protect You Online

Data is incredibly valuable to businesses and institutions. There’s a whole industry dedicated to it, often referred to as big data. In 2022, the big data analytics market size was estimated to be worth USD 272 billion.

Private data is also valuable to shady third parties and cybercriminals which is the most immediate threat to the average internet user.

Thus, with each passing year, it’s more and more important to be mindful of how you protect your privacy online. There are plenty of improvements you can make by drilling down into the privacy settings of the online services you use. However, companies will never give you full control of your privacy. By using a VPN, you easily and effectively level up your privacy across all the apps and platforms of your choice.

VPN is short for Virtual Private Network. Essentially, you can think of a VPN as a tunnel that encrypts all data that moves between your internet connection and your device.

It replaces your true IP address with an IP associated with the location you select. This makes it nearly impossible for people and organizations to determine who you are and where you’re located by viewing your IP address.

To learn about the top 3 VPN services recommended on LetMeBy, visit this page.

Using Both Antivirus Software and a VPN is the Best Defence

Antivirus software and VPN apps complement each other perfectly. One if your best defense against malware and the other is your best defense against companies, third parties, and organizations compiling data about you based on your actions online.

VPNs have security benefits as well as it encrypts data during transit. This protects you from attackers that aim to intercept data going to your device or network. Once the data has reached your device, it’s up to antivirus software to deal with threats.

Antivirus software is essential. This is why Windows Defender is pre-installed on any current Windows machine. VPNs have seen an incredible boost in adoption in the past several years, but not every internet user needs a VPN. Everyone can benefit from using a VPN, but you need to value your online privacy to want it.

Wide-ranging security software is becoming more common. These solutions include both antivirus and VPN software.

Is Windows Defender Enough?

You might be old, but are you old enough to remember downloading McAfee on your new PC after installing Windows XP?

Windows has come a long way since then in terms of security features. Before the release of Vista, Windows users had to get third-party antivirus to protect their computers. Today, Windows Defender is preinstalled and Windows automatically downloads and applies the latest security updates.

Windows machines don’t really need third-party antivirus software since Windows Defender is perfectly capable.

The main reason to get third-party antivirus software is you find its features compelling. For example, gamers appreciate “gaming mode” which is found in software such as Kaspersky Internet Security. By enabling it, functions such as system scans and notifications won’t interrupt your gaming experience while the antivirus works in the background.

Full security suites provide the most added value. These software packages protect you from spam, unsafe websites, shady applications, webcam breaches, and more.

Conclusion

It’s easy for Windows users. Simply add a VPN to complement the antivirus software already preinstalled: Windows Defender. This gives you protection where it matters most. Still, when something is easy, we sometimes lose sight of what’s working for us in the background. Antivirus software is essential and VPNs are in no way a replacement for it.

Online privacy and protecting yourself from malware are related and more than ever there’s overlap between the two. However, for the best solution is to use both a VPN and antivirus.

Why Gamers Should Keep Their Antivirus On

Some disable their antivirus before playing online games because they believe it gives them smooth gameplay, the highest FPS (frames per second) possible, and reduced lag.

Some functions of antivirus software can indeed interfere with your gaming experience, such as scheduled system scans, notifications of stopped threats, or virus database updates.

Disabling antivirus software might seem like a viable option in the short term. But at the end of the day, it can’t be justified due to advancements in antivirus software and the introduction of “gaming mode.”

Studies have shown that the normal functions of antivirus that monitor for viruses and malware don’t diminish system performance when you’re playing games.

Keeping your PC protected with antivirus software during gaming sessions helps you avoid many threats that are specifically affecting the world of online gaming.

The Rise of Online Gaming

Once dismissed as a fad, online games have become the dominant form of entertainment. Did you know that online gaming revenue dwarfs both movie box office and recorded music revenue?

Games like Minecraft and Fortnite have hundreds of millions of active users alone.

Harnessing the power of the internet has changed gaming forever. It’s opened up astounding creative possibilities for game developers.

Online gaming also exposes people to a variety of dangers. The internet has provided the means for these threats. The explosion in popularity of gaming has made gamers an attractive group to target for bad actors.

Gaming Mode to the Rescue

To give gamers the best possible experience while keeping their systems safe, a lot of security software offers “gaming mode.”

This ensures that scans and updates are delayed until the gaming session Is over. Additionally, gamers aren’t interrupted by notifications when it’s enabled.

Gaming mode is one of the top features gamers should look for in antivirus software. Understandably, people don’t want to compromise gameplay to protect their PC, and with this feature, they don’t have to.

Bad Tech Experiences Dictating Future Actions

Some gamers have experienced headaches with antivirus and games conflicting in the past, thus it’s driven them to disable their antivirus to avoid reliving them.

One surefire way to make antivirus a nuisance is to install third-party antivirus software while keeping Windows Defender enabled. In this case, two is not better than one. Having two security solutions running won’t double or even increase the level of protection. However, it will almost certainly double the number of scans, notifications, and actions taken by each piece of antivirus software.

It never hurts to check how your antivirus is configured to make sure it considers your gaming habits. A full system scan once per week is sufficient for many, and it’s far less likely to interrupt a gaming session than daily scans. Schedule scans at a time when you don’t play games.

Forgetting to Reenable Your Antivirus

Another reason disabling your antivirus isn’t a good strategy is there’s always the possibility that you forget to reenable it after a gaming session. Let’s face it, after a particularly long or intense stretch of gaming, it’s easy to exit the game and move on to thoughts that couldn’t be further than your antivirus software.

You can certainly forget to disable “gaming mode” in your antivirus too. However, your PC is still well-protected if you do.

Common Threats that Gamers Face

Phishing: Many are familiar with phishing as it relates to email, social media, and the web. Fewer people are aware that scammers also use gaming platforms or even the games themselves to trick people. If someone messages you and asks for confidential information it isn’t legitimate no matter how credible they may appear at first glance.

Malware: Here’s another reason to avoid downloading cheats: it’s a common way to get malware. Malware can integrate itself into legitimate pages, so it can be tricky to spot.

Viruses and trojanized games: Some files that are labeled as games aren’t games at all, they’re viruses. These trojanized titles can be found on shady websites offering free games and even legit app stores at times. On online stores, check the date of release and read the game’s reviews to confirm it’s genuine. Beware of players you don’t know offering you in-game equipment, weapons, or downloads. They could be using bait to infect your PC.

Data breaches: Any website you have an account with can be hit with a data breach. This means that cybercriminals have successfully stolen private data from a massive list of a company’s customers. The games you play and gaming platforms you use don’t need to be affected for this to become a threat. The data can be used for credential stuffing. This is when hackers use data obtained from a breach to attempt to get into your gaming account.

Spyware: It isn’t always individuals and other players you need to defend yourself from, it’s also untrustworthy gaming operations. Spyware is deployed to track the actions of unsuspecting gamers. It then can be sold to third parties they’ve never interacted with.

In-game currency theft: If you’re dedicated to an MMO and have amassed an in-game fortune and legendary items, this one is for you. Some bad actors are breaking into people’s accounts specifically to get a hold of their inventory and in-game currency. Players who have invested countless hours into advancing their characters should protect their accounts accordingly with unique, particularly strong passwords.

Conclusion

Disabling your antivirus during online gaming sessions isn’t the solution it may seem to be. If there’s a time you need that protection the most, it’s when exploring online worlds.

Check to see if your antivirus supports “gaming mode.” Once you get into the habit of using it, you’ll wonder how you managed to live without it.