Computer Security Scanners

Computer security scanner is a software tool that checks your computer for malicious software like viruses, malware, spyware, Trojan horses, worms and others.

If it finds any such malicious software, it quarantines or deletes it.

Computer security scanner protects your computer from cyber intruders who want to infect your computer with malicious software and steal your personal information and data.

The most important computer security scanners are antivirus software that detects and cleans virus programs, and antimalware software that detects and cleans spyware, rogue security software, Trojans and other malicious programs.

Viruses and Antiviruses

Antivirus software detects and cleans software viruses from your computer.

Free anti-virus software is available for download from the Internet. It is better to have free anti-virus protection than no protection at all.

But free anti-virus software is not as good as commercial anti-virus software available from well-known security companies.

Using free anti-virus software is risky. Ultimately, your computer will lack the level of protection it should have.

Here are some risks of running free anti-virus software:

  • You will get a somewhat false sense of security - you will think that your computer is more protected than it actually is
  • Some free anti-virus software wants you to purchase other products that the software makers created. This is not a desired anti-virus software behavior - it should instead focus on keeping your computer safe
  • It may lack additional valuable features that you will get with commercial software
  • Free anti-virus software support (if you have problems) is not very good
  • Some free anti-virus software is actually fake and does not clean viruses. It likely snoops around your computer, and it may steal your data

Independent tests consistently rank free anti-virus software not up-to-par with their commercial counterparts.

When someone makes anti-virus software for free, there is often another business model they use to make money. It is better to use anti-virus software that specializes in catching viruses, because if your computer gets infected with a virus it may get damaged, or you may lose your data.

Malware and Anti-malware

Another type of a computer security scanner that is just as important as anti-virus software is anti-malware software.

Malware is a somewhat generic and over-used term. In general, it stands for malicious software, or software that can harm your computer. Malware usually includes: 

  • Adware: displays unwanted advertisements
  • Spyware: collect information about you without your knowledge
  • Ransomware: holds your data hostage until you pay a ransom
  • Trojans: pretend to be something else
  • Worms: spread from computer to computer by replication

Viruses can be classified under malware. We make a distinction here because anti-virus software is good at protecting your computer against viruses, and anti-malware software is good at protecting it against additional malicious software.

Other-than-virus malware is very common these days. Cyber criminals are getting more and more creative, finding new ways to steal your personal information and data from your computer.

The more obstacles you put in their way, the safer your computer will be.

Macs

You may think that you are safe and don’t need anti-virus and anti-malware software if you use a Mac computer. That is not entirely true. You should run at least anti-malware protection on your Mac.

Running an anti-virus software doesn’t hurt either. Even though there are not as many viruses for Mac as there are for Windows, by running an anti-virus on your Mac you will nevertheless protect people you communicate with.

You could, for example, get a virus-infected document or file, which would do your Mac no harm. But when you send it to your friend who runs Windows, it will infect her computer. If you run anti-virus software yourself, it will detect and delete or quarantine the virus-infected file, and you will not propagate it further.

Smart Phones

Smart phones are almost as complex as computers, and we are using them to access more and more content online. It is a good idea to install an antivirus and anti-malware applications on your phone to make sure it is secure, and to keep your personal information and data safe.

Computer Security Scanner Summary

Not having basic computer protection in the form of a couple of solid computer security scanners is not worth the risk.

Anti-virus and anti-malware software is a critical part of basic computer defense, and greatly increases your computer security. You should have both installed on all your computers, and probably smart phones as well.

While no software can completely protect you from all future threats, anti-virus and anti-malware software give you a good security foundation to build on.

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