Antiviruses are created with the intention to keep various viruses and malware at bay. They are made to scan every file or folder that has been created or downloaded to check against the latest definition of viruses as updated. The malware that is detected by antivirus software is extensive in nature and covers worms, trojans, spyware, keyloggers, bots, etc. From this alone, it is clear why having an antivirus installed on a device is essential for the overall integrity of your data and device health.
As we all know, Windows Defender is the default antivirus software that Windows comes preinstalled with. While the initial days of Windows Defender did not impress the tech savvy, owing to the definitions of viruses being outdated and simply not being in line with what is required in the changing times. However, with adequate tuning and regular updates, Microsoft has ensured that the Windows Defender has turned into a reliable antivirus program, even if not the best in the market.
But Is Windows Defender Good Enough?
Windows Defender comes with many useful features that most of its competing rivals also provide. It has real-times threat detection, the ever-important firewall protection, with parental controls and an improved virus protection library based on the cloud. However, the true question to ask and verify is how Windows Defender fares against its competitors, features-wise and protection-wise.
As feature-rich as Windows Defender is evolving to be, these features are only as good as their proven effectiveness when applied to real-time scenarios. This is where we see the shortcomings of Windows Defender. The promised parental controls are limited in functionality to only Microsoft browsers meaning that internet security features have to be additionally installed on any other browsers, such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Windows Defender also does not come with a VPN feature or a password manager. True, users can simply install third-party tools, but the functionality of having the antivirus program have it inbuilt is something users have grown to expect.
Lastly, the real-time protection is not as effective as it might sound with Windows Defender failing to block certain kinds of malicious files; this takes away from Windows Defender the most because real-time protection is the main reason for using antivirus software. In addition to this, Microsoft does not update its virus database as often as its competitors do, implying an inability of Windows Defender to remain current in keeping up with the updated definitions. In short, what this means is that while Windows Defender is not a great antivirus program to be solely in charge of all your data, it is still a great freeware to work in cohesion with another antivirus.
But What Are The Other Antivirus Options?
There are countless number of antivirus options for users to choose from in the market. However, the names that have sustained the increasing requirement to adapt and perform extensively for their users are few in number. There are reasons why Norton, Kaspersky, Total AV, and similar software have become household names in the antivirus segment. Let us understand why:
Norton has worked hard to regain its former glory and it has managed to do so gracefully and with more impact. It provides its users with different plans and pricing of Norton 360 that are catered to different needs the users will have.
The core principles or security features that the antivirus is built around, however, are: Device Security, Cloud Backup, Secure VPN, Password Manager and Parental Control. So experts consider this tool one of the best ones on the market. Device Security is strengthened by the Symantec Online Network for Advanced Response (SONAR), which utilizes the heuristics to analyse if the given file is good or bad. This makes Norton update its virus database with evolving definitions and even helps the software fight zero-day threats. Once identified, the file is quarantined straightaway wherein Norton stops all services associated with the file from running. The antivirus is also adept at preventing attempts to encrypt user files (as it happens in ransomware attacks), transfer data away from the computer or hijacking the CPU.
The Cloud Backup allows the user to store important files on the cloud with the allocated backup space ranging between 10GB to 75GB depending on the plan chosen. This is a monumental increase in space to the ones offered by Norton’s competitors like Kaspersky and Comodo. Further, the VPN and Password Manager is of great utility when browsing the internet with the former having a ‘no log’ policy, meaning that the software does not record your browsing history while using the VPN. The VPN is highly secure in its encryption as also in the speed it manages to deliver to your device.
TotalAV is an efficient piece of antivirus software that has a decently updated database on virus definitions. While it does provide for real-time protection, in order to enable it, the user would have had to upgrade his service. In other words, the full extent of Total AV’s features is available to the user only after paying for the service of choice. Features such as Safe Browsing VPN with unlimited data, a built-in password manager and an Adblocker are included in the paid version. This antivirus, further, offers its users a PC optimization feature which ensures its users have a faster computer by reducing the lag on the system and promoting faster CPU running time. This feature also eliminates tracking cookies to enable complete security for the user on cyberspace with regards to privacy issues. The antivirus is available across devices and platforms making it versatile for every type of user.
Kaspersky is another of the well-established names in the antivirus domain. The software includes malware protection that is entirely cloud-based which ensures that the virus and malware definitions are updated automatically without user interference. The updates for the software also are much more frequent than they are for the Windows Defender, making it a prime antivirus to choose. It has the capability to block all the phishing sites meaning that the user is well protected on the online domain despite scammers and hackers regularly interfering. Further, Kaspersky has a VPN and password manager providing ease of access to the virtual space for its users. However, it is to be noted that the VPN comes with a daily data usage limit of 200 MB.