Is Third-Party Antivirus still needed?

Installing antivirus software has been a constant recommendation for years – but is it still necessary in 2023, particularly with operating systems built in defences?

Many have argued that, in recent years, third-party anti-virus software is not needed. As operating systems are becoming more security-minded, they have started to become bundled with free, built-in protection. Windows 10 has two tools that it uses in its arsenal to fight against viruses and malware – Windows Firewall, and Windows Defender. With regular updates provided, they constantly log the latest threats. Apple goes further and opts for a three-pronged strategy of XProtect, Gatekeeper and Notorization.

On the subject of Apple, there has been a constant myth that Macs are immune from viruses. This has never really been true, but Mac malware is certainly rarer, although on the rise. Windows dominate the market in terms of operating system users, so naturally, cybercriminals spend more time developing malware and other viruses such as ransomware for Macs. This is why Apple have, in recent years as the number of users of Mac OS has increased, stepped up their security.

So with Windows and Apple now coming bundled with what is essentially free antivirus that is part of the operating system, do you still need antivirus software in 2023? We would advise that you continue to use third-party antivirus software where possible, for several reasons. According to a study by AV-Test, more than 450,000 new malicious programs are discovered every single day. While Windows and Apple are constantly providing updates to deal with new and emerging threats, they can’t get to all of them. Third party antivirus software contains additional defences against malware, such as guarding personal information such as bank or credit card details, and will warn you if a malicious program is trying to access your machine. Many third-party antivirus software also come with a VPN to enable you to browse privately.

Windows Defender has been rated highly for its effectiveness, keeping up with the big hitters like Norton and McAfee. There is also another advantage – it’s free. However, as mentioned above, this means you don’t get some of the added features bundled with third-party antivirus software. So ultimately, it’s up to you, but having a two-pronged approach against malware is better than a single one. Given the sheer number of new malware cropping up every day, and the ever-growing threat of ransomware, it’s better o be safe than sorry when it comes to antivirus software.

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