Published On: Mon, Jan 9th, 2017

Tips to Buy Antivirus Software

Buying antivirus has almost become rocket science. Just do a quick Internet search and you will see what I mean; there are so many options. For the uninitiated, it is like navigating a complex maze. To make matters worse, every vendor claims that their antivirus is the best. Software review websites don’t make things any easier because most of them promote specific antivirus software for financial gain in the form of affiliate commissions.

The tips that follow below, will act as a compass to help you navigate the treacherous terrain that is the antivirus software industry.

A good antivirus software must conform to the following features and specifications:

  • Near 100% malware detection rate

The work of antivirus software is to detect malware. As far as your computer security is concerned, there is no acceptable margin of error. However, antivirus companies will rarely promise 100% detection rate but will mention a figure of 99% to 99.9%. This small margin is left to cater for the eventuality that some cyber criminal could create malware that has never been seen before. But, generally speaking, the best free antivirus software programs will have a near 100% malware detection rate. This is made possible by making use of regularly updated virus databases and heuristic analysis where the antivirus checks every file and program for known malware behavior.

  • Zero false positives

Closely related to the first point is the ability to detect malware without flagging legitimate programs as malware. Nothing is more annoying than your antivirus blocking from launching your web browser or other program you use often because it thinks it’s a virus. Gamers are particularly affected by this issue because some antivirus programs are notorious for flagging popular games as viruses and blocking user access, beeping annoyingly and popping-up during intense game time.

  • User friendly

Your antivirus interface should not feel like the cockpit of a Boeing Airliner. It should be simple and intuitive. If you can’t understand the interface after twenty minutes, you should probably think of using a different antivirus.

  • Excellent zero-day performance

Zero-day, also known as zero-hour, 0-day or day zero is a computer software vulnerability that hasn’t been made public before becoming active. The computer security company therefore has zero days to patch the vulnerability or devise a mitigating workaround. A good antivirus is able to spot such a virus that’s exploiting such a vulnerability by spotting virus-like behavior using the heuristic analysis technique described earlier as well as other detection technologies.

  • Daily automatic updates

A good antivirus should update its core system and virus databases automatically in the background. You should never have to instruct the antivirus to update itself.

photo/ Gerd Altmann via pixabay

  • Nimble

The software design of a good antivirus should be lightweight, making the antivirus nimble. The drag on your computer system should not be significant to create any problems with regular computing.

A few other important points

Before you go, there are a few other important points about antivirus software that I need to mention.

  • Antivirus only vs security suite

There is a difference between antivirus software and a complete security suite. Antivirus software basically provides you with protection from malware while complete security suites come with additional features such as anti-spyware, anti-spam, anti-phishing, identity theft, parental controls, firewalls, password manager and many more. A security suite is therefore more comprehensive and thus, more expensive.

  • System specifications

As mentioned before, the antivirus you choose must be nimble. The way to decide whether the antivirus you choose won’t have a negative effect on your computer is to check the system specifications on the description page. If you have an older machine with less than 2 MB of RAM your choices are limited.

  • Compatibility

Read the antivirus documentation carefully to ensure that the product is compatible with other programs installed on your computer. Conflicting programs can cause your computer to crash and you could end up losing valuable data.

  • Mac and Linux

If you own a Mac or run a computer running on a Linux distro such as Ubuntu, you don’t need to worry about antivirus software. However, you must take safety precautions such as ensuring you don’t surf dangerous websites or insert infected media into your computer. You can still spread infected files to other users.

  • Support is important

The best premium antivirus products will have direct support in the form of chat, email and telephone in addition to dedicated help pages and video tutorials.


That’s it! When looking for an antivirus, look out for the features of a good antivirus such as a near perfect malware detection rate, an intuitive user interface and one that doesn’t use up too much system resources. Also ensure you take note of the other important points and I guarantee you will have hassle free computing.

Author: Lolita Di


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