The cybersecurity industry is booming; recent hacks, data leaks, and exploits have forced companies to reinforce their existing security in an attempt to protect themselves and their users. Though, some companies are willing to do whatever it takes to break cybersecurity conventions in order to snoop on user data.
Some people believe that, when it comes to cybersecurity, common sense and antivirus software are enough to protect from any network-borne threat. And while the sentiment is appreciated, it’s just not true. Let’s delve into why antiviruses can’t withstand everything hackers and cybercriminals have to throw.
3 Major Cyber Risks Antivirus Software Won’t Protect You From
Antivirus software offers a cheap—often free—way to keep a device clean and safe, but there are certain cybersecurity risks that they can’t do anything against, some of which are listed here.
For one, antivirus software is unable to protect users from phishing, a form of scam that relies on social engineering and manipulation of users in order to extract personal information from the victim (such as social security numbers, credit card information, addresses, and more). Avoiding these scams rely on common sense and practice of proper cybersecurity etiquette from the user. An Antivirus won’t help.
Ransomware, as well. While some high-end antiviruses possess the ability to detect certain forms of ransomware, many lack the capabilities to do so. A number of people falsely believe that ransomware is a thing of the past, despite certain ransomware operators going as far as to publish victims’ information on their own sites.
Antivirus software can’t protect users from AI-enhanced cyberthreats, either. Certain cybercriminals and hackers have found ways to use AI to their advantage—AI that manipulates systems and programs into allowing them access, spreading throughout the system, and forcing security software to put their guard down.
3 Effective Security Tools to Protect Yourself
Going on and on about why antiviruses are weak when paired with nothing else is easy—discussing possible alternatives to antiviruses, on the other hand, is a much more satisfying thing to write about. So let’s go over a few alternatives (or pairings) really quick.
A VPN – VPNs (virtual private networks) allow users to hide their activity on the network from everyone else, including their ISP, government, and other people on the network. Furthermore, VPNs allow said user to encrypt their data, keeping it out of the hands of cybercriminals and hackers. Download a VPN app if security is a concern when using a network, especially public networks.
Vulnerability Scanners – Unlike antivirus software, vulnerability scanners print out in-depth reports into the scanned network, device, and vice versa. Vulnerability scanners allow any user to identify the vulnerabilities in their network and how they can patch them up before a cybercriminal takes advantage of said vulnerability.
Email Scanners – Practicing proper cybersecurity etiquette will go a long way in defending against phishing or other scams that spread through email. But having extra security never hurt anyone, which is why people should use an email scanner whenever possible. These scanners scan for and catch scam emails, counterfeit emails, and any email that poses a significant risk.
Of course, there is a plethora of security software available for mainstream use that covers everything an antivirus can’t. But, due to limited time, focusing on the 3 most commonly used felt right.
Antivirus scanners have been around since the beginning of the Internet. And while they share their uses, they are far from the end-all, be-all of cybersecurity software. Dozens of cybersecurity programs exist for anyone to use, all of them with their own specialties and uses.