The Top 5 Features You Need to Look for in a Practical Anti-Virus Software

By: Amber Newby | April 2, 2014 (Edited July 7, 2017)


Based on the almost endless slew of viruses and spyware that are out there on the Internet trying to infect various systems right across the planet, it goes without saying that having a top quality anti-virus program installed on your computer should be your number one priority. All it takes is one accidental click on a malicious link or one download of an infected file, and everything you do via your computer could become compromised, including your entire online fingerprint. ID theft is a very real potential outcome from such viruses. Running anti-virus software is the best defense that exists to date for protecting all the private information you have stored on your physical computer and the different websites you use right across the net. Just make sure that the software guarding your system has what it takes to defend against even the worst viruses out there. Here are the top five features you should consider when trying to find effective anti-virus software that will prevent identity theft and keep your digital world secure.

Automatic Updates of Virus and Spyware Definitions

In order to stay ahead of the digital threats that do exist, your anti-virus software of choice needs to be able to constantly update its virus and spyware definitions. These updates are needed anytime there is a change to the knowledge base regarding what new threats your program should be on the lookout for. Instead of having to worry about making these update checks yourself, make sure your anti-virus software can automate the process to put your mind at ease.

Real-Time Scanner for Constant Checks of Security Breaches

As long as your computer is connected to the Internet, potential security breaches are a 24/7 threat to its systems. Having an anti-virus program that possesses a real-time scanner function will make a huge difference in protecting your computer while it's online. Essentially, a real-time scanner that is active will constantly monitor the data flow between the Internet and your system so that if any viruses or spyware are detected, it can then move in to intercept the threats before they can infect your computer. Since being online and connected means receiving an almost constant stream of data from the Internet, you can see why this particular function is critical.

A Top Ranked Detection Rate

The detection rate of a particular anti-virus program is the official third-party review of how well it can actually seek out and find the viruses and spyware currently in existence. A high rate of detection is a key feature for any software you might be considering, because that means it will actually be effective once it's been installed and is interacting with your system. After all, you can't protect against what you can't see to begin with.

Ability to Set Up Scheduled Scans

Regular scans of your computer are a great way to ensure that you're not using a compromised system. Sometimes, though, you might forget to run one, or you may just be too busy at a particular time to have a certain amount of your computer's processing power go toward a scan. This is why the ability of your anti-virus software to perform scheduled scans is a great way to secure your computer without having an intrusion on your daily activities. Set daily or weekly scans for when you won't be at your computer and let the software do what it does best.

A Compressed File Scanner for Locating the Hardest to Find Viruses

One place some of the most malicious viruses and spyware lurk is deep within compressed files (such as a .zip or .rar) that are an aspect of most downloads from the Internet. A lot of the anti-virus software on the market will likely be able to do some sort of surface level scan of such files, but what you want is software with the ability to execute scans throughout the entire contents of the compressed file, even if that includes other compressed files within it. Threats could be hiding in the most innocent looking folder buried somewhere deep within the main one, so the software you choose needs to be capable of doing a thorough job.

Navigating your way through the potential choices for anti-virus software can be a bit confusing at times, but keeping these five key features in mind should help you make a more informed decision.


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Written by Amber Newby

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