Remember when Norton, McAfee, and Webroot ruled the world and we were all buying separate antivirus software for our computers? These days, many of us have forgotten about these products and instead opt for the built-in protection
which is provided by Windows and was previously known as “Windows Defender” but is now known as “Windows Security.”
But there are several types of antivirus software—paid as well as free—present in the market. Instead, why did we choose “Windows Security”?
Is Windows Security powerful enough to keep you safe from malware and viruses?
So, to answer this question, let’s explore “Windows Security” and see what it does and does not do.
So let’s get started.
Jump to this part:
Overview of Windows Security
So it used to be that the protection built into Windows was relatively barebones, but these days, Windows Security is a fairly comprehensive solution.
Most of the tech reviewers have given Windows Security a plus rating for detecting, stopping, and quarantining the usual viruses and malware, with multiple sites ranking it higher than quite a few paid antivirus programs,
both in terms of “how many species of malicious codes it stops” as well as having a low number of false positives.
Strategies used by Windows Security
It uses two common strategies to achieve this high success rate.
- Firstly it examines signatures against a database.
Microsoft publishes updates for Windows PCs multiple times a day with signatures for newly found malware, and then Windows Security downloads these signatures and compares them to possible threats.
- The second is the use of “heuristics.”
Which means it analyses programme behaviour without using specific definitions or signatures.
This way, if a zero-day or undiscovered threat makes its way onto your Windows system and behaves suspiciously,
Windows security can block it even if it has never been seen before.
Windows Security is pretty powerful for home users, but it still has some limitations.
- One is that Windows security tends to depend quite heavily on being capable to connect to Microsoft servers and access malware data kept in the cloud. A recent AV comparable test noted that Windows Security only detected 2/3 of threats when its Internet connection was lost, which lagged behind most paid competitors, which tend to store most of their resources locally.
Of course, most of us these days are consistently online, but just think about a situation,
You unknowingly downloaded malware, and then the malware decides to act up
when you are not connected to the Internet.
More advanced paid antivirus might also be less dependent on a signature database and more
dependent on cloud AI to prevent new and evolving threats more holistically.
Also, some paid antiviruses give you extra features like VPN service, monitoring your home network for vulnerabilities,
and for providing alerts when your email or password is involved in a data breach.
But you might think these are not good enough to justify paying for an antivirus for home security. Moving away from relying on just Windows Security might be a good idea for businesses and organizations that have to secure lots of computers at once.
This approach is commonly called “Endpoint Security”.
As it involves robustly protecting user-facing end points, which have historically gotten weaker protections than servers.
Endpoint security is provided by a growing number of companies these days, such as “CrowdStrike,” “HP Wolf Security,” “Central 1,” “FireEye, and even “Microsoft.”
It typically includes not only the usual antivirus and anti-malware functions but also advanced features
like automatically restoring a system’s BIOS if it is attacked, more deeply examining files to detect malicious code,
sandboxing processes in memory so that malware can’t spread to other parts of the system, keeping the security software running with hardware control even if the operating system is compromised, and allowing for easy remote management.
As you are reading this blog, you might also like: Fighting a ransomware attack: a comprehensive guide
So, if you have a network of computers full of vital files that must not be compromised at any cost, it may be worth investing in a security solution that you will actually pay for.
Otherwise, continuing with Windows Security or Windows Defender is probably fine, but just be careful what you click on.
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