What is an antivirus product? Do I need one?

An antivirus product is a program designed to detect and remove viruses and other kinds of malicious software from your computer or laptops.

Malicious software – known as malware – is code that can harm your computers and laptops, and the data on them. Your devices can become infected by inadvertently downloading malware that’s in an attachment linked to a dubious email, or hidden on a USB drive, or even by simply visiting a dodgy website.

Once it’s on your computer or laptop, malware can steal your data, encrypt it so you can’t access it, or even erase it completely. For this reason, it’s important that you always use antivirus software, and keep it up to date to protect your data and devices.

Windows 10 laptops have windows defender installed so you don’t need to install another antivirus product. Make sure that you keep windows updated to secure your device and data.

You don’t need antivirus products on smartphones or tablets, provided that you only install apps and software from stores such as Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. You should also set your apps (and the tablet/smartphone itself) to update automatically.

For some more information about antivirus have a look at this page for some advice from the National Cyber Security Centre.

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