Why you need more than an antivirus in 2020

Several years ago, an antivirus was the security measure to go for almost everyone concerned about device security. Then came the many innovations and developments in technology. On the brighter side, technology has made our tasks easier while spicing up our life with unrivalled convenience. For example, who would have thought working from home‌ was possible a few decades ago? Yet most of us have experienced it this year, made possible by technology.

On the flip side, however, these innovations brought a new layer of security threats. Threats that leave not only our devices but also data and information vulnerable. Take for instance, your smartphone links you to email contacts, banking information, work account, social media networks and so on.

What does this mean? The gadget on the palm of your hand, carries loads of sensitive information about you; and that anyone who could gain access to it would probably get to know too much about you, right?

Staying safe requires that you secure your emails, correspondences on social networks and so on. Although an antivirus is still an important security tool, there is not a single one that can guarantee full security on your network and across all devices.

This article reveals why you need more than just an antivirus to stay safe in this era of complex digital threats. We will also suggest 5 effective security tools that will help you add a layer of security.

Reasons why an antivirus alone won’t get the job done

Increasing sophistication of malware

Although some antivirus are timely in detecting any suspicious behavior from malicious software, some hackers still find their way around. When developing their malware, some of these hackers test the malicious codes on a device that has an antivirus software.

If need be, they then alter the codes to circumvent the security features in an antivirus.

Overconfidence in the software

Many people tend to rest easy just because they installed an antivirus. There are two unfortunate things about this false sense of security. First, it drives you to some bad habits (like connecting to unsecured networks, and using easy-to-guess passwords) and recklessness which leaves your data and sensitive information in danger.

The second problem is that hackers know that you are overconfident about these antivirus products. With this knowledge of your weak points, it becomes easier for them to launch an attack.

Antiviruses are reactive

Antiviruses protect your device by sending virus detection alerts or notifications. They, therefore, are a lot more of a cure than a protective layer. By the time you are receiving the alert, the infection has already found its way into your system.

What’s more, to detect newly released malware, some antiviruses need to be updated with the current virus and malware definitions. This might take the engineers some time and not to forget that you too, might fail to update your antivirus software‌ in time. This update window leaves your devices, data and information open to vulnerabilities.

Major Cyber risks facing the public in 2020

Ransomware

This is an attack that denies you access to important data, information or files on your device. Ransomware ‌ attackers demand for a payment in order to let go off your system. This sophisticated malware may lock your access screen or important documents with a password until the perpetrators milk money from you.

For example, in January 2020, ransomware attackers from a group known as Sodinokibi took hold of Tillamook County’s server, their official website, email networks, and phone systems. After 2 months of deliberations and concerted efforts to unlock the encrypted systems, the county officials had to part with a whooping $300,000 as ransom to the attackers before regaining full access.

This malware may find its way to your device through malicious links either in a deceptive email, fraudulent website or instant popups.

Phishing

This cybercrime targets users by sending content that appears deceptively true. The phishing content may be sent by email or via short messages in what is known as SMShing.‌ The messages contain links to fraudulent sites or require you to submit sensitive information such as credit card information or bank account details.

This information is then used as an aid to unauthorised access to your accounts or for impersonation.

Hackers exploit all avenues to stage a phishing attack. For example, following the declaration of coronavirus as a global pandemic earlier this year, hackers sent numerous smses containing malicious links claiming to be from the federal government.

Some phishing messages are personalized so it looks more convincing to the target. Some social media users‌ often expose their personal life publicly online. This may make them easy targets as cybercriminals can obtain information to personalize their phishing attacks.

Machine learning poisoning

This is the interference with a machine model by using malicious inputs to alter the original functioning of the model.

The input data is manipulated to create holes that interfere with the security of the machine learning system or model. These holes are vulnerabilities which are then exploited by a hacker to launch an attack.

Security tools that will protect you and your devices

Why you need more than an antivirus in 2020 : Protect your devices
Protect your devices  

While an antivirus is still an important security tool, it might not help much with the complex threats like the ones discussed above. Use the following security tools to strengthen your guard.

A VPN

Using a Virtual Private Network is a sure way of protecting your online interactions. As suggested in the name, this security tool creates a private network on any internet connection.

Through an encryption technology, this tool makes you invisible to hackers and other snoopers. A VPN app can be downloaded‌ and installed into any device. You can get a version that is compatible with your smartphones, computer, and routers and so on.

Get a VPN to secure your computer
Get a VPN to secure your computer

Vulnerability scanner

This tool does the assessing and even patching the security holes on your behalf. The existing vulnerabilities are classified in order of priority. This helps you make informed decisions in respect to the fixes that should be handled first.

Password managers

It is important to use complex passwords for different accounts. This makes it difficult for hackers to make a correct guess. That said, strong passwords may be a challenge to remember even for you, the account holder.

Use a password manager for a more convenient login experience. This tool auto fills your passwords across the different accounts.

Two-factor-authentication

Two-factor authentication is a security tool that requires you to prove that it's you that's trying to access your account.

This tool is handy for all accounts that hold confidential information. To prove that the access is legit, 2FA sends a one-time access code to your smartphone or the select device.

Data breach detectors

These tools work by detecting the potential attacks targeting your device, programs, applications or system. If the detection is timely, data breach detectors can prevent a planned security breach from being executed on your devices or network.

The detection software can either be reactive or passive. A passive software detects and sends an alert while the reactive one detects and responds by taking the recommended action.

Conclusion

Ransomware, phishing, malware attacks and other cyber risks are on the rise. The rampant attacks have made internet security to be an issue of serious concern. Anyone can become a victim. You, therefore, have to be very cautious whenever you are on the internet.

Augment your security measures by using the tools discussed above.

Yoann
About Yoann
Yoann is an international business consultant. He helps businesses implementing their international projects, facilitating exchanges between various cultures, specialties, streams, and technologies. He thrives in designing, improving, adapting, innovating, and making solutions work, to satisfy clients. He created www.ybierling.com to share his expertise. He worked more than 10 years in international business development, global supply chain perfection, financial optimization, SAP ERP project deployment, and Web based business support for various industries, such as logistics, cosmetics, consumer goods, beauty care, or fashion, in more than 30 countries around the globe.
 

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