Why Updating Your Antivirus Program is Crucial for Network Protection?

Network Security

If you on a computer, one of the things many people probably stressed to you when you first purchased it was that you had to have good antivirus software. If not, your computer would be at risk, and you could easily lose all of your data or even your entire computer to one horrible virus. That piece of advice was probably followed up with instructions to always make sure your antivirus program was up to date. But why? That question isn’t always answered, and it’s actually not as simple of an answer as you might think. Here are some reasons why it’s very important to update your antivirus software on a regular basis, especially when it alerts you to a new update.

You can Make Sure you have the Newest Signature Files

The signature files act as your antivirus program’s database of different threats. They contain all of the information on all of the viruses the company has catalogued, including what they do and which types of files they generally target. These are the files that you’ll be downloading the most. Some antivirus programs actually update their signature files every day. That’s because there are always new viruses being identified. If you don’t keep these files updated, there’s a good chance one of these new viruses will take down your computer. Antivirus programs, even the free ones, should download these files frequently, and it’s not a bad idea to set this download to automatic so you don’t have to remember to do it all the time.

When your antivirus program updates its signature files, it will also do a check to see if the scan engine needs an update. This update can add new features to your antivirus program, identify and plug any security vulnerabilities, or make it faster. It’s vital that this scan engine is fully updated because it’s what scans your computer as you open files or websites. If it’s not working correctly, your antivirus program may not detect viruses.

Updated Antivirus Software can Catch Operating System Vulnerabilities

In addition to scanning for viruses, some antivirus software is also designed to check your computer’s operating system for vulnerabilities and other issues. It’s important to detect these issues because they present doors for viruses to enter your computer. Updating your antivirus program not only updates your virus information but also updates its list of operating system vulnerabilities so the program can watch these areas for attacks.

Most operating systems have their own updaters that will periodically check the program servers for new updates, but these programs are often attacked by viruses. Having your antivirus software check for vulnerabilities in addition to the operating system updater provides you a second layer of security.

There are Always Near Viruses Emerging

Hackers are always creating new viruses to attack people’s computers and steal their private information, plus they check for different operating system vulnerabilities to attack. If you don’t keep your antivirus program updated, it won’t be able to detect these new viruses, so there will be no way of protecting against them. Once a new virus is discovered, your antivirus software is instantly outdated and your system is vulnerable. Fortunately, as soon as new viruses are identified, antivirus companies go to work creating virus definitions and ways of quarantining viruses so that they can’t hurt you.

It’s Critical to Protect your Documents

Even if your documents are just your personal files, photos, and music, you still don’t want to lose them to a virus. There are many viruses, malware, and other nefarious programs that are designed to do nothing but infect your computer and destroy your files. Why do these exist? Some hackers simply want to cause people problems. If you do a lot of business work on your computer, one of these viruses could cause you to lose days or weeks of work and make you miss deadlines. Then there are some horrible viruses that will actually lock you out of your computer unless you pay the hackers to gain access again!Many won’t even release your data after you pay, or they’ll steal your credit card information and do even more damage. You certainly want to protect your business data from virus, so be sure your antivirus program is up-to-date.

Hackers can Actually Turn off Software Auto-Updates

If you have your antivirus program set up to auto-update, you may think that you don’t ever have to mess with it again. However, it’s a good idea to check your antivirus program’s setting every now and then because it’s possible a hacker or a virus could have actually gotten in there and turned off the update feature. While most antivirus programs that have been updated will catch viruses that try to do this, it’s possible that new viruses or other programs could slip past your defenses and disable the updates. Check your antivirus program every few months at a minimum. As an additional security measure, you should also install an intrusion detection and prevention system which could prevent such hacking attempts and save you from a potential loss.

You Could Infect Others

Viruses and other programs can also get into your email and start sending messages and infected files to everyone in your address book. Viruses can also infect your flash drive or can move along your network, infecting other computers without you ever knowing it! If you infect your work computer because of a file you brought in from home, you may even face disciplinary action. If you see emails from your friends that contain strange files or links, especially if there’s no other message, it’s a good sign that they have a virus. Let them know that they need to scan their computer and make sure their antivirus program is up to date.

Are you Protected?

Do you keep your antivirus program up-to-date? Even if you’ve set it to update automatically, you still need to make sure it’s actually updating regularly. Check the date of the most recent update, and if you see anything that makes you suspicious, be sure to run a full virus scan.

Remember, an updated antivirus program will:
 a)Protect you from viruses, malware, and spyware
 b)Check your operating system for vulnerabilities
 c)Protect your email contacts and anyone you share files with

Do you have any other tips for keeping your computer protected from viruses? If so, share them with us!