It might seem obvious to many that antivirus programs must be updated regularly. But the frequency and the reasons why it should be so are not that obvious to everyone. Let’s explain why it is so important for the protection of your computer.
How Often Should You Update Your Antivirus Software?
Let’s first be clear: updating your antivirus software does not mean downloading a whole new version of the program, it only involves installing the latest virus database definitions which is usually a reasonably quick process. Automatic default settings are usually set to check for new updates once a day… which does not mean there will be some everyday.
Checking for new updates daily (in case your automatic settings are disables by a specific malware) can be a pain, but it is the safest option. If you are too busy or to lazy to do so, do it at least once a week. In this case, remember to launch a scan at the same time to make sure you didn’t get any new infection since the last update. Obviously, run the scan after installing the updates.
Every Day Sees New Stronger Virus Threats Emerging
You probably have heard of the most famous virus threats such as the I Love You worm which infected 10% of the internet-connected computers around the world in the 2000s, which lead you to install an antivirus software on your computer as soon as you bought it. But now, when was the last time uyou updated your antimalware program? Never? Well, it’s no real use to your computer safety then.
Indeed, new malware, whatever type they are (viruses, worms, spyware…) emerge every day. And they are not as basic as the ones we used to see a decade ago. Now they tend to couple different types of malware in one so they can infect your PC even more and even longer.
Obviously, if the version of your antivirus software is not updated, it is then obsolete. It won’t be aware new theats and won’t be able to protect your laptop and keep it safe from these theats.
Infected Valuable Documents Remain Infected Even If Backed Up
Something we often forget is that if your computer gets infected, all your valuable documents are at risk. If you back them up on an external hard drive for example, the time you clean your computer, once you transfer them back on your new operating system, they might infect it again. What a loss of time.
Again, even if you scan your document with an obsolete version of your antivirus program, the latter won’t be able to detect the threat and you might think your documents are ok, which is maybe not the case. Up-to-date antivirus software will.
Malwares Can Turn Off Your Automatic Updates!
Now, you might be the kind of lazy one who rely on automatic updates for your common programs. In this case, be aware that some malware are able to disable your antivirus software automatic updates! So even if you have these activated, remember to frequently check if it is still the case. If your have not seen for a long time the usual pop-up window that your antivirus program shows usually every once in a while to suggest an update, you might already be infected by this kind of malware.
Keep Your Friends Safe
The laziest ones might think that in the worst case, they are infected… “And what? That’s my own problem!”, they would say. Sadly, no, it is not only their problem, but the one of all their contacts and friends. Sending an email to them or transferring files with a USB stick on their computer will most likely infect their system. You love your friends? For that purpose, update your antivirus software to keep them safe. Can you imagine telling your friends they got infected just because of your laziness?