Choose a proper antivirus for Windows 10
Trust me, I am old enough to be your father, and maybe even your grandfather! This means that I am also old enough to remember the days when computer viruses simply didn't exist. But now, they are a reality, and the number of malware applications is growing exponentially.
Simply follow this link to see a graph which shows that today there are almost 780 million known viruses, and most of them are targeting Android devices and Windows computers. Fortunately, Windows 10 already includes the built-in Windows Defender antivirus, but is this tool good enough for most people's needs? I'd love to tell you that there's a simple answer to this question, but unfortunately, I can't do that. Let's find out why.
Windows Defender was made available as a separate download for Windows 7 users several years ago. Its name was Microsoft Security Essentials back then, and it was known for its low CPU resources usage. Its virus detection rate wasn't impressive at all, though.
Things have changed for the better, though, and AV Test, a highly regarded, independent security researching company, has given it a 3.5/6.0 malware protection score, a 4.5/6.0 resource usage score, and a 6.0/6.0 usability score. So yes, Windows Defender has a nice interface and won't slow down your computer, but its protection against zero-day malware attacks needs to be improved.
So, if you don't visit any dangerous sites, Windows' built-in antivirus may do the job for you, especially if you use it in combination with a decent anti-malware suite such as https://www.superantispyware.com.
However, if you want to explore various websites without getting your computer infected, you should purchase a good antivirus. AV Test recommends Avira, Bitdefender, F-Secure, Kaspersky and a few more products, which have a 6.0/6.0 malware protection/detection rate.
I have tested Avira, Bitdefender and Kaspersky and I liked them all. One thing to note, though, is that some of these applications have become more complex over the years, incorporating more and more applications that you may need – or not! While it is true that some of these built-in tools may be useful, others will only waste hard disk space and slow down your computer. I've seen several antiviruses that used to worked great, but now also include browser cleaners, private data vaults, registry cleaners, and so on. The idea is to choose an antivirus which has less bloatware, utilizing the precious CPU resources for what it should do best: malware protection.
No antivirus in the world will be able to protect your computer if you don't do your part, though. Resist the temptation to visit shady sites, which may run malware scripts in your browser behind the scenes, and thus infect your computer. Having the "SmartScreen" feature enabled will also help, because it can prevent you from visiting potentially dangerous sites.
Also, don't open email attachments unless you've requested them, even if the messages appear to come from friends, coworkers or family! Often, hackers will get access to your friends' email accounts, and then use them to send infected links and attachments to everyone in the address book.
Not only that, but people can make use of email spoofing, sending emails that have a forged sender address. So, even if you have gotten an email from email@example.com, it doesn't mean that Saint Nicholas himself has sent it. As a conclusion, to be 100% safe, be sure to pick a commercial antivirus. You should also use a healthy dose of common sense to keep your Windows computer safe, of course.