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Why do I need an anti-virus?

spywareWhen viruses infect humans, our bodies react by showing symptoms. It’s these headaches or snotty noses that then encourage us to go to the doctors and get cured, which also stop us from infecting our friends and family.

Unfortunately, computer viruses are built to be sneakier than real-world ones.

Digital viruses – and other types of computer-based malware – are almost always designed to avoid being detected, so they can carry on their malicious purpose for as long as possible.

The only way to know if your system is sick or not is to have regular health checks – which means running regular virus scans.

The dangers of malware and computer viruses

Different types of computer malware (a category that includes viruses and other types of digital nasty) can have vastly different effects, but they’re pretty much always bad news for you, the computer users.

Some of the most typical consequences are:

  • Broken computers
  • Slower performance
  • Loss of pictures, videos, documents and other data
  • Loss of private information, including bank details
  • Loss of access to files

A slow or broken computer, or missing files, are signs that you’ve got an infection, but they could also have many other causes (such as user error or a badly-performing program or component).

Just like you can’t be sure (without expert advice) that a virus is giving you a headache, without an anti-virus, you can’t be sure if your system is infected or is just behaving badly.

Can I find viruses without an anti-virus?worms

It’s possible to find viruses without having an anti-virus installed – but it’s very, very difficult.

For example, one way in which anti-virus software discovers infections is by scanning your entire computer, looking for files that look similar to known viruses. In human terms, that would be the same as a doctor inspecting every cell in your body, comparing each one to every known type of virus. It’s impossible.

If you’ve recently installed a piece of software and managed to spot a symptom of a viral infection, removing that software may kill the virus before it has had a chance to spread to other files – but if this works, it’s a lucky and rare occurrence.

The best option is definitely to use professional anti-virus software.

Are anti-viruses hard to use?

The best thing about anti-viruses are that they are very easy to use – you just install them, set how often you want them to check for viruses and leave them to it.

They’re a great way to get computer peace-of-mind, without spending days defending your computer yourself.

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To learn more about Norman’s anti-virus software, visit http://www.norman.com/home_and_small_office/products

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