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It is stressed over and over again on media outlets, by computer experts, and by Internet security professionals—use good antivirus software or you put your sensitive information and your computer at risk. But what exactly are you risking? Do you really need to purchase antivirus software?
After all, most computers today come with some type of built-in security and a firewall to keep hackers at bay. So why do you need to purchase anything else? The simple answer is that new online threats are emerging every day, and you built-in security simply isn’t powerful enough or sophisticated enough to always recognize new threats, viruses, or malware that can access your computer, steal information, or wreak havoc with your files.
1. You Risk Damaging or Losing Computer Files
Some viruses are meant only to cause damage to files on your computer, making them unreadable. Others can cause files to be deleted and lost forever. If you backup your data regularly, you can retrieve your lost or damaged files if something like that ever happened, but why not prevent it in the first place to avoid the stress?
Top antivirus software applications from companies such as Norton and Kaspersky are constantly releasing updates to ensure that they are prepared to recognize and stop viruses before they can successfully attack your computer.
2. You Risk Losing Sensitive Information
More sophisticated viruses (or more specifically, spyware and malware) are designed to steal your usernames and passwords to online sites. These include banking and financial websites, your email website, or retail sites such as Amazon, eBay, and pretty much anything else. If a hacker manages to acquire your usernames and passwords to any of these sites, they can possibly cause irreparable financial damage.
They might also change your password so that you can no longer access the site, discover account information that enables them to commit identity theft, or at the very least, make a bunch of purchases before you notice anything is amiss.
3. You Risk Losing Control of Your Computer
Hackers that manage to trick you into downloading malware can actually take over your computer from a remote location, and possibly even lock you out. In fact, most malware and spyware is accidentally downloaded to computers by the owner, who is tricked into visiting a website or downloading a program that is masquerading as something else.
Antivirus that is well-regarded as being one of the top applications and is kept consistently up-to-date can protect you from all of the above risks.