Does Antivirus Stop Hackers?
Hackers have a wide variety of techniques and tools to gain access to a target’s computer. They use these tools to steal your personal and confidential data like social security numbers (SSN), financial data, personal information, passwords, and more.
A hacker could try to get in directly to your computer or have a malicious program installed so that it can penetrate it. Without having the proper protection measures in place, hackers will also attempt to take control of your machine directly over the network.
While there’s no foolproof way of keeping hackers at bay, installing an antivirus can limit the threats to an extent.
You need to understand that hacking isn’t just limited to stealing data.
Some hackers use links and similar clickbait to transfer ransomware, keyloggers, and other malicious software over the internet.
Without an antivirus, you won’t be alerted about potentially infected downloads or malicious URLs. Conversely, when you have a solution installed, you’ll receive real-time notifications which will help you to steer clear of these harmful links and downloads. The first line of protection against hacker attacks is an effective antivirus.
However, no antivirus can be 100% hacker-proof.
In short, any antivirus will indirectly stop hackers by blocking or deleting the resources they use to gain access to your device. What it can't do is shield you from direct attacks. It’s up to the work of a firewall, which you can get with some antiviruses (included or as an add-on).
Stay Protected Against Zero-Day Malware Attacks
Most hackers use malware to gain access to your devices. These can be viruses, spyware, ransomware, worms, Trojans, and more. Most suites are designed to detect these programs before they’re installed on a device. Advanced antiviruses like Norton can also uninstall existing Trojan infections to prevent hackers from using the "back door" on your computer.
Even if the hacker manages to evade the preliminary check, the multi-layered protection offered by most antiviruses is more than capable of detecting and removing all possible threats. With the rising trend of zero-day threats, a majority of the antiviruses have started employing artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and behavior-based heuristic monitoring for quicker detection of newer threats.
Other than malware, hackers also use rootkits and keylogger attacks to gain access to your data. Premium antivirus companies offer extra features like virtual keyboards, webcam protection, secured browsers, payment guards, and more to prevent these types of intrusions and help safeguard your precious data.
Other features like data encryption, advanced firewalls, and a virtual private network (VPN) also protect your device and data from hackers to an extent. Here are some of the measures you can take against hackers when you choose an antivirus package:
- Spyware protection
- Tracking protection
- Adware protection
- Keylogger and rootkit protection
- Real-time threat detection
- Heuristic monitoring
- Dedicated web extensions
- File lock, data encryption, backups
Not All Antiviruses Work Equally
Hackers are savvy. They can create complex systems to steal data or penetrate systems. However, most hacker attacks targeting individual users, as opposed to companies, appear to focus on employing similar techniques. They use readymade scripts, and most freemium antivirus solutions can easily detect them.
Some hackers use link baits, others use fake email id’s and attachments to lure victims into installing a gateway for their nefarious activities. There are some that attack the network instead, especially any wireless network that isn’t guarded by a firewall.
Generally, free antiviruses aren’t well-equipped to keep hackers at bay. There are some premium brands offering effective features but the overall performance and costs vary widely.
That said, it all boils down to two important factors. The first is the layers of protection the antivirus offers. Most antiviruses offer three-layered protection which does a decent job of covering all fronts like web scanning, real-time scanning, firewall, encryptions, file locks, and more.
The second is whether the antivirus supports behavior-based threat detection. Malware signatures are updated every day and a lot of newer threats pop up regularly. A basic antivirus can offer protection from the threats it already knows but won’t be able to detect newer malware.
On the other hand, behavior-based engines compare file behavior with a proven list of threats. If the engine detects a threat, it adds it to the list of new threats. This way, whenever a hacker launches a new threat, you’re better prepared to block it.
Using the Antivirus
To get the most protection from hackers, you’ll need to fine-tune an antivirus solution’s settings. Make sure the antivirus is updated to the latest version and configure regular scans. Furthermore, choose a program that offers protection from all types of malware, features firewall and web protection, and includes real-time scans, data encryption, password managers, and data backups.
With all these measures in place, hackers will find it more difficult to penetrate your systems and cause widespread damage.