You are aware that a large portion of the digital world population consists of malicious people who try to take advantage of your vulnerability, but does that mean that you have to protect your device with antivirus software? Depending on the platform that you use, you may either need or not need an antivirus application. Let’s look into the degree of necessity of installing an antivirus application on different popular platforms.
If you use a Windows PC, having antivirus software installed on it is considered essential. Due to the combination of the massive popularity of this operating system, its long history, and its software architecture which allows running applications to gain access to the system core, Microsoft Windows is perhaps the most vulnerable operating system to malware attack. And because malware attacks nowadays have become so serious that you may be forced to pay a ransom to get your attacked data back, investing in a reliable antivirus application becomes an indispensable necessity.
Microsoft is well aware of this necessity. This is the reason why if you are a Windows 10 user, you already have Windows Defender that combines antivirus and a firewall in your system. Although its quality is considered near the baseline, especially if compared with paid applications, Windows Defender is a reliable protector with constantly updated definitions. Besides, because it is a built-in system feature, it will not bog down your system, unlike third-party applications you install on it.
If you use Linux, a virus is perhaps the last thing to be concerned with. You don’t actually need antivirus software to protect your Linux machine. Demographically, Linux is less mainstream than Windows, so malicious people have little interest to attack this platform. Another reason why Linux is virus-proof is the way this platform handles installed programs. Unlike Windows programs that have all packages and libraries included in them, Linux keeps its programs in a secured repository. If you want to install any of them, you have to use Linux’s program managers, which are also secured. There is almost zero chance that a virus may attack your system unless you yourself execute certain commands that are considered dangerous for your system.
There are indeed several antivirus programs for Linux. However, these programs’ primary function is actually to prevent Windows viruses that pass through a Linux server from infecting other Windows systems.
Android is basically an operating system built on a Linux kernel, so just like Linux, Android doesn’t actually need antivirus software. When you install new apps, these apps actually lie on the outermost layer in Android’s architecture, far from the Android’s core libraries and system, and even further from the Linux kernel on which the operating system is based.
So why are there a lot of antivirus apps on Play Store? These apps actually protect your device not from viruses, but from you. There are many scenarios in which you may inadvertently inject malware to your Android device. When you download an app from the Play Store and forget to check the types of permission the app asks from you, you may expose your device to danger. When you install an app from an unknown source, it may carry something that may harm your device. When you root your device and play around with the system core, you may also harm the operating system. When you open a browser, you may get a false warning telling you that your phone is infected. In a nutshell, while you may be the one to blame when something wrong happens to your operating system. If you are cautious enough when using your device, you don’t actually need an antivirus program to be installed on it.
Mac and iOS
If you are a Mac user, there is a chance that you think that your system is the most secure one. While it is true, Mac is not invulnerable to attacks. There are at least two reasons why should you worry about the virus when using Mac. Firstly, Mac is getting more and more popular. Secondly, Windows is getting more and more secure that malicious individuals consider Mac a good alternative to being a target of attack.
So, is antivirus software necessary for Mac? Despite the increasing number of threats aimed at this system, Mac has actually had its own protections in the form of gatekeeper, XProtect, and malware removal tool. Compared with Windows 10, Mac is either similarly secure or even more secure than Microsoft’s OS, so an antivirus application might not be needed for this system. What about iOS? Just like Android, iOS uses sandboxing architecture to keep its apps securely contained. Therefore, antivirus software is least likely needed for this platform.