Firstly, malware is a general term used to describe any "malicious software." Viruses are merely a subcategory of malware though many people use the words synonymously. Malware has many subcategories such as Spyware, Ransomware, Adware, viruses, etc. and you want to avoid all of them as much as possible.
Anyone that purchased or received a new PC recently has Windows 10, and one of the benefits of having this version of Windows is that it has a free antivirus program built into it. It's called Windows Defender and it's protecting you from the first time you boot it up. Many PC manufacturers load free trials of other antivirus programs in an attempt to get you to purchase a yearly subscription. These programs are unnecessary. If you've already bought a third-party antivirus program, keep it until your subscription ends. If you haven't purchased one yet, uninstall the trial version of the third-party antivirus software.
Windows Defender is a sleek program that won't bog your computer down like another antivirus programs and it does a great job keeping malicious software quarantined or blocked if it does find a way onto your machine. In conjunction with Windows Defender, I recommend you download a program called Malwarebytes. Unlike Windows Defender, Malwarebytes keeps unwanted software from ever reaching your computer. That being said, no software is foolproof.
Malware bytes has a free version and premium version. While the Premium edition does do more, the free version is more than adequate. Note that after 30 days you'll be prompted that your Premium trial has expired and you're asked if you'd like to keep your Premium account. Do not do this as it's unnecessary. Yes, even Malwarebytes wants to make money. Just close the windows or select to stay with the free version.
The two programs together offer a one-two punch worth noting, not to mention saving yourself annual fees of several hundred dollars.
Ryan Lee is the IT director for the Norwalk Reflector and the Sandusky Register. He can be reached at [email protected]