What is antivirus software?

In the digital world we all need a little protection. Antivirus software helps keep all your internet-connected devices safe, as it is designed to help detect, protect and remove malicious software (malware). We’ll give you the inside story on why you need it.

What does antivirus software do?

Antivirus software is there to shield your computers from the plethora of viruses that lurk online to damage your device or steal from you. It defends you in multi-functional ways; preventing, scanning, detecting and deleting viruses from your desktops or laptops. Once you install it, good antivirus software will run automatically in the background, offering real-time protection against nasty virus attacks.

Having the right software in place for this has never been more important, now that we do so many things online, from banking, shopping, mortgages, and increasingly, our work.

Why do I need antivirus software?

Personal threats to our data, computer equipment and our finances are constantly evolving from computer viruses. New security threats come out all the time and so it pays to put one of the many top notch antivirus programs on your machines. That way, you will have a barrier in place that will update and adapt antivirus protections to match the evolving threat.

Whether you use Windows, Mac or Unix-based platforms, you can find the right antivirus software to protect your devices from attack. Some examples of popular antivirus programs include Norton Antivirus, Kaspersky Anti-Virus and ZoneAlarm Antivirus.

The threat from virus attacks is also widening, as the Internet of Things (IoT) grows so does the risk of cybercrime delivered to smartphones and other internet connected devices, not only your personal computer at home. According to prominent research in 2018, malware for mobile devices including spyware, ransomware and viruses increased by more than half in recent years; and identify theft, as well as data breaches are on the rise.

Why install the best antivirus software?

We all want the best and most productive online life but sadly hackers are not in favour of this. Putting a top grade antivirus solution on your computers will safeguard your operating system from attack but more importantly look after your personal information and your money.

You’ll want to look for antivirus software which combines elements like 24/7 tech support, identity theft protection, a password manager and maybe even some repair insurance that looks after broken or damaged devices. It pays to use the best antivirus setup you can. Here’s more information on what you need to look out for.

Common Cyber Threats

In any confrontation it pays to know your enemy. As with computer viruses, you need to know what threats you are facing, or at least your antivirus software needs to be ready to neutralise these potential threats before they do any damage.


Malicious software is the delivery mechanism used by unscrupulous cybercriminal types to trick you. There is a whole world of online and digital threat that comes from hackers and their malicious codes. Explore more about Malware


Spyware is software that “spies” on your computer to capture information. Information it is after would include: web browsing history, email messages, usernames and passwords, as well as credit card information. If left unguarded (and unblocked frankly), it will transfer this data to a third party computer using internet connections – leaving you vulnerable or possible even out of pocket.


In the fast-moving, more than a little grubby, world of cyber-crime phishing is any attempt to steal sensitive personal data for criminal purposes. Your usernames and credit card particulars are usually on the list of targets. Phishing scam artists will typically use emails, SMS messages, web pages and social media to try and make it look like their messages are coming from genuine and well-meaning sources. The good news is there are clear warning signs to look out for. Explore more about Phishing

Benefits of antivirus software

The main plus point of antivirus software is being able to sleep secure at night, knowing your personal data and financial accounts are safe from attack online. Most antivirus schemes will also safeguard your desktops and laptops from virus infections, malware (including spyware, adware and rootkits) as well as having firewall features. Those anticipate unapproved access to your PC or Mac. Sometimes you’ll have a utility that combines both antivirus and firewall abilities, these are often called Internet Security Suites – more on those later.

Types and examples of antivirus software

What types of sword and shield do you need to protect your Mac or PC from the latest and most devious viruses around?

Advantages of internet security software over simple antivirus software

Having antivirus software on your machine is a considerable benefit. Everyone should have it. There is also a further option called an internet security software suite. It carries extra benefits which we’ll now break down for you.

Virgin Media can help keep you safe

At Virgin Media, we want customers to have our fastest and smoothest internet connection as well as a sense of security, as they go about their business and leisure time online. This is why we offer all our new customers Virgin Media Internet Security for free.

It automatically blocks virus-afflicted websites and inappropriate content from your screens and allows you to monitor your child’s screen time, as well as assess the kinds of content they are using.

We know the internet can be a daunting place sometimes but it is also a fun and inspiring one, so we want you and your family to feel safe every step of the way.

Here’s more information about how you protect your computer online

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