antivirus software

Does Antivirus Software keep PCs safe?

Episode 1389

Alan from Los Angeles, CA
Antivirus symbol

Alan wants to know if an antivirus utility is any good anymore for malware. How about on a mobile device? Leo says that all too often, an antivirus leaves people more vulnerable because most malware is a zero day exploit. Antivirus can't stop users from themselves, either. All antivirus utilities have to hook themselves into the OS at a very low level and the virus can actually use that as a door to more exploits. So at the end of the day, an antivirus really is only of limited benefit.

Does a smartphone need antivirus?

Episode 1385

Jim from Bend, OR
Antivirus

Jim bought a pair of Samsung Galaxy S8 and the guy at the store said he doesn't need an antivirus app to protect it. Is that true? Leo says it is. Mobile phones don't really need that extra precaution, as long as he only gets his apps from Google Play Store. He should be careful what apps he gets, though, even then. Sometimes a junky app does get through. The benefit through Google Play is that if one gets through, they will remotely kill it.

Why can't I upgrade Windows 8?

Brenda from Fort Paine, AL

Episode 1302

Brenda needs to upgrade from Windows 8 to 8.1. Leo says she definitely needs to do that. She says that Windows wants to uninstall Sentinel runtime drivers before installing, but she can't remove them because she hasn't installed them. Leo says it could be due to a program that she used in the past, or it was preloaded in her machine. It's probably from a trial antivirus. She's going to have to reinstall the trialware, and then uninstall it using their removal tool.

Do I need a third party antivirus program with Windows 10?

Alan from Washington DC

Episode 1211

Alan just installed Windows 10 on a few computers and wants to know if there's any reason to install a third party antivirus program with it. Leo says that Google has done a study about this, and they've found that most security experts believe antivirus software gives a false sense of security and doesn't guard against zero day exploits, which are the real threat now.

How do I protect my computer from malware?

Jim from Houston, TX

Episode 1188

Jim has been watching some of Leo's podcasts and is concerned with security on his PC. What antivirus software should he use on Windows 8.1? Leo says that Microsoft ships Windows Defender for free and that's all he needs. But he should remember that an antivirus is only as good as his own behavior. What about MalwareBytes? Leo says that while Malware Bytes is effective, he can actually do more harm than good if he doesn't know what he's doing. And if his computer has been infected, he will have no idea if he actually removed all of it or not.

Do I need antivirus software for Windows 8?

James from Fullerton, CA

Episode 1182

James has a Sony Vaio with Windows 8 and wants to know if he needs antivirus software. Leo says no. Windows 8 has its own security and antivirus, called Microsoft Defender (or Security Essentials for older Windows programs) that works really well. He can turn up the security in Internet Explorer, but Leo recommends using Google Chrome which is far more secure. Leo also recommends turning on automatic updates. James should also be using a router rather than directly connecting to the modem. But all the security in the world cannot protect the user from their own behavior.

Is the new Bitdefender Box legit?

Episode 1151

Tom from Warren, OH

Tom saw a new box from Bitdefender at CES that promises to be in between the internet and the computer and cleanses all traffic. The box connects to the router and it will prevent malware from getting through. They plan to ship it for $200. Leo says the premise of this is good, but may not necessarily be better than a software antivirus because if software doesn't know about a virus, neither will the physical box. We can't even be sure it will ship at all at this point either.

Can a virus cause a blue screen of death?

Episode 1144

David from Burbank, CA
BSOD

David's computer started to get the dreaded bluescreen of death and he took it to the Geek Squad to get it repaired. They said it was a virus and sold him WebRoot. Leo says that the Geek Squad couldn't have been more wrong and just sold him an antivirus software he didn't need. Almost always, the problem with BSOD is either a driver or hardware issue. BSODs only happen as a result of accessing ring 1 memory on the computer and that's only drivers or hardware. Malware won't result in a BSOD.

How can I remove antivirus software off one machine and put it on another?

Zack from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1080

Zack has an old Windows Vista machine. He uses ESET's Nod32 and wants to know if he can remove it from one computer and put it onto another. Leo says that can be tricky because AntiVirus software is designed not to be uninstalled, otherwise malware would do that. So he may need to spend some time over at ESET's support page to learn how to correctly do that.