Is An Antivirus Really Worth Having?

Newton’s third law states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. To further illustrate this, picture a rock on the ground. When you pick it up, there is a force (gravity) acting on it to try to return it to the ground. Now, this is just a simple example to better explain the topic of the day. We have all probably heard of computer viruses. Malicious programs that get into your computer system and exploit various loopholes to corrupt your data, damage your hardware and sometimes steal your personal information. When a virus is discovered, companies making antivirus software are forced to update or upgrade their products so as to better combat the newly discovered threat. The virus is the action while the antivirus is the reaction. With the rapid adoption of IT all over the world we can clearly see there is demand for antivirus products. But despite this demand, are they really worth the expense?

An antivirus generally operates by regularly scanning files that are on or coming into your computer. Think of it like a security guard checking for identification and searching baggage at an entrance. This process though well-intentioned has the adverse effect of reducing your computer’s performance. Why? Well, for an antivirus to work, it usually has to be active at all times so as to guarantee your system is secure at all times. For this reason, it will cordon off part off the computer’s ram and processing power to help it do its job. The result, a slower machine that can sometimes get really frustrating to use.

One way to get around this is to get a machine with better specs especially the RAM and processor. This will allow it to operate at a respectable speed despite the virtual resource taxation imposed by the antivirus. One could also shift to a Linux-based OS like Ubuntu or a Unix-based OS like  MacOS (if you can afford it). This is because most viruses that exist are designed to operate on Windows OS due to its global popularity. If you like to live dangerously however, you can leave your computer unguarded (not recommended) but only if you intend to never connect it to a network and never allow any storage that has been used elsewhere to connect to it.

With all that said, the final decision is on you. Do you value your data? Do you value your hardware? Do you access the internet and share files using various storage mediums like flash drives? And most importantly, do you have Windows OS running on your computer? If you answered yes to any of the questions, then you probably need to consider having an antivirus running on your system.