I remember when I was young, and not so tech-savvy, my dad (who was also not so tech-savvy) had not one, but three different antivirus programs installed on our shared PC. He relied on free antivirus software back in the day, and he would scan our PC every now and then, as if they (the AV programs) weren’t automatized. Looking back at it now, I wonder how we managed to keep our PC relatively virus free at all! The number of AV programs means nothing if they’re not good, plus, there’s a high chance that they could interject between one another and wreak more havoc on our PC than if it was AV-program-free. Then again, back in the day (early 2000s) we were really at the attack of many Trojan viruses, so I do understand his worry. Nowadays, we’re relatively safer (I say this because I do believe there are still people who fall for virus-laden websites) while browsing the web or installing programs on our PCs.
Nevertheless, we still need some antivirus software installed on our PC for protection. I’ve received multiple emails about this topic, where people would ask me if they should just pay for their antivirus software or rely on OSS antivirus software, so today I wanted to write a post not only for them, but for you, my readers, as well.
What’s better, using a paid antivirus software or OSS antivirus software?
Before I begin explaining my thoughts, I want to let you know that the choice is ultimately yours; you might like one more than the other, and that’s fine. I will just be pointing out some important facts that I know of (as a software developer myself).
Let’s focus on paid antivirus software first. As you know, paid AV software is created using closed-source codes (which means you can’t meddle with them as they are locked for you – the only people who have access to it are the creators of said software). Most of the AV programs you’ve stumbled upon are created using closed-source codes (Kaspersky, Norton, McAfee) and their prices can vary a lot, depending on how many devices you would like to use their software on.
Generally, it is deemed that a paid AV software is a better AV software of the two because it protects you from all sorts of malware – malware, ransomware, adware included. Not only that, but it is also being constantly updated as its developers are constantly being informed about new types of viruses attacking our devices.
With that being said, an open-source antivirus software is created using open-source codes, which allows you to change them (which I don’t see a reason for, unless you want to create your own AV software, or just study the codes). Now is the perfect time to remind you that an OSS AV software does not equal free AV software which you get with Windows Microsoft Defender (on the 10 OS) – you usually have to pay a small amount for your OSS AV program. Unfortunately, there are not many OSS AV programs that are good – most of them lack the ability to detect newer versions of malware, and that is due to the fact that usually, OSS AV programs are not regularly updated (even with such a large community of users!). Another issue that is problematic is the fact that the open-source codes are open for everyone, even people who are not you, or people allowed to use your PC (or any other device you have) – meaning that, any hacker can meddle with them, leaving you with a device that is beyond repair.
What are your thoughts? Which software would you use?