Microsoft, Windows, and Windows Defender. It could very well be the headline for a happy-ever-after ménage a trois story, but is it really as happy as it seems from the outside looking in? Is the antivirus protection it provides really that worthwhile? In 2015, Microsoft released its latest operating system onto the market, and with Windows 10 came a built-in antivirus named Windows Defender. But does it actually have what it takes to protect you from all the ever-evolving cyber threats that there are?
What Exactly does Windows Defender offer?
At a first glance, Windows Defender has everything it takes to be the ideal partner in the battle against viruses. It has a user-friendly interface and promises to provide basic defense against viruses, adware, and spyware and is provided with a set of extended protection features like phishing, malware, or ransomware defenses. And most of all, it’s free.
By relying heavily on cloud-delivered protection to detect emerging threats, this antivirus requires no installation, no software updates, and it provides safety from the very first moment the operating system is set up. It also comes with firewall and network safeguards, enabling you to troubleshoot the network and to check the firewall configuration. As a discrete partner, Windows Defender automatically turns off when another antivirus solution is installed on your PC.
Why Isn’t Windows Defender Enough?
What Windows Defender lacks is the fact that it does not actually stop the user from executing malicious software if detected. Even though the software sends warnings should an infected program attempt to run on your device, it does not actually stop it from doing just that. It is quite dependent on the user, therefore, and could be subject to human error. Besides, the software has proven to slow down the set up of frequently used apps much more than similar programs.
On top of all these, Windows Defender does not have a wide selection of useful features that many antivirus programs come with. These extras are usually quite important, too, like a VPN that will let you browse the internet without being detected, a password manager to keep all your private passwords encrypted, or multimedia or game modes that allow for you to watch videos or play games uninterrupted while the program is scanning your device for malware. Not only that, but Windows Defender is naturally limited to providing protection only for Windows operating systems. So, if you’re using another operating system or a mobile device, then you’ll need additional software to protect these, as well.
Luckily it isn’t too tricky to solve all of these issues thanks to the availability of more comprehensive internet security programs. They can either be free or come as paid upgrades, however there are plenty of reputable names out there that are committed to providing more complex protection against all kinds of modern cyber attacks and threats. This protection comes with webcam security, advanced features such as a VPN or a password manager, as well as different types of scanning methods and exclusions.
Most importantly, there are other solutions that are designed to provide security not only for Windows operating systems, but also for other devices such as macOS, iOS or Android. In many cases they can even be used by one account across multiple platforms.
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