Antivirus

IT Security: What is it?

The first self-propagating computer worm was created in 1989, computer viruses appeared in the 1990s, and by the late 2000s, cybercriminals were targeting credit cards. For decades, security teams have been battling to keep computer networks and end-users safe from cyber threats, but for many, the term IT security can still be a little confusing. IT…

The first self-propagating computer worm was created in 1989, computer viruses appeared in the 1990s, and by the late 2000s, cybercriminals were targeting credit cards. For decades, security teams have been battling to keep computer networks and end-users safe from cyber threats, but for many, the term IT security can still be a little confusing. 

IT security defined 

In our hyper-connected, online world, the phrase IT security is often used interchangeably with cybersecurity and information security (infosec).

While there are similarities and occasions where one term can be used in place of the other, there are also marked differences between them. The first step to understanding what IT security is and why it’s important is to recognize these differences.

Cybersecurity measures protect digital data from third-party attacks by cybercriminals via the internet.

Infosec, at a base level, is the protection of both physical and electronic data, but the term is often expanded to cover other security concerns too. For example, infosec can also be used to describe the measures a company might take to protect its legal and financial interests by ensuring compliance with data protection laws, such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

IT security incorporates both cybersecurity and infosec but refers specifically to the protection of digital data and the security maintenance of the computer systems and networks that store it. 

The term IT security covers internal and external threats and is commonly used to describe the strategies deployed to safeguard digital data from attack at every point of an organization’s IT infrastructure, from company databases to end-user email accounts

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Antivirus

Is Windows Defender good enough for your PC?

Windows Defender is the antivirus solution which comes built-in with Windows 10. In other words, Windows Defender provides antivirus defenses right out of the gate after installation – which is obviously very convenient.That’s all fine in theory, but if you’ve come to read this article, you’re doubtless wondering about the quality of Windows 10’s integrated…

Windows Defender is the antivirus solution which comes built-in with Windows 10. In other words, Windows Defender provides antivirus defenses right out of the gate after installation – which is obviously very convenient.

That’s all fine in theory, but if you’ve come to read this article, you’re doubtless wondering about the quality of Windows 10’s integrated antivirus protection.

Windows 10 antivirus app to keep your PC safe from all the malware out there?

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  • See why we rate Bitdefender so highly in our testing

Past history

Now, in the past, the answer to this question has been that you shouldn’t rely on it. Common wisdom used to be that Windows Defender might be better than nothing, but only just – and you should replace it with a third-party antivirus alternative as soon as possible. But we’re happy to report that’s no longer the case.

In fact, things have turned around so much, that Windows Defender was actually rated as the best antivirus solution around by an independent testing lab in 2019 (although AV-Test ranked it joint top with three other products, but those solutions were paid-for suites, not a free antivirus like Microsoft’s effort).

Let’s not get carried away here, though. The most recent independent test lab reports on Windows Defender aren’t quite so glowing, but broadly speaking they are still average-to-good, and there’s no disputing that it provides a solid level of protection from all the viruses floating around out there. Defender offers anti-ransomware protection these days, too, and even has basic parental controls to help keep your kids safe online.

Windows 1src problems

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Reputational hangover

So that’s all good, but part of Microsoft’s antivirus solution’s problem today is the hangover from its past reputation, and the perception that it’s somehow still a bit of a wobbly anti-malware app – despite these impressive recent results.

Sadly, there is still very much a reputation-related problem here, although it’s not with Defender’s anti-malware abilities any longer. The issue lies with Microsoft itself, and its bad habit of breaking things constantly with Windows 10; mistakes which have at times reportedly had the knock-on effect of throwing spanners in the Windows Defender works. Or we’ve seen straight-up cases of Microsoft simply breaking things with Defender updates themselves, and none of this particularly instils confidence.

Also bear in mind that there are drawbacks with Windows Defender’s features not being too well fleshed out. For example, those parental controls we mentioned aren’t all-encompassing – the browser filter only works with Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer, but unfortunately not with alternative browsers like Chrome or Firefox. Generally speaking, configuration options are somewhat lacking with Defender, too – as explained in our most recent Windows Defender review.

Weighing this all up

On balance, Microsoft’s antivirus gives you a robust level of protection from malware – it’s done very well in some independent testing – and there’s nothing wrong with using it as your main line of defense. It’s very convenient to have it integrated in Windows 10, and it’s definitely a good thing that Microsoft provides this protection by default for less tech-savvy users who might know very little about protecting themselves online.

Windows Defender is now keeping pace with the better options in the free antivirus pack, but that said, it still isn’t the best option in terms of functionality, plus issues remain around its reputation – or rather Microsoft’s broader bug-ridden reputation of late.

And there’s the rub: those who are willing to put in a bit of effort to change and install an alternative will find better cost-free protection – and more features – from the leading free antivirus providers.

Is Windows Defender good enough for your PC?

Windows Defender is good enough to defend your PC and uphold the promise of its name, and there’s nothing wrong with it as such. But in all honesty, the leading free antivirus alternatives like Bitdefender or Kaspersky are better, and it really isn’t all that much effort to install another app to replace Defender. Which is why our answer to the titular question ultimately has to be: yes, but no.

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Antivirus

Turla malware uses Gmail to issue commands to infected machines

One of Russia’s most advanced state-sponsored hacker groups has added several devious new tools to its arsenal, security researchers have warned.Although the Turla group is still using the v4 version of the ComRAT malware, ESET researchers warned that this has since been updated to include two new features: exfiltration of victim’s antivirus logs, and the…

One of Russia’s most advanced state-sponsored hacker groups has added several devious new tools to its arsenal, security researchers have warned.

Although the Turla group is still using the v4 version of the ComRAT malware, ESET researchers warned that this has since been updated to include two new features: exfiltration of victim’s antivirus logs, and the ability to control the malware via a Gmail inbox. 

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    Antivirus

    Malware turns Discord client into password stealer

    Hackers have updated the AnarchyGrabber trojan to a new version which is capable of stealing passwords and user tokens, disabling 2FA and spreading malware to a victim’s friends as well.This is the second update the trojan has received this year as it was also updated back in April to modify Discord client files in order…

    Hackers have updated the AnarchyGrabber trojan to a new version which is capable of stealing passwords and user tokens, disabling 2FA and spreading malware to a victim’s friends as well.

    This is the second update the trojan has received this year as it was also updated back in April to modify Discord client files in order to evade detection by antivirus software and steal user accounts every time someone logs into the popular chat service. 

    Discord who claim it is a game cheat, hacking tool or copyrighted software. Instead it modifies the Discord client’s JavaScript files to turn it into malware that can steal a victim’s Discord user token which is then used by an attacker to log into the popular chat service as the victim.

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    Windows 10 May 2020 Update’s best new feature will help keep your PC secure

    Windows 10 May 2020 Update is imminent, and it’s shaping up to be a fantastic upgrade that brings numerous new features to Windows 10, but perhaps its best addition is a new security tool that will help prevent unwanted or malicious apps installing themselves on your PC.The Windows 10 May 2020 Update adds the new…

    Windows 10 May 2020 Update is imminent, and it’s shaping up to be a fantastic upgrade that brings numerous new features to Windows 10, but perhaps its best addition is a new security tool that will help prevent unwanted or malicious apps installing themselves on your PC.

    The Windows 10 May 2020 Update adds the new tool to Windows Defender, the built-in security app in Windows 10. It’s called Reputation-based Protection, and it will allow users to block unwanted applications that are bundled in with genuine app installers from installing.

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    Hopefully the Windows 10 May 2020 Update will be made available to Windows 10 users soon, as May is quickly drawing to a close.

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