Paul Wherly

Why do I get viruses/malware when I have Antivirus?

This week’s guest blog comes from Mark Williams CEO of Pensar a London Based IT Support Company.

There are many reasons why you may still get infected when you pay for Antivirus software. Understanding the different types of infection is the first step, and understanding why your protection doesn’t always work against them is the second. You can see a good overview from Cisco.

Here are 4 reasons why you still get viruses/malware when you pay for Antivirus:

1.    You are on the Internet

Anything connected to the internet has the potential to be infected, be it accidentally by visiting a bad webpage or opening a dodgy email or by someone deliberately attacking your network. Nothing is 100 percent safe from infections/intrusion mainly because of the virus life cycle – explained very well here (also with definitions of viruses):

2.    Your firewall isn’t strong enough

Most computers and servers have some type of firewall built into the operating system and most home or offices also have a basic hardware firewall (usually built into your router). However not all firewalls are the same. Some firewalls can lock your network down tighter than Fort Knox, whereas others act more like a screen and keep out only the majority of attacks. In general the higher the quality (and yes, more expensive) a firewall is, the more it is able to protect you better.

3.    Software not updated

This does not mean you have to go and buy the latest version of Photoshop, or Adobe Acrobat, but what it does mean is that you MUST install security updates/patches to them. This includes the Operating System (OS) and ANY software on your PC/Mac. Attackers target the weaknesses in the software. This is explained perfectly by Wikipedia; “An exploit is a piece of software, a chunk of data, or sequence of commands that takes advantage of a bug, glitch or vulnerability in order to cause unintended or unanticipated behaviour to occur on computer software, hardware, or something electronic (usually computerised). Such behaviour frequently includes such things as gaining control of a computer system or allowing privilege escalation or a denial-of-service attack.”

4.    Human error & interaction

While your antivirus, firewall, anti-spam, and anti-malware protection adds a level of security, it is still dependent upon the computer user to watch for vulnerabilities and not to allow viruses to bypass the antivirus protection. This bypassing of your security typically occurs when users are browsing the internet or email and they click on something they shouldn’t and then click “Allow” or “OK.”  Doing this allows the malware or virus to install onto your system.


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