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Top five antivirus myths busted

And why do we still believe them?

Top five antivirus myths busted

Anti-virus, or endpoint security plays an essential part in protecting Windows PCs. Whether you are working in the world’s largest enterprise, or using a small personal laptop, you need a last line of defence against attacks that use malicious code to steal or damage your data.

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Are you a believer?

Some people have doubts about how useful anti-virus can be. Their opinions might be out of date, or they might believe marketing claims designed to push new products and discredit the competition.

At SE Labs we test endpoint security all the time, so we know what’s true and what belongs in the post-truth world. Here are the top five antivirus myths, busted!


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There are the five most common myths we still hear.

Myth #1: Anti-virus slows your computer.

Any software adds impact to a Windows PC, particularly applications that run all the time. It was once true that anti-virus slowed down PCs but, for the last 10 years, anti-virus has been optimised to make minimal impact. Modern PCs are much faster than they used to be too.

Myth #2: Anti-virus only stops viruses.

Viruses, in the original sense of the word, are not a common threat anymore. Self-replicating code that spreads between systems did used to be a problem but not in 2023. Today you can expect ‘anti-virus’ protection to defend against hacking attacks, ransomware and harmful scripts.

Myth #3: You must pay for great protection.

It’s been a long time since free anti-virus was significantly less effective than paid-for options. Look at the results in our reports, and the winners of our Annual Security Awards. You’ll see that free protection often tops the charts.

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Myth #4: Detection means protection.

Some anti-virus products can detect threats but can’t always remove them. In our tests we give points for both detection and protection. Before you buy a product check these details to ensure you get what you are expecting.

Myth #5: Updates are no longer necessary.

This myth stems from newer security companies claiming that machine learning has made updates redundant. It’s simply not true, and most major vendors update their machine learning rules as well as providing more traditional updates.

Top five antivirus myths busted!

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