Security Software FAQ
We answer the most commonly asked questions about security software, so you are knowledgable and in the best position to find the right software for your business.
What is security software?
When people say “security software” they are most commonly referring to “computer security software” which is any software used to protect a personal computer, laptop, or other device from unwanted or malicious access to that device.
This would include:
- 1) Anti-virus software - which blocks known viruses from accessing or installing on the device,
- 2) Internet security software - which prevents the users device from accessing malicious websites or downloads,
- 3) Email security software - which flags potential phishing emails and/or stop malicious downloads or scripts,
- 4) Device specific software - like webcam security software which prevents unauthorized access or recording from the users webcam
- 5) WIFI security software - which prevents unwanted access to your WIFI, or protects you when accessing public or shared WIFI networks.
Security software can also refer to “network security software” where a series of computers or devices are secured at the same time by installing the security software to all devices in the network, and perhaps not allowing device access to the network without the software installed.
Common network security software includes:
- Intrusion prevention and detection software - is software which continuously monitors your network for threats and can take action to block threats and report on the breach when they do occur.
- Cloud security software - protects data and infrastructure available, shared, or used, in the cloud from external threats.
- Data security software - is software used by organizations to ensure that their internal data is properly stored and kept protected from unauthorized access.
- Endpoint security software - Endpoint security software protects a network when being accessed by external devices (desktops, laptops, and mobile phones). In short, the network is the endpoint, and it is being secured from potentially compromised devices.
- Encryption software - Is used to ensure that information being shared remains encrypted (protected) at all times to prevent unauthorized access. If data is intercepted, it will be useless to the attacker as it cannot be read due to the encryption.
- Firewall software - monitors network traffic or users and allows or denies certain actions based on a defined set of rules created by the security team. For example, if uploads or downloads are restricted a user may be blocked from uploading to, or downloading from, the network.
- PKI security software - Public key infrastructure software helps verify that a given user (recognized by a key or certification) is who they say they are and has the required permissions to access requested data, software, or applications.
- Penetration testing software - uses simulated cyber attacks against a network or computer system to identify and correct any system vulnerabilities or weaknesses before they can be exploited in a real world setting.
- Managed detection and response (MDR) software - For companies who need security, but aren’t at the stage of requiring an internal security team, MDR software is a way to outsource security threat identification and risk mitigation to an external team.
Do you need security software?
The short answer is YES. Whether you are using a personal computer, laptop, or phone, or whether you have a business that stores customer data, security software is a must.
With modern day computer viruses, ransomware, trojans, and other malicious software becoming more and more complex, it would not be prudent to leave yourself or your system unprotected.
How much does security software cost?
Typically for personal use you can expect $100 per year, however there are many free or open source security software to choose from that will cost you nothing.
What threats does computer security software protect you from?
Computer security software can protect you from malware, adware, trojans, ransomware, phishing, and spyware/monitoring software, as well as other common threats.
- Malware - is a broad term for any software that will damage your computer or files.
- Adware - is one of the more annoying but less dangerous computer security breaches. The goal of this software is to show unwanted ads so the person who installed the adware can make money.
- Trojans - are viruses that come bundled with desired files (from movie downloads to software downloads) from less trustworthy sites. They are called trojans and the user lets them into the computer thinking they are safe.
- Ransomware - locks a user out of their computers or files until they pay a certain amount or take a certain action, much like a kidnapper holds a person hostage for ransom money.
- Phishing - Tries to trick a user into giving up sensitive data like passwords, by pretending to look like a legitimate software or website.
- Spyware - Runs in the background of a computer and spies on the user reporting back sensitive data to the hacker.
Do Macs need security software?
Although Mac devices, laptops, and computers, have always been seen as better protected than Window’s software when it comes to viruses. They are not completely free from threats. If you choose not to use a security software on your Mac, you should still scan it on occasion to make sure nothing has gone undetected.
Do smartphones need security software?
Most smartphone users do not use security software because smartphones tend to have strong protection from threats built in. However that doesn’t mean you would not benefit from adding security software for added protection or occasionally checking your phone for threats.
That said, as long as you keep your phone up to date by installing recommended updates, you shouldn’t have to worry too much.
Does an iPad need security software?
Apple iPads are fairly well protected by built in security software. If you keep your iPad up to date you should be fine. However there is added protection available for those who want to be extra cautious when it comes to protecting their iPad.
How to create cyber security software?
Creating cyber security software is very difficult. Think about it, the best hackers (whitehat, greyhat, and blackhat) are always looking for ways in which to break into systems for a variety of reasons. So your software needs to be able to outsmart them and patch holes faster than they can find them. Unless you can put together a team of the best software developers, it is better to try and use an out of the box solution, or even a custom solution, compared to building one yourself.
That said, you can still protect your data by following development best practices to ensure that you aren’t leaving easy access points to bad actors, even without creating a cyber security software of your own.