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An anti-virus’s place in our brave new world

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The product life cycle is a fundamental marketing concept describing the period of time over which a commodity is created, sold, and removed from the market. It is believed that the march of progress results in new items eventually superseding older ones. But does this mean that anti-viruses are to disappear too? Let's try to envision the not-so-distant future.

Imagine that you picked something off a store shelf, scanned the bar code, and paid for your purchase with a bank card. Or that you opened a mobile application and called a taxi with two taps on the screen. Performing these tasks is easy and you probably don't realise that this simplicity is facilitated by complex data transmission and storage routines.

These are the features of a digital economy, i.e., an economy based on computer technologies. In today's issue, we will talk about how this digital economy impacts daily life.

Ask any person on the street how they benefit from digital technologies and most likely you won't get a clear answer right away. Even if the person is on their way to a doctor’s appointment that they made online and have a contactless subway card in their pocket. And that's because the changes being made to our daily routines are gradual, and we are taking these improvements for granted. Just recall how quickly we all got used to mobile phones and the Internet.

However, to enjoy the comforts brought about by digital services, we also have to constantly monitor our information security—because today our data is our most valuable commodity and what thieves value most.

Remember scenes in old movies where gangsters would put on masks, plan escape routes and stock up on guns and ammunition for a robbery? Now criminals don't need to leave their homes to rob a bank. And the money involved is no longer getaway bags stuffed with coins and bills, but just numbers and virtual transactions—again, digital data.

Bear in mind that no matter how well a digital service is being protected, there exist zillions of scenarios for exploiting it, and only you, the user, can ensure your data’s safety. Cybercriminals realised this a long time ago and successfully employ social-engineering tricks to compromise the most vulnerable element in a security system—the human.

So where does household information security start? It starts with cultivating healthy security habits. If attackers can use a PIN code to deplete a bank account, you'd better learn to store yours either in your head or in a protected location rather than in your wallet next to the bank card. You also need to keep your passwords safe and change them regularly—in our modern world, losing a password or divulging it to attackers can lead to disaster.

You don't need to understand complex data-processing and storage routines to use computer technologies, but you do need to understand what consequences can arise from your actions. Those actions include divulging your transaction verification code to a stranger. If you believe that you are not sufficiently aware of the possible consequences, stop and take a close look at this situation. Under the circumstances, knowledge is your best weapon.

And you'll probably ask: What does an anti-virus have to do with the digital economy? Answer: Everything.

Because with the advent of full-blown digitisation, malware isn’t going to go extinct, which means that computers will need to be cured of it.

There will always be situations where humans won't be able to identify and neutralise a threat on their own. For example, a Trojan can be smuggled onto a computer by a malicious script on a website or get into a system through a new operating-system loophole. Furthermore, an anti-virus can simplify daily information-security routines.

An anti-virus is a hi-tech service that facilitates the automation of security routines, which makes it an indispensable part of the digital environment. It is more than just an application on your computer or smart phone. Cloud services, powerful hardware, and hundreds of hard-working people are helping to maintain your device's security in real time.

Always remember that an anti-virus is a tool that can accomplish a lot in the hands of a skilful user, but only users themselves can acquire those skills.

#password #personal_data #security #Internet

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Reading the Anti-virus Times regularly will improve your computer literacy. And you can test your knowledge in this digital world that we’re already living in.

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