Is Antivirus Necessary for Windows 8.1?

IT Support Forum Forums Windows Windows 8 General Discussion Is Antivirus Necessary for Windows 8.1?

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    I heard that Windows 8.1 has built in antivirus software, so is antivirus really necessary for windows 8.1? In my opinion, it’s not necessary to install an additional antivirus software from a 3rd party in Windows 8.1. However, there are three main arguments stating that an alternative antivirus software is necessary in Windows 8.1.

    Firstly, if you run a corporate network, then you need an antivirus solution that can be centrally managed. You could use Forefront Endpoint Protection which leverages Windows 8.1’s built in antivirus, but still you need to buy an additional antivirus software package. I would agree with this argument.

    Secondly, some people argue that as viruses are created to exploit vulnerabilities in Windows, you aren’t protecting yourself adequately unless you use antivirus software that does not come with the operating system. Personally, I would argue against this because all antivirus software fails against Zero Day Attacks, until a solution is found, coded and released. This solution could be a Windows Update, antivirus signature or a combination of the two. Yes, perhaps it’s more likely that a virus will be more thoroughly tested against Windows Defender (the built in antivirus in Windows 8.1), rather than some 3rd party antivirus solution. On the other hand, you could argue that Microsoft would have more resources than any other antivirus software company and could therefore find the vulnerability and code a resolution quicker.

    Some argue that it’s not good to put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to security providers. I’ve kind of discussed this in point two, so this is really a slight variation.

    Finally, some argue that 3rd party antivirus suites have more features and offer a larger plane of protection than out of the box Windows Defender. This is true, and possibly the strongest argument for stating that an additional antivirus software is necessary. However, I still stand by my original statement that the built in Windows Defender is a sufficient antivirus software and it’s not necessary to install another one. The reason for this is that security has changed a lot in the past 10 years. It’s no longer sufficient to install an antivirus software an assume you are protected. Now threats come in many forms and you need to employ a proper firewall on the PC, router, spam checker, internet content filter and more if you are a corporate computer administrator (BYOD device management, mobile device management, smart switches that can lock down ports, physical security, perimeter protection, port scanners, penetration testing appliances, etc). Windows Defender satisfies the requirements for an antivirus software in my opinion, but you need more.

    In summary, it’s not really necessary to install another antivirus software onto Windows 8.1, but you might consider a few other things to protect your computer.

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