We all know that you have to take Internet security seriously these days. There are viruses, spyware and Trojans out there that can wreck your machine. One way of doing this is to check your computer by running a virus scan. There has recently been an increase in the number of companies that offer an online virus scanner service. But can they be trusted?
An online virus scan seems to be a simple solution at first glance. The service is free of charge for you to use. You just go to a website and use their software to identify whether your machine has an infection. If it doesn’t you just walk away. If it does have a problem found, then you will be pointed to an antivirus product that you can buy to get rid of the problem.
If you are dealing with a reputable company, this system should all work very well. But what happens if you land on the site of a rogue trader? He only makes money if he finds a problem and you purchase antivirus software through him. So he ensures that his online virus scanner ‘always’ finds a problem.
In short even if your machine is virus free, a rogue website could be telling you that your computer is infected. That’s when the hard sell starts and you are encouraged to buy their recommended software.
There are ways that you can avoid this scenario happening to you. First of all you should only use an online virus scanner if it belongs to a reputable company. For instance BitDefender has a scan available online. But it is still possible for criminals to copy a legitimate site.
The most effective way to avoid problems is to use antivirus software that you download onto your computer and it will run a virus scan. In the long run this can actually be more convenient because you can run a full system scan at a time to suit you. It can also be set up to scan your computer at a pre-defined time so you can ‘set it and forget it’.