Security Advice

Overview of malware

Before we go into security products, it is important to understand the various ways you can be attacked by malware.

Viruses and worms

Viruses and worms are very similar malware. A virus hides within a legitimate software and only runs when this software is run. From there it can do its nasty things and infect other programs. A worm doesn’t need such a vehicle and instead directly infects machines through the network by finding vulnerabilities in the networking software of these machines. Once in a computer, viruses and worms can do various things as described below.


Spyware as their name suggest are designed to spy on your activities and capture things like login names and passwords and send them back to the hacker. They can also activate microphones and webcams to spy on you. They will remain usually very discreet so you don’t know they’re running.


Adware pops up unwanted advertisements, possibly targeted to your interests by using information stolen by a spyware component.


Bots are hidden programs running on large number of computers executing tasks on behalf of the hacker. These tasks are very diverse:

  • Send spam mail
  • Conduct massive attacks over the internet
  • Scan the internet to discover machines with vulnerabilities
  • Mine crypto currency


Ransomware will encrypt your entire hard drive and will display a screen demanding payment (usually in Bitcoin) against the key for decrypting the data. Unfortunately even if you pay, the chances of getting your data back are slim. So your best chance is to recover your data from backup, if you have one.

Install security updates and don’t jailbreak your device

In addition to being careful about phishing scams, you should always install security updates on your devices. Windows will normally take care of this automatically but Apple and Android devices require a bit more attention. Updates settings are found on the settings app of each device.

Jailbreaking an Apple or Android device consists in getting access to the core of the operating system that is normally not accessible to users. Jailbreaking allows installing software other than what the manufacturer has made available for that device through their official app store (where apps are scanned for malware and deemed safe). Obviously installing apps from non verified sources is calling for trouble so just don’t do it, even if free apps look tempting!

Should you use a third party security product?

This depends on the type of device you are using and how you are using it. If you tend to ignore safe browsing habits, you will probably need a robust security product. On the other hand, if you are careful and follow good practices against phishing, you can stick with the default product.

Windows PC

Windows 10 and 11 come with Windows Defender for free. This product has improved dramatically and is now amongst the best security products for Windows. I personally use only Defender on our Windows PCs at home and never had any issue.

The catch is that in order to get the best protection from Windows’ built-in security tools and features, you have to stick to Microsoft products. So that means using Edge instead of Chrome or Firefox as your default browser.

If you feel you need a third party product, you will need to do decide what works best for you in the plethora of products available.

Apple Mac

Macs have built a reputation of being very secure out of the box, even without a built-in security product. The reality is that Mac has now captured about 8% of market share and thus is becoming an interesting target for malware. So security incidents on Mac are on the rise.

I recommend you install a reputable security product.

Apple iPhones and iPads

These devices are very secure and definitely do not need any additional security product.

Android Devices

These devices are also secure however there are plenty of security products available for Android. Whether you need one is debatable.

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