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Cybersecurity Wars: Built-In VS Third-Party | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware


In an age where information lives and breathes online, cybersecurity plays an increasingly crucial role in conducting day-to-day business. Threats and vulnerabilities are very real concerns when it comes to data protection and needs to be addressed sooner than later. This is especially important for organisations or businesses that deal with large volumes of sensitive data. 

In developing robust security monitoring solutions for your business or organisation, cyber security cannot be taken lightly. The same can be said for personal use, where private data is shared across phones, tablets and laptops or desktops. Keeping everyday devices secure is simply good form. Browsing, clicking on spam or plugging in external devices can leave your unprotected system exposed to malware and spyware, resulting in data breaches, data loss and system failures or reduced system performance. 

So, how do you ensure that your data is protected? 

Companies specialising in cybersecurity roll out antivirus software products and upgrades to protect devices from constant threats.  While you could explore the range of options out there and invest in a product that seems to cover all the bases, what about your device’s built-in protections and are they good enough? When it comes to security, your device operating system makes a difference.   

How Apple OS provides Built-In Security 

It’s widely known that the Apple operating system functions within set parameters and is far more restrictive when it comes to app permissions. The iOS is shared across other Apple devices along with this level of security. In fact, it’s safe to say that your iPhone doesn’t need antivirus software at all. That’s as long as you install the software updates and avoid engaging in methods to bypass restrictions and compromise the closed system. 

When it comes to Mac desktops and laptops, a free upgrade to the latest OS ensures you get the most secure version, and while it tends to have fewer vulnerabilities, it’s not foolproof either. As its market share continues to grow, hackers are setting their sights on developing malicious programs aimed at macOS as well. 

It’s a long-held belief that Apple computers aren’t susceptible to the numerous viruses that plague other operating systems. As a result, Mac users tend to disregard the need for third-party antivirus software, but this complacency can lead to risks. Its built-in antivirus software XProtect only targets malware that Apple identifies, which accounts for a small percentage of what security companies detect. 

Gatekeeper is another layer of protection included in macOS. This security technology ensures that only trusted software runs on a Mac, and its function is based on an app’s verification status. Apple uses a notarisation system for apps distributed outside the App Store. It’s an automated method that scans the app’s software for malicious content and if no issues or malware are detected, Apple generates a notarisation ticket to the developer. If a previously notarised app is later found to be malicious, a revocation ticket is issued. 

Gatekeeper relies on this information to identify if apps are from an identified developer and is notarised by Apple ensuring that it’s free from malware before it’s allowed to run.

Is Windows Built-In Security Good Enough? 

Windows and Android devices, on the other hand, are far more prone to cybersecurity threats. The latter by far captures the largest market share, and hackers are continually developing malicious software targeting the OS. While Windows 10 and later versions have Windows Defender as the built-in antivirus software, older versions require third-party applications for adequate protection. 

Windows Defender offers real-time protection across web, email, apps and cloud storage. That’s not to say you can rest easy. For starters, it lacks endpoint protection and response. This layer of security is important for businesses and organisations where devices are connected to a network outside the firewall. 

As a result, Windows has rolled out Microsoft Defender for Endpoint, but third-party software could do the same while providing superior protection in other areas. Although Windows Defender has a decent malware detection rate, it lacks additional features such as backup protection, password manager and VPN, and its content filters are limited to the Microsoft Edge browser. 

What To Consider When Choosing Third-Party Antivirus Software

The primary focus of third-party antivirus software companies is keeping track of cybersecurity threats and as such, are adept at identifying new threats and updating their product offerings. 

Your system can have fairly good protection with built-in antivirus software. For robust protection with fewer vulnerabilities, however, a third-party product is necessary. That being said, they are not without downsides. 

Running third-party antivirus applications use up system resources significantly, impacting system speed and efficiency. Users often become frustrated when device functions become sluggish and even unresponsive when the antivirus software is running. This can compel users to disable the application or avoid running regular updates and scans and turn off real-time protection, leaving the system vulnerable to threats. 

Although antivirus applications offer comprehensive protection, their best offering may come at a cost. Most products offer varying levels of protection, with the freely available package covering basic protections. 

A monthly licence fee is usually required to run packages with full features or higher levels of protection.  When using free software, a firewall should also be used for effective protection.  Free versions also have the drawback of not offering customer support, leaving users to turn to online forums or seek tech support when product issues and conflicts arise.

Another point to consider is no matter how comprehensive your antivirus package unless regular updates are installed, security holes can and will occur. Malicious software can then bypass the antivirus and cause damage.      

Conclusion 

Ultimately, the choice of built-in or third-party is up to user preference and requirements. Built-in security offers reasonable protection and is advantageous in that it’s free and fully integrated, requiring no effort on your part. 

When it comes to cybersecurity for your business or organisation, the stakes are much higher where data protection is concerned. Cybersecurity of this scale may call for broader and robust protections to cover the wider network and cloud-based infrastructure.    

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National Cyber Security

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