Use antivirus software

Criminals use viruses and malicious software (malware) to carry out attacks. Malware infects computers, laptops, tablets and phones. Once there, it can steal your passwords or information that could be used to defraud you.

Antivirus products work by detecting and removing malware from your computer or laptop.

Which antivirus products should you use?

Built-in antivirus

Antivirus software is often included for free within the operating systems that run Windows and Apple computers. Make sure this built-in antivirus is switched on and you’ll instantly be safer.

Separate antivirus products

You can also buy separate antivirus products, or use free versions. With these products it’s worth noting:

  • if they come with a free trial, you’ll have to pay (or register) to continue using it after the trial period expires
  • separate antivirus products won’t always work alongside the built-in antivirus software and could even stop it from working completely
  • with so many products available you may want to carry out your own research to find out which is right for you

How to use your antivirus product

Whichever antivirus product you choose:

  • when you first use your antivirus product, run a full scan to make sure your device is free from all known malware
  • follow any advice the antivirus product suggests to clean up and protect your device
  • make sure the antivirus product is set to automatically scan all new files you save to your device
  • make sure you have automatic updates enabled so your antivirus product picks up the newer viruses when they’re discovered

What about antivirus products for phones and tablets?

You don’t need antivirus products on your phone or tablet – as long as you only install apps and software from official stores such as Google Play and the Apple App Store. These stores carry out checks that help ensure that apps are free of known malware and haven’t been tampered with. You should also set your apps (and the tablet or phone itself) to update automatically.

Other ways to protect yourself

Learn further steps to protect yourself and others from fraud.