Previous versions of Windows OS offered only a basic firewall that most of us turned off anyway because it was quite useless. Instead, we were using third-party antiviruses that we bought or downloaded for free. The newest version – Windows 10 – offers a built-in antivirus that is supposed to protect us from cyber threats. But is Windows Defender reliable enough for us to trust it our safety? Or do you need an antivirus for Windows 10 despite the included software?

Technically, you don’t need any additional antivirus because Windows Defender should be sufficient. But once you dig deeper, you will get concerned about its efficiency. Let’s figure out all the details and see why you should consider getting antivirus for Windows 10 to keep your computer protected.

Why is Windows Defender not Enough?

Just one look at the results of the 2019 AV-Comparatives test will make you rather suspicious about the effectiveness of Windows Defender. This software got two stars out of three, which might seem not too bad. However, it had too many false positives during tests. While it’s not the worst-case scenario – it’s much worse if an antivirus misses real threats – false positives make Defender quite inconvenient.

Some antiviruses performed much worse than Windows Defender, but that’s not the point to focus on. We should remember that there are antiviruses that performed much better – for example, Panda and Avira blocked 100% of all threats. So why stick to questionable protection if you can get the best option?

The set of tools is limited

Yes, Windows Defender protects you from viruses, malware, spyware, and other threats, including even ransomware. But there is no protection against phishing, for example. And most leading antivirus providers offer advanced tools such as identity protection. There is no such thing as “too much security” today – the number and variety of hacker attacks are enormous. And you can’t risk exposing yourself to even a potential threat as the smallest bit of leaked data might compromise your overall safety.

Moreover, antivirus providers usually supply users with a password manager to help them keep their passwords strong and protected, a VPN to let them stay safe when connected to public networks, and other additional instruments. Windows Defender doesn’t offer even security for the web camera and emails, let alone a VPN or advanced identity protection features. The only somewhat advanced set of tools this antivirus has are parental controls that will let you manage the online activity of your kids.

Windows Defender simply doesn’t offer enough tools to keep users safe in a modern world full of sophisticated cyber threats. You can rely on this antivirus if your Internet activity is limited to some basic search and occasional usage of social media platforms. Although if you’re already reading this article, we very much doubt this will be your case.

So I Have to Pay for an Antivirus?

Well, not necessarily. Some providers like Avast offer quite a decent product for free. Of course, you should expect a free antivirus to protect you from the threats – it will most likely lack system optimization tools or a VPN, for instance. But if that’s just what you need, you will find free software sufficient for your requirements. Still, there will be more protection than Windows Defender can offer.

If your demands are higher, you should consider paid options. However, you shouldn’t worry about your budget because even the best antiviruses are quite affordable. You will spend no more than $40 per year to protect one computer if you choose a yearly package. Monthly plans are usually more expensive. Still, in most cases, you won’t pay for the security for one device any more than you pay for your Netflix account. We advise you to get a free trial before you buy a subscription to see if you like the software in action.

But You Can Stick to Windows Defender

Of course, you can just stay with this pre-installed antivirus. If you know basic rules of staying safe online such as “don’t click suspicious links” and “it’s phishing if it looks like phishing”, you might be just fine with only Windows Defender. But if you don’t trust your skills and instincts so much, you need more security.

You can at least try using a free antivirus to see if you like it more. Most antivirus programs are compatible with Windows Defender allowing both tools to work properly. But we advise you to disable the built-in antivirus if you get a third-party one.