Considering the vast amount of personal and financial information most people have on their computers, the fact so many leave this data exposed to hackers and thieves boggles the mind. Security breaches of your computer can lead to identity theft, loss of financial freedom and even loss of personal freedom if Trojan Horse malware implanted on your device falsely implicates you in criminal activity.

Given the enormity of what’s at stake, leaving your computer unprotected from viruses and malware is tantamount to asking for disaster. Here are seven reasons you need to shell out the dough to protect your device with antivirus software today without further delay.

1. Protect Your Identity

In the information age, your identity is currency. The information you post online — or which others post while pretending to be you — impacts everything from your future employment opportunities to your reputation as a member of the community. Furthermore, law enforcement can utilize data on your computer to investigate whether you’re engaged in various crimes from fraud to pedophilia.

Antivirus software can help prevent outsiders from hijacking your computer via Trojan Horse technology. Trojan Horse malware apps are disguised as legitimate software, but once installed, they allow thieves to add content to your computer as well as delete, modify and copy data. The problem is so prevalent, the legal world has instituted the Trojan Horse defense to protect those who may face false prosecution in the future if sophisticated hackers rearrange their computer data to show evidence of child sex trafficking or financial malfeasance.

2. Keep Your Online Activity Safe

When you see an interesting article on social media, what do you do? You click on it to read it, right? Not necessarily. A solid antivirus program alerts you if online websites are insecure.

Not every website showing as not secure contains malware, but the risk simply isn’t worth it. If the thought of thieves hacking your bank account or credit cards doesn’t scare you, consider some malware can hijack control of your webcam and monitor your activity. Unless you’re getting tipped heavy figures as a cam girl, the thought of someone watching your every move via your computer indubitably creeps you out as much as having a peeping tom at your window all night.

3. Safeguard Your Investment

Most people spend anywhere from $500-$2,000 for their device. With that degree of investment, why would you leave it open for hackers to slow it down and destroy its functionality even if they don’t steal a dime? Antivirus software helps prevent damage to your computer programs and keeps your data from corruption.

4. Take Care of the Little Ones

Do you have young children who sometimes access your computer to do homework or play games? It’s amazing what kids can get up to online these days. The right antivirus software is no substitute for open dialogue regarding safe computer usage; however, it can at least keep careless little fingers from clicking on a link that downloads spyware to your device.

Talk to your children about online safety. Explain to them the dangers of meeting people online and keep close tabs on their activity. If you have multiple kids, investing in parental monitoring software can help you keep tabs on their online activity even when you’re not in the same room.

5. Avoid Getting Scammed

Scams proliferate online and some of the worst are tech support scams. In such scams, malware sends a prompt to your computer informing you your computer may be at risk and prompts you to take action. When you do, your data is hijacked.

Exercise caution when using remote tech support and never click on a link from a software you did not install. The right antivirus program can nip such prompts in the bud to keep you from getting snookered in the first place.

6. Pass on Hard Drive Problems

Few of us enjoy turning on our device or working away on it only to meet with the dreaded blue screen of death, and antivirus software can protect your hard drive from critical errors. Your hard drive is the brain of your computer, and when it goes, so does your entire operating system. Your computer “bricks” or refuses to boot at all, leading to system failure and costly repairs.

7. It May Be the Law

If you are an attorney, an accountant or work with medical records, the code of ethics governing your license includes a provision regarding the proper handling of personally identifiable information (PII) for all clients. In the old days, this meant investing in locked file cabinets and safeguarding the keys. In the information age, this means protecting your computer with antivirus software.

Failing to install software to safeguard your clients’ personal information can result in complaints against your license. Repeated violations can lead to losing your right to practice your craft. Considering what you go through to get your license, this reality kind of makes paying less than $200 (on average) for decent device security worth it, right?

Keeping Your Data and Your Reputation Safe With Software

There’s no excuse for negligence when it comes to keeping your computer safe. Our personal computers hold the keys to our financial livelihood and our very identities. Invest in the right antivirus program today and keep your software up to date to avoid falling prey to internet shysters.

For more tips on avoiding financial and identity theft scams online and elsewhere, check out this helpful infographic by PSECU!

This post is brought to you by PSECU, a Pennsylvania-based credit union.

Richard is an experienced tech journalist and blogger who is passionate about new and emerging technologies. He provides insightful and engaging content for Connection Cafe and is committed to staying up-to-date on the latest trends and developments.