Installing security software for your software on your home PC is just as essential as plugging in a keyboard, mouse or monitor. 

Keeping your computer safe from viruses, malware and potential intrusion is an absolute must, but some anti-virus tools cost a pretty penny and require expensive renewals every year.

Thankfully, as BT customers you’re entitled to free protection from BT Virus Protect. Here’s everything you need to know and don't forget to explore your free BT Extras.

Why do I need security software?

Running a PC without security software is the computing equivalent of driving without a seatbelt. While bad things might not happen, the consequences of them happening without protection don’t bear thinking about.

PC viruses can hinder your computer’s performance at best, or render it utterly unusable and cause catastrophic failure at worst. If malware and spyware sits undetected on your computer, malicious parties can harvest your personal information like logins, passwords, usernames and account details.

Security software also protects your online activities, helping you steer clear of insecure websites and protecting children from unsavoury content.

[Read more: How to protect your computer from viruses]

What is BT Virus Protect?

This is BT’s free software built in conjunction with McAfee, one of the world’s leading dedicated security software makers, offered free of charge to all BT customers. It is available to download for PC or Mac computers.

What does Virus Protect do?

The BT Virus Protect software offers several essential features, which will safeguard your computers, web activity and personal information. Here are some of the best features:

  • Virus Scan: This element will perform regular scans of your computer’s hard drive for the latest security threats, including viruses, Trojans, tracking cookies, spyware, adware, and other unwanted programs. It runs in the background and will alert you when a threat has been detected. As well as your hard drive, Virus Scan looks for threats to your email, chat and personal files from the internet.
  • Personal Firewall: A firewall helps keeping unwanted intruders like hackers away from your activity. Say hello to worry-free web browsing.
  • Parental Controls: If you have minors in the house, parental controls are a must for protecting young eyes from adult content. You can block access to particular websites or even block based on keywords.
  • Site Advisor: This helpful feature will inform you if a website you’re trying to visit contains dangerous content like spyware, malware, spam or online scams known as ‘phishing.’
  • The rest: The security software also checks the health of your discs and helps you find and delete space-sapping duplicate files. The neat Stealth Mode can hide your presence on the internet, meaning would-be hackers have no idea you’re even there. It’ll also scan for software updates so you’ll always know when the latest versions of your favourite apps and operating system is available. Click here for a full list of features.

Why should I download it?

Well, there’s really no reason for you not to download BT Virus Protect. It is free for broadband customers and it is an unobtrusive solution that aids the health of your computer without getting in the way of your daily activity.

It updates continually and automatically, so you know your computer will always be protected against the latest and most sophisticated attacks. It’s always better to be safe than sorry… especially when it’s free.

[Read more: How to keep your identify safe online]

Who can get BT Virus Protect?

Virus Protect is free to all BT broadband customers. Depending on your package you can install it on 2 or 15 machines, or upgrade to a 15-licence for £4 a month with the first month free.

Magnifying glass with computer code

What are my system requirements on a PC?

To be able to install BT Virus Protect on a Windows PC, you’ll need to meet these minimum requirements:

  • Software: Windows XP (32-bit only) with Service Pack 3 (SP3) or higher, Windows Vista (32 and 64-bit) with Service Pack 1 (SP1), Windows 7 (32 and 64-bit) or Windows 8 and 8.1 (32 and 64-bit).
  • Hardware: The PC will need to boast at least a 1 GHz processor, 2GB RAM (512MB for Windows XP machines), 500MB of free hard drive space an active internet account.
  • Compatible web browsers: Internet Explorer 7.0 or higher, Mozilla Firefox version 4.0 or higher and Google Chrome.

What are my system requirements on a Mac?

It’s a little more straightforward for Mac users. Here are the requirements:

  • Software: The Mac needs to be running Mac OS X 10.7 or higher.
  • Hardware: Apple Computer with Intel Processor, 2 GB RAM or more, 300 MB of available free drive space and an active internet connection.
  • Compatible web browsers: Safari version 5.0 or higher, Mozilla Firefox version 12.0 or higher. However, the Site Advisor feature is only currently supported by Firefox.

How do I get BT Virus Protect?

To install this security software on your computer you’ll need to login in to your BT account at the My BT website. From there you’ll need to take the following steps:

1: Scroll down to the My Extras tab

2: Click Get Started from the 'BT Virus Protect' panel

3: Once activated you’ll be invited to download and install the software.

4: Download the software and follow the install instructions.

5: Notice the McAfee icon in your system tray (PC only) and rest assured with the knowledge your PC is now being protected.

Find out more about BT Virus Protect

BT Extras