Whether you’re a tech geek or not, you have probably heard the term “antivirus.” But what is antivirus software?
Antivirus software is a computer program designed to detect, prevent, and take action to disarm or remove malicious software programs. Malicious software programs are often called malware.
Antivirus programs employ different techniques to protect your system from an attack of viruses and other forms of malicious software (such as worms and Trojan horses).
Common Types of Antivirus Software
This type of antivirus software monitors your computer and detects the malware as it attempts to execute on your system.
It can also block attacks at the network level, so if an infected email is sent to your inbox, the antivirus software stops it before it reaches you.
This type of antivirus software analyzes programs and files that run on your PC and looks for patterns in their behavior that indicate malicious activity (such as scanning for more files or sending email).
This type of antivirus software looks for suspicious data but doesn’t scan every file on your hard drive. Instead, it monitors applications running on your computer and checks them against a database of known malware signatures when they’re opened or executed by other programs.
Suppose a program appears suspicious based on its analysis or a result from another application’s analysis (for example, one might be flagged because it was downloaded from an unknown website).
In that case, heuristic software flags the process as malicious without requiring a full scan first.
Signature-Based Antivirus: When you download an executable program from somewhere other than Microsoft Windows Updates (Windows Update is Microsoft’s official source for updates), such as online gaming sites or peer-to-peer networks like BitTorrent, where many users share files at high speed), there’s usually no way to know whether those files are safe until downloaded onto your computer.
Uses of Antivirus Software
Antivirus software comes in a wide range of packages. The most basic ones only protect against malicious software.
At the same time, more advanced ones can also scan your computer for viruses and perform other tasks like automatically updating the antivirus database or blocking websites that have been identified as malicious.
Most antivirus packages include the following features:
- Protection Against Malware – Antivirus software protects against malicious websites, email attachments, and files on your hard disk. It may also include an app that can scan individual files or even entire systems for viruses and spyware.
- Scheduling Scans – Most antiviruses allow you to schedule periodic scans to run automatically during idle times such as overnight or when you’re out of the office for extended periods of time. This helps ensure that even if there’s no one around at those times to initiate a manual scan, one will still run occasionally so that any new threats aren’t missed out on detection entirely!
Firewalls vs. Antivirus Software
Firewalls and antivirus software are two common types of computer security software. They both work to protect your computer, but they use different methods.
Firewalls try to prevent unauthorized Internet access by monitoring data packets as they enter and leave your PC.
They filter out suspicious activity, such as attempts by hackers to access private information in the background. In contrast, antivirus programs detect malicious software on your device before it can cause harm or damage.
These programs also have the ability to remove viruses when detected in order for them not to affect other parts of your system’s operation (e.g., crashing).
In summary, antivirus software is software that detects, prevents, and removes viruses from your computer.
Antivirus software can be either paid or free. You need to pay for paid antivirus, while free antivirus is free to use and download from the internet.