Antivirus software is a critical tool that protects against various cyber-threats that are rampant on the internet today. In this article, we’ll review what antivirus software is, how it works, and how you can install it to protect your valuable data.
What Is Antivirus Software?
Antivirus software is designed to search for, detect, and remove software and hardware viruses.
A virus is a malicious program written to steal your data, hardware resources, or sensitive personal information for malicious purposes. Other malicious programs include ransomware, worms, adware, and Trojans.
Importance of Antivirus Software
Not everyone can afford to hire a cybersecurity company to take care of their devices. Antivirus tools are critical to protecting all users’ devices from the constant bombardment of malicious programs through the internet and other means.
In the Internet space, antivirus solutions can:
- Detect, block, and remove malware, ransomware, and viruses
- Block fraud, phishing, and identity theft attacks
- Warn about suspicious websites or links
- Scan the dark web for your personal information
- Offer secure password encryption to safeguard online accounts
Today, cyber-attackers have created more sophisticated malware, meaning that your preferred antivirus program should have the capacity to update its database to include the latest malware.
How Antivirus Software Works
Different antivirus software can do different things, but all of them should:
- Scan device files and directories to detect malware or malicious patterns/activity
- Allow a user to set up automatic and regular scans or custom scans of specific files or drives
- Remove malicious code or programs and notify the user for appropriate action
- Keep a log of the “health status” of the device it protects
Antivirus software programmers give their products definitions and patterns of malware. They can search your device to discover possible infections. These definitions may be stored in the cloud or on the local device storage.
Types of Antivirus Software
Antivirus software is available in free and paid formats. The latter offers a wider range of protection than the former. When looking for antivirus software, think about your uses and check what level of protection you need to determine the right plan.
For businesses, consult with a cybersecurity company to determine the correct plan.
The following are common types of antivirus softwares:
- Standalone antivirus software–a specialized portable program that can detect/remove a specific virus. You can use it to run scans on devices without antivirus protection.
- Security software suites–a group of programs designed to detect/remove all viruses and continuously update themselves to offer 24/7 protection.
- Cloud-based software–new software that stores its definitions in the cloud and runs scans from the cloud, reducing the space requirements on the device.
Updating Your Antivirus Software
Out of the box, your antivirus software needs an update to get the latest virus definitions. Most programs automatically check for and update their definitions. If this isn’t the case, check the settings and set up automatic updates and run them immediately.
Antivirus software is critical to protect users and their devices from malicious internet attacks.
For businesses, it is helpful to find a suitable cybersecurity company to generate a comprehensive internet/data security plan for your organization.