To understand the need of an Antivirus, first we need to understand what malware is. A malware’s basic purpose is to interrupt the operations of a PC and collect information or remove data. It is basically induced into the target system via codes, scripts or disguised software programs. Worms, Trojan horses, Adware or Spyware are some of the very common forms of malware. It is the consistent use of malware by hackers and crackers that have prompted developers to make antivirus software programs to protect systems from such viruses.
Why Use an Antivirus?
An antivirus is a kind of software that not only prevents malware from attacking the computer, but also detects and removes malicious software programs that have already infiltrated the system.
Categories of Antivirus
Antivirus software, based on their function can be categorized into two basic types: the first ones prevent any attack on the system, by any malware. These software programs help to enhance system’s protective measures and add more layers of “armor” to it.
The second type of antivirus programs detect the malicious software programs that have already entered the system. After detecting such anomalies, they take the necessary actions to remove such malware from the system, without actually deleting the files that are damaged. Some antivirus applications even take steps to repair all the damaged files and return the system back to its working capacity.
How Does an Antivirus Work?
A range of ‘execution methods’ are used by antivirus applications. Some use the ‘signature based’ detection process which involves searching the system for all the known patterns of data falling under the domain of executable codes. An executable code is one that the system recognizes as legit and properly written. The software recognizes all the programs whose codes it distinguishes as non-executable, and removes them from the system.
Another strategy that antivirus may use is a ‘dummy run’. The application runs a file on sandbox and analyzes if the file will do any damage to the system.
Rootkit detection method is used by many antivirus tools. It basically is a malware that helps the hacker to gain administrative control over the system. It goes undetected and has the ability to completely change the functionality of the system. Rooktkits should be promptly detected and removed. If you fail, you may have to completely reinstall the operating system.
This involves detecting all kinds of malware, spyware and viruses—every time data is loaded into the computer’s active memory, i.e. when a USB disk is used or a file is downloaded. The software detects any suspicious activity during the data transfer and immediately prompts the user to remove the file or abort the data transfer.
Choosing the right kind of antivirus which is compatible with your system and continuously updating it is very critical to ensure the protection of your information. Not sure which one is the best, check out http://www.irdb.com/antivirus-