What Is Antivirus Software And How To Use

The online world has virtually turned into part of our lives and routines. Whether you are searching for college material, working or even shopping, the online world provides a comprehensive means to ease and makes our lives more efficient.

With the advantage that the online world offers, it also comes with drawbacks. As there are security concerns in the real world, chances are that you may also be exposed to security threats in the online world. The most common online security threat is impeding malware and virus attacks.

However, many individuals and companies have dedicated skills and resources to design and come up with tools that help to offer users with much-needed protection. These tools are commonly known as antivirus software.

What Is Antivirus Software?

Antivirus software is basically designed to keep your devices protected and healthy. This software is commonly designed to scan malware or malicious activity and remove or block out any suspicious files or programs. However, along with the basic protection that antivirus software offers, many of us, especially non-tech savvy,  haven’t taken full advantage of the tools. Learn more on how antivirus works.

The First Antivirus

The first antivirus was created in the 1980s. Of course, one cannot develop a protection program without there being the risk of attacks. Thus, this antivirus program was pioneered by G data, a German company after the development of a virus.

This very first virus was designed to attack computers and spread out to delete data and disable the computer systems. Thus, the G data antivirus program was designed to protect Atari computers. It was in the same year that McAfee also revolutionised and rolled out its first version of the popular antimalware program.

How Does Antivirus Software Work?

The most common function of antivirus software is to detect by scanning, neutralize or block out malware from attacking systems on computers and devices. The antivirus software does this by allowing a download, the software then runs a scan.

This scan compares files in the operating system of the device with a pre-built database within its system. This database incorporates signatures and features that suggest malware or those of previously detected malware.  The antivirus software is effective, thus, this process helps to detect the impending malware attack.

To ensure that the software’s database is always updated to include newer strains and signatures of viruses. Additionally, since the majority of antivirus software allows you to preset an automatic scan after a certain time frame, this helps to create a “surveillance” system on your devices to enhance the chances of catching any malicious activity on time.

Sometimes, installing more than one antivirus software into your devices fights the existential popular myth. This puts your device at risk rather than protects it. This is because one antivirus software may confuse the other as a malware program. However, this is not the case for all. Some programs are built to complement each other.

What Threats Are You Protected From

According to sources, there are several types of malware that antivirus software protects us from. These include viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, and ransomware. Viruses are disguised in different ways and their main purpose is to cause a distraction to the system of your device. Viruses will either steal, delete, or alter settings of the data.

Worms on the other end mimic the practices of an actual worm. Actual worms will increase in size as they keep they grow, and this is what computer worms do. They replicate themselves through your network, thus, attacking a host of computers. A computer worm can easily be spread through email chains.

Clicking on attachments sent by unknown users hijack your system and send these similar attacks to respondents on your mailing list. In 2000, this particular attack occurred and affected up to 50 million computers; resulting in a loss of over 5 million euros in just 24 hours.

Trojans are normally hidden or disguised as legitimate software. A Trojan can easily allow your hacker to take over command of your device remotely. Spyware and ransomware reflect their names.  Spyware infects your device to collect personal information (including banking) as well as your patterns and habits. Ransomware on the other end works to hijack vital information in your system by blocking your access. The hackers then release this information or authority back to you only after satisfying their requests.

How Threats Spread

There are several ways in which viruses and other threats spread.  The common route always emails. Whether it is a phishing email or a file containing Trojans, you can easily and unknowingly download and install these malicious programs by opening an attachment sent to your email.  

Thus, always take note to avoid accessing emails from unknown senders or unexpected emails. Sometimes, even our instincts correctly guide us. If the email looks suspicious or doesn’t sit well with you, then don’t open it! The spam feature in your email I also a powerful tool.

Block out and spam all unwanted emails. You can even use less common tricks such as hovering the mouse on a link sent on an email without clicking so you can know the address to which it directs you to. Accessing and downloading files from unknown sites also leaves you at risk.

And sometimes these threats may not even stem from the internet as you are browsing through. Simply plugging in hardware such as memory sticks can introduce malware files and folders into your device.

How Effective Are Antivirus Programs

No matter, the skill or cutting edge technology incorporated in designing the antivirus programs, these programs do not guarantee 100% protection and safety. As much as technology evolves for the good, on the other side of the spectrum hacking and cybercrime are also revolutionised.

So even with the most recent designs, your antivirus program is still at risk of being bypassed. Thus, the best way is to develop safe practices apart from installing a good quality antivirus software. And most importantly, always ensure your antivirus program is constantly updated to keep up with the skims and trick of hackers.

In today’s world, we synch many of our programs together – thus, ensure you have antivirus in your mobile devices and computers alike.  Go for comprehensive antivirus programs that incorporate any features to fortify your security. When in doubt, go through updated lists of trusted programs.

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