What Is Antivirus Software? Things You Need to Know
Did you know that every day 350,000 new malware are discovered? These malicious programs can infect anyone’s device without their consent. In most instances, the victim gets to know the reality after they’ve experienced a data breach. The research revealed that 60% of SMBs become aware of a data breach after six months. This increases the need to use antivirus software. But what is antivirus software, and how does it help organizations and individuals? To aid our readers in this, we’ve compiled this article. The piece sheds light on various aspects of antivirus software. So, let’s dive into it.
What is Antivirus Software?
In this age of changing security landscape, it has become imperative to protect your online presence. Maintaining your online security has become the need of the hour. Every other day, the internet is hit by the news of hackers exploiting any business organization and causing great damage. The damage is significant and causes both financial and reputational loss. Cyber-criminals have become quite advanced than before. They are using the latest tools and techniques to trick the users and steal their valuable data. There are several ways by which a malicious person targets the victim. Some of these tactics include:
- Malware attack
- DDoS attack
- Viruses, Trojan-Horse, and Worms
Besides this, they also take the form of malicious software that aims to steal your valuable data. No matter what tactic hackers use, their main goal is to breach your privacy and have sensitive data. It includes your business, personal, banking, health, or any other financial data. The best possible solution to avoid all this from happening is to use antivirus software. Thinking about what antivirus software is? Well! Like any other program, antivirus is a useful software program. It protects the device and sensitive data from malicious agents’ reach. It blocks out any malicious software or the tactic used by the hacker to enter your system.
The Function of Antivirus Software
Antivirus software safeguards your computer against malware invasion and other cyber-attacks. When activated, the software scrutinizes the data. It includes the web pages you visit, files downloaded, apps, and other software that came over your device. It first searches for the potential threats available on your device. They do so by monitoring any anomaly behavior. As soon as they detect any abnormality, they either remove it or even block it ensuring your online security. Using antivirus software is vital to fight against emerging cyber-risks and threats. What if you don’t have antivirus software installed on your device? Your device and all essential data in it are vulnerable to attackers. You might pose a significant risk of getting attacked by a virus or Trojan Horse, and you won’t even know about it. The malicious agents would cause havoc on your device without your consent. Thus, it is better to stay updated and use reliable antivirus software for your device.
How Does Antivirus Software Work?
Antivirus software works by scanning all the incoming files into your system. The software during its manufacturing phase has an extensive database. It includes all the known viruses, malware, and other forms of cyber-attacks that hackers can use to harm your device. The developers teach the software how to identify, flag, and fix the vulnerability. The software scans through every program, file, and even app that flows in and out of your device. It gathers all the relevant information and later compares it with the database to look for possible matches. If the software detects any similar matches, they scan it for vulnerabilities and then remove them. Now, antivirus software has improved from the past. The software allows the users to alter the settings for automatic scans to detect malicious apps, files, and programs. Also, you can run a manual scan and even set a schedule to run the antivirus scan. It happens when you are doing an important task and don’t want to get interrupted. You can permit the software to remove the vulnerabilities without asking for your permission.
How Does An Antivirus Help Us?
Antivirus software is an essential component to maintain the security of your computer. It safeguards the device from cyber-attacks and other forms of data breaches. In general, antivirus software protects us from all significant emerging cyber-threats. These include malware, ransomware, Trojan Horses, and adware. The software on behalf of the system performs the following tasks:
- Preparing for automatic scans
- Identifying files and programs for the presence of malicious software.
- Scanning files or the entire system.
- Removing malicious files, apps, codes, and programs.
Besides this, antivirus software also helps the users by performing the following functions.
Program Scanning and Script Blocking
Antivirus adopts the strategy of reactive scanning to protect your device. When you have antivirus software downloaded into your system, it scans every new file and program before it’s opened. Once antivirus software gives the clean chit, the app, file, or program will open up. The software handles checking the database which has the data about the known malware and viruses. Moreover, antivirus also runs a complete scan on your device and protects you. When it runs a full scan, it monitors every part of your system for malware signs. It is a time taking process but maintaining your device’s security is the top priority of the software. As these scans run in the background, they consume a lot of the system memory. Make sure that your device has enough memory to handle the load by the antivirus software.
Excellent and reliable antivirus software is the one that provides automatic updates. Also, it ensures that the databases are getting updated with the latest emerging vulnerabilities.
Another crucial area where antivirus software is handy is to remove malware from your device. The antivirus software has built-in malware detection capability, and it does not detect it but also deletes it.
Protects from Unwanted and Malicious Ads
Hackers are always looking for new ways to invade your system. Sometimes they adopt techniques like phishing, while other times, they look for the backdoor loophole. One such loophole is ads you see on the internet. The hackers are present on your network and track your activities. They even keep a record of your likes, dislikes, and other preferences. When they get enough information about you, they attach your IP address with it. They sell it to third parties or on the dark web to exchange money. Once your data gets leaked, you are often bombarded with unwanted and malicious ads. Such ads pop up on your screen and encourage you to click on them. If the ad is about some product or service so, you’ll be taken to their website. But, if it is a malicious ad, you might get redirected to some bogus site. The hacker would ask to provide your financial and banking details. A reliable AV software blocks all such ads and ensures a safe browsing experience for the user.
Enhances Web Protection By Limiting the Access to Unauthorized Websites
Sometimes while browsing the internet, you often access some unauthorized websites. These sites can expose your system to a range of cyber threats like spyware, malware, and viruses. Once these threats get a pathway to your device, they cause significant risks to your data and files. Even an extreme situation can lead to a system crash. An AV software limits your access to any such authorized websites and networks. By all possible means, they ensure that you access safe and authorized websites. It is a reason that you receive an error message when you visit some sites, which can prove harmful for your device.
Protection Against Removable Devices
Another area where AV software helps us is when we use any removable devices on our system. These devices are most of the time vulnerable and serve as a transmission device for any virus. What usually happens is that after using a USB, your computer system starts working slower than expected. It can also damage your critical data files, and you can’t later recover them. Here again, AV software comes into play. It scans the removable devices for viruses, so it isn’t transmitted in any way.
Common Types of Antivirus Software
There are several different types of AV software available in the market. Each of them has an individual purpose with a prime aim to protect your device and sensitive data. Below are the three common types of antivirus software so, let’s discuss them.
Standalone Antivirus Software
It is a security solution to remove some specific viruses from the system. It gets installed on a USB drive and used by the administrator to run scans after removing the USB device.
Security Software Suites
It is more than antivirus software and is worth using as it detects and removes viruses from the system. It also fights against all types of malicious software that enter your system.
Cloud-Based Antivirus Software
It is typically designed to work in a cloud environment. It is a developing technology that will get more robust in the upcoming time. The cloud-based AV software examines all the files in the cloud. Later, it runs scans for potential viruses and malware. The best thing about this AV software is that it doesn’t consume much of the system’s memory.
Free Vs. Premium Antivirus Software: Which One Works the Best?
You can find both premium and free AV software in the market. When the name free comes, most users decide to use it without thinking for a second. They believe that why should they invest in something when they are getting it for free. But, they forget that they can’t avail any service without paying for it. Though the free AV software doesn’t charge a single penny from the user, they aren’t reliable to use. These free services make money by bombarding users with irrelevant ads and installing junkware on their systems. Moreover, the free software often hides malware within them. It means that they are not doing anything to boost your security but risking it all ways. By using free AV software, you can quickly become a victim of identity theft too. Also, it lacks advanced protection boosting features essential for maintaining device security. In contrast to free AV software, the premium ones are worth investing in. They are secure and have a wide range of security-enhancing features. Thus, it’s recommended to save some bucks and invest in the best AV software. Remember, nothing is more expensive than your security.
To conclude, all we can say is if you are already using antivirus software, then you are on the safe side. But if not, then you should start using it right now. With the emerging cyber threats, it has become imperative to use antivirus protection tools. If you are under any crack or vulnerability then, the AV software is there to protect you. Hackers and other malicious agents are adopting new methods to breach user privacy. But, they won’t succeed in their deeds with a comprehensive security solution like AV software.