How Antivirus Software Protects You

Antivirus software is a computer program that scans all of the files on your machine; it will then identify any suspicious programs and flag them for removal. Antivirus software searches your computer to check for viruses this usually happens when you create, open, close or email files. This allows for the software to spot viruses as soon as possible. Virus scans can also be set to be run periodically, at the same time each day.

Your anti-virus software uses a couple of methods to spot security threats. One way is by checking your files to see whether any of them match the known viruses in its database. The other is to see whether any strange activity is happening which could be a virus.

Because antivirus software makes heavy use of its antivirus database it is essential that you buy antivirus software that has up to date virus definitions. New viruses are created all the time in the hope that the antivirus software on your computer will not recognise it and it will sneak past your defence system.

You can tell your antivirus tool to check each file on your computer or you can select specific drives for it to scan. The security software will then check whether any of the code in any of the files on your PC matches anything in the database. If a match is found the antivirus software will delete the file, put it in quarantine or repair the file by removing any malicious code. When a suspicious file is quarantined it is isolated so no other programs can use the file and this stops the virus from spreading.

Virus databases are kept updated with the latest virus threats by people sending their infected files to anti-virus software providers. These companies will then update their virus definitions to allow the software to protect your computer from viruses they have indentified. This is why not all antivirus products will protect you from all viruses you need a well known brand so you can be sure they are investing time and money into ensuring they know about all the latest virus threats giving you the best internet security.

Computer viruses are becoming cleverer and some viruses are able to adapt the code so it does not match the virus definitions in the database which can trick the antivirus software into thinking the file is ok.

Anti-virus software may identify a virus through odd behaviour. For example if a program tries to add data to an executable file your security software should alert you to decide whether this is acceptable. You can choose whether to let the program continue or block the action to prevent the virus.

By tracking unusual activity on your computer your antivirus software can protect you from new viruses which may not be in your virus database. The one problem with this approach is your virus software can track a lot of false positives which will give you a pop up message with a warning. If you always accept the action then you may become oblivious to the warnings and one day accept something you shouldn’t.

To be sure you are always protected you should have antivirus software installed on your computer.