What Is Antivirus Software and Why Do You Need It?

Posts by: John Ress

An Antivirus is a software designed to prevent, detect, and remove malicious software such as viruses, trojans horses, adware, worms, and more, from entering your computer system and network. Running a computer system and browsing the web without an Antivirus software can be compared to living without an immune system. If your body doesn’t have an immune system, it can be infected easily with different viruses and diseases.

 

Contents

  1. History of Antivirus Software

  2. How Does It Work

  3. Types of Antivirus Programs

  4. Threats and Dangers

  5. What You Should Do to Protect Yourself

  6. Final Thoughts

 

History of Antivirus Software

The first viruses were written in the early 1980s, before internet connectivity was widely spread, and usually infected computers through floppy disks (which some of you have never seen). During those years, many programmers became acquainted with computer virus programming, and when the internet became more common, viruses began to spread online fast.

In 1987, the first Antivirus programs were released, but were pretty basic and updated relatively infrequently. Over the years, the Antivirus industry has grown significantly, and nowadays, there are dozens of Antivirus companies in the market. The protection that each one offers can vary a lot but all of them have some mutual essential features, such as virus and malware scan, detection, and removal of infected files.

 

How Does It Work

Antivirus software usually runs as a process in the background, scanning computer, network or mobile devices to detect, alert, restrict, and remove malware. Most of the Antivirus programs have real-time threat detection as well as scheduled or initiated scans that search for possible risks on your system. To do so, Antivirus software must be given permission to access to the entire computer or device’s system.

 

Types of Antivirus Programs

Antivirus software comes in several forms, such as stand-alone antivirus scanners, internet security products, and programs that include firewall, VPN, and other privacy and protection tools. Some of the Antivirus programs download malware definitions to your system and then search for a match in your files. The issue with this method is that modern malware tends to change its appearance and avoid being detected. Other Antivirus programs use cloud-based solutions, in which the malware database change quicker and therefore reacts faster to malware threats.

 

Threats and Dangers

Malicious software, also named malware, is constantly changing and developing into many new risks to your computer and mobile devices. Over a decade ago, before we had smartphones and super-fast internet connection, main threats to your computer included infected files you would download or get them via email, which caused serious harm to your computer. Smartphones and fast internet brought us many advantages, but in terms of danger and threats to your information and devices, it turned the technology environment into a huge jungle with predators and prays, and in this jungle, you need an Antivirus software that will protect you properly.

Nowadays, when most of your actions are done online and on smartphones, modern threats and risks have appeared and they’ve become more and more intimidating and sophisticated, especially when they don’t only attack your computer and mobile devices’ systems, but can also abuse your personal and sensitive data.

When you use the internet network, you’re exposed daily to phishing attempts, ransomware (which is basically a blackmail malware), identity theft attempts, social media scams, SQL injections, and many more. In fact, according to the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report and Consumer Reports from 2017, 40% of the American households are affected by viruses and 32% of the world’s computers are infected with some type of malware.

 

What You Should Do to Protect Yourself

So, you’re probably asking yourself how you could know if your computer or mobile device got infected with malware or a virus. The warning signs may include: popup ads that start popping up everywhere, suspicious email activity, an unknown app that sends scary warnings, mysterious posts on your social media, or even ransomware demands. To see the full list of warning signs and learn how to deal with them correctly, read the full article here.

We know all that we talked about here may seem frightening. However, the way to avoid malware and viruses doesn’t have to be complicated. First, install a decent Antivirus software that its features answer your needs and include updated protections against viruses and malware. We’ve compiled a great comparison list of the best Antivirus software of 2018. You can view which features and advantages each one offers and choose the best one for you. Once You’ve installed the Antivirus software, make sure you keep it updated with the latest security updates and run a daily scan for viruses.

Note that while an Antivirus is an excellent layer of security for your computer and mobile devices, it’s not perfect. To reduce the risk of being infected with viruses or malware, you need to be cautious while browsing the web, downloading files from unknown sources, and dealing with suspicious email attachments. Additionally, never deliver private information, such as passwords, and try to keep your computer operating system and software updated.

 

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, installing an Antivirus software on your computer and mobile devices and exercising caution when browsing the web have become imperative steps nowadays, if you want to protect your personal data, sensitive files, passwords, and online identity. Always make sure you choose an elite Antivirus software, preferably from the list we’ve compiled here and stay away from suspicious ads of Antivirus programs you haven’t read about.