Antivirus software is designed to prevent, detect and remove malware of all kinds. This includes adware, spyware, key loggers and trojans.
Methods for managing and preventing viruses can vary greatly. The most common type of virus protection is in the form of signature based detection. This works by comparing a digital signature of a file to an online database of verified malware. If a signature found, matches a known piece of malware, the antivirus software can remove the threat. The negative to this way of detecting viruses is that new viruses are created everyday and antivirus software cannot detect threats if the digital signature is not in the database.
In recent antivirus software, real-time protection is a feature. The software constantly scans the computer for suspicious activity in real-time and will notify if malware is detected, for example, an alert may appear if a CD containing malware is inserted into a computer.
Antivirus software has been a necessity for nearly all computer users worldwide. The amount of malware in circulation on the internet makes it incredibly easy to unknowingly download or interact with malware.
Not all antivirus protection offers the same level of protection. Most regular users will find a free solution to be adequate. The most common antivirus programs are:
- Microsoft Security Essentials
- Bull Guard