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What is Antivirus Software?

  • Last Updated : 16 Jun, 2021
Geek Week

In computer systems, the security of data is always a major concern because there are some unidentified people(known as hackers) who always try to steal or harm the personal data or information of the users using viruses, worms, trojans, etc. So, to protect computer systems from these viruses or any other harmful activity, a software is developed and that software is known as Antivirus software.

Antivirus Software

Antivirus software is a program(s) that is created to search, detect, prevent and remove software viruses from your system that can harm your system. Other harmful software such as worms, adware, and other threats can also be detected and removed via antivirus. This software is designed to be used as a proactive approach to cyber security, preventing threats from entering your computer and causing issues. Most antivirus software operates in the background once installed, providing real-time protection against virus attacks. 

While you may believe that your computer is safe as long as you don’t visit questionable websites, hackers have far more sophisticated methods of infecting your computer, which is why you need a powerful antivirus to stay to secure your data and system. The implications of a virus getting into your computer might be fatal. Viruses can cause a wide range of malicious behavior. They can crash your device, monitor your personal accounts, or spy on you through your webcam. So, always use antivirus software.

How Antivirus Works:

Antivirus software works by comparing your computer applications and files to a database of known malware kinds. Because hackers are continually creating and disseminating new viruses, it will also check systems for the presence of new or undiscovered malware threats. The antivirus checks files, programs, and applications going in and out of your computer to its database to identify matches. Similar and identical matches to the database are segregated, scanned, and eliminated.



Most programs will employ three types of detection devices:

  • Specific detection, which looks for known parts or types of malware or patterns that are linked by a common codebase
  • Generic detection is a type of detection that looks for known parts or types of malware or patterns that are related to a common codebase.
  • Heuristic detection is a type of virus detection that looks for unknown infections by spotting suspicious file structures.

Examples of Antivirus:

The antivirus software is available in 2 types: 

(i) Free: Free anti-virus software provides basic virus protection

(ii) Paid: commercial anti-virus software provides more extensive protection.

The following are some commonly used antivirus software:

1. Bitdefender: Bitdefender Total Security is a comprehensive security suite that protects against viruses and dangerous malware of all varieties. This user-friendly antivirus software is compatible with all four major operating systems and smart homes, and it also includes a free VPN with a daily limit of 200MB, parental controls, camera protection, a password manager, etc. This security suite is reasonably priced and will protect up to five devices 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

2. AVAST: This is a free antivirus available. All you have to do to obtain top-notch protection on your computer, emails, downloads, and instant messages in the free version is register (for free) once a year. It includes a sophisticated heuristics engine that enables it to detect viruses.



3. Panda: It can detect viruses, trojans, spyware, adware, worms, and malware at the same level as other antiviruses do. It is different from others because using this software, when you scan your computer, it doesn’t consume any of your computer’s resources; instead, it runs in the cloud, allowing your machine to continue to function normally.

Advantages of Antivirus:

  • Spam and advertisements are blocked: Viruses exploit pop-up advertising and spam websites as one of the most common ways to infect your computer and destroy your files. Antivirus acts against harmful virus-infected adverts and websites by denying them direct access to your computer network.
  • Virus protection and transmission prevention: It identifies any possible infection and then attempts to eliminate it.
  • Hackers and data thieves are thwarted: Antivirus do regular checks to see if there are any hackers or hacking-related apps on the network. As a result, antivirus offers complete security against hackers.
  • Protected against devices that can be detached: Antivirus scans all removable devices for potential viruses, ensuring that no viruses are transferred.
  • To improve security from web, restrict website access: Antivirus restricts your online access in order to prevent you from accessing unauthorized networks. This is done to ensure that you only visit websites that are safe and non-harmful to your computer.
  • Password Protection: Using antivirus, you should consider using a password manager for added security.

Disadvantages  of Antivirus:

  • Slows down system’s speed: When you use antivirus programs, you’re using a lot of resources like your RAM and hard drive. As a result, the computer’s overall speed may be significantly slowed. 
  • Popping up of Advertisements: Apart from commercial antivirus applications, free antivirus must make money in some way. One approach to attaining these is through advertising. Many times these advertisements degrade the user experience by popping up every time.
  • Security Holes: When security flaws exist in the operating system or networking software, the virus will be able to defeat antivirus protection. The antivirus software will be ineffective unless the user takes steps to keep it updated.
  • No customer care service: There will be no customer service provided unless you pay for the premium version. If an issue arises, the only method to solve it is to use forums and knowledge resources.

Sample Questions

Question 1. What is a computer virus? List its types.

Solution:

A computer virus is a sort of malware that spreads by introducing a copy of itself into another software and integrating into it. The virus may be present on a computer, but it will not be active or propagate until a user executes or opens the harmful host file or software. The viral code is run at the same time as the host code.

Some commonly used virus are:

  • Boot sector Virus 
  • File Virus 
  • Polymorphic Virus 
  • Email- Virus
  • Macro Virus

Question 2. How can you protect your system against virus?

Solution:

We can use antivirus software to protect your system against virus. Antivirus software works by comparing your computer applications and files to a database of known malware kinds. Because hackers are continually creating and disseminating new viruses, it will also check systems for the presence of new or undiscovered malware threats. The antivirus checks files, programs, and applications going in and out of your computer to its database to identify matches. Similar and identical matches to the database are segregated, scanned, and eliminated.



Question 3. How to know your system is protected?

Solution:

To check the system protection in:

  • In Windows 8/10: Antivirus software is already installed on your machine if it runs Windows 8. Windows Defender is a feature in Windows 8 that protects you from viruses, spyware, and other unwanted software.
  • In Windows 7: Click Start button -> select Control Panel -> click Review your computer’s status under System and Security. To expand the section, click the arrow button next to Security. If your antivirus software is detected by Windows, it will be listed under Virus protection.
  • In Windows Vista: Click Start button -> select Control Panel -> click Security -> security center -> click on Malware protection. If your antivirus software is detected, it will be listed under Virus protection.

Question 4. List down any five antivirus software

Solution:

  • Bitdefender
  • Norton
  • F-Secure
  • Avast
  • Kaspersky

Question 5. List down common sources of computer virus infection.

Solution:

The sources via which you can infect your system with viruses are:

  • Downloading programs/software from internet.
  • Emails
  • External devices like pen-drives
  • Using an unknown CD to Boot data
  • Bluetooth
  • Cracked Software 

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