Antivirus software is a program or set of programs that are invented to prevent, search for, detect, and remove software viruses, and other malicious software like worms, Trojans, adware, and even more.
These tools are critical for users to have installed and up-to-date because a computer without anti-virus software installed will be infected within minutes of connecting to the web.
There are several different companies that build and offer anti-virus software and what each offers may vary but all perform some basic functions:
- Scan specific files or directories for any malware or known malicious patterns
- Allow you to schedule scans to automatically run for you
- Allow you to initiate a scan of a specific file or of your computer, or of a CD or flash drive at any time.
- Remove any malicious code detected –sometimes you will be notified of an infection and asked if you want to clean the file, other programs will automatically do this behind the scenes.
- Show you the ‘health’ of your computer
If you’re not sure of the answer to that question just read the followings. Just how dangerous is it out there? Here’s what you need to know:
Good behavior alone is not enough to protect you from attacks
Visiting porn sites and downloading pirated software puts you at a much higher risk of infection, but even legitimate websites can be compromised, and seemingly innocent results in a search engine can lead to hostile sites.
No antivirus software is perfect
It is literally impossible for any security product to identify every possible threat, especially when malware writers are constantly updating their products to avoid detection. Most of the leading antivirus programs can identify and block the overwhelming majority of threats you are likely to encounter online.
Many types of malware are installed voluntarily
Among the most common threats are Trojans, which spread via social engineering. The job of a malware writer is to convince you to run his innocent-sounding program, which secretly does something other than its stated purpose.
Attacks via zero-day exploits are rare
Zero-day exploits get a lot of publicity, but they rarely have a widespread impact. The worst variants of these attacks are the ones aimed at specific companies.
Do you require antivirus software on your PC? If you’re not sure of the answer to that question, then the short response is yes. The longer answer is that security software is only one piece of what should be a simple, straightforward, and systematic approach to your PC’s health. Always be sure you have the best, up-to-date security software installed to protect your computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones.