Antivirus for computers may seem like a cliché, but they are of utmost importance. Using an antivirus on your computer saves you from a lot of security issues. In this guide, we would look at the benefits of antivirus and the different types to choose from. Read through keenly to pinpoint the main ideas.
What is Antivirus?
An antivirus is a program or set of programs that are designed to prevent, search for, detect, and remove software viruses, and other malicious software like worms, trojans, adware, and more.
Why Do You Need an Antivirus?
By using an antivirus program, you keep your device safer. Computer viruses – and many other online dangers – are stopped by virus scanners. This greatly reduces the chance that your device will become unusable or your data will fall into the wrong hands.
The internet is full of malware and viruses. This can be, for example, a “normal” computer virus, a computer worm, a trojan, a keylogger, or even spyware, ransomware, or the new and scary threat killware. Once your computer is infected, it is extremely difficult to get your system completely “clean” again. Often, some malicious code still lingers somewhere on your device, even if you have deleted all infected files. As a result, you can never be 100 percent certain that the virus or malware has been completely removed.
To protect yourself against these types of threats, you need a proper virus scanner. Antivirus software scans your files before you open them so that a virus does not have the opportunity to infect your system. Most advanced virus scanners also detect non-traditional malware. This type of malware does not necessarily need to be “activated” to cause damage, for example, by opening a file. Examples of this type of malware are adware and spyware.
What harm can a virus do to your computer?
In case your computer is attacked by a virus, it can affect your computer in the following ways:
- Slow down the computer
- Damage or delete files
- Reformat hard disk
- Frequent computer crashes
- Data loss
- Inability to perform any task on the computer or the internet
Antivirus software is like a ray of bright light in a world full of dark viruses. The number of advantages that they offer is countless. Some of the most prominent advantages are:
How Does a Virus Scanner Work?
The goal of a virus scanner is to protect your device from viruses and other types of malware. It does this by comparing whatever threat it encounters to a “blacklist”. All viruses known to your antivirus program are on this blacklist.
As soon as the virus scanner encounters something that has been blacklisted, the program will stop the file and try to delete it. An antivirus program scans your system in various ways:
- Real-time scans: these scans happen when the antivirus program is running in the background. The software checks every file and every program the minute you click on them. If your virus scanner encounters something suspicious, it will let you know. Because the scan happens before the file is opened, the virus is stopped before it can infect your system, keeping you and your device safe.
- Scans of your entire system: system scans are done in one go and check your entire device for possible viruses or malware. Full scans are not often necessary, especially when real-time scans are constantly taking place. However, it can be useful to run a system scan when you install a new antivirus program. The weekly scans that many antivirus programs automatically run are also useful because they doublecheck your entire system for the most recent viruses. At any other time, your antivirus software will activate immediately, in real-time, as soon as you click on a file with a hidden virus.
Types of Computer Virus
Discussed below are the different types of computer viruses:
- Boot Sector Virus – It is a type of virus that infects the boot sector of floppy disks or the Master Boot Record (MBR) of hard disks. The Boot sector comprises all the files which are required to start the Operating system of the computer. The virus either overwrites the existing program or copies itself to another part of the disk.
- Direct Action Virus – When a virus attaches itself directly to a .exe or .com file and enters the device while its execution is called a Direct Action Virus. If it gets installed in the memory, it keeps itself hidden. It is also known as a Non-Resident Virus.
- Resident Virus – A virus that saves itself in the memory of the computer and then infects other files and programs when its originating program is no longer working. This virus can easily infect other files because it is hidden in the memory and is hard to be removed from the system.
- Multipartite Virus – A virus that can attack both, the boot sector and the executable files of an already infected computer is called a multipartite virus. If a multipartite virus attacks your system, you are at risk of cyber threat.
- Overwrite Virus – One of the most harmful viruses, the overwrite virus can completely remove the existing program and replace it with malicious code by overwriting it. Gradually it can completely replace the host’s programming code with the harmful code.
- Polymorphic Virus – Spread through spam and infected websites, the polymorphic virus are file infectors that are complex and tough to detect. They create a modified or morphed version of the existing program and infect the system and retain the original code.
- File Infector Virus – As the name suggests, it first infects a single file and then later spreads itself to other executable files and programs. The main source of this virus are games and word processors.
- Spacefiller Virus – It is a rare type of virus that fills in the empty spaces of a file with viruses. It is known as a cavity virus. It will neither affect the size of the file nor can be detected easily.
- Macro Virus – A virus written in the same macro language as used in the software program and infects the computer if a word processor file is opened. Mainly the source of such viruses is emailed.
Types of Antivirus Software
You must have heard about it before as it is one of the most popular and widely used antivirus software. Out of all, the best thing is that you can avail of its services for free! You don’t have to visit fake links or fill in various forms to get your hands on this fantastic software. Instead, you can download it securely from the internet. It takes minimal space and is capable of working with different windows and operating systems.
Within small time intervals, it keeps scanning computer files. If you want to get rid of a virus or spyware, then install it now. Social networking protection, anti-spam pro, email scanner, anti-rootkit, and protective cloud technology are some essential features of AVG Antivirus.
This differs from AVG Antivirus as you can set a timer for scanning files in McAfee Antivirus. With Wi-Fi protection, network manager, performance and PC optimization, and efficient web protection, McAfee Antivirus is the second most popular antivirus program.
Like AVG Antivirus, McAfee Antivirus also protects your computer from viruses and spyware. You have to get a subscription if you want to avail the services of McAfee Antivirus.
If you are looking for an incredible antivirus at affordable rates, then Norton Antivirus is your best bet. It is ideal for the protection of personal and financial data. The amazing features of this software include the startup manager, disk doctor, threat protection, and the safe web that makes Norton a highly desired antivirus.
This software will scan your computer daily and will delete all junk files and viruses. It will ask you to pay an annual subscription fee to enjoy its services.
Lavasoft has stolen the spotlight by introducing this incredible antivirus program. This software will protect your personal and financial data from various cyber criminals. Gear up to bid farewell to all the viruses and spyware that attack your computer by showing ads.
If you are facing multiple threats while using the internet, then make sure to install Ad-Aware as it will help you in overcoming the hurdles while surfing. It is powerful enough to trace keystrokes and passwords also. It puts very less pressure on the system and works effectively. It is an absolute blessing for those who are fighting against the Trojans.
Benefits Of Antivirus Software
The advantages of antivirus software are as follows:
- It detects, blocks, and removes viruses and malware from the system.
- It warns about dangerous websites, attachments, links, advertisements, etc.
- Prevents identity threats.
- Blocks phishing.
- Keeps the online activities and accounts protected.
- Protects the system from getting slow or corrupted.
- Protects the data and files from deletion.
- Therefore, helps to run the computer system smoothly.
Is There a Problem Running More Than One Antivirus?
We’ll start with the obvious question: can you have more than one antivirus program running?
The short answer is yes you can, but you definitely shouldn’t run them at the same time.
For effective antivirus detection against computer viruses, worms, Trojan viruses, and more, the antivirus software has to be allowed to penetrate to a suitable level within the computer. This means the software dives down into the system core, known as the kernel.
The antivirus product does this to intercept system events deep within the computer. The intercepted data is then passed to the antivirus engine for analysis. As a result, the antivirus scanner can scan intercepted files, network packets, and other critical data.
If two antivirus programs are running on a single computer, they will each try to install interceptors into the same part of the system kernel. This is likely to result in conflicts between the antivirus monitors—probably with one of the following consequences:
- One of the two antivirus programs will fail to intercept system events.
- Each antivirus program’s attempts to install parallel interceptors will cause the entire computer system to crash.
The above is just one situation you could expect if you try to run multiple antiviruses.
To conclude, Viruses and malware are evolving throughout the world. Over the years, attackers and hackers have been finding technological tactics to attack your devices and circumvent antivirus software systems. Thus, it is always advisable to invest in it antivirus protection. Furthermore, updating antivirus software regularly will ensure the smooth functioning of the same.