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What is antivirus software

Antivirus software is a computer program which is usually installed on your computer and helps to detect, or prevent and or take action to remove malicious software programs, such as Viruses, Trojans and Worms. You can help protect your computer against viruses by using antivirus software.

Computer viruses are software programs that are deliberately designed to have an undesirable effect on computer operation such as delete data, record or corrupt data and also to spread themselves to other computers and throughout the Internet or your local network.
Antivirus should have an auto update feature and your antivirus software should be updated regularly using this to help prevent the most of the current viruses.

How Viruses are detected?

  • Signature based detection is the most common method for detecting viruses, malware and other malicious software. To identify viruses and other malware, antivirus software compares the contents of a file to a dictionary of virus signatures which are downloaded when the antivirus performs its updates. Because viruses can embed themselves in existing files, the entire file must be searched and appropriate action is taken if necessary.
  • Heuristic-based detection methods, like malicious activity detection, can be used to identify unknown viruses which are currently not in the antivirus database.
  • File Emulation is another heuristic style approach. File emulation involves executing a program in a virtual environment and logging what actions the program performs. Depending on the actions logged, the antivirus software can determine if the program is malicious or not and then carry out the appropriate disinfection actions.


What are Rootkits?

Most big named Antivirus software should be able to rootkits which are a type of malware that is designed to gain administrative level permissions on a system without detection. Rootkits can alter the operating systems usual functions and because of its high level administrative permissions, it can also tamper with the anti-virus program and render it inactive. Rootkits are also difficult to detect and remove because even your normal Windows computer require rootkits to perform it’s normal instructions so distinguishing the bad Rootkits between the good rootkits is still a difficult task.

Pros and Cons of Antivirus

No matter how useful antivirus software can be, it can sometimes have drawbacks. Antivirus software can impair a computer's performance. When antivirus is installed the user will be presented with many confusing options for its configuration. If your antivirus is miss-configured it can pose a serious security threat. The antivirus software employs heuristic detection and its success depends on achieving the right balance between false positives and false negatives. False positives can be as destructive as false negatives. Antivirus software generally runs at the highly trusted kernel level of the operating system, creating a potential avenue of attack.

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