Hackers and antivirus vendors are engaged in a never-ending cyclical battle. Hackers are continually creating new viruses and other ways to infect your computer or attack you online to steal your data, money, or identity. In return, antivirus companies create solutions to detect these threats and prevent them from harming you.
What is antivirus software?
Antivirus software is not one thing, but rather a set of evolving defense mechanisms designed to protect your computer from the constant barrage of known, unknown, and ever-evolving malicious threats designed by hackers, trolls, and cybercriminals.
However, “antivirus” is a misnomer. Viruses are only one type of malware, and malware is only one type among a multitude of Internet security threats. “It’s like an elephant: Every elephant is gray, but not everything gray is an elephant,” says Peter Stelzhammer, co-founder of the independent safety testing laboratory AV-Comparatives. “Malware” is the umbrella term for any malicious threat. So you have worms, viruses, ransomware, and more, and all of that is malware. The term “virus” is only used for marketing purposes, and a threat is usually a combination of several techniques. ”That said, for simplicity, all US information guides use the term“ antivirus software. “for software that addresses all types of online security threats.
Antivirus software constantly scans your computer for threats from email, web browsing, and application and software downloads, to make sure everything you do and access online is free of code. potentially dangerous. When a problem is detected, the software alerts you, prevents you from accessing a suspicious file or website, or eliminates the threat. This is why you should choose your antivirus carefully; born only choose trusted Antivirus Applications, which can effectively protect your PC from malware and software that threatens your private information and system integrity.
The different types of Internet threats resulting from various online activities – emailing, clicking links, browsing the web, transferring or downloading files or applications, recording and viewing webcam videos – require different antivirus solutions. These solutions include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Signature scanning: Signature-based scanning is similar to fingerprinting and is one of the most common types of antivirus threat detection. All anti-virus software companies compile and constantly update a database of identified threats, called “virus definitions”, from suspicious files and websites. Antivirus programs compare the fingerprint, or “signature”, of a detected potential threat against threats scanned in that database and react accordingly when there is a match.
- Heuristic Analysis: Many hackers understand signature-based tools and know how to disguise their malicious code. In response, some antivirus software also uses a so-called heuristic approach. Often described as a sophisticated trial-and-error method, heuristic analysis helps identify suspicious characteristics of an otherwise unrecognizable file that might match those of known malware.
- Sandbox detection: Some potentially malicious code is so well disguised or encrypted that it escapes signature and heuristic detection. So, if an encrypted file even looks vaguely suspicious, antivirus software will open it and run it in a “sandbox”. This sandbox is a secure area inside software that the antivirus uses to determine if the file is harmless or malicious without damaging your computer.
- Machine Learning / Artificial Intelligence: As hackers have learned to adapt, antivirus software companies have developed more sophisticated machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies to identify new techniques that hackers are using to hide their privacy. job. The software then adds information about these new threats to its detection database. As it gathers more information, the software better detects previously unknown malware.
- Behavior Monitoring: “Generally speaking, behavior monitoring monitors traffic between your computer and various devices – external hard drives, USB drives, networked computers, printers, etc. – to stop them when they are doing something. suspect, ”says John Hawes, CEO of the international non-profit Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organization (AMTSO). If necessary, anti-virus software can undo changes made by these external devices.