Understanding Antivirus Software – How it works?

As a computer or mobile user, we may all know about computer “virus” but we may not know, “how does Antivirus software work”. Antivirus is a security program, that we install in our computer or mobile device to protect from malware attack. The term “malware” is used for any malicious software like viruses, Trojans worms and spyware. The word “malware” is a combined form of “mal” from malware and “ware” from software. So computer “virus” is one of the malicious software.

How Antivirus software works?
Antivirus software detects malicious software such as; viruses, trojans worms and spyware in the following two ways:

Signature detection: For better understanding, just consider “flu-shot” for the human immune system. Flu shots uses killed or inactivated viruses which provide defense against those viruses in that vaccine. Similar way, Antivirus programs has known malware list in a dictionary. Antivirus software scans your computer and identifies known malware list from the dictionary and if any know malware is identified, the antivirus software deactivates it. The issue is, Antivirus program only can identify the known malware but the bad people are developing new malware every day and your antivirus software is unable to catch any new malware unless you keep your antivirus software up-to-date. Antivirus companies identify and add new malware list in the dictionary on a regular basis. So, it is important to keep your Antivirus software up-to date as quickly as possible.

Behavior detection: In this method, antivirus program monitor the behavior of the software you installed in your computer or mobile device instead of identifying the malware list. When any installed software behaves suspiciously like tries to access secure or protected files in you computer or device or tries to change another programs etc. Antivirus software filters those suspicious activity and make you alert. In this case, antivirus software can catch brand new malware that do not exist in the dictionary. The issue is here, it may produce a large number of false alerts which is sometime annoying and you have to accept or ignore each alert.

Tips for using antivirus software

1. Download Antivirus software from the reliable resources
Download and Install antivirus programs from the reliable sources or vendors only. You may easily get fake antivirus software, that is malware and cyber criminals are distributing lots of fake antivirus software now a day.

2. Keep Antivirus software up-to-date
As new malware are developing every day, antivirus vendor also collect and add new malware in the dictionary. So, set your antivirus software to update automatically and your computer will be protected from the new malware.

3. Do not disable or uninstall Antivirus software
You may sometime think, antivirus program is slowing down your computer, blocking websites or preventing to install software. But keep in mind, all of the above issues you may experience for your security. If you disable or uninstall antivirus software, you are making room for the hackers to steal your sensitive information or damage your computer.

4. Install and use only one antivirus
You may think, your computer will be more protected if you install multiple antivirus software but this is wrong. Using multiple antiviruses can make conflicts and my leave less secure instead of giving more security.

5. Think through a security groups
Antivirus software may not be able to protect all kind of threats. It is important to get additional features like real-time protection, browser protection, web protection, a firewall and other security features.