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What to consider when choosing your Antivirus provider

There are many things to consider when choosing your antivirus provider. We have compiled a number of fact filled articles detailed around the antivirus to help you make the right decision. Stay up to date with all the latest Antivirus news.

The purpose of antivirus software is to prevent installation of, detect and remove malicious software (also known as malware). Through scans of every file on your computer, an antivirus software can flag up potentially harmful software and take action on them. This type of software is critical for the users to have installed and up-to-date because a computer without antivirus software installed could potentially become infected within minutes of being connected to the internet.

There are various different companies that offer antivirus software and what each package offers can differ but they are all designed to perform the following basic functions:

  • Real-time scanning to detect any live changes to the PC
  • Scan specific locations or files for viruses
  • Allow you to schedule scans to automatically run
  • Enable you to initiate a scan manually on a specific device, directory or file at any time.
  • Remove detected malicious software
  • Show you the health status of your computer and whether a scan is required or not.

It is very important to keep your antivirus up-to-date because virus creators are always adapting their code to find a way through antivirus software. If you don’t keep your software up-to-date, then you could be leaving your computer open to infection as soon as you connect to the internet!

As well as performing these basic functions, some of the best antivirus software makers have moved into the PC optimization world, offering a ‘boost’ of your PC in hopes to speed up the boot times and general performance of your computer. These processes run hand in hand, as both are designed to scan your computer and take action on the findings, why not do both clean up and speed up if you are doing a full PC scan?

Another common feature of the best antivirus products is a ‘File Shredder’, which ‘deep deletes’ files, leaving no trace of sensitive files on your PC. A standard delete is often recoverable through inspection of a hard drive, a file shred cannot be recovered. This is a great feature because the majority of computer users are not aware that files deleted with a standard delete function can be retrieved, by being able to completely wipe a file from your hard drive you are better protected - an antivirus’ main goal.

Many antiviruses also contain a firewall, a program which acts as a barrier to block unauthorized access / software from getting to a computer or network.

A computer virus is a piece of code (sometimes as little as 1 line, or as large as a complete program) to which is capable of copying itself and typically has a detrimental effect to a PC, such as corrupting the system, destroying data or gathering personal information.

A virus is a type of malware, which stands for malicious software - software designed to cause damage to system files, copy data, crash your computer or infect multiple devices on a network. 

Often spread by attaching themselves to emails and exponentially infecting more victims, viruses are sometimes hard to identify and stop. You may have heard of the ‘ILOVEYOU’ virus, which originated in the Philippines and when sent in an email, automatically forwarded itself to every person in a recipient’s address book. As you can imagine, it very quickly spread across the internet, infecting tens of millions of computers from just the sending of an email.

One of the first and most widespread viruses ever seen, called ‘The Morris worm’, rendered a computer useless and affected 10% of all computers connected to the internet, costing the U.S Government Accountability Office an estimated $10,000,000. The worm was released from MIT and was not initially intended to be malicious, but the mechanism which fuelled the spreading of the worm caused it to be installed on computers far more than just once, which eventually caused the computer to malfunction.

The ILOVEYOU virus spread via email and the Morris worm spread through network connections, but these are not the only ways viruses can be spread - One common method hackers use to reach the public’s computers  is to mask virus downloads with names used by popular, trusted companies / government bodies.

For example, what you may think is a document from your bank may well be a virus. Another common method using trusted names and corporations is phishing scams, which prey on the naive and exploit those who do not take proper precautions when submitting personal details.

One more very deceiving way viruses get from hacker to your computer is by websites initiating downloads as soon as you visit their site. Done in the background and completely undetected, the download transfers malware to your computer. In most cases, these won’t be trusted websites which you visit every day, they are normally sites with adult or pirated content. However, there have been cases of websites being hacked and auto-downloading of malware becoming a feature of the site, so we suggest you take preventative measures to keep this from affecting you.

The best way to protect yourself from viruses is by using an antivirus software, which will scan your computer regularly to make sure there are is no malware on your computer. The best antivirus software will go further than this, protecting your data entry and PC intrinsically through use of virtual keyboards and more.

Featured Articles

To help you keep in the loop with the ever changing PC protection landscape, we have put together some short articles covering highly discussed topics.