What is Antivirus Software? Understand the Basics (2022)

Antivirus software is a computer program that detects, thwarts, and removes computer viruses and other malicious software.

what is antivirus

The features

One of the basic features of Antivirus software is that it scans files in your computer’s hard disk and your computer’s memory for certain patterns that may indicate a virus infection. It is this pattern, the Antivirus software looks for is based on the definition or signature of known viruses.

The definitions or signatures of the known virus are stored in the Antivirus database. Due to the virus writers continually releasing new and updated viruses, it is important that you have the latest definitions or signatures installed on your computer, so update regularly or set the Antivirus software to update automatically (usually this is a default setting of the Antivirus software).

Another feature is called real-time protection. With this feature, the software runs in the background of all the other computer processes and intercepts viruses programs, or suspicious behavior computer processes before they infect the files.

This feature is able to protect you against viruses that want to infect your computer while you surfing the web or accidentally downloading a malicious program without your knowledge.

What happen when virus found!

When Antivirus Software found a virus in your computer, it responses differently depend whether it detected the virus during an automatic or a manual scan.

Some of the Antivirus packages will alert you with a dialog box that it has found a virus and ask you to ‘clean’ the file (to remove the file) or quarantine the file. Other Antivirus packages may simply delete the virus without asking you first.

So it is important that you should familiarize the Antivirus package you have, know its features so that you know what to expect. For real-time protection, the software simply flags you a message and asks you for your action whether you want to remove, quarantine, or ignore it.

Installation process

During the installation process of the Antivirus software, the software may access the vendor website and download the latest information. This is to make sure the Anti-virus has the latest virus definition to combat the latest release viruses on the Internet.

After you have installed Antivirus software, you should run a complete scan of your entire computer periodically. Antivirus usually provides automatic scanning and manual scanning.

It depends on what Antivirus package you choose, for automatic scanning, you are able to configure it to automatically scan the entire hard disk or specific files or directories. And manual scanning is good for scanning files that you receive from an outside source before opening them. Outside sources include email attachments, web downloads, floppy disks, CDs, or DVDs, this ensures they are viruses free before you open them.

Antivirus vendors

In the Antivirus industry, there are many vendors producing Antivirus software, but all the Antivirus performs some function – detect, block, and remove viruses, so sometimes deciding which one can be confusing.

Sometimes your decision may be driven by recommendation, features, vendor support, or price, but one piece of advice is that you have to cautious selecting the package which heavily advertised and claim that they can do almost everything.

Best defence against computer virus

Installing Antivirus software on your computer is one of the effective and easiest ways to increase your computer protection level. But you must know that whatever packages you choose, the Antivirus software relies on signatures, the software can only detect new viruses when that virus signature is in the software signature database.

So it is important to keep these signatures up to date. This means that your computer is still susceptible to viruses if the software vendor has not come up with the latest signatures in time to combat the latest viruses, you must continue to take safety precautions.