Antivirus 101

Antivirus 101

Suspicious man behind code attempting to find a password.

Anti-Virus is a security program that you install on your computer, server, or mobile device to protect it from getting infected by malware.

The term malware is actually a combination of the words malicious and software. It is a catch-all phrase for any type of malicious software such as viruses, worms, Trojans, and Spyware.

If your computer or server becomes infected by malware a cyber-attacker can capture all of your keystrokes, steal your documents or use your machine to attack others.

Contrary to what some people believe, any operating system including Mac OS and Linux can be infected.

How Viruses Are Identified

In general, there are two ways antivirus software identifies malware.

Computer with a sword and shield illustrating the protection provided by antivirus software.

The first of these is known as signature detection.  This works similarly to our immune system.  It scans your computer for characteristics or signatures of programs that are known to be malicious.  Like the human body needs flu shots to keep up with new strains of the virus, this approach needs constant updates to protect against new malware.

The second method is referred to as behavior detection. With this method, the anti-virus does not look for known infections but instead monitors the behavior of the software installed on your machine.

When a program acts suspiciously, such as trying to access a protected file or to modify another program, the Anti-virus then notifies you or your IT company. This approach protects against brand new types of malware that are not yet known to the anti-virus.

Anti-Virus is an important part of securing your computers, servers, and mobile devices. If you think that your current solution may be lacking please do not hesitate to reach out to us at  Vintage IT Services!