What is an Antivirus?
The Complete Guide
Updated on November 10, 2023
In this article I would help you to develop a clear understanding about the antivirus and its importance to be used in the systems. Here I will cover all the points related to the functions, work and types of antivirus.
What is Antivirus?
The software that is helpful to identify, detect, prevent and remove malware from our system is known as the antivirus program. It usually scans, detects the system, and work on the removal of the virus from the computer by deleting it permanently.
Why is Antivirus used?
In this digital world, the security of every bit of data of an individual or an organization is very important and critical. Any business can experience havoc when the critical and sensitive data related to its projects, clients, employees, and workflows get leaked. This is done by the hackers when they trap, corrupt or track personal data with the help of viruses. The virus works like their bots and helps in achieving their targets related to data corruption, stealing, and trapping. In this situation, antivirus provides the purposeful solution by tackling all these problems such as malware, spyware, and phishing related to a particular virus corrupted file or data.
What is the work of Antivirus?
Antivirus software works on the bits of files and data that are being accepted as incoming traffic through your network. The manufacturer creates a database for the antivirus program that consists of details and information of almost all the existing viruses and malware. So in real-time, the antivirus program tries to identify the viruses which are listed in its database. When it finds a particular match for a virus or malware listed in that database it takes appropriate actions to block, isolate and remove that virus or malware.
The user can also adjust the scan settings of the antivirus so that the scheduled scans can be performed automatically at regular intervals. Also, manual and customized scans of the antivirus can be used as per your requirements. The antivirus generally removes the malicious files detected during the scans.
How many types of Antivirus are there?
Generally the antivirus software or programs can be categorized in 3 types:
1. Standalone antivirus
This antivirus software is generally referred to as portable antivirus. They can be easily installed on a USB drive. This antivirus software comes quite handy for the administrators to run emergency system scans. But this antivirus software lacks the functionality of automatic updates of the virus definitions. Thus they are not so effective and act as a temporary solution in most cases.
2. Security software suites
These types of programs are one step ahead of the standalone antivirus. These types of antivirus come with a dedicated security software suite. The software suite has many types of functionalities such as automatic and customized scheduled scans, anti-spyware, firewall, and parental control. This type of antivirus provides you round-the-clock protection from malicious and spyware software.
3. Cloud-based antivirus
This type of antivirus technology has become popular in recent times. It works on the cloud to free up the resources that are consumed during antivirus operations. This type of antivirus works at a rapid pace to gather information from the cloud-related to the virus definition and other things while providing security and protection to the systems. It consists of a client application that works on the client-side to run periodic scans and saves the memory at the client system. The server-side application is responsible for inspecting and analyzing the gathered information that is sent by the client.
What are the main functions of antivirus?
The main functions that are important for an antivirus to perform smoothly and in an efficient manner are:
Real time protection
This is the main function which includes the real-time protection of the data and files stored on a system. The function of an antivirus must not be restricted at the time of scans but it must also remain active and alert to react immediately if any suspicious file enters the system. This is termed as the real-time protection that is required to be provided by an antivirus.
This is another most important function of an antivirus. The antivirus must have a proper and effective threat detection functionality to make all the files and other stuff safe and secure. During the scans, the antivirus must prove its effectiveness to detect and identify threats such as viruses, malware, etc. All the major antivirus software have a different impressive level of threat detection.
Automatic updates and alerts
Automatic updates and alerts are the most important function of any antivirus. An out-of-date antivirus is of no use as it would not be able to detect the latest threats and viruses that are roaming over the internet. Timely automatic updates strengthen the software to perform in an impressive manner. Apart from that ‘alerts’ also play a major role in making the user aware of the recent activities related to the performance and security of the system.
Some frequently asked questions related to the Antivirus