Computers are all around us throughout our lives, from assisting us play and work to monitoring patients in hospitals and regulating critical manufacturing processes. This ease of use has a drawback since more computers are a target for malicious coders.
Antivirus protection scans programs and files to detect threats that could be present in the process, acting as a real-time protection against cyber-attacks. It detects infected files and programs by their signature – just a couple of lines of assembly code that overwrite the stack pointer for instance – and then compares them with the database of malware known to be infected. If the program is found to match the database, the antivirus program will stop it from running and move it to quarantine for thorough analysis and scan.
Unfortunately, the creators of malicious software are constantly releasing new programs with more subtle and different signatures, and antivirus programs must keep updating their databases. The good news is, once a virus has been recognized and added to the database of detection, it becomes more difficult for hackers to make use of that similar signature against other machines.
The most trusted antivirus programs come with a variety of features that protect against various malware threats. They include: