How does Anti-Virus Software Work?

Understanding how anti-virus software works is not as complicated as it sounds. It's important to find out what your anti-virus software is doing on your computer, from on-access scanning to updating definition files. This way, you can get the best anti-virus software for your computer.

Anti-Virus Software Checks Everything You Do
On-access scanning is an important part of what anti-virus software does. Anti-virus software is always running in the background, working hard to check every file that you open. People refer to this type of protection as on-access scanning, background scanning or real-time protection. You can use anti-virus programs without on-access scanning, but if you want to completely protect your computer, it is not a good idea.

An anti-virus software program scans for misplaced code before you open a file or download a program. It may seem like your file opens right away when you click on it, but your anti-virus software is very sneaky. You will never be able to open a file without your anti-virus allowing you to do so. On-access scanning is paramount if you want complete protection on your computer.

Full-System Scans are No Longer Needed
As long as you have an anti-virus software on your computer, there is no point in doing full-system scans. It is always a good idea to do one after first downloading anti-virus software to check for viruses that could be lying dormant, but after that you will never need to do one again. Your anti-virus software checks every single file and download before you open it, so doing those inconvenient and time-consuming full scans is totally unnecessary.

Updating Definition Files
Anti-virus software uses virus definitions to catch and detect malware. Your virus definitions are updated once a day, sometimes even more than that. Viruses and malware are always changing and evolving, so anti-virus companies have a big job of making sure they keep virus definitions updated constantly to protect customers. Virus programs scan files for malware and, if any is detected, virus programs normally place the file in quarantine. Sometimes the file is automatically deleted, but other times you are still able to open and use the file. You should only do this if you are 100 percent sure that the file is completely safe.

When a new virus deploys upon unsuspecting files, anti-virus software utilizes something called heuristics, which scans files and targets modified and new forms of malware without existing virus definition files. The downside to this type of intelligence is that it is limited and can miscalculate threats.

Heuristics increase the likelihood of receiving false positives. When anti-virus software detects suspicious activity, it assumes it is a new or altered virus and maims it. Sometimes it is newsworthy when it happens, particularly when a software targets its own program as a threat and cripples it. While false positives occasionally happen, they are certainly not the norm.

What Are the Best Anti-Virus Programs?
The gold award-winning program Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is rated as the best anti-virus program. Along with malware and virus protection, Bitdefender also offers a free credit monitoring service that will alert you if it spots change in your credit score. You will also get great protection from Bitdefender without the program slowing down your computer.

Kaspersky Anti-Virus, according to reviews, is not lacking in any department compared to other anti-virus software. Unlike some programs out there, Kaspersky Anti-Virus never makes mistakes when it comes to weeding out malicious files and leaving the safe ones alone. It also doesn t slow down computer performance, and it makes backup files, providing protection no matter what happens to your data. Another great feature of Kaspersky Anti-Virus is protection from a form of malware called a keylogger. Keyloggers can see keys that you have pressed so people can steal your passwords, bank account information and credit card numbers. Kaspersky protects you by allowing you to use a virtual keyboard so you will never have to worry about keyloggers.

Anti-Virus Software Always Protects You
Anti-virus software works by giving you all of the protection you need to keep your files safe, while also keeping your computer performance in outstanding working order. No matter which anti-virus software you choose, you will be much better off with any one of them rather than no protection at all.