The Different Types of Antivirus Software

Understanding the differences between antivirus, firewalls, anti-spyware, and the various combination packages is essential to keeping any computer safe from threats and minimize interference into the work flow of the user. The computer threats include the following; viruses, spyware, malware, browser hijacking, rootkits, and phishing and redirect schemes. Below are the various types of antivirus software.

The Different Types Of Antivirus Software

Stand-Alone Antivirus Software – The most basic antivirus software maintains a database of the known viruses, that are called “signatures.” The antivirus software on a regular basis scans the data that’s contained in the storage disks and the computer memory and then does a comparison of the available signatures and the data. All antivirus software programs are only effective if their database is regularly updated.

Some of the antivirus software programs also offer “real-time protection.” This type of antivirus software monitors the file sharing and Internet activity as it passes through the network, and blocks or slows any suspicious activity that it senses. When the antivirus software senses a computer virus or any computer behavior that is similar to virus behavior, it submits a threat alert and often stops the activity or asks for further instructions, for example it may ask the user whether it should stop the suspicious activity or ignore it. Most of the antivirus softwares that are currently available offer both real-time and signature protection.

An example of this type of antivirus Software is the Avira PC Cleaner.

Malware Protection Antivirus Software – This type of antivirus softwares combines antivirus detection with malware and spyware protection. Malware and spyware are different from computer viruses in that they programs don’t necessarily target the PC files but rather monitor the users activity or steal financial and personal data. Some of the antivirus softwares incorporate both virus and malware protection.

Examples of common malware threats include the following; browser hijacking, rootkits, and phishing and redirect schemes. These types of anti virus software, also need to be updated regularly for them to be effective in offering protection from malwaresa and viruses.

Antivirus Software Security Suites – Due to the increasing concern over computer security and the increase in the types of security software programs, most of the antivirus manufacturers nowadays offer “security suites.” These are antivirus softwares that are bundled packages of antivirus and firewall protection or a combination of malware, firewall, and antivirus protection. A firewall is a critical component of all well rounded computer security systems, as it monitors all the Internet activity that is transmitted through the computer and blocks anything it deems to be suspicious. Independent antivirus, firewall, and malware protection software programs are also readily available, but the antivirus software suites offer better protection because they greatly reduce the incompatibility problems that may occur between antivirus, firewall, and malware protection software programs. They also give the user an easier installation and security management experience. Some of the antivirus software suites also provide website filtering and spam blocking.

Microsoft Security Essentials is a firewall and anti-malware combination that’s included in the Windows operating system. There are numerous third-party products, some free and many others fee-based, that can provide protection as well.

Fake Antivirus Software – Unfortunately, there are also fake antivirus software programs that catch some of the computer users unaware. These program promise protection, normally by issuing an alert that the computer has been compromised, and then offers the user a method of getting rid of the so called threat. When the user tries to use the method the fake antivirus software installs a virus onto the computer and damages the computer system. Some of them even demand payment for the solution, from the user.

We all can protect our computers from the fake antivirus programs by avoiding file sharing and peer to peer networks, questionable websites, and avoiding “freeware” or “shareware” software programs that are notorious for hiding spyware. A robust security suite or antivirus program is one of the most effective protection against this threat.

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