So, you are trying to find the best antivirus for Windows . I know there are so many options and you probably have no idea where to start. This guide covers topics such as the definition of an antivirus, what its features are, and what you should look for when selecting it. Antivirus programs have always been a solution to fight malware and cybercriminal tactics . And it still is. Malware, phishing scams, ransomware, DDoS – these are some of the threats that lurk on the Internet.
But let’s start with the basics: what exactly is antivirus software and what does it do? The definition of antivirus programs is the same: Software designed to block viruses and other malware from entering a device and compromising personal data or the hardware itself. A good antivirus is a must. It minimizes the time it takes to enter damage control mode to clean up the mess caused by a successful malware attack.
HOW DOES ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE WORK? VIRUS SCANNER AND SCRIPT BLOCKING
Reactive scanning is antivirus bread and butter. Basically, it scans every new program or file before opening it and checks to see if it is known malware or if it behaves like one of them. Everything happens in the background, and the scanned file or program does not open until the antivirus program finishes scanning.
A full system scan is then performed, and antivirus programs go through every nook and cranny of the device to find malware or other suspicious programs or files. Some AVs also block malicious ActiveX or Java scripts from infecting your computer. Plug-ins based on these technologies can be used to turn a computer into a botnet, inject code or download files to disk.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN CHOOSING AN ANTIVIRUS?
Ideally, the scanner should be lightweight and not pinching your device, while also having very high detection and blocking performance.
Known Malware Database – However, scanning cannot be effective if the program doesn’t know what it’s looking for. Therefore, each antivirus program has a database of known malware and compares each scanned file against the contents of the database. This database is updated very often, quite often every day . This is one of the reasons why we always advocate updating software, especially anti-virus software.
Upgraded software protects the user on the Internet to a great extent, as it greatly reduces the possibility of malicious hackers from exploiting an unencrypted software vulnerability.
But antivirus programs also use something called “heuristic analysis.” This means that it will consider a file as malware if it behaves like it, even if it cannot be found in its database. This is one reason why some antivirus programs falsely classify certain safe programs, such as Chrome, as viruses. The industry calls this “false positive” and it is the criterion used to judge the quality of an antivirus.
Any antivirus software worth the price will automatically update itself, both to fix any security vulnerabilities and to update the database and virus opportunities. Basically, the faster and more frequent the updates, the better.
Sometimes, removing malware can be just as important as blocking it. Typically, the cybersecurity industry views these two functions as separate. Therefore, many free AV programs can only detect and block malware, but will not be able to remove it if your computer is infected.
To do this, you will most likely have to purchase a full antivirus solution or download separate software that specializes in malware removal.
OTHER FEATURES TO LOOK FOR
Ransomware Protection: Some antivirus software comes with Ransomware protection and Ransomware attacks will not be able to encrypt your files.
File Shredder: This may come as a shock, but the standard “Delete” + “Clear Trash” will not delete the file from your hard drive. It only makes it invisible to you. But these files can be recovered using a special program. Under normal circumstances, these invisible files only disappear after the new one pushes them out of the memory block. But file shredders destroy them completely and leave no trace on your hard drive.
Firewall: Some AVs can filter and scan internet traffic to detect incoming threats before they reach your device. Other features to look for: DNS protection, password managers, system optimization, anti-phishing, anti-spam, browser protection.
IT’S BEST TO TEST DIFFERENT ANTIVIRUSES
Test your antivirus program to make sure it works. Sometimes you go for long periods of time when you don’t encounter any online threats and seem to forget that you even have antivirus programs installed .