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How an antivirus program works?

Hello! Much has been said about security on Windows systems. To be honest, what generates more attention is the lack of it. Indeed, there has been a constant barrage of criticism on this issue. Consequently, there have been measures to increase Windows security. One of these is the antivirus or anti-malware. Surely you have heard of them. But what is an antivirus? Do they really work? How do they do it? Today we will try to answer these questions. Stay reading to learn ow an antivirus program works.

What is an antivirus?

An antivirus, also known as anti-malware, is a software that pretends to detect, prevent, and remove malware (malicious software) from a computer. Malware includes viruses, Trojan horses, worms, spyware, adware, ransomware, and other harmful software that can steal personal information, damage files and software, or even control a computer remotely.

In order to maximize the effectiveness of an antivirus program, it is important to keep the software up-to-date with the latest malware definitions. Additionally, it’s essential to keep the operating system and other software up-to-date. In this way, we prevent a vulnerability from affecting the security of the system.

It’s also important to note that no antivirus software can provide 100% protection against all malware. Moreover, it’s still possible to get infected even with a good antivirus program. However, using an antivirus program can greatly reduce the risk of infection and can quickly detect and remove malware if it is present on a computer.

What methods does an antivirus use to neutralize threats?

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Antivirus software typically works by using a combination of techniques to identify and remove malware. Let’s take a look at them.

  1. Signature-based detection: This is the most traditional method of antivirus protection. It involves maintaining a database of known malware signatures that the software can scan for on a computer. When a match is found, the software will alert the user and take action to remove it.
  2. Heuristic-based detection: This method involves analyzing the behavior of a program to determine if it is malicious. For example, if a program attempts to access sensitive system files or make changes to the registry, it will appear as malware.
  3. Sandboxing: This is a technique where the antivirus runs a program in a virtual environment (sandbox) to observe its behavior before deciding if it’s malicious or not. This way, even if the program is unknown, the antivirus can still detect and prevent it from doing any harm.
  4. Real-time protection: This feature allows the antivirus to constantly monitor the computer for suspicious activity and take action immediately when malware acts.
  5. Cloud-based protection: This method uses the power of cloud computing to analyze malware samples in real-time. This allows antivirus software to quickly detect and protect against new and emerging threats.

Main security threats affecting Windows computers.

There are several major security threats that can affect Windows systems, including:

  • Viruses: A virus is a type of malware that attaches itself to a legitimate program, such as a document or an executable file, and then replicates itself when the program is run. Viruses can cause a wide range of problems. For example, slowing down a computer or stealing personal information.
  • Trojan horses: A Trojan horse is a type of malware that disguises itself as a legitimate program. However, it actually contains malicious code that can harm the computer or steal personal information. Moreover, Trojans can to create a back door into a computer, allowing an attacker to take control of the system or use it to launch attacks on other computers.
  • Ransomware: Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts the victim’s files and then demands a ransom payment in order to decrypt them. Ransomware can be very difficult to remove, and may cause significant data loss.
  • Worms: A worm is a type of malware that is able to replicate itself and spread through a network or the internet without the need for a host program. Worms can cause a wide range of problems. For example, slowing down a computer and causing a Denial of Service (DoS) attack on a network.
  • Adware and spyware: Adware and spyware are types of malware whose function is to display unwanted advertisements or collect personal information. Adware often sneaks in with free software. On the other hand, spyware can be installed through phishing emails or infected websites.
  • Rootkits: A rootkit is a type of malware whose design wants to hide itself from detection. Rootkits can be very difficult to remove, as they regularly run at a low level and can change the way the operating system works.

What habits should we maintain to increase the security of our operating system.

There are several habits that you can maintain to increase the security of your operating system, including:

  • Keep your software up to date: Software vulnerabilities are often discovered and patched by software vendors. By keeping your operating system and all of your installed programs up to date, you can reduce the risk of these types of attack.
  • Use a firewall: A firewall is a security tool that controls incoming and outgoing network traffic. By using a firewall, you can block unauthorized access to your computer and protect it from network-based attacks.
  • Practice safe browsing habits: Be cautious when visiting unfamiliar websites. Besides, avoid clicking on links or downloading files from untrusted sources. Use a browser extension like uBlockOrigin to block unwanted ads and pop-ups.
  • Use a password manager: Using a password manager can help you create strong, unique passwords for each of your accounts. In consequence, make it much more difficult for someone to guess or crack your password.
  • Use a VPN: A VPN (Virtual Private Network) encrypts your internet connection and helps to protect your online activities from prying eyes. This can be especially useful when you are using a public Wi-Fi network.
  • Back up your data regularly: Regularly backing up your data can help you recover from a security incident or a hardware failure. This can include using an external hard drive, cloud storage, or a remote backup service.

In this way, we learned what an antivirus is and how it works. See you later!

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