How Does Antivirus Work?

How antivirus software protects your computers

Antivirus software works by identifying and removing malware (malicious software) from a computer or mobile device. There are several ways that antivirus software can detect and remove malware, including:

  1. Signature-based detection: This is the most common method of antivirus detection. Antivirus software maintains a database of known malware “signatures” that it compares to files on the computer. If a match is found, the software will flag the file as malware and remove it.
  2. Heuristics-based detection: This method is used to detect new or unknown malware. The antivirus software will analyze the code of a file or program and look for patterns or behaviors that are typical of malware. If a suspicious file is found, the software will flag it as potential malware and quarantine it.
  3. Sandboxing: Sandboxing is a technique used to isolate and run a potentially malicious program in a safe environment. This allows the antivirus software to observe the program’s behavior and determine if it is malware. If the program is found to be malicious, the software will remove it.
  4. Real-time protection: Antivirus software can also run in the background, constantly monitoring the computer for suspicious activity. This allows the software to detect and remove malware in real-time, before it can cause any damage.
  5. Cloud-based detection: Some antivirus software use the cloud to detect and remove malware. They upload files or suspicious activity to the cloud, where the software analyzes it and sends the results back to the local computer.
  6. Behavioral-based detection: This method uses machine learning techniques to detect and block malicious behavior on the device. The software monitors the device and detects any suspicious activity and blocks it.

Most antivirus software use a combination of these methods to detect and remove malware. Additionally, Antivirus software also includes regular updates to the malware signature database and patch for vulnerabilities in the OS and other software.

It’s important to note that no antivirus software can guarantee 100% protection from all types of malware, and it’s important to keep your software updated and to use a robust security solution that includes firewalls, intrusion detection, and intrusion prevention.


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