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Virus scanners are a type of software used by computer users to prevent infections. These programs look at the data traveling over a network and detect potential malware. They can also delete infected files or quarantine them.

Antivirus software has been around for decades. It’s the first line of defense against malware. They work by scanning computer files and notifying users of infected files. They are also a vital part of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy.

Most antivirus software uses three different detection methods. These methods include signature-based detection, behavior-based detection, and predictive techniques. The latter two techniques are much more effective at detecting malware.

Signature-based detection relies on a database of file signatures, which are unique strings of data. Unlike signature-based detection, behavioral-based detection continuously monitors user behaviors to make judgments about whether the behavior is suspicious.

The next generation of antivirus detection uses predictive techniques and machine learning to identify and block new malware. This technique works by analyzing data such as web browsing, email, and attachments to find suspicious behavior.

These techniques work better than signature-based detection, which relies on stored virus signatures. They don’t usually produce false positive matches. And they are also able to detect new viruses as their definition files are updated.

Next-generation antivirus solutions also include features like machine learning and behavioral detection. They can supplement signature-based detection, as well as address advanced persistent threats like browser hijackers and phishing exploits.

These types of antivirus programs are often paid, but they can also be free. It’s not difficult to find antivirus software for any operating system. Some antivirus software companies also provide live support or email support.