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Antivirus software helps to protect your computer from cyberthreats, including viruses. It works by scanning the contents of your device and finding any suspicious files. Then, the software quarantines these infected files and takes the appropriate action.

A virus can infect your PC and steal data, corrupt your system, or even crash it. Viruses may also spy on your webcam.

There are many different types of malicious codes that could harm your PC. These include keyloggers, ransomware, worms, and spyware. They can also damage your server.

To detect these threats, antivirus software uses signatures. Specifically, they scan your computer’s files and compare them to a database of known malware signatures. Often, the antivirus software will also use heuristic analysis techniques to catch unknown strains of malware.

Next-generation antivirus solutions are designed to address advanced persistent threats. Some of the methods used to detect these attacks include sandboxing, machine learning, and behavioral detection.

Several antivirus programs are available for free. However, some vendors offer paid versions with features such as password management and virtual private networks. Paid versions provide a better protection against viruses and other threats.

Most modern antivirus products offer real-time protection, which monitors your device and blocks threats as soon as they appear. They can also be configured to run on a schedule.

In addition to scanning your device, antivirus programs can prevent you from visiting suspicious websites. They can also monitor the traffic to and from your device.