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Antivirus software can be a great way to protect your PC from malware. This software is typically available as either free or paid versions. It can also be bundled with a firewall feature that will prevent unapproved access to your computer.

Viruses can damage your system, and can even spy on you. Malware can be used to steal your identity. Other kinds of malware include spyware, which can monitor your activities, and ransomware, which encrypts your files.

The problem with traditional antivirus software is that it cannot always detect new malware threats. To overcome this, you need to choose a solution that includes a combination of global threat intelligence and advanced threat prevention engines.

Next-generation antivirus approaches also address browser hijackers, advanced persistent threats, malicious URLs, and phishing exploits. They combine behavioral detection, machine learning, and sandboxing to extend signature-based detection.

A number of antivirus applications are specialized for the Windows operating system. Some vendors also offer antivirus products for macOS. However, these antivirus programs aren’t as standardized as their Windows counterparts. For example, many of the security features offered by macOS antivirus programs aren’t as powerful as those found in Microsoft’s antivirus offerings.

The best antivirus programs can scan and remove harmful software in real time. If a virus is detected, the software can quarantine the infected file, or delete it permanently. You can choose to have the program run daily, or you can set up a scheduled scan.