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Antivirus is software that protects your computer against malware and other online threats like phishing attacks, which can steal your personal data or infect your device. These cyberthreats can cause your system to slow down, crash, or even delete or modify files.

Viruses and Malware: History, Evolution, and How It Protects You

A computer virus is a program that tries to spread itself and infect other devices on your network or in your contact list. They are known for causing serious damage to your systems, including deleting and altering files, destroying hardware, compromising login credentials, and stealing private information.

Viruses can be distributed via email attachments (malspam), downloads from infected websites, and by other users. They can also infect removable devices like USB flash drives or mobile phones.

How It Works

The best antivirus programs use a variety of detection techniques to detect viruses. These include specific detection, generic detection, and heuristic detection.

These methods compare files and programs against a database of malware to identify new or unknown types of viruses. They can also check the contents of file structures, or analyze the coding of code within the files.

The most effective antivirus products have built-in machine learning capabilities that help them keep up with new malware and other threats. This technology is more powerful than human-curated malware definitions because it can evolve and adjust far faster, which means you get the latest protection from your tool.