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Antivirus is software programs designed to scan for, identify, and eradicate computer viruses and malware. It’s an important component of your overall cybersecurity strategy and is used to protect your computers, files and networks against data breaches and other types of cyberattacks.

Viruses are designed to spread from one computer to another, just like a cold virus spreading through a population. When a virus infects a computer, it can do things such as delete or corrupt files, slow down the system’s performance, monitor keystrokes and steal personal information. This is why it’s critical that your business has an effective antivirus solution that can prevent, detect and block all types of malware and other threats.

What to look for in an Antivirus

Early antivirus programs scanned floppy disks looking for the signature of a virus and then isolated that file from the rest of the system, quarantining it and thoroughly deleting it. This type of virus detection is called a heuristic approach, and it’s still the basis for some antivirus software today.

Other types of antivirus are more sophisticated, relying less on a list of viruses and more on watching what a program does. This is referred to as behavior-based detection and can include monitoring for certain activities that could indicate a virus such as modifying operating systems, encrypting data and changing settings of other programs.

The best antivirus programs have a good combination of both signature-based and behavior-based detection. They also provide a variety of other security features such as email protection, file shredder, firewalls and a password manager. It’s also a good idea to choose an antivirus with regular malware database updates, as new viruses and malware are constantly being developed to evade existing antivirus protection.