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Antivirus is a program or umbrella of programs that are designed to scan for and eradicate computer viruses and other kinds of malicious software, known as malware. Viruses and malware are code that can harm your devices and the data on them, whether they’re in an email attachment, hidden on a USB drive or downloaded from a dodgy website. With hackers constantly tweaking their methods, ensuring your antivirus software is up to date is a vital part of keeping yourself protected online.

Even the best antivirus software can erroneously identify legitimate and important files and programs as threats, which is why many people choose to supplement their protections with a VPN and other cybersecurity solutions. However, if the software is configured correctly and is updated regularly, it can be an effective addition to your defenses against malware and viruses.

The Benefits of Antivirus

Antivirus software protects against viruses, worms, Trojan horses and spyware, among other threats. It’s a critical component of your cybersecurity infrastructure and can help prevent damage from both external and internal attackers. Most computers and laptops come with antivirus programs already installed, but it’s also an essential addition to any smart device that connects to the internet, including tablets, smartphones and connected TVs.

These days, if you’re working at a business, you likely use a variety of different devices to get your work done and stay competitive. That’s why most antivirus software now comes with multi-device support. Antivirus programs run in the background on your devices and work to detect and eliminate threats. They often use signature analysis, which compares a file or program against databases of malware to look for the “fingerprint” that’s unique to them. Some also use behavior-based detection, which looks for code that can make changes without permission or anything else suspicious.