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Antivirus is one of the most important types of Cyber Security tools that every computer or device should have. It is a program that protects against malicious viruses and malware, which can destroy devices, steal information, spy on users’ activities, and more.

While antivirus got its name from viruses, the term now includes other types of malware, such as worms, trojans, and spyware. Most of these different types of malware function with the same goal, which is to steal personal information, access a system’s data, damage servers, and more.

Most antivirus programs use a combination of methods to detect and block threats. These include signature-based detection, heuristic analysis, and behavior-based detection. Some antivirus programs also use cloud analysis, which sends suspicious files and programs to the antivirus vendor’s server for testing and verification. If the software finds that the file or program is malicious, it will create a malware “signature” for it, which will block similar files and programs from ever entering your device in the future.

Some antivirus products also feature additional safety features, such as a password manager or parental controls. These are often bundled with the main antivirus product, which you can get for free from many vendors. Other features that you might see in higher-end antivirus products include a VPN, identity theft protection, and mobile device scanning.