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Antivirus is a computer program that prevents, detects and removes known viruses and malware. Viruses and malware have been around for over 50 years, so having an antivirus software program in place is vital for keeping your computer protected from these cyber threats that could cause data loss, system crashes or even catastrophic financial losses.

The main function of antivirus software is to protect your computers from viruses and malware that are designed to steal your confidential information, infiltrate your computer systems and degrade the performance of your systems. These multipronged threat vectors are the reason why businesses are more frequently partnering with MSSPs to implement next-gen antivirus (NGAV) in their cybersecurity plans.

Viruses can be detected by running files through a sandbox environment where the behavior of those programs is observed for any signs of malicious activity. If the program exhibits any unusual behavior, it will be quarantined and potentially removed from the computer.

Antivirus software also detects and blocks pop-up ads and spam-based websites that are commonly used as gateways into your computer network by hackers. It can also thwart hacking attempts by regularly scanning removable devices for any traces of malware that may be transferred from other networks to yours.

Modern AV tools can also use cloud analysis to identify any new and rapidly emerging malware strains that haven’t yet been matched to an existing database entry. When this type of detection is utilized, it will alert users that a new file or program is suspected of being malware and will ask for user input on whether the program should be quarantined or deleted.