Antivirus software is used to protect computers, databases and all their electronically stored information from malicious logic programs. Antivirus software not only prevents infection, but it can also clean viruses and other malicious logic from an infected system. Due to the constant changes in malicious logic programs, however, definition files must be frequently updated.
The first antivirus software was created in 1988 in order to combat the Brain virus, which originated in Pakistan. This antivirus program not only detected the Brain's presence on a computer and removed it; it could also clean floppy disks that were infected. Since 1988, writers of malicious code have flooded the Internet with viruses of various types, infecting users around the world. This has created a tremendous need for antivirus software.
Antivirus software must be carefully crafted to eliminate various types of malicious logic programs, including viruses, worms and Trojan horses. A virus is a program written to attach to a file or another program. Once it has infected that file or program, the virus can travel with it between computers. Typically, a virus can only infect a computer when the file it has infected is opened or the program is run. Worms are another type of malicious logic program that affects computer systems. A worm also travels between computers by attaching to files or programs, but can spread even if the user does not open or access the infected file. A Trojan horse is a software program disguised as a useful type of program that will damage a system once loaded.
Antivirus software performs many functions to prevent infection and remove malicious logic that has infiltrated a computer system. Scanning email prior to download can ensure that there is no unwanted code in email attachments. Periodically scanning computer files can also help antivirus software isolate any viruses that have infected a computer and prevent them from damaging the system.
Each version of a virus, worm or Trojan horse is unique and requires an antivirus program written specifically to prevent infection. As each new virus is found, antivirus programmers create new software to combat it. These software programs are available for users of antivirus software as updates. The constant proliferation of new malicious logic programs requires frequent updates to all types of antivirus software.
While antivirus software, frequently updated, can protect against viruses, Trojan horses and worms, it cannot protect against other attacks. Users who are protected with robust antivirus software may feel that their system is safe, but it is still necessary to protect a system from hacking, phishing and other security threats.
• Shield Deluxe
Shield Deluxe is proof that quality anti-virus software does not have to be expensive. Shield Deluxe is powered by BitDefender, which is used to protect millions of computers all over the world from viruses. Not only does it defend against viruses and other malware, it also protects the PC and personal data from theft.
• Trend Micro
Although hindered by a long installation time (15 minutes, one reboot required), Trend Micro is an effective program that will protect a computer from all types of viruses, including spyware, trojans and bots. It also comes equipped with excellent anti-spyware technology.
• Norton Antivirus
Norton has resolved a lot of issues from the 2009 version, and now requires far less memory when being used. It continues to offer high-quality virus protection that works to detect, identify, and block attacks quickly, just as it has for the last 20 years. The 2010 version of Norton also incorporates a new feature called Internet Worm Protection, which blocks the more sophisticated worms before they enter the computer.
• Panda Antivirus Pro...