Antivirus is a type of software that is capable of preventing, scanning, detecting, and deleting malware, such as worms, trojans, spyware, adware, etc. from computers. Antivirus software plays a crucial role against cyber threats for both end-users and organizations.
How does Antivirus work?
Most antivirus solutions run in the background and scan the system regularly to find any suspicious files or malware. When the software finds a suspicious file, it checks the file against a database of malware to analyze it. Thus it is very important for antivirus developers to continuously update the software and their malware database to be able to protect their users against the latest threats. Once an antivirus finds one, it can either delete the file, relocate it in quarantine to prevent it from working, or let the user decide what to do with the file.
Types of Antivirus
There are various types of antivirus depending on the method they use to protect the system.
Malware signature antivirus: Malware signature antivirus solutions protect the system by detecting malware signatures. It scans files to find any malicious codes and specific viruses. If the antivirus can find one of these threats, it eliminates the malware. However, this type of antivirus can’t provide any protection against unknown viruses, which can be new ones. Thus, until the antivirus solution provider updates its malware database, the system will be vulnerable to this malware.
System monitoring antivirus: System monitoring antiviruses monitor the entire system instead of scanning files one by one. This type of antivirus aims to find and suspicious atypical behaviors to alert the user. It can create an alert when a user connects to unfamiliar sites, attempts to access a large number of files, or if the data usage increases drastically.
Machine learning antivirus: Machine learning antivirus solutions use machine learning technologies, as the name implies, and implement algorithms that can be used for malware detection. This type of antivirus tries the learn the standard behaviors and tries to limit suspicious activities. Machine learning antivirus can work with other antivirus solutions and offers multi-layered protection for the system.
Which antivirus is completely free?
Some antivirus providers offer free solutions for users. However, most of the free antivirus software is designed to promote the paid version. Most of them are designed to discover the malware but they lack cleaning the infected system. For cleaning, you have to buy the paid version. For sure there are totally free solutions that you can use but frankly, for comprehensive protection, we suggest you buy a paid anti-malware solution. You may also download and install the trial versions of the commercial anti-malware solutions.
Also, you may consider using Windows Defender, which is a completely free all-in-one antivirus solution provided by Microsoft. Windows Defender is installed on Windows 10 and Windows 11 operating systems by default. If you are searching for a protection solution for your business, Microsoft also provides Microsoft Defender for Business for reasonable prices.
Do you really need antivirus for different platforms?
There are thousands of different types of malware on the internet targeting various operating systems. So, using an antivirus solution for Android, Linux, and macOS devices is recommended, especially for users who download files from uncommon sources. Although these operating systems are considered secure, cybercriminals are releasing new malware every day targetting these devices.
Some of these operating systems are shipped with their own antivirus solutions. For example, macOS has a built-in antivirus named XProtect and the Mac Malware Removal Tool. On the other hand, users who want to improve the security of their devices can also install antivirus software. Also, you can use Microsoft Defender for Business, which is a cross-platform antivirus solution, on your Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices in your business.
Antivirus for Servers
There are also antivirus solutions specialized in protecting servers against online threats. Since business continuity is very important for hosting solution providers, antivirus solutions for web servers are crucial for these companies. These antiviruses also scan the system regularly to detect any kind of malware and eliminate them before spreading. Some of the most popular web server antivirus solutions are, Imunify360, ClamAV, and Comodo Anti-virus.