What is an Anti Virus Program

As the name suggests, antivirus software is an application or a suite of programs that finds and removes viruses on computers and networks. In addition to viruses, most of today’s antivirus programs are also capable of detecting and removing other types of malicious software, including worms, Trojans, adware, spyware, ransomware, browser hijackers, keyloggers, and rootkits. Besides being able to identify and remove these threats, the best antivirus software can also prevent them from infecting your system.

When you run a virus scan, your antivirus program will scan your hard drive and all currently connected external storage devices for potential threats. The program will inspect each individual file and simultaneously look up the findings in its database of known viruses to detect a possible threat. If it does, depending on the severity of the threat, it will either delete, quarantine, or repair the infected file. The program will also monitor the behavior of all the software on your computer and look for any red flags.

Whereas once you had to run antivirus scans manually, most of today’s antivirus programs allow you to enable automatic scans and set up a scan schedule that best works for you. As a rule, it is recommended to run an automatic scan once a week. Additionally, you can also run manual scans of your computer, as well as specific files and directories. Antivirus scans are designed as background processes, which means that they shouldn’t use up too much of your computational resources or slow down your computer.

Since computer viruses are a constant threat across all platforms, today’s antivirus software is designed to provide protection on all operating systems and all internet-connected devices. This includes desktop and laptop computers running Microsoft Windows and macOS, as well as smartphones running iOS and Android. Statistics show that more than 360,000 new pieces of malware are released daily. For maximum protection, the best antivirus software will also automatically update virus definitions at least once a day.