When Was the Last Time You Checked Your Antivirus Definitions? PDF Print E-mail

All the antivirus software in the world won't keep your data and your computer safe from the latest internet threats if your antivirus definitions aren't kept current. Chances are, if you aren't too sure what these definitions do or that they need regular updating, you may already have contracted a virus or malware.

Simply put, antivirus definitions contain snippets of virus code, called signatures, that antivirus programs use to compare and recognize a potential threat. When you or your operating system attempts to access an executable file, your antivirus software does an instant scan of the program you're attempting to run and compares it against its database (definitions) of known threats. If a piece of code matches one in its database it sends an alarm to the software and the file is immediately quarantined. If you don't run regular updates, your antivirus software won't be able to recognize the latest threats.

So how do you make sure your definitions are current? One of the quickest and easiest methods is to look in the System Tray for your antivirus software icon, if you're on Windows. It's the lower, right-hand area on your screen, to the left of the clock. Double-click the icon and it should bring up your antivirus software. Somewhere you should see the date of the definitions. If they are older than seven to ten days, chances are they need updating. There should be a button or icon to press to start an update; otherwise, you may need to look on top of the menu for 'update'. If all else fails, visit the company's website.

But I'm on a Mac, why do I care about viruses? Although there are relatively few Mac and Linux-based viruses, it's still possible to contract one; however, perhaps the biggest reason for a Mac or Linux user to have antivirus software is to protect those who are running Windows-based PCs. Plenty of instances exist where quite a few viruses have been downloaded onto non-windows computers and then transmitted over a network to infect Windows users.

Keeping your antivirus definitions current should be simple enough. Make it a habit to check them at least once a week. If you notice that they have stopped updating the first thing to do is restart your computer. If this doesn't do the trick, after waiting a few minutes, you should go to your antivirus vendor's website and check their knowledge base for solutions. By running an antivirus program, even on a non-Windows-based system, and ensuring its definitions are continually updated, you can avoid almost all internet-based and network-based threats.

Antivirus software is a program with special features to prevent, detect and remove any virus or other forms of malwares including adware, spyware etc from your system. Software companies dealing with antivirus software ensure their programs have all the latest features making it all powerful to even evade and remove strongest of the viruses.

Antivirus software typically makes use of various strategies including signature based detection process to search executable malicious programs. However, there might not be signature in the malware which has infected your system still you can counter it by making use of the heuristics. It is a technique capable to detect new virus or other elements by piercing through the malicious code in files.

There is no doubt of the fact that antivirus should be first priority for computer owners and all those who are using the net but this very software sometimes is also not without certain pitfalls and drawbacks. Software without efficient designing can reduce the performance of the computer. Moreover, users also find difficulty in understanding the prompts offered by antivirus resulting in wrong decision and security breach. The performance of the antivirus also reduces and even causes conflict if you are running multiple programs, thus making all the more mandatory to disable the antivirus while installing major updates such as that of graphic card drivers or Windows Service Packs.

The effect of antivirus software was considerably reduced in 2007 especially against zero day attacks and during that period NOD32 was the only one antivirus which was comparatively more powerful than others but now there is more powerful antivirus software with various features like firewall. If any virus or malware is found or located, it is automatically placed in a quarantine to remove all its chances of causing destruction to the system or corrupting the files. Traditional antivirus does the scanning and then compare updated list of malware known as blacklist. But these newly equipped programs can prevent, detect and even remove any virus or other malicious elements.

Overall understanding of the antivirus is very important and crucial before installing it as its understanding will enable to utilize its potentialities and help you in protecting the system.

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