antivirus software

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antivirus software

[¦an·tē‚vī·rəs ′sȯf‚wer]
(computer science)
Software that is designed to protect against computer viruses.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

antivirus software

(tool)
Programs to detect and remove computer viruses. The simplest kind scans executable files and boot blocks for a list of known viruses. Others are constantly active, attempting to detect the actions of general classes of viruses. antivirus software should always include a regular update service allowing it to keep up with the latest viruses as they are released.
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antivirus program

Software that searches for viruses. Also known as a "virus scanner." As new viruses are discovered by the antivirus vendor, their binary patterns and behaviors are added to a database that is downloaded periodically to the user's antivirus program via the Web. Popular antivirus programs are Norton, McAfee, Sophos, Bitdefender, AVG and Kaspersky. Windows Defender is Microsoft's own antivirus software that comes with Windows, starting with Windows 8.

Antivirus programs are used on all Windows machines, but most Mac users do not install them. However, as more Macs are acquired, the Mac has slowly but surely become a target of attacks, and Mac antivirus programs are being installed at a more rapid rate than in the past. See virus, quarantine, disinfect and scareware.

Multiple Detection Approaches
Early antivirus scanning matched the binary signature (pattern) of executable files against a database of known malware signatures before they were allowed to run. This "scanning" process was vastly speeded up by doing a one-time scan of all the executables in the computer and also when a new one is installed. If the executable is virus free, a checksum (hash) of its binary pattern is computed and stored in a checksum database. The next time the executable is launched by the user, its checksum is recomputed and compared with the virus-free checksum. If they match, the file was not adulterated.

Because malware may generate a unique signature each time it is downloaded to an unsuspecting user, antivirus programs also use behavior detection, which looks for suspicious activities such as copying and deleting files when launched (see behavior detection). See Symantec, McAfee, Sophos, Bitdefender, AVG, checksum, virus, polymorphic virus and Reputation-based Security.


Scan and Create a Checksum (Hash)
This is commonly used to speed up antivirus scanning, because computing and comparing an executable's checksum is considerably faster than analyzing the file each time it is loaded.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The user, of course, has the option to turn off the anti-virus program, but we do not recommend it.
Rule 2: If you really want the attachment, instead of running the attachment, save the attachment to your hard drive and then scan it with your anti-virus program. If it has a virus, the antivirus program will terminate it immediately, even if it has to delete the attachment to do it.
The attachment is disguised as a copy of the anti-virus program YAW.
Users can protect their devices from the malware by updating their anti-virus programs, creating strong passwords and enabling their pop-up blocker.
The Norton 360 anti-virus program can protect single computers against a wide array of threats, with features including automatic backup and restore, PC tuneup, and network monitoring.
Kaspersky Lab gives users the following advice on protecting themselves from phishing scams: do not complete a form in an e-mail message asking for personal information and enter such information using a secure website; avoid clicking on links in e-mail messages; never give passwords or PINs via e-mail, or by any other method to an unknown person; make sure your anti-virus program blocks phishing attacks; and make sure you install security patches for your web browser and other applications.
A free anti-virus program has been introduced for online users by the online division of Internet company AOL.
"Their spam software sits in front of any solution, allowing you to have many e-mail packages." And while network users can opt out of having their e-mail filtered, they must agree to run all messages through an anti-virus program.
Email arrives at this server - which has the address 127.0.0.1 - gets checked by the anti-virus program, and Outlook Express then collects it.
An anti-virus program is only as good as the frequency with which it is updated.
Anson Lee, program manager at Symantec Corporation, parent company of the popular Norton Anti-Virus program, is fond of comparing one's computer security to home security.
Vexira is Central Command's leading anti-virus program, which works on multiple OS platforms.