antivirus program


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial.

antivirus program

[‚an·tē′vī·rəs ‚prō·grəm] antivirus software

antivirus program

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.
References in periodicals archive ?
If you can't implement everything in this article, at least remember these critical points: Buy an antivirus program and update it weekly, and back up your files weekly.
For years, home and office computer users have feared computer viruses, and most use antivirus programs. A number of such programs are commonly employed, including Norton AntiVirus 2000 (from Symantec) and VirusScan (from Network Associates / McAfee) for Windows systems, and Virex (from Network Associates / McAfee) for Macintosh computers.
Tell your antivirus program to scan all files, not just those that end with certain extensions such as ".exe" or ".doc." This is usually quite simple to do, but it does require that you take action to do it.
Because antivirus programs can only identify the viruses they already know, they aren't effective against the 10 to 15 new viruses created every day.
You can select any antivirus program among Norton Antivirus, McAfee, Panda Antivirus and Trend Micro.
'The Kido worm, for example, installed a rogue antivirus program on infected computers.
<p>Before Handing Over Your Credit Card Number to McAfee<p>Both of these security steps will effectively protect you from many malware attacks, though they are not necessary if you already have an effective antivirus program (check out PC World's chart of free antivirus software) that protects against malware.
AVG (free.avg.com) is a popular and highly regarded antivirus program available in both free and pay versions, with the free version providing excellent basic protection.
Optionally, version 2.0 can be downloaded with free open source antivirus program ClamAV.
There are other spyware cleaners available that work similarly to Ad-Aware, but it is best to find an antivirus program with built-in spyware cleaners.
"If I could do one thing -- if I were a business -- I would invest in an antivirus program," Musson says.
An antivirus program can be downloaded from their website at www.whsmith.co.uk.