Traditional antivirus programs detect malicious codes by cross-checking with the database of virus definition that they have. The antivirus programs try to find out if there is a match. Every day, as new and new malware are being created, the database goes on increasing in size. (It’s therefore that we have to keep updating our antivirus software, to keep adding newer and newer virus definitions every day). So, what exactly is happening? A single file is being cross-checked against a database of files, millions of files.
As newer virus definition files get added to the database every day, things turn out to be really challenging for any security firm that manufactures antivirus programs. They have to keep their antivirus programs fast as well as light so that they don’t slow down the computer in which they are installed. It’s here that the cloud technology comes in. While there are still many companies that use the traditional method for their antivirus software, there are some that blend the traditional method with the cloud technology. Alongside, there are some that use only the cloud protection method.
The advantage of relying on cloud technology is that the antivirus software would be very light on the computer; all the heavy scanning work is carried out on the server side.
Well, it’s not sensible to send every single file to the cloud for being scanned; that would make the whole process slow and time-consuming. Instead, cloud-based antivirus programs employ other technologies, like behavioural scanning, to check if a file is suspicious. If it’s found to be suspicious, the digital fingerprint of the file is sent to the cloud for cross-checking and identification.
Here’s a look at some of the best cloud-based antivirus software that’s available today, analyzing key features of each
Comodo Cloud Antivirus offers total malware protection (from known and unknown malware) and works using a powerful combination of virus monitoring, auto-sandbox and behavior analysis technologies. It’s easy to use, gets installed and configured very fast and uses Viruscope technology to recognize and block malicious behavior in unknown files, thereby protecting you against the latest viruses. Comodo’s threat identification and containment engine ensure total protection allowing the user to run any application. The program is light on system resources as well and provides real-time virus monitoring.
The Panda Free Antivirus is definitely one among the best cloud-based antivirus software available today.
It was in 2009 that Panda Security created a fully cloud-based antivirus solution, which was initially called the Panda Cloud Antivirus and later renamed as Panda Free Antivirus. This antivirus solution depends on a cache of active malware signatures plus some other technologies- heuristic, behavioral etc- when the system is offline. Panda Security’s cache folder has multiple signature files of around 40 MB and the Panda antivirus scores hight in most performance tests. It cannot be said that Panda Free Antivirus is very light on system resources; it still depends on using virus signature files and hence is not too fast. But it’s reliable and gives good protection.
Webroot Secure Anywhere AntiVirus uses cloud-based technology from PrevX and is real fast and effective. It’s one of the best performing antiviruses in its class and takes hardly any time to install. The installer performs multiple tasks including analyzing installed applications to reduce prompts and warnings, optimizing performance for the system’s unique configuration, running an AV scan etc and yet the process is carried out real fast. Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus also ensures the protection of system when it’s offline. It has a set of rules, like sandboxing suspicious programs, logging behavior of such programs, sending it to cloud for analysis when the system is online- which helps protect offline systems from being infected by malware that come through offline sources, like for example USB flash drives.
Immunet cloud-based antivirus software comes with ClamAV detection engine, which automatically gets used as the scanning engine when the system is offline and unable to access cloud scanning feature. However, the ClamAV has to be enabled as it’s by default turned off in Settings; this is important as it ensures protection even when you’re offline. Immunet is fast and light on system resources.