What is the most basic form of protection you can give to your PC(s)? So that they stay safe against various security attacks? Yes, you guessed it right. It is the antivirus software. For those of you who are not sure what an antivirus software is, what it does, and how it operates, this blog can serve as a starter lesson, and hopefully even make you install one on your PC(s).
But First, What is Antivirus Software?
It’s a software – just like any other – which (when installed) will protect your PC(s) against security threats. To be more precise, against viruses which infect computers. Antivirus acts as a sieve or a filter which filters out the bad files (virus infected) and allows only the good to pass through, thus ensuring your PC security.
To give another analogy, it is similar to our real world security guards who stop strangers and let them into a building only after carrying out the appropriate checks. Antivirus, more or less, does the same job.
The Differences Between Today’s Antivirus and Traditional Antivirus
Today’s antivirus has to deal with a lot more than just virus. Therefore the methods this security software employs have changed greatly over time. For example, today’s antivirus can successfully protect your PC(s) against other types of malware like keyloggers, backdoors,rootkits, trojan horses, worms and even ransomware to a certain extent. Therefore, they are much more powerful than the traditional ones when it comes to combating malware.
Moreover, today’s antivirus software employ what is known as ‘behavior based analysis’, for malware detection, making them a really powerful anti-malware tool. The behavior-based analysis is a method in which the security software scans for abnormal or unauthorized activity which is indicative of the fact that a file or application is malicious – or at least suspicious.
This approach is better than the one employed by traditional antiviruses, known as signature-based detection, which is hugely affected by the fact that they detect only known malware. This narrow approach is definitely not good enough to combat the modern-day malware which keeps evolving every day.
Which Is Better?
Although the answer is obvious (that is, today’s malware) one cannot really back up an antivirus or anti-malware tool which entirely depends upon the behavior based analysis approach. Because the signature-based analysis approach does have a number of strengths. Like for example, they are simple to run and widely available. And the most important of all, they provide good protection against many millions of older, but still active threats.
The security software or anti-malware tool which contains the right mix of both these approaches is the one users should be using to protect their PC(s). Yes, behavioral analysis is needed to combat the modern-day malware. But it has the ugly side-effect of generating too many false positives.
This is where signature-based approach comes in handy. To correctly point out whether a file or application is malicious or not beyond any shadow of a doubt. And is one of the reasons most prominent antiviruses of today still employ signature-based detection along with behavior analysis as well.
So if you are one of those PC users still relying on traditional antivirus, it’s time you moved to a more secure antivirus which has the right mix of traditional and modern techniques for combating malware.