How Does Antivirus Software Identify Potential Viruses?

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When you are choosing an antivirus program for your home or office You should look at more than the detection rate of a program in controlled tests. It is important to make sure that it is able to detect the latest viruses and malware. Virus writers are constantly trying to find ways to defeat antivirus software. They create viruses that disable them, hide from the detection techniques, or use their own anti-virus software to defeat itself.

One of the earliest types of antivirus programs operated by comparing the files that enter devices against their database of known malware signatures. This kind of signature detection works well for malware that is older. However, virus makers can develop new signatures at any time for new types of malware.

Modern versions of antivirus software employ heuristic detection in order to detect potential threats. Rather than looking for exact matches, heuristics look at patterns in programs and files to determine whether they are similar to known malware. This technique is augmented by behavior-based detection, which looks at the way in which a software or file behaves to determine whether it’s infected.

Some viruses attempt to take down antivirus software by hiding, preventing access to the antivirus program’s updates system, or causing corruption to code or library files needed for an antivirus scanner to function. More sophisticated viruses target the antivirus software by directly altering or removing components of it. These kinds of viruses are becoming more common and usually include features such as the worm component which spreads from computer to computer.

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