Thursday, 27 May 2010

Anti-Virus Software - Explained

What Is It?

Anti-Virus software, as mentioned in my previous post, is the single-most important piece of software on your computer after your operating system. Every computer is at risk from threats with thousands of new threats being created every single day. An anti-virus in short, analyses the coding in software and programs and then cross-references it with the database to see if it is a known threat. This is a very effective way of keeping you protected.

Why Do I Need It?

Because of the large amount of threats online it is important you protect yourself from them. This is where Anti-Virus software comes in. It is important you have this software on every computer you own. It helps to keep you protected from the thousands of theats online and can mean the difference between having your personal information stolen and used by criminals or not.

With all this talk about Anti-Viruses and all different companies offering different software you may be wondering, What is the best Anti-Virus? Well the answer to that question is that there is no 'best anti-virus'. It all comes down to personal opinion and depending on who you ask you will recieve different answers. There are however anti-viruses that are much better than others, and offer better protection.

Some examples of very effective anti-viruses are:

- ESET NOD32/Smart Security
- Kaspersky
- Avira
- Avast!

Anti-Virus programs may be free, or you may have to pay for them. However, do not be put off by having to pay for them, or the full versions. Generally speaking, paid-for anti-viruses tend to be far more effective, have better detection ratios, lower false positive alerts and overall they are generally better.

Examples of Anti-Viruses to avoid:

- Norton
- McAfee

You may already be using one of the above anti-viruses and feel they are fine. However they all have major flaws.

Norton - Very heavy on system resources, Uses large amounts of CPU and RAM.
McAfee - Again, heavy on system resources and detection ratio is fairly low.
AVG - Detection ratio very low, and detects many false positives.

Developments In Anti-Virus Software

As the number, sophistication and type of threats change so does the software that protects you from them. Recent developments in software mean that the latest threats will be detected even if they're not on the database. This was first developed by ESET with their award-winning peice of software, NOD32. It uses an advanced heuristics engine to help detect the most advanced threats and block them. This state-of-the-art method means that the most recent and undetected threats can be detected.

Other developments in this area include Firewalls and Anti-Malware/Spyware built in protection to ensure you are as safe as can be. All of this in conjunction with real-time protection will enable you to browse the web and use your computer whilst in the comfort of knowing that you are protected.


In conclusion, it is important that you always use anti-virus software to help keep you protected. You should always ensure your anti-virus is up to date to keep you protected from the latest threats. You should also try to make sure you use an effective piece of software. Any anti-virus is better than none, but understand that some are far superior to others.

Another thing to understand is that although anti-viruses offer excellent protection, sometimes threats may still get through. The best way to stay protected is to use anti-virus software in conjuction of other methods of protection. Things such as Specific Anti-Malware programs such as Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will help detect more adware,spyware and malware based threats. Another piece of software that is very useful is Hijack This, An analyser that will look at processes, services and registry keys to diagnose infections.

The final thing to stay protected is common sense. By simply downloading from trusted sources, scanning files before opening, and deleting unknown emails you can drastically reduce the chances of you become infected.

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