This is the age of science and technology; as such we have seen a marked increase in the application and importance of high performance computing.
But there are always people around who want to create trouble for everyone, these people write viruses that are designed to infect and damage valuable information and data on a computer, some even go so far as to make the operating system malfunction.
Antivirus Software is designed to combat these infectious digital bugs and quarantine infected files so other programs can remain clean.
The earliest viruses had capabilities of self replication, but most modern viruses have far more damaging abilities.
Hence there needs to be suitable software that can correctly recognize a malicious program before it can cause major damage.
Working of Antivirus Software:
Most commercial antivirus programs have a set of basic tools and algorithms which they use for virus detection. Some of the more effective methods are as follows:
• File Emulation: this is a relatively recent addition to the antivirus capabilities, in this method the antivirus program launches suspicious files in a virtual environment to see what kind of performance they are giving.
In this way malicious software can be singled out before it has a chance of executing in a real environment where it may cause damage to system files.
• Signature Based Detection: this is a conventional means of commercial malicious file detection. In this method the antivirus software examines suspicious files and matches them with a set of preloaded virus signatures in its database.
A potential match between the file and virus signature means that particular virus is present in that file. While this method is not very effective, it was the staple of most antivirus softwares during the last decade.
• Rootkit Detection: there are certain viruses of an advanced nature that can gain administrative authority over system files and then alter the way these files are supposed to perform.
Such viruses are known as Rootkits, there is no effective way for antivirus software to get rid of rootkits since they go unnoticed for a long time and are only detected after serious damage to the system has been made.
Rootkit detections are usually followed by a fresh operating system installation.
• Heuristics: the heuristics approach targets new viruses that have been created as a mutation of an existing virus. Many viruses infect one file initially, but rapidly get propagated.
Effectiveness of antivirus software has gradually increased over the years, but these programs do come with a lot of drawbacks as well.
Having any form of antivirus installed on your system greatly reduces the system’s performance since these programs require a lot of processing power as well as storage capacity.
But keeping computer performance aside, the effectiveness of antivirus software never reaches 100% efficiency.
Even the most expensive and customized software can provide 30-70% effectiveness in correctly identifying viruses.
The most widely used NOD32 provides a 68% rate of correct detection, but in all probability it is advisable to have some sort of minimal protection rather than having none at all.
Gloria Philips is a guest blogger and content writer. She loves to write about Internet security and PC security.
She recommends test virenschutz for your PC security as well as safe internet surfing.