The Importance of Antivirus and Virus Protection
Antivirus software is software that is installed on a computer system to protect it from viruses, spyware, malware, Trojans, phishing attacks, rootkits and spam attacks, as well as any other cyber threats.
Businesses likely use computers on a daily basis, which is why it’s paramount that they have sufficient virus protection. Computer viruses are more sophisticated and harmful than ever; a virus could damage a computer to the point where it can no longer be used. In order to protect your business and its computer systems, you need antivirus software.
Here’s a look at viruses and antivirus protection in more details:
What is a Virus?
A computer virus follows a similar process to that of the flu virus, in that it is designed to spread from host to host and can replicate itself. But from a more technical standpoint, computer viruses are a type of malicious code or programme that alter the way a computer operates and is designed to spread between computers by inserting its own code into computer programmes.
A virus has different kinds of functions, from making a computer run slowly to damaging parts of the system, stealing personal details or sending out unauthorised messages. Computer viruses are said to cause billions worth of economic damage each year due to causing system failures, corrupting data, stealing data and increasing maintenance costs.
Where Do Viruses Come From?
Viruses are written by highly skilled programmers to damage people’s computers, steal information or even cash. They work to exploit security vulnerabilities to infect computer systems and spread their virus.
The reason for the viruses can vary. For some, it may not be for malicious purposes and they simply want the “bragging rights” that come with creating and spreading a virus, and it may do no more damage than creating annoying pop-ups. However, some do it to gain access to data, such as credit card information, passwords or personal identity information. Viruses can even be used to gain remote control of a computer, or even damage computer systems, which may be utilised by competing business entities to destroy the competition.
What are the Different Kinds of Viruses?
Like viruses in the human body, computer viruses come in many different types. Types of viruses include:
- Boot sector virus – somewhat obsolete now that we no longer use floppy disks, but they can crop up on USB drives and in email attachments. They infect the master boot record and are difficult to remove.
- Direct action virus – this virus doesn’t install itself or hide in the computer’s memory; it attaches itself to a particular type of file, and when someone executes the file, it springs to life and looks for similar files for it to spread to. It prevents some files from being accessible.
- Resident virus – this virus installs itself on a computer, allowing them to work when the original source of the virus has been removed, making them quite dangerous. There are two types, fast infectors and slow infectors. Fast infectors cause as much damage as quickly as possible; slow infectors can be harder to recognise as their symptoms develop more slowly.
- Macro virus – this virus uses common applications such as Microsoft Outlook and Word to allow macro programmes to be embedded in documents and emails, so the programme can run automatically when the document is opened. It is one of the reasons you should never open an unexpected or suspicious attachment in an email.
How Does Antivirus Work?
Antivirus software is designed to detect, prevent and take action against malicious software in your computer, including viruses. Even if you’re smart with how you use your computer to avoid coming into contact with a virus, antivirus software is an essential part of a good security strategy.
Antivirus software runs in the background and checks every file you open and compares it to known viruses and other types of malware; this is to help you prevent your machine from becoming infected. The software also runs system scans to ensure that no viruses are lying dormant on your computer. If your antivirus software comes across a signature for a virus or other malware, it will stop that file from running and put it into quarantine, where it will either delete it automatically or you can choose to run it if you’re confident it is a false detection.
Why is Antivirus Important?
Antivirus protection is essential for any business wanting to protect their data and computer systems from becoming corrupted. Antivirus software is the security person at the gate preventing unwanted persons from entering. Prevention is much more effective than cure, so it’s better to have a system in place designed to detect and prevent virus attacks than having to spend time and money repairing infected machines.
Additionally, from a business perspective, your reputation could be on the line if a virus exposes personal client data or sends unsolicited emails to your contacts in an attempt to spread the virus further.
Whatever line of work you’re in, make sure you’re protected from malicious computer viruses. At Tristar Tech Solutions, we use the latest behavioural scans and heuristic checks to accurately pick out unknown viruses and malware to help protect your systems. If you’re looking for antivirus and virus prevention or any other IT support in Hertfordshire, contact us today.