Introduction to Antivirus Software

Recently, we’ve been on a security kick here at Friendly Computers. In our last two blogs, we discussed how to avoid phishing attempts and how to securely manage your passwords. Now that we’ve covered the ways to keep yourself safe while browsing the Internet, we want to talk about an important ally in the fight to safeguard your digital life: antivirus software.

 

If you’re like most of us, every time your computer runs slow for (seemingly) no reason or behaves erratically, a terrifying thought grips your mind: “do I have a virus?” But, what can you do? Someone savvy enough to install a malicious program onto your computer almost certainly also has the ability to hide those files where the average user could never find them.

 

If you’re tired of that sinking feeling, you’ve come to the right place, because you’re going to need help if you want to keep your computer healthy. Antivirus software really is one of the most crucial components of your personal security, so you owe it to yourself be familiar with how it works. Basically, your antivirus protection software breaks down into two important functions: live protection and malware removal.

 

Live Protection

You can think of live protection (AKA on-access scanning, real-time protection, etc.) as the first line of your antivirus defense. This part of the program is always active in the background while you use the computer, scanning every file you open or download for viruses identified in its database. If your software detects something malicious in the program, .ZIP file, or Word document you’ve tried to open, it will stop the process cold and let you know that the file isn’t safe.

 

As important as on-access scanning is, you should resist the urge to double up and run two at once: you won’t be any better protected, and the second program will just eat up more of your computer’s performance for no reason! Even worse, the two programs may come into conflict and cause problems. One is all you need, here.

 

On-demand Scanning and Removal

Unfortunately, since new viruses are being created every day, the real-time protection feature will occasionally miss a malicious program that hadn’t been identified when it made its way onto your computer. So, it’s important to periodically take a deeper look into the dark corners of your system and root out any uninvited guests. As the software scans your entire computer system, including all of its files and programs, this process can take quite a while, but it is an absolutely essential part of good computer hygiene.

 

Finding the Right Antivirus Software

Have you been browsing unprotected, and now want to protect your family’s computer? Here’s a nice round-up of consumer antivirus software programs from PC Magazine.

 

If you want quality protection for the low, low price of FREE, we can tell you that offerings from Avast and AVG consistently score well in virus detection tests, and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is widely considered one of the best free removal-only tools available.

 

Think your computer is still infected?

If you suspect your computer is infected with a virus or other malware and you can’t clean it out on your own, we’re here to help! Give us a call at 402-965-3300 or contact us here!

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