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ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE

By David Bytyqi - Appdec    1406  Views       0   Comments 10 August 2017
ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE
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Category: Software
David Bytyqi - Appdec

Introduction

Dangers loom everywhere on the internet, and when surfing the net, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Even though you may not intentionally visit suspicious websites, one wrong click to a seemingly innocent site can still leave your computer infected with a malicious computer virus or malware. Once on your computer, these harmful programs can steal your sensitive information and destroy your files. Often, infected machines need to have their hard drives wiped completely clean in order to truly eradicate the virus. This results in the loss of files, photos and other vital data. Hackers and other miscreants are constantly churning out new viruses and malware that is designed to steal financial information, website passwords and other sensitive information from innocent victims. Millions of new viruses pop up each year and new threats are discovered every day. In this constantly changing environment, it is impossible to completely avoid the threat of viruses, but using trustworthy antivirus software can minimize your risk for infection and the damage done[1]
.

Antivirus Software

You can't just have an antivirus program and be secure anymore [2]. An antivirus is only a single layer of security. No antivirus program is perfect, as all the antivirus tests show nothing catches all malware all the time. If you don’t exercise caution, you may become infected by malware even if you’re using an antivirus. Of course, performing scans with other antivirus programs may help find malware your antivirus suite can’t find. Be careful about the files you download and run, keep your software updated, uninstall vulnerable software – but don’t drop your antivirus defences completely just because you’re being careful. A zero-day in your browser, a plugin like Flash, or Windows itself could open the door to infection, and an antivirus is your last layer of protection. Malware isn’t what it used to be – much of it is created by organized crime to capture financial information and other sensitive data. Antivirus software helps you stay ahead of the bad guys by a little bit more, and it’s worth using[2]. Antivirus software is a program that is designed to find and neutralize malware and viruses. These programs are able to scan your computer’s hard drive and identify files that are malicious or suspicious. The antivirus software can attempt to delete, quarantine, or trigger an alert when it detects files that are harmful. Additionally, many antivirus software suites also have settings that can prevent your computer from downloading or executing harmful files in the first place[1].

History of antiviruses

Today, antivirus software is an important part of protecting our computers and our private lives. Antivirus applications keep our computers safe from more than just viruses, it also fends off spyware, Trojans and other forms of malware that can ruin a computer or steal private information, which can ultimately lead to identity theft. Just a few decades ago, though, there was no such thing as antivirus software. In fact, back then, there wasn't even a use for it since the internet was not used by the populace yet and the threat wasn't a widespread problem. Viruses were contained within the small network of computers that pre-dated the internet. The first known virus was created in 1971and was dubbed the Creeper Virus. This virus was spread using the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), the world's first digital networking communications method, which was funded by the United States Department of Defence and used by government research groups and universities. When the computers were infected, the message "I'm the creeper, catch me if you can!" appeared on the screen as it replicated itself to spread to other computers within the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. The Creeper Virus was eventually deleted by a program known as The Reaper. You may consider The Reaper the first antivirus software, but the word "virus" wasn't used as the official name of a computer invasion of this type until it was coined by American computer scientist Frederick B. Cohen in 1983.  The Creeper was followed by several more viruses, but the first official antivirus software was developed a few years later. It was called self-reproduction software. This means that the software simply kept a virus from creating copies of itself, which is the primary function of a virus. It really didn't protect the computer from multitude outside forces like today's internet security software does.The actual removal of viruses using antivirus technology didn't begin until the late 1980s. The first removal of a computer virus is believed to have been performed by Bernd Fix in 1987. Fix, a computer security expert is credited with the removal of the Vienna Virus. The Vienna Virus is still used throughout the world. It infects uninfected files in a computer every time an infected file is run. Fortunately, this virus can be detected and removed with today's antivirus software. Some believe that Fix may not have been the first person to remove a computer virus, however, because right around the same time, the Atari Corporation developed G Data antivirus software, in conjunction with G Data Software, Inc. Soon after, G Data was followed by UVK 2000. These antivirus software applications were developed for Atari Corporation's personal computer line that was created in 1985.No one can be sure exactly which program was the first antivirus software, but one thing is, in fact, clear to the millions of computer users that log on each year; thanks to those early programmers and computer-security pioneers, our computers and personal information are safe from hackers and viruses[6]. Before internet connectivity was widespread, viruses were typically spread by infected floppy disks. Antivirus software came into use but was updated relatively infrequently. During this time, virus checkers essentially had to check executable files and the boot sectors of floppy disks and hard disks. However, as internet usage became common, viruses began to spread online. Over the years it has become necessary for antivirus software to check an increasing variety of files, rather than just executables, for several reasons powerful macros used in word processor applications, such as Microsoft Word, presented a risk. Virus writers could use the macros to write viruses embedded within documents. This meant that computers could now also be at risk from infection by opening documents with hidden attached macros. The possibility of embedding executable objects inside otherwise non-executable file formats can make opening those files a risk. Later email programs, in particular, Microsoft's Outlook Express and Outlook, were vulnerable to viruses embedded in the email body itself. A user's computer could be infected by just opening or previewing a message. As always-on broadband connections became the norm, and more and more viruses were released, it became essential to update virus checkers more and more frequently. Even then, a new zero-day virus could become widespread before antivirus companies released an update to protect against it[7]

Types of antivirus software

  • Antivirus programs: Most antivirus programs would be better described as ‘anti-malware’since they are often designed to protect against worms, Trojans and most other types of malicious software as well as viruses. Some even protect against spyware, but it doesn’t hurt to have a separate anti-spyware program installed, too. Most anti-virus programs identify malware by comparing signatures to a built-in database of known malicious software types. This database needs to be kept up to date in order to ensure protection, which is why it’s vital to download updates as soon as they’re available. Some anti-virus programs also use techniques called ‘heuristic detection' and ‘sandboxing’ to help identify new types of malware as they appear.
  • Browser security: A web browser is a program used to view pages on the internet, such as Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, Opera and Google Chrome. It’s possible for malware, hackers and other cyber criminals to exploit weaknesses in web browsers. As such, you need to make sure that you’re using the very latest version of your chosen browser and that you keep it up to date. The web browsers mentioned above also include a number of other security features, such as pop-up blockers and phishing detectors, which can warn you if a website appears to be a fraud. These tools should be turned on by default, but you can usually check by looking under the relevant section of the Tools, Options or Settings menu.
  • Firewall: Your firewall is your first line of defence against hackers and other types of unauthorised access to your PC from over a network or the internet. A firewall works in the background all the time monitoring traffic to (and, in some cases, from) your computer. The firewall blocks certain ports and only allow specific programs and services to communicate with your PC.
  • Parental controls: These are programs that allow you to limit and, in some cases, monitor specific people’s computer use. Usually, this means parents (or grandparents) restricting the number of hours their children can use the PC, blocking the use of certain programs (including blocking games by their age rating) and limiting internet access to known safe sites in order to prevent children from being exposed to anything unsuitable online. Windows 7 and Vista PCs and Apple Mac computers both come with some basic parental control features and there are other paid-for (such as Net Nanny) and free (such as K9 Web Protection) alternatives.
  • Phishing protection: Phishing scams usually take the shape of a two-pronged attack that starts with a fake email posing as if it is a genuine source, such as your bank, that then points you towards an equally fake website in order to con you into parting with vital private information, such as your credit card number. Protecting from them takes a similarly two-pronged effort, with anti-spam software (see below) filtering out unsolicited emails and web browser security features (see above) protecting against known fraudulent sites.
  • Spam filter: Also known as anti-spam software, these utilities act like a sieve, letting through legitimate email messages but blocking unwanted or unsolicited email from reaching your inbox.Ask your internet service provider about spam filtering – you may find that your ISP is already employing spam protection on its servers. It’s still a good idea to have your own spam protection on board too[9].

Some of the famous antiviruses

  • Norton Antivirus (Symantec)
  • McAfee Antivirus
  • Bitdefender
  • Trend Micro
  • AVG
  • Panda
  • Avast
  • Kaspersky
  • Avira

Antivirus Software

Anti-virus best practices

A good anti-virus product should be chosen for the organization. A centralized server-based antivirus system is suggested for an organization with a computer network.  This is important as new and more potent viruses are discovered every day and even a few months old program may be ineffective against newer viruses. The latest version of the antivirus with the latest signature is required to be loaded on all the machines of the organization. For standalone PC’s the antivirus software loaded into PC should be automatically enabled for checking viruses. For a networked environment, there must be a central server to check for viruses in all machines automatically. The following schedule is suggested for a full scan of the devices.

a) Servers: Daily

b) Workstations: Daily

c) Schedule the operation when there is least human interaction with the workstations.

d) The antivirus software should auto-update virus signatures automatically from the service providers, as and when an update of signature or virus engine is available.

Conclusions

If we want to have our computers secured it’s required to have an antivirus and maintain it regularly and update our system. Nowadays security is very important and the main point of antivirus companies. We also know that to have our devices all secured is very difficult but we should use many ways to make it possible. Antivirus is the last layer of system security and it helps us to save devices from viruses and attacks. According to researchers, a device can never be absolutely secured, but antiviruses are a good and simple choice to help in this way. Except for antivirus a good way to be secured is to inform ourselves for new viruses, spams etc. Check all CDs and files downloaded from internet for viruses, don’t install tools that are usually offered with other programs if you don’t know their background. Don’t click pop-ups because they will redirect you to suspicious sites. Also is necessary to not allow your computer to be used by random people. Below we have made a survey about the usage of Antivirus Software in Kosovo and their importance for our devices. The questionnaire was conducted online, where was asked to express people’s opinions about antivirus software. The entire questionnaire contains a simple analysis if people have knowledge about antivirus.

This is the following results:

1. Do you need an antivirus program for your Computer?

Antivirus Software

2. Do you have an antivirus on your PC?

Antivirus Software

3. Do you trust in your PC antivirus?

Antivirus Software

Recommendations

  • Don’t Assume You’re Not At Risk

Every computer, regardless of its operating system, is vulnerable to attack. While antivirus cannot protect against all types of malware, the security of your computer is enhanced substantially when antivirus software is installed, up to date, and working properly.

  • Download Only From Trusted Sources

Obtain security software only from known, trusted sources and vendors. It is a common ploy of cybercriminals to pretend to be selling antivirus programs that are in fact malware. We list several trusted sources for antivirus solutions at the end of this newsletter.

  • Keep Your Software Current

Make sure you have the latest version of your antivirus product installed and that it is set to update automatically. Check the status of the signature updates periodically to make sure they are current.

  • Don’t Delay Updates

If your computer has been offline or powered off for a while, your antivirus will most likely need an update when you turn it back on or reconnect it to the Internet. Do not postpone these updates.

  • Scan Additional Devices

Make sure your antivirus automatically scans portable devices, such as USB sticks, when you plug them into your computer.

  • Track Warnings And Alert

Pay attention to the onscreen warnings and alerts generated by your anti-virus software. Most alerts include the option of clicking on a link to get more information or a recommendation about what to do next. At the office, write down the alert messages and contact your computer help desk or security team.

  • Don’t Disable The Software

Do not disable your security software because you feel it is slowing down your computer, blocking a website, or preventing you from installing an app or program. Disabling your anti-virus will expose your computer to unnecessary risk and could result in a serious security incident. If problems persist, replace your antivirus with another product.

  • Install One Program Only

Do not install multiple antivirus programs on your computer at the same time. Doing so may leave your computer with less protection instead of providing more protection.

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Appdec's Blog is hub for developers and ITs, featuring key technology updates, tutorials, and freelancer resources.

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