Types of Antivirus Software Explained

What is antivirus software?

Antivirus software is a program that protects your computer against viruses, spyware, and other malicious programs. It scans the system for any threats and removes them before they can infect the computer. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, and this is especially true when it comes to cyberattacks. Always install antivirus software before any cyberattack harms the system.

Antivirus software protects us from

  • Hackers who steal sensitive information.
  • Ransomware, which extorts money by encrypting important data.
  • Viruses, Spreading copies of harmful programs between computers.
  • Trojans, which use deception to deliver malicious programs.
  • Adware, which annoy by unwanted ads and apps.
  • Spam, which spread unwanted emails.
Types of antivirus software

Type of antivirus software based on feature set?

  1. Standalone antivirus
  2. Antivirus Security suite

1) Standalone antivirus

These are basic antivirus programs that are specially designed to remove and protect against all types of malware like viruses, trojans, worms, etc. Standalone antivirus software doesn’t include any additional security features like a firewall, etc. Some standalone antiviruses are free and some are paid. Like Avast is Free and ESET NODE32 is a paid antivirus. Now a days many security experts think that bare antivirus is of no use. But still some vendors are selling them as a paid product. So it is a matter of debate. Because now Windows defender which comes free with Windows operating system also provides almost same level of security. So there is no use of standalone antivirus.

2) Antivirus Security Suites

Antivirus security suites are bundles of other security tools along with the main antivirus program. Other features that it may include are a firewall, identity protection, privacy protection, a password manager, data encryption, a system optimizer, and parental control. VPN, cloud backup, etc.

Most of the companies offer three types of subscriptions. One is for standalone antivirus, the second is an Internet security suite, and the third is a Total Security Suite. Some companies have also introduced device security suite with Identity protection. Every company has its own specific subscription plans and features. So it is better to compare each product before buying. A good website to compare antivirus software. Some examples of Security suites are Norton 360, Bitdefender Total Security, McAfee Total Protection.

Also check: Best Antivirus security suites

Types of antivirus software based on detection technology

1) Signature-based antivirus software

This is an older method to detect a virus. It has a virus definition file where it matches the potential threats. The virus definition file is a database of all the virus signatures that are being monitored. It has a comprehensive list of definitions for all known viruses and other malware. All the older antivirus engine uses this approach.

The virus definition needs to be updated frequently. These types of antivirus software may miss the newly discovered threats. But still, they are effective when internet connectivity is not available with the system. They are more effective at scanning and removing existing infections. but could not catch the unknown threats.

2) Cloud based behavioral antivirus software

These are commonly referred to as anti-malware programs. They detect threats based on their behavior and then scan them in the cloud to ensure that they are not suspicious or false positives. They are well-equipped to deal with even the most unknown threats. Some of them use multiple antivirus scanning engines in the cloud to scan a file. This is a powerful approach to stopping even unknown types of malware. Malwarebytes and Hitman Pro are examples of anti-malware software. This feature is included in the core security of modern antivirus software. So all modern antivirus software includes behavioral technology with antimalware capabilities.

3) Machine learning antivirus

To improve the detection of unknown threats, developers are attempting to incorporate machine learning or artificial intelligence. Despite the fact that these experiments are still in their early stages, some antivirus companies are already incorporating this technology into their security suites. And it will be a milestone in the fight against modern malware threats.

Type of antivirus based on budget

1) Free antivirus software

Companies providing operating systems include built-in security, which is free for all users. Like Microsoft provides Windows Defender with its Windows operating system. Aside from that, many companies, such as Avast, Avira, and others, offer free antivirus software. Major drawback of antivirus software is that that not provide support with free subscription. To get support you require to switch to the premium subscription plan.

2) Premium antivirus software

Premium antiviruses cost you but they are worth to buy. Premium antivirus are most reliable, trusted and also provide support. They also have additional layer of security with extra security features. Some antivirus bundled a free VPN service along with their subscription plan.

Which type of antivirus software should I choose?

Standalone antivirus programs are no longer useful. Some companies even provide them for free. So choose an antivirus security suite with the features that you really require. Each company provides many subscription plans with different sets of features. You can even buy them as an add-on.

Although antimalware programs are superior to standalone antivirus programs, an additional layer of security is still required. So it is better to go with a security suite.


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