Computer viruses are the most common security threat that affects small and mid-sized businesses, with 75 percent of SMBs getting an average of one infection per year. In 2019, these digital infections have cost businesses of all sizes an average of $200,000, putting many SMBs out of business. The defining characteristics of computer viruses are its being concealed within another seemingly harmless program and being able to produce copies of itself by modifying other programs without user consent to perform harmful action. An antivirus software helps protect data, applications, and computer resources from the disruption and damage brought about by virus and several other malware.
Benefits of antivirus software
The best antivirus utilities protect computers and networks from getting infected and from transmitting the computer virus to other devices. Preventing its transmission is as important as detecting and removing the virus, which can damage or delete files, reformat the hard disk, or slow down and crash the computer, all resulting to costly data loss. Therefore, antivirus software can protect files and data from damage and theft, as well as protect removable devices like USBs. It can also block spam, ads, and access to unsafe websites that can introduce malware. Without hidden code performing malicious activities, workstations and devices can run optimally.
Modern antivirus software features
Computer viruses have been detected as early as the 1970s. Before the internet, they spread via infected floppy disks. The first known widespread appearance of a computer virus was recorded in the early 1980s. During these times, the antivirus industry began to produce utility software for the public. Virus protection initially was focused on the stealth and replication aspects of a virus. They look for specific virus signatures and generic signatures called heuristics in different places to identify and quarantine infected files. Unfortunately, this has encouraged virus developers to get more creative and develop encrypted mutating code that evades heuristic detection.
Not to be outdone, the developers of modern antivirus software adopted innovative techniques as well. Aside from including a huge database of virus signatures that gets updated often, they also incorporated signature-less approaches, including behavioral detection, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. These modern approaches quickly identify new viruses and detect emerging variants to prevent zero day attacks.
Best antivirus protection software
Virus protection software is a basic necessity that should be part of an overall cybersecurity strategy for all businesses, institutions, and workplaces—including homes. The best antivirus software provides protection against multiple types of malware and threats. They can pinpoint specific suspicious files, schedule automatic scans, scan single files or entire drives on-demand, and delete infected files and malicious software. Here is a list of the top software in no particular order based on multiple site reviews, features, customer recommendations, and company ranking.
Malwarebytes offers antivirus, anti-spyware, and other anti-malware products both for the home and for business. It has products for Windows, Mac, Chromebook, Android, and iOS devices. It can protect devices, data, and privacy as well as network endpoints and servers with enterprise-grade solutions.
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is a Windows-compatible software that provides essential PC protection. It gives real-time protection against all known viruses and ransomware. The software helps prevent phishing and online fraud while browsing and shopping online. It also offers a secure VPN for complete privacy up to 200MB per device per day.
Trend Micro offers home and business security products. The Antivirus Plus Security software presents essential protection of Windows PC against ransomware, spyware, and other online threats. It guards against phishing emails and blocks dangerous websites that can steal data. Intuitive settings and clear status reports make it simple to use. Trend Micro also offers tools for business as well as free tools.
Sophos Home is a security solution that includes protection against malware, ransomware, privacy invasions, and viruses. It protects multiple devices with AI threat detection and performs real-time threat detection against new and developing viruses, Trojans, worms, bots, and potentially unwanted apps. Other features include advanced ransomware security, malware scan and clean, and remote security management.
F-Secure Anti-Virus is a virus scanner for Windows to protect against viruses, spyware, infected email attachments, and other malware. It performs automatic updates to make sure security is up to date and can remove malware using advanced technology. The antivirus software is easy to install and does not slow down the computer.
Kaspersky Anti-Virus is a virus protection software for Windows PC. It blocks the latest viruses, ransomware, spyware, cryptolockers, and other types of malware. It delivers real-time antivirus protection and is easy to download and set up. It protects without slowing down the PC. The software is effective in stopping cryptocurrency mining malware that severely affects a PC’s performance.
ESET NOD32 Antivirus is a fast and light installed software compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux devices. It is fine-tuned to save on computer resources so no interruptions or slow down is experienced even while the software is running. No system updates or pop-ups appear to disrupt a user using an application or while playing games. NOD32 protects against multiple types of malware including viruses, worms, ransomware, and spyware.
McAfee Total Protection includes a premium antivirus software and safe browsing. An option for ID theft protection and secure VPN is also available. Color-coded links alert the user to dangerous and fraudulent sites on search results and social media pages. A multi-layered identity protection helps secure accounts with generation and storing of complex passwords, alerts of leaked information, and secure personal and credit card info with a VPN. The software is available for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android platforms.
AVG offers antivirus software and other products for Windows, Mac, iPhone/iPad, and Android devices. Depending on the level of protection needed, it provides a free antivirus for basic protection or Internet Security for advanced protection. Aside from computer protection, it also protects online, email, privacy, payments, and against hacker attacks. AVG Ultimate includes secure VPN and tune-up tools together with advanced online security and antivirus software for complete protection.
Norton AntiVirus uses machine learning to check if a file is clean or infected, even if it’s the first time it has scanned the file. It also uses emulation, so online threats can reveal themselves within a sandboxed, lightweight virtual machine. It can check for the latest virus signature files now stored in the cloud so that it does not slow down the workstation being checked. Other malware protection features include intrusion prevention system, behavioral protection, and proactive exploit protection.