What is Antivirus?
Antivirus software is a broad term describing a program or application (app) that you install on your computer or phone that scans files for malicious (dangerous) programs and either deletes them, or “heals” them therefore eliminating the threat of damage to your PC or device. There are many choices of antivirus software, most of which do a good job at protecting you from virus threats if you regularly scan your computer and update the antivirus software daily or weekly.
Choosing between them can be difficult, there are free versions and paid versions, all with a host of different features. We have provided links to reputable websites that offer free and trial downloads below, but before visiting them, lets define some common terms you will find when comparing antivirus software.
- (Computer) A computer program whose sole purpose is to cause damage or exploit the host computer and spread itself to other vulnerable computers.
- A computer program (or malicious web browser plugin or toolbar) whose purpose is to steal and pass on your personal information and browsing habits for later exploitation.
- Short for Malicious Software, Malware is any type of software, firmware or even hardware, whose sole purpose is to cause damage to the host machine, device, or network.
- The act of attempting to steal usernames, passwords, credit card numbers and other personal information from a user by “faking” an official email or other correspondence from a legitimate company (like a bank), thereby tricking the user into entering his/her details to a fake website and sending the information to the hacker.
- (Computer) Unsolicited bulk email. Email that you did not request or sign up for that arrives in your inbox from disreputable sources who get bulk email lists and send out thousands of emails trying to sell you a product or service.
- A software program that records your keyboard strokes and sends the data to third parties for exploitation.
- Identity Theft
- The act of stealing an individual’s identity information for monetary gain. For example: stealing passport numbers or birth certificates and then taking out bank loans in that name, leaving the real person with the debt.
- A Firewall is a software or hardware device that effectively puts a “wall” between the user’s computer and the Internet, blocking all network traffic between them, unless a specific exception rule is added.
Here are some helpful links to reputable Antivirus companies who offer free and paid versions of their software: