Why Do You Need An Antivirus?
Thanks to growing internet-based lifestyles the extent of damage from viruses is a lot greater now, especially considering the increasing value of information as a commodity. Unfortunately, this draws hackers to viruses, even more, leading to faster and more complex development of viruses. If computer viruses were compared to living organisms, they would be an entirely different race of creatures as opposed to their precursors. Antivirus software is the best line of defense that we have against viruses. This article addresses why you need an antivirus by exploring what viruses are and how antivirus software works to protect you.
Where, when and how did computer viruses come about?
The history of computer viruses can be traced as far back as 1949 when John Von Neumann lay down the theoretical framework for computer viruses in his publication “Theory and Organization of Complicated Automata. This work would rather be re-published as “Theory of Self-Reproducing Automata” in the early 1970s, ideally making him the “Father of computer viruses.”
The first documented self-replicating program, The Creeper, was developed by Bob Thomas in 1971 and spread through the ARPANET, the predecessor of the internet. Shortly after, a program called The Reaper was created to delete The Creeper, which by extension became the first documented antivirus program. After that, there were progressive advances in computer virology and viruses developed into the types of computer viruses we know today.
Of all the virus advances, the use of polymorphic code in computer virology unlocked the potential of computer viruses and proved to be the most severe threat at the time. A polymorphic virus combines both self-encryption and modification allowing it to modify itself with each installation and over time. Polymorphism enables virus developers to slow down the process of mutation and encryption over time, making it harder for antivirus software to scan and decrypt the virus.
Unfortunately, shortly after the polymorphic code was used, the metamorphic code was also adapted to computer viruses. Metamorphic code allows the virus to mutate entirely so that every aspect of the code is different than it was at the time of installation. The mutations make it even harder for antivirus software to detect and disinfect the virus.
How do antivirus programs work?
Antivirus software works to disinfect and protect a computer from virus infections. The program scans the computer systems and files and based on virus signatures, identifies an infection. Each virus creates its own signature or digital footprint even with mutations, and an antivirus program is designed to detect such signatures. The antivirus then works to decode the virus program and remove it from the computer system. The process of disinfection is easier if a version of the virus already exists in the database. Understanding how an antivirus works is necessary to understand its significance in cybersecurity.
The best ways to keep your system safe
- Update your system
As mentioned, the process of disinfection of a virus is easier if a record of the virus exists in the database. As such, system developers always release security updates with updated records of the existing viruses. It is essential to maintain an updated system to ensure you have the best antivirus protection.
- Backup your system regularly
A backup of your computer system helps create a restore point to which you can revert if you are victim to a virus infection. This helps mitigate against loss of information and other harmful effects of a virus to your computer. Therefore, it is essential that you create regular backups of your system, especially after scanning your system with an antivirus to ensure that you don’t create a restore point after a virus infection.
The difference between a VPN and an antivirus
For the best cybersecurity, you have to make use of multiple cybersecurity tools. For instance, you should install both a VPN and an antivirus on your device. As discussed, an antivirus is designed to scan, detect and disinfect any malware from your device before it causes harm. A VPN encrypts your network and information to protect you from hacking, spying, and theft of information. Both work together to guarantee that you remain protected from virus infections through the internet.
As internet usage grows in our daily lives, the damage that could be done by computer viruses increases. The best way to mitigate against such losses is to take affirmative action and protect yourself from virus infections through the use of cybersecurity tools such as antivirus and VPN.