From questionable emails asking for your bank information to more sinister, undetectable attacks, your computer could be exposed to dozens of threats. Some target your personal information, while others wish to simply wreak havoc among your files and make your computer unusable. Thankfully, with the right antivirus protection, there’s little to fear from the most common computer viruses. Learn everything you need to know about computer viruses and antiviruses with this helpful guide. You’ll find a complete antivirus definition, helpful computer safety tips and some of the best protection for your computer in 2019.
Types of Computer Viruses
There are many different types of computer viruses that can have substantially different effects on your computer. Most can be categorized as malware, which simply means any malicious software program that targets computers or mobile devices. Here are the most common forms of malware that could put your computer at risk:
- Viruses: Whether sent through an email or media device like a USB drive, viruses can perform a variety of harmful actions, but the important distinction is that they are passed through the transmission of infected files.
- Adware: This irritating form of malware sends pop-up ads to your computer. Some only send ads while you’re browsing the web, while others can display ads when you’re using any program. The most innocent forms of adware simply bog your computer down with a few extra pop-ups. More dangerous varieties can gain access to your browsing history and location in order to sell that information to interested companies.
- Ransomware: Like the name implies, ransomware can encrypt, or lock, certain files on your computer to demand a ransom. A common trick is for the ransomware to pose as an official agency, like the FBI, and claim you’ve been conducting illegal activity.
- Worms: Similar to viruses, worms can perform a variety of destructive actions. However, a worm is automatically sent to other computers, for instance through an automated message to all your email contacts.
The Dangers of Computer Viruses
A computer virus can attack many systems in your computer, potentially destroying personal files or allowing other users to gain access to your information. In 2016, 12 million malware samples were introduced for the Windows operating system each month. That number had been growing exponentially since 2006, so it’s safe to assume the number is even higher today.
Stealing passwords, copying personal information and deleting important systems files are just a few dangers of computer viruses. Different forms of viruses not only affect you, but can also spread to all your contacts or other computers using the same wifi signal as you.
Ways to Combat Malware
Thankfully, you don’t have to be unarmed in the fight against computer viruses. Antivirus software is everywhere, and it’s never been easier to get free or affordable protection from most viruses.
Most antivirus software works by scanning every file on your computer’s hard drive and any attached external media. By searching every file, the software is on alert for any potential viruses that may be attached to your files.
The reason your software updates frequently is to continue to improve its extensive catalogue of viruses. Some software options simply give you a notice when it finds a contaminated file, while other options can safely remove any virus, worm or other form of malware.
Benefits of Protection
The best antivirus software searches for malware in one or more of these ways. The most common strategy is to use signature-based detection. This utilizes the internal catalogue of viruses to get an exact signature match with any unusual file on your computer. Your software will then clean the file and remove any harmful signature or code.
Another key to look for is real-time searches. Most of the latest software is constantly searching for viruses, rather than running periodic scans. Today’s viruses can cause damage fast, so it’s important to choose a software option that can handle a sudden attack.
Make sure your antivirus software is equipped for all forms of malware. This includes anti-rootkit, anti-spyware, anti-adware and more.
Types of Software
There are many different options available to choose from. Here is a list of the top-rated antivirus programs for 2019. Each option has pros and cons, so carefully compare the price, features and independent tests of each one to determine the best for your needs:
- Malwarebytes Premium
- G Data
- Emsisoft Anti-Malware
- Cylance Smart
- VoodooSoft VooDoo Shield
- Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security
- The Kure
- Symantec Norton Antivirus Basic
- Sophos Home Premium
- ESET NOD32
- Check Point ZoneAlarm PRO Antivirus + Firewall
- Avast Pro
- McAfee Antivirus Plus
- Webroot SecureAnywhere
- Bitdefender Plus
Options For Different Operating Systems
Up until now, all of this information has been describing software for Windows operating systems. Most malware in the past targeted Windows primarily, since it was not only the easiest to target but also the most common operating system. However, since 2016, the percentage of malware affecting Windows devices has dropped to 67 percent. Mac OS and Android viruses have been gaining ground, leading many to wonder if it’s time to search for antivirus software for their smartphones, tablets and Macbooks.
Because most your Android software should be coming from the Google Play store, you shouldn´t believe you need no Android protection. Apps from third-party sites should be avoided as these are often compromised, in any case it could be a good idea to use one of our reviewed Antivirus solutions for Android!
For years, Mac users have felt safe from the threat of all types of malware. Viruses, worms and cross-platform risks were all strictly PC problems. However, there are a growing list of malware issues that could leave your computer vulnerable.
Learn How To Protect Your Computer Today
From viruses to the latest IT security updates, stay up to date and protected with Virus.com. Contact us today to keep informed on the latest trends in antivirus protection and other essential security measures for your personal or work computer. With literally millions of new viruses appearing every month, it’s important to stay in the know on ways to keep your personal data safe and secure.