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Software Virus Protection.

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Software Virus Protection Introduction There are many versions of Software Virus Protection on the market including MacAfee, Symantec and Norton, used by both individuals and businesses to protect their computer systems and all the information held on them, against attacks by viruses. In order to know how an anti-virus program works it is important to firstly know what a virus is and what effect it can have! Then it is important to know what types of anti-virus programs there are on the market, how these work, and what the advantages and disadvantages there are to each of these. What is a Virus? A virus is a small self-contained computer program or file designed with malicious intent, to run while the user is unaware and infect hard drives and floppy disks, before often copying itself usually to spread to other computers. Viruses can be spread over the internet, through emails or they can be embedded in files on floppy disks and CD ROMs, which can then be transmitted to the user's computer system and then onto a network of computers. There are several different types of viruses: o Email Viruses- "These are transported via email messages, and usually replicate by automatically sending themselves to all email addresses in the recipients address book". ...read more.


provided by the vendor', which are normally downloadable from the internet to make sure that the most up to date profiles get to computers quickly before new viruses have time to attack or do serious damage. (Source: Home Security FAQ. http://www.gale-internet.co.uk) New viruses are been discovered daily and so the effectiveness of anti-virus software is dependent on having the latest virus profiles installed on your computer so that it can look for recently discovered viruses. Anti-virus Software uses one of four main methods for detecting viruses on a computer system- Scanning, Integrity Checking, Heuristic Virus Checking and Interception. Of these, scanning and interception are very common; with the other two used less frequently but each one of these have both advantages and disadvantages! * Scanning 'A scanner will search all files in the memory, in the boot sector and on disk for 'code snippets' that will uniquely identify a file as a virus. This requires a list of unique signatures that will be found in viruses and not in ordinary programs'. (Source: www-cse.stanford.edu). There are two types of scanning: on-access and on-demand; On-access scanning scans files when they are loaded into memory prior to execution. ...read more.


When not detected by scanners, interception software will usually detect the destructive and unusual sequences of events caused by logic bombs and Trojan horses. Disadvantages: Unfortunately, interceptors are not very good at detecting anything else. Interceptors also have all the drawbacks of heuristic systems - difficulty differentiating virus from non-virus, and easy to program around. In addition, most interceptors are very easy to disable, and so many viruses frequently disable them before launching. Due to the nature of an interceptor, this software is unable to detect viruses before they launch, and a lot of damage could already have been done. Conclusion Therefore, anti-virus protection software is used to find and isolate before removing the different types of viruses that could infect a person's computer before that virus has time to reproduce and spread or cause any damage. All anti-virus programs work in one of four ways, all of which have advantages to there use and disadvantages to their use, but one of these versions is essential to ensure that viruses can not seriously effect a computer system or computer network in a business. It is necessary for businesses and individuals to have anti-virus protection so that they can detect if they have a virus on their systems and then remove it before it can cause any damage to files or the programs that operate that computer system or network. ...read more.

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