How Does an Antivirus Work?

Almost everyone has an antivirus and we are all more or less aware that it is useful for the security of our computer.

Great! but do we really know how it works? That’s what we thought! A little clarification was therefore necessary.

An antivirus is a software whose role is to detect, neutralize and then, if possible, delete the viruses present in your computer.

An antivirus software is not only used to analyze the files of the system because if one of them is infected, it is because the antivirus software has failed in its first task.

Indeed, the functioning of an antivirus implies the prevention of the cyberattack from a detection of its behavior; the main thing is that. In order to do this, an antivirus uses several techniques which we will quickly mention.

1. Detecting malware signature

Sometimes also called “scan”, this method consists in analyzing the hard disk in search of a virus signature recorded in the antivirus database.

Indeed, thanks to its numerous updates (hence the imperative need to carry them out!) an antivirus program establishes a database of the most widespread virus signatures of the moment, so the software is easily able to recognize one when it shows.

2. Checking integrity

The software checks that your files have not been modified or altered recently, by observing various criteria.

3. Performing a heuristic scan

This method can be considered as the most powerful one of the antivirus because it allows it to detect possible unknown viruses in its database.

The presence of a possible malware is detected here by analyzing the code of an unknown program and simulating its operation (the only drawback is that this method tends to give rise to some false alarms!)

What does the antivirus do if a malware has been detected?

When your antivirus has detected a virus, there are three possible scenarios:

  • The antivirus is able to repair the affected file (this is far from always being the case!)
  • The antivirus is not able to delete the file, so you can try to do it manually.
  • The antivirus software places the file in a safe folder on the hard disk, “in quarantine”. If later your antivirus is able to repair the file, then you can try to remove the file from the folder and repair it.

Check out this article to learn about more cybersecurity solutions.