Computers are omnipresent in our lives, from assisting us play and work to monitoring hospital patients as well as controlling crucial manufacturing processes. This convenience comes with a drawback since more devices that use computers are a target for malicious coders.

Antivirus protection scans files and programs to identify threats. It acts as a real-time defense against cyber-attacks. It is able to identify infected files and programs by their signature – a few lines of assembly code that overwrite the stack pointer for instance – and then compares them with the database of malware known to be infected. If the program is found to match the database, the antivirus program will stop it from running, and move it to quarantine for thorough analysis and scan.

Unfortunately, malicious software creators are constantly releasing new programs with distinct and subtle signatures, so antivirus software must keep updating their databases. Once a virus is detected and added into the database of detection hackers will have a harder time to apply the same signature on other machines.

The most reliable antivirus programs have several options to guard against a wide range of malware threats. They include: