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Did You Know Antivirus Software Cannot Detect and Remove New Viruses?

Did You Know Antivirus Software Cannot Detect and Remove New Viruses?

Do you know that antivirus software cannot detect and remove new computer viruses until the makers of the antivirus software get a hold of the new viruses and generate signatures for them? A virus signature is used by an antivirus software to identify a virus or a family of viruses. It is similar to scientists finding a cure for a biological virus. Some persons believe that because they have an antivirus software installed on their computers they are fully protected from viruses.

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If a new computer virus, unknown to your anti-virus software, starts spreading on the internet and you are unlucky enough to infect your computer with this new virus, your antivirus software will not be able to identify and protect you against it. This new virus can infect millions of computers around the world and cause billions of dollars of damages before it is detected by any of the antivirus software makers. So, it is important for the antivirus software makers to monitor the internet closely and frequently to detect any new threats as quickly as possible.

After a virus is found, a signature is created and tested, which is then used to identify the virus or any family of that virus. The antivirus software makers will then make the new virus signature available for download for your antivirus software via the internet. Once your antivirus software downloads this new signature it will be able to detect and remove that new virus. This is why it is important that your antivirus software updates itself frequently via the internet.

The virus detection method that I have mentioned above is called the “Dictionary Approach” and is the most popular and effective way of detecting computer viruses. There is another method called “Heuristic Analysis” which they say can detect new computer viruses, but is seldom used because it generates a lot of false alarms or false positives. Using this method, your anti-virus software may detect your legitimate programs like Microsoft Excel, Word or even your web browser as a virus and may create havoc on your computer.

Having an antivirus software installed on your computer, doesn’t mean that you should browse the internet recklessly. You should still exercise caution when downloading files from the internet and opening email attachments. Ensure that you are downloading files from trusted sources, browsing trusted websites and opening only expected email attachments.

Antivirus software are still very important because they protect you from the thousands of viruses and malicious programs that have already been discovered. But, do not think that you are 100% safe with one installed on your computer.

Please share with us what you know or ask a question about this article by leaving a comment below. Also, check the comment section below for additional information, if there is any.

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