Malicious code, sometimes called malware, is a type of software designed to take over or damage a computer without the user signal quotes knowledge or approval.
Thankfully help is at hand we can protect our computers by installing anti-malware software. Most software that you can purchase and some of the free software includes a suite of products that can protect against various forms of malware. The software often integrates with your browser or other programs to check for viruses before files are opened or downloaded. Anti-malware software can be either network based or host based.
In this article we are going to look at host-based software as this is what you will probably be using or should be using!
With host-based anti-malware you install the software on each computer. The software runs on that computer monitoring not only network traffic, but so files that come from outside sources, as well as monitoring the entire system itself.
So how do we use this software? Obviously the first thing we need to do is download and install the software and if you have multiple computers you will need to install the software on each computer. The next step is to update the definition files. This is a very important step. Most host-based anti-malware software runs by using a database of known viruses and other problems. For example, the database Identifies patterns of malicious code know. When you download a file the software compares the information in that file to the data base of known malicious code, and when it finds a match it will tag the file as a virus or a problem file.
Think of definition file like getting a vaccine to preventable illness Such as the flue. every year you need to get a different vaccine to match the flue that is common for that year. As a new virus is developed and released on the internet, new definitions files are created to identify those new viruses.
When you install the anti-malware software for the first time you should update those definitions files to get the latest protection, you should So configure your computer to regularly update those definitions. You should therefore update the anti-malware software engine. The engine is the program that runs and performs the comparison. Update to the engine within the software fixes bugs and adds new features.
The next thing you should do is perform a full system scan. this will compare every file on you computer to the data base of known problem files. So you should schedule regular scans of you system perhaps weekly. It is therefore a good practice to scan all files you add to your system, Whether they are from disk or downloaded, prior to opening or running them.
As the software runs it Identifies and tags files that might be a problem. Remediation is the process of correcting any problems that are found. Most anti-virus software remediate problems automatically or semi-automatically, Which means that in most cases it will protect your system and even fix the problems found automatically.
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Quarantine means to move the file to a safe location. For example you will have a folder on your computer that is in the quarantine folder. And as a file is identified as a problem file it is moved to this folder. Moving the file protects your system because the file is no longer in the original location. The quarantine folder may therefore have additional restriction that Prevents any files within the folder from running.
One reason for using a quarantine folder is that the file still remains on your system If a virus attaches itself to the file, you might want to keep the file on your system to see if you can recover it. Recovery or repair, is another action that the antivirus software might be able to take. When state you repair a file you remove the virus portion of the file and restore the original file to it’s.
In many cases your system will automatically scan the file and catch any problems before they can cause any damage. You can configure your scans to automatically quarantine any problem files, and then review the report at a later date and examine all of the files in the quarantine folder to Determine those that can be repaired and those that need to be deleted.
A final note . Malicious software can be very destructive, erasing files, preventing your system from booting, or even making hard drives inoperable. And in some extreme cases your only option might be to reinstall the system and restore all your data.