The Dummies’ Guide to Antivirus

The word “antivirus” has been floating around the Internet for a lot of years now. Every security specialist out there has been recommending it for your computer, smartphone or tablet in every blog post, forum, social media account and so on. Even your friends have been telling you about it whenever you complained about a security breach on your device. What exactly, though, is an antivirus? Find out more about it below!

Ever had to deal with someone trying to hack into your PC and steal your sensitive data, photos, and other personal stuff? If the answer’s yes, then you’ve been exposed to a computer virus. We all know just how dangerous that is. It’s exactly like a cold: once it’s inside your gadget’s system, the latter will get an infection. If you’re a newbie, you won’t know how to deal with such a problem. This is where an antivirus comes in.

What’s a computer virus?

A computer virus is a type of malware, or malicious software program, which needs to be executed. When that happens, it makes an exact copy of itself. How does it do that? Easy: by changing other PC programs and afterward installing a code of its own. As soon as the replication is successful, the parts of your computer that were affected by it are infected with a virus.

The first PC virus was reported back in 1971 and they named it the Creeper virus. Ray Tomlinson thought of a special program that would eventually succeed in removing the virus. The name of this program was The Reaper. Even if it seems like it, that was not the first antivirus ever created. That would come later.

Viruses mostly affect computers which run Microsoft Windows as their operating system. They’re created as a means of sending political messages, a way to make money, for amusement and so on. Devices affected by this malicious software program need to be cleaned once they’re infected. This costs money, especially for companies. Most often than not, you will be required to pay ransom if you want to regain access to personal information stored on your damaged computer.

What’s an antivirus?

To prevent loss of sensitive data, an antivirus is required. The latter is software made especially for a PC, a tablet or a smartphone so as to prevent, locate and eliminate a virus. An antivirus has two other names it’s known as: anti-malware software and anti-virus software. It’s a good idea now to differentiate between original antiviruses and modern day ones.

The first antivirus was made so it would protect a computer against viruses. Today’s antivirus is way more complex than the old one. It can take care of a multitude of new threats. Here are the most important ones:

  • phishing attacks;
  • backdoors;
  • online banking attacks;
  • spyware;
  • browser hijackers;
  • botnet DDoS attacks;
  • adware;
  • Trojan horses;
  • spam;
  • worms;
  • scam;
  • keyloggers;
  • fraudtools;
  • ransomware.

It’s kind of hard to pinpoint the exact time the very first antivirus came into existence. There are, however, several claims about that. From what’s known so far, the person who might have removed a virus was Bernd Fix. This happened in 1987. It was that same year that the first security solution would appear. It was released by G Data Software for the Atari ST platform. The whole antivirus industry would emerge in the 1990-2000 period. Symantec, Panda Security, Kaspersky Lab, Bitdefender and other big-name companies were founded and would become very popular as years went by.

How does an antivirus detect threats?

An antivirus needs more than one way to quickly locate malicious software. Otherwise, it won’t be able to remove it from your device. Here’s how it’s done:

  • Via data mining techniques.
  • Via sandbox detection.

The data mining techniques use special means to see if a file is dangerous or not. Sandbox detection is a technique via which programs are executed in virtual environments. The actions performed by a program are then logged. Based on the findings, the antivirus will know if there’s a problem or not.


Depending on its type, an antivirus can slow down your PC, tablet or smartphone. Some of them might even have an outdated database, so you won’t be protected against newly created malware. If you’re a beginner, you need to be careful when choosing and using a security solution. Be very aware of your needs, budget and whatever else you think important when opting for this or that antivirus. You can find a list here of the best antivirus products for you. You’ll know which of them is easier to install, what to avoid if you don’t want to slow your PC’s system and more.

Cyber-attacks have become more and more frequent and dangerous. That is why we should install powerful antiviruses on our devices. Find out more about what an antivirus is and what it does from our post!

About Amit Shaw

Amit Shaw, Administrator of iTechCode.He is a 26 Year Ordinary Simple guy from West Bengal,India. He writes about Blogging, Technology, Gadgets, Programming etc. Connect with him on Facebook, Add him on Google+ and Follow him on Twitter.