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How to use Antivirus software for improved data security

Franklin Izuchukwu
By Franklin Izuchukwu
A software hacker trying to access a computer system.

Data security is a set of protocols and actions implemented to secure and prevent data loss within the information technology ecosystem (IT). These data include files, databases, accounts, and networks.

The need to secure data is critical in every sector or ecosystem.

The field of data security has created a robust economic advantage in the world. Today, companies and individuals spend millions of dollars in a bid to safeguard data and prevent unwarranted access.

The world of the internet came with limitless possibilities and proffering solutions to numerous problems.

Notwithstanding, there are demerits associated with the internet, such as fraud, credit card theft, loss of clients' data or files, erasure of personal files by malware, invasion of privacy by spyware, etc.

People's everyday life comes with:

  • Use of credit cards to make payments online
  • Uploading personal files and photos online
  • Using the same password to access several accounts online

All the lifestyles above are prone to a data breach which internet users can prevent through steps offered by data security.

Symantec reported in 2019, the rate of attacks using destructive malware increased by 25%. They also found out that data breaches, as well as internet theft, are on the rise.

Wikipedia defined a computer virus as a type of software program that replicates itself after execution. It works by making changes to other computer programs and inserting its own code.

Computer viruses like trojan horses have been known sources of data breaches.

One of the foremost access to data security by firms and especially individuals is Antivirus software. The known steps of data security are double authentication, careful browsing of websites, and a secure Virtual private network (VPN).

Antivirus software is a program initially used for detecting and removing viruses on computer programs. The recent Antivirus software can now perform complex actions to combat the complexities of contemporary cybercrime.

The new antivirus software now offers users:

  • Secure connection to the internet using VPNs
  • Protection of passwords
  • Storage of data on the cloud etc.

Quality antivirus software should be able to prevent data theft. It should also block spurious actions of different malware, spyware and other threats posed by computer viruses.

This article will highlight how antivirus software works and how it can secure files and data.

Hackers are always on the lookout for data breach in computer programs.

Antivirus software and how it works

Antivirus software is a powerful computer program created for detecting malware, spyware and other malicious contents in the computer system.

Antivirus software is crucial for constant protection during web browsing etc. Antivirus software can scan, delete and hibernate computer viruses. Most antivirus software runs automatically in the background.

A comprehensive understanding of how antivirus programs work is important; the knowledge will shed more light on how best to protect computer systems, customizable firewalls and website blocking.

It will also help users understand how to prevent attacks from trojan horses and other malware like warms.

There is a database of known types of malware and trojan horse. Virus software works by scanning computer files against the known database of malware and viruses.

Though hackers and cybercriminals develop new types of malware every day, antivirus software also scans for new forms of malware.

There are 3 detection models used by antivirus software to fish out computer viruses, they are:

  • Specific detection: Which identifies known computer viruses, warms etc.
  • Generic detection: It uses known patterns of malware and compares them against a general codebase of malware.
  • Heuristic detection: Identifies spurious file structures by scanning unknown malware.

Antivirus software works with the above models by first identifying a corrupt file, then deleting or preventing access to the file. This sole action will reduce the risk posed by malware on computer programs and files.

Whenever a computer user double clicks a file or a program, it does not launch immediately; rather, the antivirus software will scan the file and occlude any virus before launching. This is known as On-access scanning or real-time protection.

Sometimes hackers use stealth means to introduce virus software into users' computer systems. Hackers could hide this virus software within a downloadable file, compressed files (like zip files) or even a word document.

Antivirus software will automatically detect a virus on a downloaded file even before the user opens it. It could also access compressed files to scan for viruses.

Antivirus software companies remain relevant by constantly updating their virus databases for easy detection of new malware deployed by cybercriminals.

Security, privacy and data protection

The major essence of antivirus software is to prevent loss of data or unwarranted access to data. Some of the major sources of virus attack are malicious internet content, authentication attacks etc.

The use of antivirus can help mitigate the risks of malware attacks. However, there are still other methods that computer users can use to safeguard data, privacy and ensure a secured network connection when surfing the web.

Malicious intrusion occurs through:

  • Downloading programs,
  • Pirated software,
  • Unpatched software,
  • Unknown CDs,
  • Bluetooth,
  • Email attachments
  • Internet

Antivirus is a software that can be used to prevent unwarranted access to data

Downloading software programs from unknown sources increases the risk of virus intrusion into the computer system.

It is always advised that users avoid downloading computer software from unknown and unverified sources to avoid computer viruses, spyware, or malware.

The high cost of some computer software (like high-definition games) has led many to install cracked or pirated software. In hindsight, this pirated software might have been integrated with a malicious script to steal or corrupt your files.

Constant update of computer programs is crucial in Data security. When software programs are left unpatched, attackers may use a security bug that has not been updated to introduce malicious scripts into computer systems.

Users could also receive malicious content through unknown Bluetooth devices; thus, it is always better to accept connections from only trusted devices.

Surfing the web through the internet is one of the easiest sources of viruses and other malicious content. People are advised to be careful when surfing the web.

Some websites require users to download a particular plugin or software before accessing a video or online materials; sometimes, these contents turn out to be spyware scripts that hackers created to steal personal and financial data.

Other websites also try to introduce viruses into the computer system by offering free tools and overly expensive software (as free). Beware of such sites.

Email attachment is another source of viruses. Hackers also spread malware through Phishing. Phishing is a method whereby victims receive emails with malware-infected links.

The victims are always prompted or tricked into clicking the malicious-infected links. These links most often look genuine. For instance, a hacker who wishes to access a company's HR portal might send an email posing as Microsoft.

Such emails will always ask the victim to verify their account. Users can avoid this malicious intrusion by researching the link sent without actually taking the bait.

From the above, it is obvious that the primary source of Viruses is the internet, and that is why the use of a secured internet connection (not a public WiFi) is important.

The use of antivirus software can act as a deterrent against malicious content. There are many antivirus software in the market, but Clacified will update this article with the top 10 best antivirus software to use.

Managed IT services can help in the provission of a secured network

Conclusion

Apart from losing millions of data through viruses and malware, companies and individuals can also lose billions of dollars due to a network downtime caused by ransomware.

The simple methods or steps that users can take to ensure data security has been enumerated above. Though the methods are not tech-savvy, they could be inundating to some individuals and small companies.

Clacified will advise that companies and individuals who lack in-depth knowledge of data security and antivirus protection should consider using managed IT services to implement the needed data security measures and avoid data loss.

Managed IT services can help companies or individuals with installing firewalls and antivirus. They can implement a comprehensive security check and update across an entire network.

Managed IT services can also implement phishing tests and educate employees on how to avoid phishing traps. Even when Data is lost, there could be fast recovery due to frequent installations carried out by some managed IT firms.

Clacified advises that computer users should take the necessary steps to secure their network and avoid data loss.