Image Credit: Centurion Technologies, Inc.
Anti-malware software is designed to protect and repair computer systems against damage from malicious software code that is installed without the owner’s consent.
How Anti-Malware Software Works
Anti-malware software scans incoming network data for malware, and blocks or quarantines threats as they are encountered. Anti-malware software also facilitates the removal of any malicious code that has been installed previously. Anti-malware detection applications scan installed programs, operating system (OS) files and (in the case of computers that run Microsoft Windows) the Windows registry. Anti-malware software then lists any threats that are found and allows the user to select which files to delete, often by comparing the report to a list of known malware components.
Anti-virus software is designed to prevent, detect, and remove computer viruses. Such unwanted and often malicious programs replicate themselves and infect a host computer. Typically, a computer virus is spread over a local area network (LAN) or via the Internet; however, some computer viruses are transmitted via removable media such as CDs, DVDs, floppy disks, or USB drives. As a rule, computer viruses must be able to execute code and write to memory.
There are two basic types of viruses. Nonresident viruses immediately search for other hosts to infect. Resident viruses do not. Rather, a resident virus loads itself into memory upon execution and then transfers control to the host program. Anti-malware software that protects computers against both nonresident and resident viruses is commonly available. Anti-malware software also prevents, detects, and removes unwanted or malicious code such as:
- Worms - Similar to viruses, but are a type of stand-alone malware that does not infect files or program on the host.
- Wabbits - Also similar to viruses, but do not contain instructions to infect other computers.
- Adware - Displays advertisements on a user’s computer.
- Spyware - Tracks a user’s Internet activities in order to display relevant but unwanted advertisements.
- Backdoors - Cause a host computer to become a conduit for sending spam or malware
- Trojan horses - Target personal information or system resources
- Rootkits - Difficult for anti-malware software to detect because they infect a system’s host processes.
- Keyloggers - Malware that log a user’s keystrokes
- Dialers - Use a computer’s modem to dial telephone numbers
- URL injectors - Re-direct a computer’s Internet browser to a different Web site.