Antivirus is a computer program capable of detecting and stopping a computer virus before infecting a system , or even eliminating it after the infection.
The virus and the antivirus were part of the arms race in the middle of the cold war in a confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union. And if on one side there was the virus, on the other side there was the antivirus, so what does the latter consist of?
The arms race between viruses and antivirus began with signature recognition. These “signatures” are nothing more than snippets of virus code, which the antivirus can detect with a full scan of all files on the system.
This way of proceeding has one drawback: false positives. Sometimes programs used in similar code to remain memory resident were falsely detected as viruses, but in reality they weren’t.
Antivirus detection techniques have evolved to pay attention to the behavior of programs, detecting those that are suspected by their actions. Thus, certain characteristics of viruses such as self-replication (which mimic the contagions of biological viruses) were presented under a microscope for antivirus observation.
Over time, the ways in which a virus can reach a computer varied.
If, at the beginning, the main route of infection consisted of exchanging floppy disks, the irruption and subsequent popularization of the Internet made the network of networks the main source of infection in end-user and corporate computers.
The virus creators’ goals also varied: if in the beginning it was more about “scaring” the user, where viruses acted quickly and visibly, over time the organized mafias began to see the potential of these pathogens as a tool.
As a result of this, the action of viruses became silent, they did not know the system and also specialized in other tasks.
Due to this sophistication of computer pathogens, antivirus evolved and with its evolution incorporated a greater number of functions, which led to the emergence of the anti-malware market.
Regarding the antivirus functionalities, anti-malware adds others in terms of security , such as firewall, antispam, detection and elimination of adware, as well as active and integral protection of the system.
Anti-malware is designed to be an integral defense against any threat, while antivirus is more specialized against any kind of concrete threat.
It can be said that, nowadays, antivirus is one of the most complete, complex and comprehensive components of the system, they are called anti-malware and they protect the computer from all possible threats, including viruses.
Its mission is proactive, it maintains a module resident in system memory and an on-demand scanner to perform system analysis.
Due to the rate of development and growth of malware, part of the antivirus data goes to the cloud, thus gaining speed and not depending so much on updates.
The consumption model of antivirus products has also evolved over time, with the SaaS (Software as a Service, or programs as a service) model being incorporated, annual subscriptions or monthly payments, as well as the possibility of covering it with a single product the security of computers and mobile devices.