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Antivirus software

Computer software to defend against malicious computer viruses

"Antivirus" redirects here. For the medication, see Antiviral drug.

ClamTk, an open source antivirus based on the ClamAVantivirus engine, originally developed by Tomasz Kojm in 2001

Antivirus software, or antivirus software (abbreviated to AV software), also known as anti-malware, is a computer program used to prevent, detect, and remove malware.

Antivirus software was originally developed to detect and remove computer viruses, hence the name. However, with the proliferation of other malware, antivirus software started to protect from other computer threats. In particular, modern antivirus software can protect users from malicious browser helper objects (BHOs), browser hijackers, ransomware, keyloggers, backdoors, rootkits, trojan horses, worms, malicious LSPs, dialers, fraud tools, adware, and spyware.[1] Some products also include protection from other computer threats, such as infected and malicious URLs, spam, scam and phishing attacks, online identity (privacy), online banking attacks, social engineering techniques, advanced persistent threat (APT), and botnetDDoS attacks. [2]

History[edit]

Further information: History of computer viruses

See also: Timeline of notable computer viruses and worms

1949–1980 period (pre-antivirus days)[edit]

Although the roots of the computer virus date back as early as 1949, when the Hungarian scientist John von Neumann published the "Theory of self-reproducing automata",[3] the first known computer virus appeared in 1971 and was dubbed the "Creeper virus".[4] This computer virus infected Digital Equipment Corporation's (DEC) PDP-10 mainframe computers running the TENEX operating system.[5][6]

The Creeper virus was eventually deleted by a program created by Ray Tomlinson and known as "The Reaper".[7] Some people consider "The Reaper" the first antivirus software ever written – it may be the case, but it is important to note that the Reaper was actually a virus itself specifically designed to remove the Creeper virus.[7][8]

The Creeper virus was followed by several other viruses. The first known that appeared "in the wild" was "Elk Cloner", in 1981, virus killer app infected Apple II computers.[9][10][11]

In 1983, the term "computer virus" was coined by Fred Cohen in one of the first ever published academic papers on computer viruses.[12] Cohen used the term "computer virus" to describe programs that: "affect other computer programs by modifying them in such a way as to include a (possibly evolved) copy of itself."[13] (note that a more recent, and precise, definition of computer virus has been given by the Hungarian security researcher Péter Szőr: "a code that recursively replicates a possibly evolved copy of itself").[14][15]

The first IBM PC compatible "in the wild" computer virus, and one of the first real widespread infections, was "Brain" in 1986. From then, the number of viruses has grown exponentially.[16][17] Most of the computer viruses written in the early and mid-1980s were limited to self-reproduction and had no specific damage routine built into the code. That changed when more and more programmers became acquainted with computer virus programming and created viruses that manipulated or even destroyed data on infected computers.[18]

Before internet connectivity was widespread, computer viruses were typically spread by infected floppy disks. Antivirus software came into use, but was updated relatively infrequently. During this time, virus checkers essentially had to check executable files and the boot sectors of floppy disks and hard disks. However, as internet usage became common, viruses began to spread online.[19]

1980–1990 period (early days)[edit]

There are competing claims for the innovator of the first antivirus product. Possibly, the first publicly documented removal of an "in the wild" computer virus (i.e. the "Vienna virus") was performed by Bernd Fix in 1987.[20][21]

In 1987, Andreas Lüning and Kai Figge, who founded G Data Software in 1985, released their first antivirus product for the Atari ST platform.[22] In 1987, the Ultimate Virus Killer (UVK) was also released.[23] This was the de facto industry standard virus killer for the Atari ST and Atari Falcon, the last version of which (version 9.0) was released in April 2004.[citation needed] In 1987, in the United States, John McAfee founded the McAfee company (was part virus killer app Intel Security[24]) and, at the end of that year, he released the first version of VirusScan.[25] Also in 1987 (in Czechoslovakia), Peter Paško, Rudolf Hrubý, and Miroslav Trnka created the first version of NOD antivirus.[26][27]

In 1987, Fred Cohen wrote that there is no algorithm that can perfectly detect all possible computer viruses.[28]

Finally, at the end of 1987, the first two heuristic antivirus utilities were released: Flushot Plus by Ross Greenberg[29][30][31] and Anti4us by Erwin Lanting.[32] In his O'Reilly book, Malicious Mobile Code: Virus Protection for Windows, Roger Grimes described Flushot Plus as "the first holistic program to fight malicious mobile code (MMC)."[33]

However, the kind of heuristic used by early AV engines was totally different from those used today. The first product with a heuristic engine resembling modern ones was F-PROT in 1991.[34] Early heuristic engines were based on dividing the binary into different sections: data section, code section (in a legitimate binary, virus killer app usually starts always from the same location). Indeed, the initial viruses re-organized the layout of the sections, or overrode the initial portion of a section in order to jump to the very end of the file where malicious code was located—only going back to resume execution of the original code. This was a very specific pattern, not used at the time by any legitimate software, which represented an elegant heuristic to catch suspicious code. Other kinds of more advanced heuristics were later added, such as suspicious section names, incorrect header size, regular expressions, and partial pattern in-memory matching.

In 1988, the growth of antivirus companies continued. In Germany, Tjark Auerbach founded Avira (H+BEDV at the time) and released the first version of AntiVir (named "Luke Filewalker" at the time). In Bulgaria, Vesselin Bontchev released his first freeware antivirus program (he later joined FRISK Software). Also Frans Veldman released the first version of ThunderByte Antivirus, also known as TBAV (he sold his company to Norman Safeground in 1998). In Czechoslovakia, Pavel Baudiš and Eduard Kučera started avast! (at the time ALWIL Software) and released their first version of avast! antivirus. In June 1988, in South Korea, Ahn Cheol-Soo released its first antivirus software, called V1 (he founded AhnLab later in 1995). Finally, in the Autumn 1988, in United Kingdom, Alan Solomon founded S&S International and created his Dr. Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit (although he launched it commercially only in 1991 – in 1998 Solomon's company was acquired by McAfee). In November 1988 a professor at the Panamerican University in Mexico City named Alejandro E. Carriles copyrighted the first antivirus software in Mexico under the name "Byte Matabichos" (Byte Bugkiller) to help solve the rampant virus infestation among students.[35]

Also in 1988, a mailing list named VIRUS-L[36] was started on the BITNET/EARN network where new viruses and the possibilities of detecting and eliminating viruses were discussed. Some members of this mailing list were: Alan Solomon, Eugene Kaspersky (Kaspersky Lab), Friðrik Skúlason (FRISK Software), John McAfee (McAfee), Luis Corrons (Panda Security), Mikko Hyppönen (F-Secure), Péter Szőr, Tjark Auerbach (Avira) and Vesselin Bontchev (FRISK Software).[36]

In 1989, in Iceland, Friðrik Skúlason created the first version of F-PROT Anti-Virus (he founded FRISK Software only in 1993). Meanwhile in the United States, Symantec (founded by Gary Hendrix in 1982) launched its first Symantec antivirus for Macintosh (SAM).[37][38] SAM 2.0, released March 1990, incorporated technology allowing users to easily update SAM to intercept and eliminate new viruses, including many that didn't exist at the time of the program's release.[39]

In the end of the 1980s, in United Kingdom, Jan Hruska and Peter Lammer founded the security firm Sophos and began producing their first antivirus and encryption products. In the same period, in Hungary, also VirusBuster was founded (which has recently being incorporated by Sophos).

1990–2000 period (emergence of the antivirus industry)[edit]

In 1990, in Spain, Mikel Urizarbarrena founded Panda Security (Panda Software at the time).[40] In Hungary, the security researcher Péter Szőr released the first version of Pasteur antivirus. In Italy, Gianfranco Tonello created the first version of VirIT eXplorer antivirus, then founded TG Soft one year later.[41]

In 1990, the Computer Antivirus Research Organization (CARO) was founded. In 1991, CARO released the "Virus Naming Scheme", originally written by Friðrik Skúlason and Vesselin Bontchev.[42] Although this naming scheme is now outdated, it remains the only existing standard that most computer security companies and researchers ever attempted to adopt. CARO members includes: Alan Solomon, Costin Raiu, Dmitry Gryaznov, Eugene Kaspersky, Friðrik Skúlason, Igor Muttik, Mikko Hyppönen, Morton Swimmer, Nick FitzGerald, Padgett Peterson, Peter Ferrie, Righard Zwienenberg and Vesselin Bontchev.[43][44]

In 1991, in the United States, Symantec released the first version of Norton AntiVirus. In the same year, in the Czech Republic, Jan Gritzbach and Tomáš Hofer founded AVG Technologies (Grisoft at the time), although they released the first version of their Anti-Virus Guard (AVG) only in 1992. On the other hand, in Finland, F-Secure (founded in 1988 by Petri Allas and Risto Siilasmaa – with the name of Data Fellows) released the first version of their antivirus product. F-Secure claims to be the first antivirus firm to establish a presence on the World Wide Web.[45]

In 1991, the European Institute for Computer Antivirus Research (EICAR) was founded to further antivirus research and improve development of antivirus software.[46][47]

In 1992, in Russia, Igor Danilov released the first version of SpiderWeb, which later became Dr. Web.[48]

In 1994, AV-TEST reported that there were 28,613 unique malware samples (based on MD5) in their database.[49]

Over time other companies were founded. In 1996, in Romania, Bitdefender was founded and released the first version of Anti-Virus eXpert (AVX).[50] In 1997, in Russia, Eugene Kaspersky and Natalya Kaspersky co-founded security firm Kaspersky Lab.[51]

In 1996, there was also the first "in the wild" Linux virus, known as "Staog".[52]

In 1999, AV-TEST reported that there were 98,428 unique malware samples (based on MD5) in their database.[49]

2000–2005 period[edit]

In 2000, Rainer Link and Howard Fuhs started the first open source antivirus engine, called OpenAntivirus Project.[53]

In 2001, Tomasz Kojm released the first version of ClamAV, the first ever open source antivirus engine to be commercialised. In 2007, ClamAV was bought by Sourcefire,[54] which in turn was acquired by Cisco Systems in 2013.[55]

In 2002, in United Kingdom, Morten Lund and Theis Søndergaard co-founded the antivirus firm BullGuard.[56]

In 2005, AV-TEST reported that there were 333,425 unique malware samples (based on MD5) in their database.[49]

2005–2014 period[edit]

In 2007, AV-TEST reported a number of 5,490,960 new unique malware samples (based on MD5) only for that year.[49] In 2012 and 2013, antivirus firms reported a new malware samples range from 300,000 to over 500,000 per day.[57][58]

Over the years it has become necessary for antivirus software to use several different strategies (e.g. specific email and network protection or low level modules) and detection algorithms, as well as to check an increasing variety of files, rather than just executables, for several reasons:

  • Powerful macros used in word processor applications, such as Microsoft Word, presented a risk. Virus writers could use the macros to write viruses embedded within documents. This meant that computers could now also be at risk from infection by opening documents with hidden attached macros.
  • The possibility of embedding executable objects inside otherwise non-executable file formats can make opening those files a risk.[60]
  • Later email programs, in particular Microsoft's Outlook Express and Outlook, were vulnerable to viruses embedded in the email body itself. A user's computer could be infected by just opening or previewing a message.[61]

In 2005, F-Secure was the first security firm that developed an Anti-Rootkit technology, called BlackLight.

Because most users are usually connected to the Internet on a continual basis, Jon Oberheide first proposed a Cloud-based antivirus design in 2008.[62]

In February 2008 McAfee Labs added the industry-first cloud-based anti-malware functionality to VirusScan under the name Artemis. It was tested by AV-Comparatives in February 2008[63] and officially unveiled in August 2008 in McAfee VirusScan.[64]

Cloud AV created problems for comparative testing of security software – part of the AV definitions was out of testers control (on constantly updated AV company servers) thus making results non-repeatable. As a result, Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organisation (AMTSO) started working on method of testing cloud products which was adopted on May 7, 2009.[65]

In 2011, AVG introduced a similar cloud service, called Protective Cloud Technology.[66]

2014–present (rise of next-gen)[edit]

Following the 2013 release of the APT 1 report from Mandiant, the industry has seen a shift towards signature-less approaches to the problem capable of detecting and mitigating zero-day attacks.[67] Numerous approaches to address these new forms of threats have appeared, including behavioral detection, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cloud-based file detonation. According to Gartner, it is expected the rise of new entrants, such Carbon Black, Cylance and Crowdstrike will force EPP incumbents into a new phase of innovation and acquisition.[68] One method from Bromium involves micro-virtualization to protect desktops from malicious code execution initiated by the end user. Another approach from SentinelOne and Carbon Black focuses on behavioral detection by building a full context around every process execution path in real time,[69][70] while Cylance leverages an artificial intelligence model based on machine learning.[71] Increasingly, these signature-less approaches have been defined by the media and analyst firms as "next-generation" antivirus[72] and are seeing rapid market adoption as certified antivirus replacement technologies by firms such as Coalfire and DirectDefense.[73] In response, traditional antivirus vendors such as Trend Micro,[74]Symantec and Sophos[75] have responded by incorporating "next-gen" offerings into their portfolios as analyst firms such as Forrester and Gartner have called traditional signature-based antivirus "ineffective" and "outdated".[76]

Identification methods[edit]

One of the few solid theoretical results in the study of computer viruses is Frederick B. Cohen's 1987 demonstration that there is no algorithm that can perfectly detect all possible viruses.[28] However, using different layers of defense, a good detection rate may be achieved.

There are several methods which antivirus engines can use to identify malware:

  • Sandbox detection: a particular behavioural-based detection technique that, instead of detecting the behavioural fingerprint at run time, it executes the programs in a virtual environment, logging what actions the program performs. Depending on the actions logged, the antivirus engine can determine if the program is malicious or not.[77] If not, then, the program is executed in the real environment. Albeit this technique has shown to be quite effective, given its heaviness and slowness, it is rarely used in end-user antivirus solutions.
  • Data mining techniques: one of the latest approaches applied in malware detection. Data mining and machine learning algorithms are used to try to classify the behaviour of a file (as either malicious or benign) given a series of file features, that are extracted from the file itself.[79][80][81][82][83][84][85][86][87][88][89][90][91][92][excessive citations]

Signature-based detection[edit]

Traditional antivirus software relies heavily upon signatures to identify malware.[93]

Substantially, when a malware arrives in the hands of an antivirus firm, it is analysed by malware researchers or by dynamic analysis systems. Then, once it is determined to be a malware, a proper signature of the file is extracted and added to the signatures database of the antivirus software.[94]

Although the signature-based approach can effectively contain malware outbreaks, malware authors have tried to stay a step ahead of such software by writing "oligomorphic", "polymorphic" and, more recently, "metamorphic" viruses, which encrypt parts of themselves or otherwise modify themselves as a method of disguise, so as to not match virus signatures in the dictionary.

Heuristics[edit]

Many viruses start as a single infection and through either mutation or refinements by other attackers, can grow into dozens of slightly different strains, called variants. Generic detection refers to the detection and removal of multiple threats using a single virus definition.[96]

For example, the Vundotrojan has several family members, depending on the antivirus vendor's classification. Symantec classifies members of the Vundo family into two distinct categories, Trojan.Vundo and Trojan.Vundo.B.[97][98]

While it may be advantageous to identify a specific virus, it can be quicker to detect a virus family through a generic signature or through an inexact match to an existing signature. Virus researchers find common areas that all viruses in a family share uniquely and can thus create a single generic signature. These signatures often contain non-contiguous code, using wildcard characters where differences lie. These wildcards allow the scanner to detect viruses even if they are padded with extra, meaningless code.[99] A detection that uses this method is said to be "heuristic detection."

Rootkit detection[edit]

Main article: Rootkit

Anti-virus software can attempt to scan for rootkits. A rootkit is a type of malware designed to gain administrative-level control over a computer system without being detected. Rootkits can change how the operating system functions and in some cases can tamper with the anti-virus program and render it ineffective. Rootkits are also difficult to remove, in some cases requiring a complete virus killer app of the operating system.[100]

Real-time protection[edit]

Real-time protection, on-access scanning, background guard, resident shield, autoprotect, and other synonyms refer to the automatic protection provided by most antivirus, anti-spyware, and other anti-malware programs. This monitors computer systems for suspicious activity such as computer viruses, spyware, adware, and other malicious objects. Real-time protection detects threats in opened files and scans apps in real-time as they are installed on the device.[101] When inserting a CD, opening an email, or browsing the web, or when a file already on the computer is opened or executed.[102]

Issues of concern[edit]

Unexpected renewal costs[edit]

Some commercial antivirus software end-user license agreements include a clause that the subscription will be automatically renewed, and the purchaser's credit card automatically billed, at the renewal time without explicit approval. For example, McAfee requires users to unsubscribe at least 60 days before the expiration of the present subscription[103] while BitDefender sends notifications to unsubscribe 30 days before the renewal.[104]Norton AntiVirus also renews subscriptions automatically by default.[105]

Rogue security applications[edit]

Main article: Rogue security software

Some virus killer app antivirus programs are actually malware masquerading as legitimate software, such as WinFixer, MS Antivirus, and Mac Defender.[106]

Problems caused by false positives[edit]

A "false positive" or "false alarm" is when antivirus software identifies a non-malicious file as malware. When this happens, it can cause serious problems. For example, if an antivirus program is configured to immediately delete or quarantine infected files, as is common on Microsoft Windows antivirus applications, a false positive in an essential file can render the Windows operating system or some applications unusable.[107] Recovering from such damage to critical software infrastructure incurs technical support costs and businesses can be forced to close whilst remedial action is undertaken.[108][109]

Examples of serious false-positives:

  • May 2007: a faulty virus signature issued by Symantec mistakenly removed essential operating system files, leaving thousands of PCs unable to boot.[110]
  • May 2007: the executable file required by Pegasus Mail on Windows was falsely detected by Norton AntiVirus as being a Trojan and it was automatically removed, preventing Pegasus Mail from running. Norton AntiVirus had falsely identified three releases of Pegasus Mail as malware, and would delete the Pegasus Mail installer file when that happened.[111] In response to this Pegasus Mail stated:

On the basis that Norton/Symantec has done this for every one of the last three releases of Pegasus Mail, we can only condemn this product as too flawed to use, and recommend in the strongest terms that our users cease using it in favour of alternative, less buggy anti-virus packages.[111]

  • April 2010:McAfee VirusScan detected svchost.exe, a normal Windows binary, as a virus on machines running Windows XP with Service Pack 3, causing a reboot loop and loss of all network access.[112][113]
  • December 2010: a faulty update on the AVG anti-virus suite damaged 64-bit versions of Windows 7, rendering it unable to boot, due to an endless boot loop created.[114]
  • October 2011:Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) removed the Google Chrome web browser, rival to Microsoft's own Internet Explorer. MSE flagged Chrome as a Zbot banking trojan.[115]
  • September 2012:Sophos' anti-virus suite identified various update-mechanisms, including its own, as malware. If it was configured to automatically delete detected files, Sophos Antivirus could render itself unable to update, required manual intervention to fix the problem.[116][117]
  • September 2017: the Google Play Protect anti-virus started identifying Motorola's Moto G4 Bluetooth application as malware, causing Bluetooth functionality to become disabled.[118]

System and interoperability related issues[edit]

Running (the real-time protection of) multiple antivirus programs concurrently can degrade performance and create conflicts.[119] However, using a concept called multiscanning, several companies (including G Data Software[120] and Microsoft[121]) have created applications which can run Avast Premier 19.2.4186 Full version - Crack Key For U engines concurrently.

It is sometimes necessary to temporarily disable virus protection when installing major updates such as Windows Service Packs or updating graphics card drivers.[122] Active antivirus protection may partially or completely prevent the installation of a major update. Anti-virus software can cause problems during the installation of an operating system upgrade, e.g. when upgrading to a newer version of Windows "in place"—without erasing the previous version of Windows. Microsoft recommends that anti-virus software be disabled to avoid conflicts with the upgrade installation process.[123][124][125] Active anti-virus software can also interfere with a firmware update process.[126]

The functionality of a few computer programs can be hampered by active anti-virus software. For example, TrueCrypt, a disk encryption program, states on its troubleshooting page that anti-virus programs can conflict with TrueCrypt and cause it to malfunction or operate very slowly.[127] Anti-virus software can impair the performance and stability of games running in the Wolfram mathematica crack version platform.[128]

Support issues also exist around antivirus application interoperability with common solutions like SSL VPN remote access and network access control products.[129] These technology solutions often have policy assessment applications that require an up-to-date antivirus to be installed and running. If the antivirus application is not recognized by the policy assessment, whether because the antivirus application has been updated or because it is not part of the policy assessment library, the user will be unable to connect.

Effectiveness[edit]

Studies in December 2007 showed that the effectiveness of antivirus software had decreased in the previous year, particularly against unknown or zero day attacks. The computer magazine c't found that detection rates for these threats had dropped from 40 to 50% in 2006 to 20–30% in 2007. At that time, the only exception was the NOD32 antivirus, which managed a detection rate of 68%.[130] According to the ZeuS tracker website the average detection rate for all variants of the well-known ZeuS trojan is as low as 40%.[131]

The problem is magnified by the changing intent of virus authors. Some years ago it was obvious when a virus infection was present. At the time, viruses were written by amateurs and exhibited destructive behavior or pop-ups. Modern viruses are often written by professionals, financed by criminal organizations.[132]

In 2008, Eva Chen, CEO of Trend Micro, stated that the anti-virus industry has over-hyped how effective its products are—and so has been misleading customers—for years.[133]

Independent testing on all the major virus scanners consistently shows that none provides 100% virus detection. The best ones provided as high as 99.9% detection for simulated real-world situations, while the lowest provided 91.1% in tests conducted in August 2013. Many virus scanners produce false positive results as well, identifying benign files as malware.[134]

Although methods may differ, some notable independent quality testing agencies include AV-Comparatives, ICSA Labs, West Coast Labs, Virus Bulletin, AV-TEST and other members of the Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organization.[135][136]

New viruses[edit]

Anti-virus programs are not always effective against new viruses, virus killer app those that use non-signature-based methods that should detect new viruses. The reason for this is that the virus designers test their new viruses on the major anti-virus applications to make sure that they are not detected before releasing them into the wild.[137]

Some new viruses, particularly ransomware, use polymorphic code to avoid detection by virus scanners. Jerome Segura, a security analyst with ParetoLogic, explained:[138]

It's something that they miss a lot of the time because this type of [ransomware virus] comes from sites that use a polymorphism, which means they basically randomize the file they send you and it gets by well-known antivirus products very easily. I've seen people firsthand getting infected, having all the pop-ups and yet they have antivirus software running and it's not detecting anything. It actually can be pretty hard to get rid of, as well, and you're never really sure if it's really gone. When we see something like that usually we advise to reinstall the operating system or reinstall backups.[138]

A proof of concept virus has used the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) to avoid detection from anti-virus virus killer app. The potential success of this involves bypassing the CPU in order to make it much harder for security researchers to analyse the inner workings of such malware.[139]

Rootkits[edit]

Detecting rootkits is a major challenge for anti-virus programs. Rootkits have full administrative access to the computer and are invisible to users and hidden from the list of running processes in the task manager. Rootkits can modify the inner workings of the operating system and tamper with antivirus programs.[140]

Damaged files[edit]

If a file has been infected by a computer virus, anti-virus software will attempt to remove the virus code from the file during disinfection, but it is not always able to restore the file to its undamaged state.[141][142] In such circumstances, damaged files can only be restored from existing backups or shadow copies (this is also true for ransomware[143]); installed software that is damaged requires re-installation[144] (however, see System File Checker).

Firmware infections[edit]

Any writeable firmware in the computer can be infected by malicious code.[145] This is a major concern, as an infected BIOS could require the actual BIOS chip to be replaced to ensure the malicious code is completely removed.[146] Anti-virus software is not effective at protecting firmware and the motherboard BIOS from infection.[147] In 2014, security researchers discovered that USB devices contain writeable firmware which can be modified with malicious code (dubbed "BadUSB"), which anti-virus software cannot detect or prevent. The malicious code can run undetected on the computer and could even infect the operating system prior to it booting up.[148][149]

Performance and other drawbacks[edit]

Antivirus software has some drawbacks, first of which that it can impact a computer's performance.[150]

Furthermore, inexperienced users can be lulled into a false sense of security when using the computer, considering their computers to be invulnerable, and may have problems understanding the prompts and decisions that antivirus software presents them with. An incorrect decision may lead to a security breach. If the antivirus software employs heuristic detection, it must be fine-tuned to minimize misidentifying harmless software as malicious (false positive).[151]

Antivirus software itself usually runs at the highly trusted kernel level of the operating system to allow it access to all the potential malicious process and files, creating a potential avenue of attack.[152] The US National Security Agency (NSA) and the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) intelligence agencies, respectively, have been exploiting anti-virus software to spy on users.[153] Anti-virus software has highly privileged and trusted access to the underlying operating system, which makes it a much more appealing target for remote attacks.[154] Additionally anti-virus software is "years behind security-conscious client-side applications like browsers or document readers. It means that Acrobat Reader, Microsoft Word or Google Chrome are harder to exploit than 90 percent of the anti-virus products out there", according to Joxean Koret, a researcher with Coseinc, a Singapore-based information security consultancy.[154]

Alternative solutions[edit]

The command-line virus scanner of Clam AV 0.95.2running a virus signature definition update, scanning a file, and identifying a Trojan.

Antivirus software running on individual computers is the most common method employed of guarding against malware, but it is not the only solution. Other solutions can also be employed by users, including Unified Threat Management (UTM), hardware and network firewalls, Cloud-based antivirus and online scanners.

Hardware and network firewall[edit]

Network firewalls prevent unknown programs and processes from accessing the system. However, they are not antivirus systems and make no attempt to identify or remove anything. They may protect against infection from outside the protected computer or network, and limit the activity of any malicious software which is present by blocking incoming or outgoing requests on certain TCP/IP ports. A firewall is designed to deal with broader system threats that come from network connections into the system and is not an alternative to a virus protection system.

Cloud antivirus[edit]

Cloud antivirus is a technology that uses lightweight agent software on the protected computer, while offloading the majority of data analysis to the provider's infrastructure.[155]

One approach to implementing cloud antivirus involves scanning suspicious files using multiple antivirus engines. This approach was proposed by an early implementation of the cloud antivirus concept called CloudAV. CloudAV was designed to send programs or documents to a network cloud where multiple antivirus and behavioral detection programs are used simultaneously in order to improve detection rates. Parallel scanning of files using potentially incompatible antivirus scanners is achieved by spawning a virtual machine per detection engine and therefore eliminating any possible issues. CloudAV can also perform "retrospective detection," whereby the cloud detection engine rescans all files in its file access history when a new threat is identified thus improving new threat detection speed. Finally, CloudAV is a solution for effective virus scanning on devices that lack the computing power to perform the scans themselves.[156]

Some examples of cloud anti-virus products are Panda Cloud Antivirus and Immunet. Comodo Group has also produced cloud-based anti-virus.[157][158]

Online scanning[edit]

Some antivirus vendors maintain websites with free online scanning capability of the entire computer, critical areas only, local disks, folders or files. Periodic online scanning is a good idea for those that run antivirus applications on their computers because those applications are frequently slow to catch threats. One of the first things that malicious software does in an attack is disable any existing antivirus software and sometimes the only way to know of an attack is by turning to an online resource that is not installed on the infected computer.[159]

Specialized tools[edit]

Virus removal tools are available to help remove stubborn infections or certain types of infection. Examples include Avast Free Anti- Malware,[160]AVG Free Malware Removal Tools,[161] and Avira AntiVir Removal Tool.[162] It is also worth noting that sometimes antivirus software can produce a false positive result, indicating an infection where there is none.[163]

A rescue disk that is bootable, such as a CD or USB storage device, can be used to run antivirus software outside of the installed operating system, in order to remove infections while they are dormant. A bootable antivirus disk can be useful when, for example, the installed operating system is no longer bootable or has malware that is resisting all attempts to be removed by the installed antivirus software. Examples of some of these bootable disks include the Bitdefender Rescue CD,[164]Kaspersky Rescue Disk 2018,[165] and Windows Defender Offline[166] (integrated into Windows 10 since the Anniversary Update). Most of the Rescue CD software can also be installed onto a USB storage device, that is bootable on newer computers.

Usage and risks[edit]

According to an FBI survey, major businesses lose $12 million annually dealing with virus incidents.[167] A survey by Symantec in 2009 found that a third virus killer app small to medium-sized business did not use antivirus protection at that time, whereas more than 80% of home users had some kind of antivirus installed.[168] According to a sociological survey conducted by G Data Software in 2010 49% of women did not use any antivirus program at all.[169]

See also[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^Henry, Alan. "The Difference Between Antivirus and Anti-Malware (and Which to Use)". Archived from the original on November 22, 2013.
  2. ^"What is antivirus software?". Microsoft. Archived from the original on April 11, 2011.
  3. ^von Neumann, John (1966) Theory of self-reproducing automataArchived June 13, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. University of Illinois Press.
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  76. ^Sandboxing Protects Endpoints

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    5 Best (REALLY FREE) iPad & iPhone Antivirus Apps in 2021

    Scott Jackson
    Updated on: November 1, 2021

    Short on time? Here’s the best free iOS antivirus in 2021:

    • 🥇 Avira Mobile Security: Includes a privacy monitor, anti-theft protection, a limited VPN, a call blocker, and a performance optimizer. Get the free download here.

    Here’s something most antivirus companies won’t tell you — virus scanning isn’t actually possible on iOS. This is because iPhones and iPads use an advanced security mechanism called “sandboxing”, which prevents apps from making changes to any other apps, files, or processes on your system. So basically viruses can’t infect iOS devices, because viruses can’t do anything on an iOS device.

    So when most people say “antivirus for iOS”, they mean “internet security for iOS” —  covering a wide range of features that keep iPhones and iPads safe. Because iOS devices aren’t naturally protected against a wide range of other security threats, including:

    • Phishing links.
    • Unsafe public Wi-Fi networks.
    • Data-stealing apps.
    • Browser trackers.
    • Device theft.

    I spent dozens of hours digging through scam apps, useless free apps, and fake security apps on the App Store, looking for products that could provide decent security coverage for all iOS users. I was able to find 5 free security apps for iOS that provide solid cybersecurity protection with no hidden fees or tricky trial periods.

    However, there isn’t a single free security app for iOS that includes all of the features for complete iOS protection — if you understand that your data and your privacy are worth more than a few dollars per month, you should look at Norton’s fantastic iOS app.

    Quick summary of the best free iOS antivirus apps for 2021:

    How I Ranked the Best Free iOS Antivirus Apps:

    No free security app is going to provide the kind of protection that I consider essential for an iOS device — but some of the apps on this list get pretty close. Here’s what I looked for in all of the apps that made it to my top 5 free apps for iOS:

    • 100% free. All of the apps I recommend offer long-term functionality at zero cost, not just free trials. However, all of these apps do offer premium versions that are much better — and most of them are pretty cheap (and many are available for a free trial).
    • Data privacy. There are a lot of free apps that exist solely to log and sell user data — there aren’t that many ways to make money with free products! However, all of the free apps on this list protect user data, and some of them even include additional tools that ensure your sensitive data doesn’t get compromised.
    • Ease of use. Apple already provides some great security features for iOS, but a lot of them are really hard to access. If you’ve ever tried to use the “Find my iPhone” web tool from Apple, you know it can be a real hassle. The tools and apps on this list provide increased security protections with convenient, well-designed user interfaces.
    • Efficiency. Many antivirus apps are buggy or slow down your iOS device. I analyzed my iPhone and iPad’s performance and battery life before and after installing each app, making sure that none of the apps slow down devices or drain batteries.

    Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut:

    • Norton. I don’t want to mislead you: Norton’s iOS app is great, but it isn’t free. It offers Wi-Fi security protection, web protection, a VPN, and dark web monitoring. Still, if you’re looking for guaranteed protection, it’s the best iOS antivirus app there is.
    • Bitdefender.Bitdefender’s paid mobile app is decent, providing good web protection, data breach scanning, and a limited VPN. However, Bitdefender doesn’t offer a free version of its iOS app.
    • Avast/AVG. Avast is still one of the first security apps that pops up on the App Store, but it won’t be getting a recommendation from SafetyDetectives anytime soon. Avast owns AVG, and some disturbing reports came out about Avast/AVG selling user data to huge corporations. You can read more about it here.

    1.🥇 Avira Free Mobile Security for iOS — Best Free Antivirus App for iOS in 2021

    Avira Free Mobile Security for iOS provides more free features than any other free iOS app — and all of its features are useful, intuitive, and provide an additional layer of protection for iPhones and iPads.

    One of the things I like most about Avira’s iOS app is the Privacy Manager feature, which is a downloadable iOS profile that prevents Siri from sharing your data with Apple — once installed, this profile prevents Siri from logging commands on Apple’s servers, which is great if you’re trying to minimize the amount of personal data that big businesses can collect from you.

    Avira Mobile Security also offers a ton of additional security features, including:

    • VPN (100 MB daily limit).
    • Anti-theft protection.
    • Network scanner.
    • Device analyzer.
    • Photo storage manager.
    • Contacts backup.

    I’m a big fan of Avira’s VPN, which provides fast encrypted internet access with a no-logs guarantee — so you know Avira isn’t profiting off of your browsing history. However, the VPN has a daily limit of 100 MB and it only lets you connect to one server location. Upgrading to Avira Phantom VPN Pro gets you unlimited data and a variety of global server locations.

    Avira Free Mobile Security for iOS is a great free app, but most users will want to upgrade to Avira’s paid plans. You can subscribe to Avira Security Pro for iOS (adds anti-phishing, spam call blocking, and data breach monitoring) and Prime Mobile (adds a VPN with no limitations and a premium password manager). There’s also the Avira Prime package (currently off), which includes all of Avira’s features and coverage for up to 5 devices, including iOS, macOS, Windows, and Android devices.

    Bottom Line:

    Avira’s wide range of features make it the best free antivirus app for iPhones and iPads. Its Privacy Monitor feature will allow you to use Siri without having your interactions logged by Apple, and its anti-theft tools, call blocker, and VPN (limited to 100 MB/day) are all excellent. However, if you’re looking for web protections, a VPN with no limitations, and a secure password manager, you’ll need to upgrade to Avira Prime Mobile, which is virus killer app for a monthly subscription or as part of the larger Avira Prime antivirus package.

    Download Avira’s Free iOS App Now

    Read the full Avira review here >

    2.🥈 TotalAV Mobile Security — Good Range of Free Features for iOS

    TotalAV Mobile Security provides most of its features to free users, including a secure web browser and an on-demand data breach scanner. TotalAV’s secure browser uses DuckDuckGo, a privacy-focused search engine, to ensure that users can access the web without being tracked or targeted by advertisers (DuckDuckGo is one of our top choices for the most secure web browser in 2021).

    TotalAV also has a breach scanning feature that scans breach databases for compromised emails — I was relieved to see that my test Gmail account is still secure, but I wasn’t surprised to discover that my Hotmail account from 2005 has been a part of numerous data breaches in the last several years.

    TotalAV also provides a few more free features, including:

    • Device locator.
    • Photo cleanup.
    • Battery manager.
    • System security.

    TotalAV’s device locator is a basic anti-theft tool that lets you track your iPhone if it gets lost — it’s not as good as McAfee’s anti-theft tools, but it gets the job done. I also really like TotalAV’s photo cleanup feature that removes duplicate photos and screenshots from your device, and I appreciate that TotalAV’s free iOS app also includes system security that alerts you to iOS updates and prevents hackers from exploiting system vulnerabilities.

    Upgrading to TotalAV Mobile Security Premium gets you anti-phishing protection and a VPN with no limitations — during my tests TotalAV’s VPN provided fast, reliable connections to a variety of servers worldwide, and it was even able to unblock geo-restricted streaming content on Netflix. TotalAV Mobile Security Premium is also included with TotalAV’s antivirus packages, which cover up to 6 devices across all operating systems.

    Bottom Line:

    TotalAV Mobile Security provides a lot of free features, including a secure browser and a data breach scanner. TotalAV’s other free features are pretty good too, including a device locator, duplicate photo cleanup, and a battery manager. Upgrading to TotalAV Mobile Security Premium gets you anti-phishing protection and unlimited VPN usage. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of TotalAV’s premium plans.

    Download TotalAV’s Free iOS App Now

    Read the full TotalAV review here >

    3.🥉 McAfee Mobile Security for iOS — Best for iPhone Theft Protection

    McAfee Mobile Security for iOS is a simple free app that offers excellent anti-theft protections. My favorite feature is the remote anti-theft alarm — simply log into McAfee’s online dashboard to trigger a very loud alarm that gradually gets louder and louder. Unlike Apple’s rather quiet built-in iOS alarm, McAfee’s alarm literally sounds like a haunted house scream — it’s very hard to ignore!

    McAfee’s anti-theft protection also offers remote location tracking and data wiping, as well as the option to display an automated message. iOS’s built-in “Find my iPhone” feature isn’t nearly as easy to use as McAfee’s, which is easily accessed from McAfee’s online dashboard.

    McAfee also offers:

    • Wi-Fi scanner.
    • Media vault.
    • Contact backup.
    • System security scan.

    McAfee’s Wi-Fi scanner is pretty good — it’s an on-demand scanner that will notify you if you’re using an unsafe Wi-Fi network. However, the media vault and contact backup features aren’t very useful because iOS already offers the ability to create a PIN-protected “Secret Album” for your media, as well as automatic iCloud backup for your contacts.

    McAfee’s paid iOS security app offers a lot of advanced protections — McAfee Mobile Security Standard also includes real-time anti-phishing protection, and McAfee Mobile Security Plus adds an excellent mobile VPN (McAfee’s VPN did rank near the top of our best antivirus with a VPN for 2021).

    You can get McAfee’s paid mobile plans with an individual subscription or bundled with McAfee’s 2-year Total Protection subscriptions, which cover up to 10 devices, including iOS, Mac, Android, and Windows devices. US users looking to protect more than 10 devices should check out McAfee’s Ultimate Coverage plan, which provides protection for an unlimited number of devices.

    Bottom Line:

    McAfee offers some useful security features, including an excellent remote anti-theft tool. Triggering McAfee’s alarm causes your iOS device to emit a very loud screaming sound, and its location tracking is much simpler than Apple’s “Find my iPhone” tool. If you’re looking for web protections like anti-phishing protection and a VPN, I recommend most users look into McAfee Mobile Security Standard or Plus — there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee on both paid plans.

    Download McAfee’s Free iOS App Now

    Read the full McAfee review here >

    4. Kaspersky Security Cloud Free for iOS — Best Free VPN and Security Breach Scan

    Kaspersky Security Cloud is a minimal but decent free iOS security app with a secure VPN. The included VPN provides 300 MB of daily data (better than Avira), and it includes a no-logs policy, which means that even Kaspersky isn’t tracking your browsing history.

    Using Kaspersky’s VPN, I was also able to stream high-quality video without slowdown, but unfortunately Kaspersky’s free version doesn’t include the option to choose your server from its global network, so you’re stuck with automatically connecting to a local server. For that option, you’ll need to upgrade.

    Kaspersky’s breach scanning is pretty much identical to TotalAV’s breach scanner — simply enter your email address, and Kaspersky will check your email against a massive database of breached logins.

    Kaspersky also includes a free password manager app — the app provides convenient auto-filling, password generating, and 256-bit AES encryption for user logins, but the free version is limited to only 15 passwords, which isn’t very good.

    Just like all of these products, the free version of Kaspersky’s iOS app is a pretty limited version of its premium plan. Premium users get unlimited VPN usage with access to a global network of servers, plus anti-phishing protection and unlimited password storage across desktop and mobile devices. Plus, Kaspersky offers excellent parental controls — it’s one of my favorite parental control apps on the market.

    Bottom Line:

    Kaspersky’s free iOS app is essentially a VPN with dark web monitoring and a little bit of password management — it’s a decent sample of Kaspersky’s full offering, and 300 MB of daily VPN access is pretty good as long as you aren’t streaming video or gaming. Upgrading to premium protection gets you unlimited VPN browsing, unlimited password storage, anti-phishing, and parental controls — there’s a free 30-day trial of Kaspersky Security Cloud Premium and Family offered in the free app.

    Download Kaspersky’s Free iOS App Now

    Read the full Kaspersky review here >

    5. Lookout Personal for iOS — Good Breach Monitoring and Anti-Theft Tools

    Lookout Personal for iOS provides an app update scanner, basic data breach monitoring, and missing device location tools for free users. Lookout’s System Advisor tool will give you notifications if your system is due for an update, which is only useful if you’re really good at ignoring iOS’s persistent update notifications.

    However, Lookout’s Locate tools are pretty good — if you lose your device, you can go to the website and track your device on a map, issue a remote alarm, or even display a message on your screen to help good samaritans return your device to you. Lookout will even save the last location of your phone before its battery dies — which is a super helpful feature!

    Lookout’s last free feature is an on-demand data breach scanner. Simply enter your email and Lookout will let you know if any of your logins have been compromised in a data breach.

    Lookout’s free iOS protection is decent, but the paid app is much better.Lookout Premium includes anti-phishing protection, a Wi-Fi network scanner, and real-time data breach updates. Lookout also offers identity theft protections for Premium Plus users.

    Bottom Line:

    Lookout Personal for iOS provides decent lost phone protections, data breach scanning, and iOS update notifications. I especially like the remote alarm feature that can deter thieves and help detect lost iOS devices. However, I really think that users that enjoy Lookout’s iOS security tools should opt for the premium upgrade, which includes anti-phishing protection, Wi-Fi scanning, data breach reports, and identity theft tools.

    Download Lookout’s Free iOS App Now

    Bonus: Traced — Free Web Browser & Network Protections for iOS Users

    Traced is a free and lightweight iOS app that provides good web and network protections without compromising user privacy. Traced doesn’t gather any user usage data, which most security apps do — even top-quality apps like McAfee compile scan data to help keep their threat databases up-to-date.

    During my tests, I was really impressed with Traced’s network scanner — it has live intrusion detection, which can help protect users from ARP spoofing attacks, man-in-the-middle attacks, and exploit attacks. I also like that Traced provides live browser protection, which can integrate with Safari on your iOS device.

    Traced doesn’t provide important features like an app scanner or anti-theft tools, but it’s not a bad option for users that just want a Wi-Fi network monitor and additional browser security. Plus, Traced is completely free.

    Bottom Line:

    Traced is a minimal but effective network monitor and browsing protection app for iOS that doesn’t collect any user data. Traced’s Wi-Fi scanner provides live intrusion detection, and the browser protections integrate with Safari to add increased security against phishing and exploit attacks. Traced doesn’t provide an app scanner or anti-theft tools, but it can be a good addition to your existing antivirus app.

    Download Traced’s Free iOS App Now

    Read the full Traced review here >


    Antiviruses for iOS — Frequently Asked Questions

    Do I really need an antivirus for my iPhone?

    Apple is right when it says you don’t need an antivirus for your iOS device. And it’s also completely wrong. “Antivirus” is the wrong word to use because these apps aren’t really detecting viruses. But Apple’s built-in security measures can’t protect us from our own browsing habits. Phishing is a huge problem, theft is a huge problem, and browsing on unsecured networks is a huge problem.

    And anyone who’s ever tried to use Apple’s clunky “Find My iPhone” features knows that you need a faster, louder, and more comprehensive option to find a lost device and deter thieves.

    There’s really no reason not to install an antivirus app like Avira, TotalAV or McAfee on your  iPhone. Not only are our iPhones valuable assets, they also contain some of our most sensitive personal information.

    Will iPhone antivirus apps work on my iPad?

    In most cases, virus killer app iOS antivirus apps, like Avira, will work for most iOS devices, including iPads. But still, you should check with each product to make sure that the app offers the protection you want. There may be certain features that will only work on iPhones.

    What kind of antivirus features do I need to stay protected?

    Again, “antivirus” is a weird word for iOS security apps. While the threat of a traditional virus is low, there are all sorts of other threats that can compromise your cybersecurity.

    Norton 360 offers the best range of security features, including phishing protection, data breach alerts, anti-theft tools, spam text and call protection, and more. Norton 360 isn’t free, but downloading a premium iOS security app is the only way to get all of the security features you need for your iOS device.

    Users that are looking for a free security app should look into Avira’s free app for iOS. It has a good variety of features, but because of its limited VPN and lack of anti-phishing protections, I recommend most users upgrade to Avira Prime Mobile.

    Источник: https://www.safetydetectives.com/blog/best-really-free-antivirus-for-ios/

    Patrick Christys: Sajid Javid is still holding Christmas to ransom over coronavirus

    Lockdowns are sweeping across the continent as Europe becomes…well…the sick man of Europe.

    Cases have been spiralling but there is a concerning element to the increased restrictions – I.e. that various political leaders are now floating the idea that vaccines alone are not enough to combat Covid.

    There is a worrying ease with which various continental political leaders have effortlessly decided to create a two tier society.

    In Austria, the unvaccinated are under house arrest – that’s 2m people. That includes a lot of young people who may well already have some form of natural immunity, but it also includes people who simply cannot take the vaccine for whatever reason – so it’s not just vaccine refusniks who are being barricaded inside, it’s also people who just physically can’t have the jab.

    Their justification for this is that about 65% of Austria's population is fully vaccinated - one of the lowest rates in Western Europe.

    Meanwhile, the seven-day infection rate is more than 800 cases per 100,000 people, which is one of the highest in the region.

    Germany is also locking down the unvaccinated, Greece is banning them from any indoor spaces, many public spaces as well.

    Latvia, where 59% of the population are fully vaccinated, re-imposed lockdown last month and has banned lawmakers who refuse the vaccine from voting on laws and taking part in debates until the middle of next year. They will also see their pay docked.

    Now, it’s worth noting that as things stand in this country our government hasn’t ruled out increasing restrictions. In fact, Sajid Javid is still holding Christmas to ransom.

    How can that be the case? How can it even be a question that we would increase restrictions? Last Christmas was a bit of a washout, but hardly anybody in the country was vaccinated - the jab had only just been invented and only the extremely vulnerable and frontline NHS workers had been offered it.

    We knew less about the virus, we were more scared of it we, as a nation, were much more vulnerable.

    But we’re not there anymore. We’re on to the booster jabs now, we’ve got vast swathes of antibodies coursing through our veins, we know more about ventilation being a key line of defence and, crucially, we’ve all had a year and a half to get our heads around what’s happening and make our own minds up about whether or not we want to celebrate Christmas together with friends or family.

    We have to be allowed to make our own decisions. There seems to be a worrying trend among some politicians, who have never been presented with an opportunity or an excuse to exercise as much control over peoples lives as they can do now – to feel as though they know best, that we’re all just helpless idiots who, if it wasn’t for the nurturing hand of some suit from regional government, we’d all be wandering around wearing loin cloths, fighting each other for what scraps of food remain inside a burning Aldi store.

    Just look at what’s happening in Australia - Dictator Dan Andrews, Premier of Victoria, who is in favour of internment camps surrounded by electric fences and who talks to people like they’re idiotic school children. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – it’s the role he was born to play, because he looks like a failed geography teacher whose wife has just left him.

    Until someone invents a better vaccine, or other medical treatments as well, this is as well protected as we can possibly be from Covid.

    Cases are down, deaths are down, hospital admissions are down…there is no need whatsoever for this country to introduce measures like other European nations. Some members of our government and medical community seem to think we need saving from ourselves, I think perhaps we need saving from them.

    showspatrick christyscoronaviruschristmasto the pointsajid javid

    Источник: https://www.gbnews.uk/shows/patrick-christys-sajid-javid-is-still-holding-christmas-to-ransom-over-coronavirus/161128

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1 Replies to “Virus killer app”

  1. Hi Sir my name mohan, can i my still 10 month pending can i complete the emi before.

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