Good security requires a layered strategy. Two of these very important layers are antivirus and firewalls. Let’s look at what these are and why they are important.
Antivirus is software you install on your computer that scans files on your computer, and actively protects you against malicious files on your computer. Antivirus is typically the last defense on your computer, but is also one of the most important. Having bad or no antivirus on your computer will allow hackers to easily infect your computer, and depending on the type of infection, this can be detrimental to your business.
TYPES OF ANTIVIRUS:
There are two basic types of antivirus with two completely different underlying technology to protect your device. We classify these and 1st generation and 2nd generation antivirus.
1st generation: These antivirus programs rely on detecting a virus based on the signature of the file. Each file has a unique signature, and the antivirus companies create databases of these files that are known to be viruses. When your computer does a virus scan, it is scanning files against their database, and if they find a match, they flag and remove the file. There are a few issues with this method of protection.
- Files are only detected when scans run:If a file is only detected when a scan runs, then it is allowed to remain on your system for an extended period of time. This allows it to put what we refer to as “footholds” in your system, which are ways to get back in if your antivirus removes it. Some programs do work around this by flagging files you download, but this does not protect against all of the different types of attacks that happen daily, often these background files are downloaded in the background and the antivirus program doesn’t even know they got on your system.
- A small change to the file changes the signature: All it takes to change the file signature is to change the file around a little bit. Once that happens the antivirus programs have to receive an update to get the new signature for the new file, and until that happens, it will go unnoticed. This is very easy for hackers to do, and thus leads to a lot of infections.
- Scans are slow and slow down your system:Since the program must scan all files when it does the scheduled scan, it slows down your computer, and often if this happens during a work day, the user will cancel the scan so he/she can get work done, and the scan goes unfinished.
Most of the programs you are familiar with are 1st generation antivirus programs, some of these you might recognize are:
2nd Generation: These antivirus programs read signatures, but also rely on machine learning and artificial intelligence to identify infections. They do an entire system scan initially, and then background scan any new file the instant they are added. This is done without the annoying user pop-ups, and it happens immediately to delay any infection time. The advantages to programs like this are:
- Much faster than the 1st generation programs
- Cannot be tricked by a signature change. Using machine learning they look at what the file does, and will block it based on that, rather than just a signature.
- Infections are detected immediately and are acted upon immediately
- Contain additional security options such as script and exploit blocking
There are currently only a couple of programs that are 2nd generation. They are
- SentinelOne – This is what we recommend
These programs are managed and trained by your IT company or department to make sure that your computers are safe from everything. If you are buying your antivirus from us, then you are on the best antivirus you can get to keep your computer safe. If you have any questions or would like to have us manage your antivirus just fill out the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.