antivirus software

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Secure Web gateways, from evaluation to sealed deal
Contributor(s): Jerry Harris

Antivirus (anti-virus) software is a class of program that will prevent, detect and remediate malware infections on individual computing devices and IT systems.

The label "antivirus" was originally given to programs that identified and removed a particular type of malware called a virus. Today, however, antivirus programs are useful for preventing infections caused by many types of malware, including worms, Trojan horses, rootkits, spyware, keyloggers, ransomware and adware

In marketing, the terms antivirus and antimalware are often used as synonyms. 


This was last updated in September 2005

Continue Reading About antivirus software



Find more PRO+ content and other member only offers, here.

Join the conversation


Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

Programs to detect and remove computer viruses designed to combat malware running in the background searches, detects and removes quarantines viruses and other dangerous malicious software or malware such as Trojans, worms and spyware that may infect a computer
Defining antivirus software is fine, but the bigger discussion is whether it's important to have it at all. For the number of false positives I used to get vs. the real threats, it sometimes is a major time suck. A better strategy is to start at the beginning and make sure ANYTHING you load on your system is secure and approved.

Make IT directly responsible for any breaches. Then you'd have systems that were secure and sandboxed.

It's time we started working a little more thoughtfully and securely, not relying on software virus protection as the $49 solution to protect our entire enterprise.
Kaspersky "Total Protection" is awful.

I've had it 24 hours, and tried to install FIlezilla, which now comes with malware that prevents you from using Google!!

I spent over an hour with 3 incompetent Kaspersky support techs on the phone, and they finally said to send them a log from one of their programs, and they'd get back to me in 24-48 hours.

I always run anti-virus software. I have been in the IT field for 30+ years and have learned the hard way over the years. Even though I am extremely careful about what I download or connect to my computers, there is still a chance I can get infected. I have had maybe 1 notification of a virus in the last 2 years. With the free versions out there, better safe than sorry.
I want to know the types of protections which a antivirus software can provide.
@osmanmd : As mentioned earlier in the article 
"antivirus programs are useful for preventing infections caused by many types of malware, including wormsTrojan horsesrootkitsspywarekeyloggersransomware and adware " 
Each of the free antivirus products may cover many of these if you upgrade to a premium or full version you may get an additional one or two.


File Extensions and File Formats