Do you have a question about PC security, malware or antivirus software? We may have the answer, check out answers below to some frequently asked questions.
If you cant find the answer below you can send us an email, we'll do our best to answer any questions you may have.
Q. What is a computer Virus?
A. A computer virus is a computer program that can copy itself and install on a computer with our without the computer owners knowledge. Some viruses are programmed to damage other programs, delete files, or send spam emails on behalf of spammers. Viruses can spread to other computers via removable type media such as CD's, USB drives etc and networks (eg. Intranets and the Internet).
Q. What is antivirus software?
A. Antivirus software is a computer program designed to protect a computer from viruses, worms, Trojans and other malicious computer programs that damage or reduce performance of the computer. Installing antivirus software and ensuring it is kept up to date is a vital step in securing a computer. The companies that write antivirus programs monitor the latest virus threats worldwide and provide regular updates to their users in order to keep protection up to date.
Q. If I use antivirus software, do I still need a firewall?
A. Yes. You should also run a firewall program in conjunction with up to date antivirus software in order to fully protect your computer from malicious code and unauthorized access. Most major antivirus software providers today also provide programs that bundle antivirus and firewall into the one software package for a slightly higher fee than standard antivirus.
Q. Where can I get antivirus software if I don't have it installed?
A. Getting antivirus software is easy, check out our Antivirus program directory for a comprehensive list of current programs available in the marketplace. Most software providers give customers the option of download (cheaper) or boxed/physical delivery of product. In addition to buying online you can also purchase antivirus software from any decent computer store.
Q. Can I run multiple antivirus programs on my computer at the same time?
A. Its not recommended to run multiple antivirus programs on the same computer as they may cause conflicts and your computer may run slow. Before installing a second program we suggest removing the original program so no problems arise during the installation of the new software.
Q. How do I keep my antivirus software up to date?
A. Keeping your antivirus software up to date is essential in protecting your computer from the latest viruses and security threats. Most antivirus programs give you the option in their settings to subscribe to regular/automatic updates. Some antivirus software programs also give you the option of purchasing a multiyear license/subscription, this is a highly recommended option to take if you're looking for long-term protection.
Q. I want to install a new software program, but the installation process is telling me to turn off my antivirus software. Is that safe?
A. Occasionally when installing a new software program it will prompt you to disable your antivirus software momentarily whilst you complete the install - this is not unusual and you shouldn't be worried. You should only do this if you trust the program you are installing - upon completing the installation remember to reactivate your antivirus.
Q. I disabled some settings on my antivirus software, and now I'm not sure I should have done that. What are the most important settings to enable? "Real time" scanning - this option allows your program to continually be monitoring your computer and its files for viruses and threats.
Your program should always have a scheduled scan of your hard drive.
Enable scanning of all emails by default (emails are a major source of viruses!)
A. Most major antivirus programs have similar settings that are recommended to always be switched on/activated, these being:
Q. How does an antivirus work?Examining files and comparing them to a known database of viruses and threats
Identifying suspicious behavior from any program or file that could cause an infection.
A. Antivirus programs typically use two techniques for identifying viruses:
Once viruses are detected the antivirus program then has capabilities to remove or quarantine the virus so it can not do any further damage to your computer.
Q. What will my antivirus protect me from? Will it protect me from other types of malware such as spyware, worms & Trojans?
A. Most antivirus programs have capabilities provide additional protection above just viruses, such as Trojans, worms and spyware etc - before buying any software be sure to carefully check in its specifications what exactly it does protect your computer from.
Q. Can antiviruses fail?
A. Yes it is possible for an antivirus program to fail. The most common reason for failure is users not keeping their program up to date, or a threat using a new technique not yet detected by the antivirus community. Antivirus program authors have teams dedicated to hunting down and curing latest virus threats - upon these being fixed the procedures to enable to fix are then downloaded to the users antivirus program when updates are completed - enabling protection against the threat, or a cure if the computer is already infected.
Q. What are real time protection/scanners?
A. This term refer to the antivirus program's ability to scan files on the fly as they're accessed, opened, edited or executed for threats and vulnerabilities. Some antivirus programs will do this automatically, however some others require you to turn this on in their settings. Real time protection can be resource intensive, therefore depending on the antivirus program and the methods in which they do scans, it may slow a computer down.
Q. What are heuristics?
A. Heuristics are "rules of thumb", educated guesses, intuitive judgments or simply common sense. Many antivirus programs use heuristics for detecting threats and viruses and other forms of malware.
Q. What is a http scanner?
A. HTTP scanners scan and analyze data when browsing the internet and block viruses and malware before they reach the browser / application requesting the data. This provides an extra level of protection when interacting online.
Q. What is an email scanner?
A. Email scanners are similar to HTTP scanners, except that they scan all emails as they are received, detecting and eliminating threats before they can do damage to your computer.
Q. If I install an antivirus program on my system, am I totally protected from ever getting a virus or other malicious software again?
A. No, nothing can guarantee that - however it is the best thing you can do to seriously minimize the risk of being infected with a computer virus or being susceptible to any other security vulnerabilities. In addition to installing antivirus software, the second most important thing is keeping it up to date and ensuring you have the latest virus pattern updates - without these you're susceptible to new threats as they arise that may not have existed when you first installed your antivirus program.