It has been established that anyone who uses the internet in any way is vulnerable to attacks by cybercriminals. In order to protect yourself against these attacks, you need to ensure that you have antivirus or antimalware software on your computer.
The antivirus software will protect viruses from getting onto your computer, scan for viruses that might already be there, and remove what viruses it finds.
What the Scans Look for
The simple explanation is that scans look for viruses and can help remove them from your computer. But what the scans are looking for is more specific than that. The virus scans look for several items that look suspicious, including code, structure, signatures, and behavior. The way that things run on your computer can alert the antivirus software that something is wrong and alert you that it should be removed.
Why you need to run Antivirus Scans
Running the antivirus software regularly on your computer will ensure that any new threats are detected before they inflict damage on the computer. Most of the software out there will allow you to schedule routine scans so you do not have to manually do it.
But just as important as running the software is keeping the software up-to-date.
Outdated software is not going to have the most current malware or virus protection on it, putting you more at threat for viruses that are newer. That does not mean that the software will not protect you from unknown viruses, however. The algorithm will still detect strange code that is not behaving as it should be and alert you, even when it does not know about the certain types of viruses are out there. Then, even with foreign viruses, you can safely remove them before they cause damage.
How to run the Antivirus Scan
When you are ready to manually run a scan, you will need to start by launching the software. There should be a button that tells it to scan the computer for viruses. This typically takes a few seconds or minutes, depending on how long it has been since you previously scanned it. Once the scan is completed, it will let you know if there are any viruses on your computer.
Your next step will be to allow the software to remove the viruses or potential threats. It is important to remove the threats that are listed and not leave them for later or assume that the software has just deleted them for you.
Types of Antivirus Scans
There are typically two types of antivirus scans that antivirus software offers to do for you. The first one is a quick scan and the second is a full or deep scan. The quick scan is just that, it is quick. The scan should only take a few moments to run and it will look for anything obvious. The full scan will take longer and will look further in your computer to see if there are any viruses hidden. Both should be performed frequently.
How often you need to run Antivirus Scans
How often you need to run the software will depend on how you use the internet. The general rule of thumb is that you should be running antivirus software at least every week. Though, in some cases, even going once a week between scans is not safe enough.
If you are on the internet, downloading files, or viewing sites that have a lot of popups, you could easily download a virus in a week’s time. In those cases, running the scan daily if you are concerned at all about your computer being infected by viruses is a safe idea.
Signs you could be infected
There are signs that you can look out for if you are worried that your computer could be infected by a virus.
The primary sign is if your computer is suddenly running slower than normal. If it is taking a long time to turn on, open files, or run programs, it is the right time to scan your computer to see if your computer has been infected by a virus.
Other signs that you could look for would be if your computer was not working as well as it normally had or if programs begin doing operations on their own, without you initiating them. If the computer is not behaving well, that is the time to run the scan and make sure it is not running anything behind the scenes that could be damaging your computer and your data.