Antivirus software is one type of software that shields computers from malware infections. This includes viruses, Trojans, spyware, rootkits, adware and worms. It can also help detect and repair the damage caused by these threats.

Antivirus software is a must for any computer or mobile device. They can help prevent attacks from hackers, and detect and eliminate phishing attacks, ransomware and spam emails. They can also scan and secure connected appliances such as SmartTVs and printers.

When selecting an antivirus program make sure you choose one that has been thoroughly tested and praised by independent labs. Organizations like Virus Bulletin, TechRadar, NSS Labs and AV-Comparatives run tests and provide in-depth reviews of the various antivirus software options. They will inform you the protections they offer in the program, how they perform and if the program is worth the money.

Traditional antivirus software relies on the signature or the binary pattern of a virus to identify it. However hackers have kept pace with this by creating polymorphic and oligomorphic viruses that encrypt their own parts or modify their appearance to not match signatures of viruses stored in antivirus databases. Sandbox analysis is employed by modern antivirus programs to fight these sophisticated malware threats. The program executes the file within an environment that is virtual to determine how it behaves.