Antivirus software is a term used to describe a computer program that attempts to identify, neutralize or eliminate malicious software. This type of software is so named because the earliest examples were designed exclusively to combat computer viruses; however most modern antivirus software is now designed to combat a wide range of threats, including worms, phishing attacks, rootkits, trojan horses and other malware.
Antivirus software typically uses two different techniques to accomplish this:
* Examining (scanning) files to look for known viruses matching definitions in a virus dictionary
* Identifying suspicious behavior from any computer program which might indicate infection. Such analysis may include data captures, port monitoring and other methods.
Most commercial antivirus software uses both of these approaches, with an emphasis on the virus dictionary approach.