Antivirus softwares are programs that help protect your computer against most viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and other unwanted invaders that can make your computer "sick." Viruses, worms, and the like often perform malicious acts, such as deleting files, accessing personal data, or using your computer to attack other computers.
Antivirus software is an important tool to help prevent such attacks. Not every type of cyberattack can be prevented with antivirus software, but it can be a great asset when trying to prevent intrusion into a computer.
A good antivirus program can assist in protecting a computer:
Antivirus – Starting with the obvious, an antivirus program will protect against computer viruses, or attacks that mean to damage a computer.
Rootkit protection – This prevents rootkits, which are imbedded deep inside a computer in order to mask other malware, from establishing in a computer.
Bot protection – This alerts a subscriber when a cybercriminal is attempting to remotely take over a computer to use as a source for automatic spamming and other crimes. Bots are what botnets are based on (groups of ordinary people's computers that have been infected in order to carry out attacks on other entities).
Worm protection – By definition, worms attack networks rather than computers themselves. However, worms can carry payloads of malware that can be deposited onto computers, which will then do damage. Antivirus software can prevent this sort of attack - stop computer worms.
Trojan horses – Antivirus software can't stop a person from being duped into thinking that a desired downloaded program or file is legitimate. However, antivirus software can warn them when malware is detected within a Trojan horse file.
Spyware – Antivirus software can detect when a computer has been infected with spyware, or software that's meant to either collect data of usage or steal information, even when the source came from a reputable, legitimate source.