Prevent Cyberattacks with Antivirus Protection

Have you ever wondered how Antivirus protection works or why it is important to keep it up to date? Another popular question related to antivirus is does it matter what kind of computer/operating system I have? In this article we will try to explain some of the questions you may have regarding anti-virus and what type of anti-virus protection would be the best fit for you.

How does antivirus protection work?

There are two basic types of antivirus protect, one that looks for anomalous activity (behavior based) on the device and another type that relies on a data dictionary (signature or code based) to keep devices protected. Between the two types of protection, data dictionary is the more common form for everyday use.

Anomalous Activity (behavior based) antivirus protection look for files or programs that are operating out of the ordinary. Once this behavior is identified, the antivirus protection will take a closer look at what is going on to determine if the activity is related to malware.

Data Dictionary antivirus (be it “signature” or “code” based) compares files coming onto the device and scan existing files on the device to compare those files against know malware contained in the dictionary. To keep your device protected, it is important that this data dictionary is periodically updated so the newest malware signature/codes are added to the dictionary.

PC using Microsoft Windows, Macs, and Mobile Devices.

Based on GlobalStats research, about three quarters of all computers being used today run some type of Windows operating system. That being said, most of the malware (malicious software) that is being developed by cybercriminals is devoted to attacking machines running windows based operating systems. This makes it very important to have some type of antivirus protection for your windows devices.

While Macs only make up about 16% of the market, year over year their numbers are growing and even thought Macs come with some special features built if to help prevent malware, it still isn’t a bad idea to add a third party antivirus product.

When it comes to Mobile Devices it all comes downs to Apps and your device’s operating system. IOS (Apple Devices) uses a closed system, which means Apple has direct control of what apps are available and the apps have to be directly downloaded from their App Store. On the other hand, Android is more open and allows apps from third party vendors that may be downloaded directly to your devices. Between the two, Apple vs. Android, there is a much greater need for antivirus protection for your Android device.

Antivirus is an important tool when it comes to combatting cybercriminals. Having effective and up-to-date antivirus running on your devices can prevent attacks, safeguard your personal information, and help prevent identity theft.


headshot of Paul Forni, AVP Information Security Officer at The Cooperative Bank of Cape CodPaul Forni
Vice President, Information Security and Red Flag Officer