In the world of information security, a virus is a piece of software that includes code instructions on how it should replicate itself and spread throughout systems. We associate this term with hackers and cybercrime, but it should be noted that virus program can also be crafted for non-malicious use such as file distribution routines.
Writing a stealthy virus program used to be a badge of honor among early computer hacker groups that were more interested in pulling digital pranks or cyber vandalism. By the time residential internet access became commonplace in the 1990s, this cyber threat had turned into a technique to distribute malicious software, more commonly known as malware. To a certain extent, this technique is no longer used as much in the world of cybercrime, but this does not mean that you should ignore antivirus programs.
Malware scanner is the correct terminology to use when referring to modern antivirus programs. At SynchroNet, many of our clients still use the old antivirus term, but we know what they are talking about, and we ensure that they understand the importance of this cyber security component, particularly if they are business owners. It should be noted that a virus can spread from your office machines to your customers through contact lists and address books; you don't want to be known as a business with virus-infected computers.
Most of the cybercrime activity taking place these days is anchored by malware. Network intrusion attacks can only get hackers so far; cybercrime groups that are financially motivated will use malware to ply their wicked trade more efficiently. Some of them still code a virus technique into their malware, but this is somewhat optional. A malware scanner looks through all files in an operating system or a network, and it searches for more than virus code.
In essence, malware scanners look for code footprints that indicate malicious intent, which is certainly not limited to virus replication and transmission techniques. These security software solutions identify and isolate various types of malware such as keyloggers, root kits, password sniffers, spyware, ransomware, Trojans, worms, and many others.
Just a few years ago, information security experts discussed the merits of antivirus programs on devices such as Linux systems, Android smartphones, tablets, iPhones, and iPads. While these computing devices are powered by robust operating systems once considered to be more secure than Windows or macOS, hackers have already figured out how to launch attacks that defeat their protections or exploit vulnerabilities.
The seasoned IT security specialists at SynchroNet will tell you that antivirus protection is currently required more than ever, and it should extend to all the devices that connect or synchronize with computers where sensitive information is stored. Malware scanners can make a significant difference in terms of mitigating modern cyber attacks.