Antivirus software remains one of the most effective solutions for protecting computers, devices, networks and other systems from malicious software. It works by scanning computers for known malware. If discovered, the antivirus software will neutralize it. Even if you’re familiar with the purpose of antivirus software, though, there are probably some things you don’t know about it. Here are five facts about antivirus software and how it works.

#1) Early Antivirus Software Required Floppy Disk Updates

Updating antivirus software is a breeze. As long as you’re connected to the internet, you can typically click a button to update it. But this hasn’t always been the case. In the early days of antivirus software, virus definitions were distributed via floppy disks, and users had to manually update their antivirus software by inserting the latest disk in their computers.

#2) Protects Against All Types of Malware

Contrary to what it’s name implies, antivirus software isn’t limited to viruses. It can protect against all types of malware. Maybe your computer is infected with ransomware, or perhaps it’s infected with a worm or trojan. While their features vary, most antivirus software is designed to protect all types of malware.

#3) Leverages Signatures to Identify Malware

How does antivirus software identify malware exactly? Most antivirus software uses a signature-based detection method. Signature-based detection means the antivirus software will look for signatures of malware. A signature is a unique string of code. Different types of malware have different signatures. Once a new piece of malware has been discovered, its signature is added to a database. These signature databases are then distributed to antivirus software providers. The providers will push new updates for their respective antivirus software, thus allowing the software to identify the new malware.

#4) Minimizes Performance Impact

You don’t have to worry about antivirus software slowing down your computer. Some of the first antivirus products did, in fact, have a significant impact on computer performance, as it requires resources to scan for and block malware. However, modern antivirus software is designed to minimize its impact on system performance.

#5) Paid Versions Are Worth the Investmen

There are many antivirus products that offer free versions of their software, which provide basic protection against malware. However, paid versions of the software typically offer more advanced features, such as real-time protection and automatic updates. For maximum, protection, you should consider investing in a paid version.