Anti-Virus Software

Anti-Virus Software

What is it?


Anti-virus software is a much needed protection in today's technology driven environment. Without the right protection, it is possible to a victim of identity theft, computer malfunction, and other online abuse.
Are you protected?



Bitdefender

Bitdefender

Voted #1 on TopTenReviews.com.
Bitdefender stands by it's motto, "Everything connected needs to be protected." Innovation and a deep passion for security stand at the heart of Bitdefender

Kaspersky

Kaspersky

Kaspersky Lab gives customers the power to protect what matters most to them online. Innovative technologies help protect money transactions, privacy and data from malware, ransomware, and sophisticated online threats.

Norton

Norton

With a team of over 1,700 customer care experts dotted around the globe, Norton ensures easily accessible support no matter your location. Norton has been protecting customers and their data for over 25 years.

Tech Brief.


What is Anti-Virus Software?

Anti-virus software, also known as anti-malware software, is designed to detect and eliminate
computer viruses. Where do these viruses come from? Why are they bad? In order to gain a full understanding of anti-virus software we will need to learn about the history of computer viruses, the potential threats of a computer virus, and how these threats can be eliminated by the use of software. We will also compare free versus paid anti-virus software and the contributions to market share these types of software provide.

Before jumping into the topic of anti-virus software, we must first learn what exactly is a
computer virus? A computer virus, as defined by google is, "a piece of code that is capable of copying itself and typically has a detrimental effect, such as corrupting the system or destroying data" (Google). These harmful snippets of code are always man-made and it is relatively easy to create a virus that continues to replicate itself. Webopedia states that, "Even such a simple virus is dangerous because it will quickly use all available memory and bring the system to a halt. "They consider more dangerous viruses as viruses that are able to bypass security systems and transmitting itself across networks (2). Virus can perform a number of different tasks at varying levels of destruction. One virus, known as ˜The Love Bug' virus, flooded internet users with "ILOVEYOU" messages, forwarding the message to everyone in a person's address book (7). Another more destructive virus, known as the CIH virus, activates on April 26h every year and "overwrites a chip inside PCs effectively paralyzing the entire computer" (7). It is very possible for hackers to plant a hidden program on your computer that could spy on you through your computers webcam, log your keystrokes when entering passwords or financial information, or perform other threatening activities that could be reported back to the hacker “ all unbeknownst to you (3).

Evolution of Computer Viruses and Anti-Virus Technology

Computer viruses were not an issue until the age of file sharing in the 1980's. It was not
uncommon to scan a floppy disk for viruses before inserting it into a personal machine. It was learned that not only can viruses come from programs (executable jar files), but can also originate from macro languages in certain word processors like Microsoft Word and Word Perfect (3). The introduction of the internet also paved the way for new viruses to emerge. "The Morris worm, a self-replicating UNIX-based program, was released by Cornell graduate student Robert Morris Jr. and brought about 10 percent of the computers on ARPANET (the precursor to the Internet) to their knees in 1988" (3). The first web browser with a graphical interface, MOSAIC, brought many more diverse users to the internet. With the internet becoming more and more widely used, new viruses emerged. We began to see a need for a way to protect against these threats.

Early anti-virus software did not remove the virus off of the infected computer; it merely kept a
virus from continuing to replicate itself. This type of anti-virus software was coined "self-reproduction software. "It wasn't until the late 1980's that the removal of viruses became an actuality. In 1987, Bernd Fix was accredited with the fist removal of a virus “ The Vienna Virus (5). This virus infects uninfected files on a system every time an infected file is run. Although this virus is still around, modern day anti-virus takes care of it with ease. Over the past couple decades, many viruses and anti-virus programs have risen and fallen.

Anti-Virus Today

With technology and the internet continually expanding, development of superior anti-virus
technology is crucial for users to protect themselves and their data. TopTenReviews.com, who have been testing anti-virus software for over thirteen years, have ranked the top fifteen anti-virus products of 2016. At the top of their list is Bitdefender, followed by Kaspersky Lab and Norton Security. All of these products are available for just under forty dollars. Other common software includes Avira, Trend Micro, and Avast ranking at four, five and six, with McAfee ranking twelfth on the list. It is interesting to note that all of these anti-virus software's are a paid subscription “ TopTenReviews.com does not find free software to be as capable in terms of functionality and protection (5).

Market for Anti-Virus Software

Although Bitdefender and Kaspersky Lab are commonly ranked as superior software's, they do
not have very substantial market share. OPSWAT, a software company that provides development tools and services to information technology workers and software engineers, regularly releases the market share of competing anti-virus companies. In the January 2015 report, Bitdefender and Kaspersky Lab rank low on the list with Kaspersky Lab owning 3.5% of the market and Bitdefender only 1.8% (1). Norton anti-virus by Symantec, another renowned company owns quite bit more of the market with 7.1%. There are a plethora of other anti-virus vendors owning about 1% of the market, however over 40% is controlled by just two companies, Avast (21.4%) and Microsoft (19.4%). AVG and Avira are next on the list at 8.6% and 7.4%, respectively. In fact, the four companies that own the biggest share of the market all offer their anti-virus software free of charge (1). Coming standard on Windows machines, it is not surprising that Microsoft Security Essentials is included in the top two favorites. One important thing to note is that Malwarebytes, another well-known anti-virus software, is not featured on the leading market share list even though it has a 20% share. This is because Malwarebytes does not offer real time protection and is only run on-demand.

Just a year earlier, in the January 2014 report done by Gecko-and-Fly, Microsoft Security
Essentials was on top of the list with a much more substantial margin than Avast currently has over Microsoft. Between 2014 and 2015 Microsoft has reduced their margin over the second favorite, Avast, from six percent all the way down to negative two percent (6,1). With this information, it can be concluded that there seems to be a shift to seek out third party anti-virus protection rather than stick with the default software provided on the purchased machine. Other software's that lost market share between 2014 and 2015 include: Kaspersky dropping from 5.5% market share down to 3.5%, Symantec losing almost 1% of the market, and Bitdefender dropping from 2.6% down to 1.8% of the market. The most extreme market share shift was ESET, losing nearly half of their market share, dropping from 8.1% all the way down to 4.2%. The largest increase in market share was achieved by Avast, who also managed to overtake Microsoft's lead in the market. Other companies who managed to improve their market share from 2014 to 2015 include Avira rising from 5.6% to 7.4% and McAfee from 3.5% to 6.2% market share (6,1).

Free vs. Paid Software

Why is it that the majority of market share is given to companies that offer free anti-virus? The
answer is actually quite simple. It is not necessary to have the most advanced, top of the line product in order to garner and retain customers. The key to gaining market share is to provide a good or service that will benefit most people at the lowest cost. Free anti-virus software fits this requirement by offering the basic, minimum level of protection. This is great for the average consumer, whereas consumers with a higher focus on security may wish to invest in a paid subscription to an anti-virus software that better fits their needs. Although free anti-virus software will scan for malware, additional features like identity theft protection, firewalls, parental controls, and system performance tools are usually only found on paid anti-virus programs (4). Not only is free software limited in features, there is virtually no technical support besides troubleshooting web forums.

When choosing anti-virus software, gecko-and-fly brings up a great point. "Being number 1
means being the target by hackers and virus author. Therefore, it is always good to go with the second or third best free Antivirus, in this case, it is Avast or AVG. Reason being that antivirus are now crowd based intelligence, the more antivirus installed means the better the intelligence gathering is" (6).

Conclusion

In conclusion, anti-virus software is a much-needed tool in this information technology era.
Nearly all individuals have some type of personal data on a computer that could have detrimental effects if it fell into the wrong hands. Whether using free protection or paid protection, having some type of anti-virus software installed on your computer is something that should be a priority. Although viruses and hackers have had advances in their technology, they are usually no match to the improvements and advancements made in the anti-virus industry."Today, security on the Internet is certainly not taken for granted. It requires diligence and attention, as well as a certain amount of technical capability. The threats are there”and as ingenious as only a worldwide community of miscreants could create"(3).



Semantic Markup.


Semantic Markup: Having a semantically marked up website indicates that the HTML tags provide not only presentation style, but also adds meaning for the user and the web browser they are using. For example: If you're creating a heading/title use the <h2> tag instead of <b>. This is because <b> only changes the style to bold, but using <h2> defines the text as a heading and changes it to bold (8).

Section 508-Accessibility: Part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that requires federal agencies to make all of their electronic public information accessible by people with disabilities (9).

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): SEO is an attempt to garner a higher search engine ranking. In order to "optimize" a website, the website needs to be "relevant and authoritative." This can be achieved by creating a website with original and structured information, and having other optimized websites linking to your page (10).

Incorporating these practices into a website is a great idea if you want people to view your webpage. Having a semantically correct website that meets the current accessibility standards will typically rank higher on google and other search engines. Ranking higher will allow your webpage to get more views meaning more business.

References.


1.     "Antivirus and Compromised Device Report: January 2015." OPSWAT. Ed. OPSWAT. OPSWAT, 11     Jan. 2015. Web. 07 Dec. 2016.

              https://www.opswat.com/

 

2.      Beal, Vangie. "Computer Virus (virus)." What Is Virus (Computer Virus)? Webopedia Definition.     Webopedia, n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2016.

              http://www.webopedia.com/

 

3.     Coolidge, Daniel S. "Security on the Internet, Then and Now." Security on the Internet, Then and     Now. GPSolo Magazine, June 2005. Web. 07 Dec. 2016.

              http://www.americanbar.org/

 

4.     Mediati, Nick. "Free vs. Fee: Free and Paid Antivirus Programs Compared." PCWorld. PCWorld, 29     Nov. 2010. Web. 07 Dec. 2016.

              http://www.pcworld.com/

 

5.   Shipley, Renee. "The Best Antivirus Software of 2016 | Top Ten Reviews." TopTenReviews.     TopTenReviews, 29 Nov. 2016. Web. 07 Dec. 2016.

              http://www.toptenreviews.com/

 

6.     Tengyuen, Ngan. "7 Free Antivirus Compared - Avira, Comodo, BitDefender, Avast, AVG, Panda     and Microsoft." GeckoandFly. GeckoandFly, 16 Nov. 2016. Web. 07 Dec. 2016.

              https://www.geckoandfly.com/

 

7.     "Top 10 Worst Computer Viruses." The Telegraph. Ed. Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 8 Mar.     2009. Web. 07 Dec. 2016.

              http://www.telegraph.co.uk/

 

8.     Kyrnin, Jennifer. "HTML Tags With Meaning." About.com Tech. About, 19 Sept. 2016. Web. 11 Dec.     2016.

              http://webdesign.about.com/

 

9.     "Section 508 Law and Related Laws and Policies." Section 508 Law and Related Laws and     Policies | Section508.gov. GSA, n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2016.

              https://www.section508.gov/

 

10.    Robinson, Dave. "What Is SEO? Here's A Simple Plain English Answer, SEO in a Nutshell." What Is     SEO? Here's A Simple Plain English Answer, SEO in a Nutshell. Red Evolution, n.d. Web. 11 Dec.     2016.

              https://www.redevolution.com/

 

 

 

-MW-