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What is Antivirus Software?

A computer virus is tiny piece of software, which usually "hides" itself inside an otherwise legitimate file, like an email, a game, or even a normal web page. Once landed on your computer, it will either stay silent, waiting for a certain time in the future to action itself, or it will immediately unleash its "load", while being executed along with the "carrier" file.

An antivirus software can be thought of as a continuous "sentry". A basic antivirus will try to intercept the virus just before being executed, while the more sophisticated protections will detect and remove the suspicious piece of software as it tries to penetrate your machine, thus creating a real-time shield.