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How does antivirus software work?

* Scanner (conventional scanner, command-line scanner, on-demand scanner) - a program that looks for known viruses by checking for recognisable patterns ('scan strings', 'search strings', 'signatures' [a term best avoided for its ambiguity]). * TSR scanner - a TSR (memory-resident program) that checks for viruses while other programs are running. It may have some of the characteristics of a monitor and/or behaviour blocker. * VxD scanner - a scanner that works under Windows or perhaps under Win 95, or both), which checks for viruses continuously while you work. * Heuristic scanners - scanners that inspect executable files for code using operations that might denote an unknown virus. * Monitor/Behaviour Blocker - a TSR that monitors programs while they are running for behaviour which might denote a virus. * Change Detectors/Checksummers/Integrity Checkers - programs that keep a database of the characteristics of all executable files on a system and check for changes which might signify an attack by an unknown virus. * Cryptographic Checksummers use an encryption algorithm to lessen the risk of being fooled by a virus which targets that particular checksummer.

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