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More than definitions: three features every modern antivirus should have

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The days of simple, passive, definition-based antivirus solutions are behind us. 

Antivirus solutions that rely solely on definitions simply cannot keep up with today's threat landscape. Because although malware is frequently distributed through many of the same channels and tactics as it has been for decades, it's grown more complex and sophisticated. Moreover, it's reached absolutely overwhelming proportions in terms of volume — which in all honesty is the real threat. 

You might have to protect yourself or your business against scores of cyberattacks on any given day, but a criminal only needs to successfully break into your network once. 

And they have ample opportunity to do so. Every day, an estimated 560,000 instances of new malware are created. While many of these instances are doubtless iterations of existing malicious software, others are best classed as emerging threats. 

Definitions alone are not enough to identify and protect against infection by these viruses. And though many antivirus solutions have 

It should come as no surprise, then, that antivirus software has evolved in tandem with this threat landscape. Or rather, some solutions have evolved. Others seem as though they'd prefer to remain mired in the past.

Today, we'll go over how to differentiate the former from the latter by going over three non-negotiable features that every modern antivirus tool must include. 

Performance optimization 

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Those of us who were online in the early days of antivirus software remember how hungry they were for system resources. If you wanted to scan your system for viruses with one of those tools, you might as well go make a sandwich — you're not getting anything done until the scan is finished. Some solutions were even more egregious, having a significant impact on system performance even when running passively in the background. 

To be frank, this level of poor optimization is unacceptable in 2021. The whole point of installing an antivirus is to prevent malware from rendering your system unusable. It rather defeats the purpose when the antivirus solution itself is what's causing issues. 

For that reason, the first thing you need to look at when evaluating a potential antivirus solution is the impact it has on system performance. A decent AV will have a very light resource footprint. An exceptional one will take things a step further, providing tools to help you optimize other aspects of system performance. 

Safe browsing 

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As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To put it another way, there will be little need to scan for and quarantine infected files if you prevent them from being downloaded in the first place. Good AV developers understand that, and wrap additional protective measures into their software. 

And not just to protect against malware. There are, after all, other threats you may encounter online, ranging from phishing scams to web attacks to fraud. Features such as fraud prevention, anti-tracking, and built-in virtual private networking (VPN) functionality are crucial in this regard. 

Artificial intelligence 

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Last but certainly not least, we've already talked about how many new types of malware emerge each day, and how it's impossible for a definitions library to keep up with the ongoing litany of threats facing a system. Modern antivirus solutions are addressing this through machine learning. How it works is deceptively simple.

The AV understands what constitutes normal behavior for a particular operating system. It takes steps to learn what constitutes normal behavior for an end user, as well. Then, when anything deviates from either of these two norms, the AV flags it as suspicious and locks it down, potentially preventing an attack in the process.

Bitdefender Total Security — modern in every sense of the word 

As we've said, not all antivirus solutions are created equal. And Bitdefender Total Security stands head and shoulders above its competition. 

Its advanced real-time protection detects everything from ransomware to spam to phishing attempts. It includes a multitude of performance enhancements, designed to not only improve the functionality of the software itself, but also the systems it's installed on. And for the privacy-conscientious, it can help protect personal data in a multitude of ways, including webcam protection, a privacy firewall, and social network security. 

It's the perfect option for anyone seeking a more modern way to protect themselves, their systems, and their data.