So you have antivirus installed, but is it working like it’s supposed to? All too often I see clients with antivirus that is turned off, not updating, or (more often) not scanning. Take some time right now to verify a few things. You should do this every so often.
- Verify it’s running
- Verify it’s updating virus definitions
- Verify it’s updating the antivirus program
- Verify it’s scanning regularly
Look in your system tray in the bottom right corner to make sure that your antivirus is running. If you see it there, then it’s turned on. If you don’t know what the icon looks like, just hover you mouse over each one until you find it. In very few circumstances, it may be running but won’t show up in the system tray. In that case you’ll just have to open the program to check.
Open up your antivirus and make sure it says that it’s updated to the latest version of the virus database. If it has stopped updating then it’s generally due to 1) no internet connection, 2) being disabled by a virus, or 3) a corrupted antivirus install. To fix: 1) check that you have internet, 2) get rid of the viruses, or if they’re already gone, it may need to be repaired, 3) uninstall and reinstall the antivirus.
This is different from the virus definitions. This is when changes are made to the program itself and it needs updated. It’s not as critical as updating virus definitions, but should be done whenever an update is available. Most antiviruses will notify you when it needs an update or will just update itself automatically, in which case you don’t have to worry about it.
It’s common to find that antivirus scans have been disabled for some reason. I even see some people disable scans because it slows down their computer. This is ridiculous as it defeats the purpose of having antivirus installed, unless it’s the more progressive type like Bitdefender that does real-time monitoring without the need for scheduled scans. But for most antiviruses out there, you need to have scanning enabled. If it annoys you, schedule it for a time that you’re not on your computer, like at night or during the day while you’re at work.