Heuristic Virus Scanning

Post On: 8-27-2016 | By: SiteAdmin.
Heuristic virus scanning leading the fight against malware, A computer virus is probably the peskiest invention of the information age. What drives rogue programmers to develop this often highly sophisticated yet highly destructive programs beats me. However the fact remains that viruses wreak havoc and cause losses running in the billions around the world. The devastating effects of viruses range from the destruction of vital organizational information, disruption of service and even complete system crashes.
The main line of defense against viruses has been antivirus software provided by a myriad of software developers. The resourcefulness and creativity of new generation virus developers means that anti software programmers will need to be increasingly innovative to beat the menace.
One of the most promising prospects for fighting the computer virus menace is the heuristic scan. This computing security beauty enables you to detect unknown or previously undetected malicious software resident in your computer system.
New sophisticated virus programs are increasingly hard to detect. This is the major reason why antivirus developers are integrating heuristic virus scanning techniques in modern antivirus. This approach promises to be the most effective defense against new generation viruses.

How it works

Detecting a virus entails a complex process of scanning a string of code for a signature that points to harmful activity. Virus developers are constantly developing innovative techniques to hoodwink antivirus software. Since unknown viruses don’t have a known signature, detecting them can be extremely difficult. This is where heuristic virus scanning techniques in modern antivirus software have made a notable difference. Heuristic virus detection employs proactive techniques to detect the presence of harmful programs.

Heuristic virus scanning: Detection methods

The hallmark of heuristic virus detection is the proactive examination of a piece of code for any sign of malicious activity. Several techniques have been tried, tested and proven to be effective in the detection of unknown malware.

File analysis

This involves a thorough examination of a file to determine precisely what it is intended for. It is a well known that virus developers create malware that masquerade as well meaning to evade the attention of antivirus software. Through file analysis, the intent, purpose and destination of a file is determined well in advance. Malicious code can therefore be stopped in tracks before any harm is done.

Generic signature detection

This is an advanced approach that nails down viruses by categorizing them according to their varying behavior. Although virus designers try to disguise malware by adding code that allows them to frequently change names or extensions to evade detection, generic signature detection can still track them down.

File emulation

This technique leaves nothing to chance. A program is run in a well controlled environment to determine its characteristics and function. Also known as sandbox testing, this technique guarantees safety by comprehensively testing files in a virtual environment before letting them run in the actual system.
Virus defense mechanisms must become increasingly sophisticated to match the nature of current threats. A serious system infiltration can cause untold damage and can even bring a business to its knees. This very real threat demands that system administrators use methods that can guarantee effective system security. This is what is driving antivirus developers to include the heuristic virus scanning technique in modern antivirus.