What is antivirus software?


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What is antivirus software?

An image of a cyber security page on a laptop in a cafe

What's coming up

Antivirus software is important for helping to protect your computer and keeping the files you store on it safe.

This activity will teach you about how antivirus software works, where you get it, and how you can use it.

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What is antivirus software?

Antivirus software is a special kind of computer program that helps detect and remove viruses you might download.

If you accidentally download a virus, your antivirus program will pop up and tell you that you've downloaded something dangerous and will ask if you want to delete it.

Antivirus software can also tell you if a website is safe to visit. If a website is OK, you will have a tick or an OK next to it.

An example of a google search where some of the results have an antivirus tick or an OK symbol next to the website link
Logos for Bitdefender, McAfee and Norton

Where do I get antivirus software?

You can download antivirus software from a website or buy it from a shop. There are many different antivirus programs available and most offer a 30-day free trial. Some examples include:

Downloading and installing antivirus software

Mary knows it's a good idea to have an antivirus program on her computer. Let's look at how she downloads and installs a free program from the internet.

Click Continue to watch the video on the next screen.

How do I use it?

Antivirus software usually doesn't require that you do anything with it other than install it on your computer. It just sits in the background and monitors your computer for viruses. Most of the time, you won't even know it's there; it only appears if a virus is downloaded.

An example of a computer screen with a pop up window explaining that a virus has been detected
A guy lies on his bed while watching a show on his laptop computer


Well done. You've completed the What is antivirus software?.

Nearly every personal computer in the world now runs antivirus software, and your computer should too. You can buy it at a shop or download a free trial from a website.

In the next activity, Types of documents, we're going to talk about different types of downloads, in particular document downloads, and how you use them.