Browse Definitions :
Definition

virus signature (virus definition)

A virus signature (also known as a virus definition) is a file or multiple files that are downloaded by a security program to identify a computer virus.

The files enable detection of malware by the antivirus (and other antimalware) software in conventional file scanning and breach detection systems.

Researchers at antivirus firms study viruses found commonly on the internet, often testing their behavior in a sandbox-type set up. The sandbox is generally a virtual machine-based environment. The behavior, file names used and unique strings of data in the files are all analyzed.

Commercial antivirus utilities have long depended on virus definitions. Security software frequently downloads the files to keep the software able to detect current threats. The files are used to update criteria for detection of files in hard drive scans and checks on running processes. The main weakness of virus signatures is in detection of new viruses.

Another method of virus detection is the use of heuristics. In these systems, antivirus programs use algorithms to detect the behavior patterns that were found when a specific virus was tested by researchers. Strong heuristics are becoming increasingly important because of advanced persistent threats, which conceal themselves through encryption to evade detection by typical scans. Metamorphic and polymophic viruses, which change their code in propagation, also hide malicious software from conventional scanning processes.

This was last updated in January 2017

Continue Reading About virus signature (virus definition)

SearchCompliance
  • OPSEC (operations security)

    OPSEC (operations security) is a security and risk management process and strategy that classifies information, then determines ...

  • smart contract

    A smart contract is a decentralized application that executes business logic in response to events.

  • compliance risk

    Compliance risk is an organization's potential exposure to legal penalties, financial forfeiture and material loss, resulting ...

SearchSecurity
  • cyberterrorism

    According to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, cyberterrorism is any 'premeditated, politically motivated attack against ...

  • biometrics

    Biometrics is the measurement and statistical analysis of people's unique physical and behavioral characteristics.

  • privileged access management (PAM)

    Privileged access management (PAM) is the combination of tools and technology used to secure, control and monitor access to an ...

SearchHealthIT
SearchDisasterRecovery
  • What is risk mitigation?

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a business.

  • change control

    Change control is a systematic approach to managing all changes made to a product or system.

  • disaster recovery (DR)

    Disaster recovery (DR) is an organization's ability to respond to and recover from an event that affects business operations.

SearchStorage
  • PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive)

    A PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive) is a high-speed expansion card that attaches a computer to its peripherals.

  • VRAM (video RAM)

    VRAM (video RAM) refers to any type of random access memory (RAM) specifically used to store image data for a computer display.

  • virtual memory

    Virtual memory is a memory management technique where secondary memory can be used as if it were a part of the main memory.

Close