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Antivirus or anti-virus software package (often abbreviated as AV), sometimes called anti-malware software package, is pc software package used to stop, detect and remove malicious software.

Antivirus software package was originally developed to detect and remove pc viruses. However, with the proliferation of other several kinds of malware, the software package consequently began to offer protection from other pc threats. specifically, modern antivirus software package can shield from: malicious LSPs, rootkits, malicious Browser Helper Objects (BHOs), ransomware, worms, keyloggers, dialers, backdoors, browser hijackers, Trojan horses and spyware. Some product also include protection from other pc threats, like infected and malicious URLs, on-line banking attacks, botnets, phishing attacks, on-line identity (privacy), Advanced Persistent Threat (APT), techniques of social engineering.

This malicious program infected Digital equipment Corporation's (DEC) PDP-10 mainframe computers running the TENEX software system.

The Creeper virus was eventually deleted by a program created by Ray Tomlinson and known as "The Reaper". Some people consider "The Reaper" the first antivirus software package ever written – though this may be the case, it's important to take note that the Reaper was actually a virus itself specifically designed to remove the Creeper virus.

The Creeper virus was followed by several different viruses. In 1981, the first known that consequently appeared "in the wild" was known as "Elk Cloner” that consequently infected Apple II computers.

In 1983, the term "computer virus" was coined by Fred Cohen in one of the primary ever published educational papers on pc viruses. Cohen used the term "computer virus" to explain a program that: "affect different pc programs by modifying them in such the way as to embody a copy of its own."

The first IBM PC-compatible "in the wild" computer virus, and one of the primary real widespread infections, was "Brain" in 1986. From then, the amount of viruses has grown exponentially. Most of the pc viruses written in the early and mid-1980s were restricted to self-reproduction and had no specific damage routine engineered into the code. That modified once more and more programmers became familiar with computer virus programming and created viruses that manipulated or even destroyed information on infected computers.

Before internet connectivity was widespread, pc viruses were typically spread by infected floppy disks. Antivirus software package came into use, but was updated relatively occasionally. Throughout this time, virus checkers essentially had to check executable files and the boot sectors of floppy disks and hard disks.

There are competing claims for the mastermind of the primary product of antivirus.

In 1987, in USA, John McAfee founded the McAfee Company (now a part of Intel Security) and, at the end of that year, he released the first version of Virus Scan. In the meanwhile, in Slovak Republic, Peter Paško and Miroslav Trnka created the primary version of NOD32 antivirus (albeit they established ESET only in 1992).

In 1987, Fred Cohen wrote that there's no algorithmic rule that can absolutely detect all possible pc viruses.

The signatures of first antivirus were merely hashes of the complete files or sequences of bytes that represented the particular malware.