The term "artificial intelligence" once conjured fantastical images of futuristic technology, but AI is now a reality. To understand what AI antivirus is, you need to understand how traditional antivirus works.
A traditional antivirus uses file and data signatures, and pattern analysis to compare potential malicious activity to previous instances. That is, the antivirus knows what the malicious file looks like, and can move swiftly to stop those files from infecting your system, should you pick one up. That's a very basic explanation. You can read more about how it works and what scans to use right here.
The 3 Types of Antivirus Scans and When to Use Each One
Scanning your system with an antivirus program is important for keeping your system secure. But which type of antivirus scan should you use? Full, Quick, or Custom?
The antivirus on your system works well, don't get me wrong. However, the number of malware attacks continues to rise, and security researchers regularly discover extremely advanced malware variants, such as Mylobot. Furthermore, some traditional or legacy antivirus solutions cannot compete with advanced threats such as the devastating WannaCry ransomworm, or the Petya ransomware that encrypts your Master Boot Record.
As the threat landscape shifts, so must the antivirus detection mechanisms.
AI antivirus (or in some cases, machine learning---more on this distinction in a moment) works differently. There are a few different approaches, but AI antivirus learns about specific threats within its network environment and executes defensive activities without prompt.
AI and machine learning antivirus leverage sophisticated mathematical algorithms combined with the data from other deployments to understand what the baseline of security is for a given system. As well as this, they learn how to react to files that step outside that window of normal functionality.