Installed antivirus software running on an individual computer is only one method of guarding against viruses. Other methods are also used, including cloud-based antivirus, firewalls and on-line scanners.
In current antivirus software a new document or program is scanned with only one virus detector at a time. CloudAV would be able to send programs or documents to a network cloud where it will use multiple antivirus and behavioural detection simultaneously. It is more thorough and also has the ability to check the new document or programs access history.
CloudAV is a cloud computing antivirus developed as a product of scientists of the University of Michigan. Each time a computer or device receives a new document or program, that item is automatically detected and sent to the antivirus cloud for analysis. The CloudAV system uses 12 different detectors that act together to tell the PC whether the item is safe to open.
Network firewalls prevent unknown programs and Internet processes from accessing the system protected. However, they are not antivirus systems as such and thus make no attempt to identify or remove anything. They may protect against infection from outside the protected computer or LAN, and limit the activity of any malicious software which is present by blocking incoming or outgoing requests on certain TCP/IP ports. A firewall is designed to deal with broader system threats that come from network connections into the system and is not an alternative to a virus protection system.
Some antivirus vendors maintain websites with free online scanning capability of the entire computer, critical areas only, local disks, folders or files.