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037: How do I update my antivirus “definition files” and scanning engine?


Antivirus “definition files” — also known as “deffiles,” “strings,” or “signature files” — allow antivirus software to spot the telltale signatures of known viruses. These files must be kept up to date to provide protection against newly discovered viruses. Most antivirus software companies update their signature files daily, or even more often if a new threat has been identified. The scanning engine (the antivirus program itself) is also updated occasionally, generally a couple of times per year.

For many Mines computers, the update process is automatic. If not, the user should manually update the antivirus software on a regular basis (daily would be ideal, but a weekly update provides a good balance between convenience and security).