USB antivirus software is a type of virus protection software that helps to minimize the potential of malicious attacks on systems via the use of some sort of external drive or device. Software of this type helps to identify and block threats that may be introduced via infected files found on a jump drive or event an external hard drive. If the device that is infected can be connected to the computer with the use of a universal serial bus or USB cable, the software will detect the infection and take steps to contain it.
The actual function of USB antivirus software is similar to the protections offered by virus protection programs that monitor activity occurring on a hard drive. When installed properly, the software will activate each time a remote device like a jump or pen drive or an external hard drive is connected to the system via a USB port. The software will usually run in the background once the connection is made, analyzing all files found on the external device. If computer viruses or other threats such as spyware are found on the external device, the software will prevent the malware from being introduced on the system and possibly infecting the hard drive.
Depending on the configuration of the USB antivirus software, the program may automatically contain suspected threats and allow the user to review them prior to removing them permanently. This approach often calls for quarantining the infected files and the suspected viruses during the protection scan, then providing the user with the chance to review each suspected infection. From there, the user can choose to ignore the suspected threat and use the files, or have the software clean the files and remove the threats. Other USB antivirus software programs are set to automatically update and scan for threats, and remove them when and as found.
As with any type of virus protection, it is important to keep USB antivirus software updated. Most programs will allow updates to be automatically downloaded whenever the program is activated. Many of the programs can be configured to look for updates on a recurring basis, such as every day at a certain time of day. Along with fee-based programs that provide a wider range of protections, it is also possible to download free USB antivirus software that will provide basic protection for residential users who routinely make use of pen drives and external drives and even download files from devices such as digital cameras using a USB cable and port.