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Some people consider "The Reaper" the first antivirus software ever written – it may be the case, but it is important to note that the Reaper was actually a virus itself specifically designed to remove the Creeper virus.

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Antivirus software was originally developed to detect and remove computer viruses, hence the name.

However, with the proliferation of other kinds of malware, antivirus software started to provide protection from other computer threats.

In particular, modern antivirus software can protect from: malicious browser helper objects (BHOs), browser hijackers, ransomware, keyloggers, backdoors, rootkits, trojan horses, worms, malicious LSPs, dialers, fraudtools, adware and spyware.

Some products also include protection from other computer threats, such as infected and malicious URLs, spam, scam and phishing attacks, online identity (privacy), online banking attacks, social engineering techniques, advanced persistent threat (APT) and botnet DDo S attacks.

Antivirus software came into use, but was updated relatively infrequently.

During this time, virus checkers essentially had to check executable files and the boot sectors of floppy disks and hard disks.However, as internet usage became common, viruses began to spread online.There are competing claims for the innovator of the first antivirus product.Possibly, the first publicly documented removal of an "in the wild" computer virus (i.e.the "Vienna virus") was performed by Bernd Fix in 1987.However, the kind of heuristic they were using was totally different from the one used today by many antivirus products.