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The fundamental difference of the Dr.Web virus databases from the virus databases of other av-programs is that alongside smaller number of the virus entries it allows to detect the same quantity (or even greater quantity) of viruses and malicious programs.
Let us summarize what a user benefits from the small size of the virus database.
The creation of the Dr.Web anti-virus began in early 90th of the past century, when the Internet was only developing and was not a global network, when only few companies could offer to have access to the WWW. When the traffic cost a lot and the updates should be made as often as possible, the size of the virus database - the time of its downloading from the Internet - should be minimal. This was the task which faced the developers of the Dr.Web anti-virus and it was successfully solved - till today the Dr.Web virus database is the smallest among all other anti-virus programs. This is conditioned by the Dr.Web own technology of creation of the virus database on the basis of very flexible language specially developed for description of the base. The small size of the base spares costs on the Internet traffic, occupies less space on the hard drive and in main computer memory after the base is downloaded and installed. Small size of the base provides for the high-speed interaction of the components of the Dr.Web programs and does not overload the processor.
What is the most important in the anti-virus? Its ability to protect against viruses. This protection is secured, among other conditions, by adding the virus entries (signatures) to the base allowing to detect viruses. But the quantity of entries included in the base says nothing about the ability of an av-program to detect viruses. The most objective way to check the quality of protection is the comparative reviews held on the collections of viruses from “the wild” (InTheWild list) - i.e. viruses really existing in computers of users and not only in collections of virus laboratories or virus hunters.
One should also know that the virus database of each anti-virus program has its own structure. To explain why the number of entries in the Dr.Web virus database is less than the number of entries in the virus database of some av-developers, one should understand that not all viruses are unique. There are family of related (similar) viruses, there are viruses designed by special virus constructors- programs for creation of viruses. All of them are very similar, sometimes as two peas in a pod. Some developers of av-programs name each such virus with separate entry, which increases the size of the virus database.
The Dr.Web virus databases is designed differently; a single entry in it allows to detect tens, or hundreds, or even thousands similar viruses! Even smaller number of virus entries, comparing to some other av-programs, allows to detect with great likelihood yet unknown viruses (not included into the virus database) which will be created on the basis of already existing viruses.