Definition

heuristics

Heuristics is the application of experience-derived knowledge to a problem and is sometimes used to describe software that screens and filters out messages likely to contain a computer virus or other undesirable content. A heuristic (pronounced hyu-RIS-tik and from the Greek "heuriskein" meaning "to discover") is a "rule-of-thumb." Heuristics software looks for known sources, commonly-used text phrases, and transmission or content patterns that experience has shown to be associated with e-mail containing viruses.

Because many companies or users receive a large volume of e-mail and because legitimate e-mail may also fall into the pattern, heuristics software sometimes results in many "false positives," discouraging its use. Security experts note that, although such software needs to get better, it is a valuable and necessary tool.

Contributor(s): Tom Pappalardo
This was last updated in June 2007
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Email Alerts

Register now to receive SearchSoftwareQuality.com-related news, tips and more, delivered to your inbox.
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

More News and Tutorials

Do you have something to add to this definition? Let us know.

Send your comments to techterms@whatis.com

There are Comments. Add yours.

 
TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to: