The million dollar question that everyone probably asks when first researching security is: What is the difference between Antivirus and Anti-malware?
Before going into more detail, let’s first discuss what viruses and malware are to better understand these two terms. The rest of this article will focus on learning about antivirus and anti-malware and their differences. And whether you should install both of those software on the machine.
Viruses vs Malware
Virus is a piece of code that copies itself and causes damage to computer systems by inserting their own code.
Malware is a broad term that includes many malicious software, including worms, adware, spyware, spyware, ransomware, Trojans, and viruses. Hence the saying: “all viruses are malware. But not all malware is a virus.”
What is Antivirus?
Antivirus software (Antivirus) scans your device for viruses and any threats. They monitor the behavior of all programs on a system and notify about any suspicious behavior. The goal of anti-virus software is to block and remove all found malware as quickly as possible.
It is important that you install anti-virus software, especially with the constant emergence of cyber threats. Therefore, if you do not have anti-virus software, you “may be at risk of catching a virus or being targeted by any other malware that goes undetected and wreaks havoc on computers and mobile devices.” yours” (Norton).
Key features of good antivirus software:
- Real-time scanning: the software continuously scans your system and detects/reacts to threats as they arise
- Automatic Updates: automatically updates your system after malware is found
- Remove threats: antivirus will remove malware found on your system
What is anti-malware?
Anti-malware is software that kills malware that antivirus can’t always detect. It protects users from the latest and even more dangerous threats than viruses. It’s able to update its own rules faster than antivirus software, which means it’s your best defense against new malware you might encounter while browsing the web.
Anti-malware uses three different techniques to detect malware: signature-based, behavior-based, and sandboxing.
Signature based detection
This type of detection uses “a set of known software components and their digital signatures to identify new malware” (SearchSecurity). These signatures are then used to “identify malware of the same type that was previously identified and flag the new software as malware”. As is the case with all anti-malware software that checks this file, if most software agrees it is malware then it will be flagged as malware.
This detection works by checking how the suspected software works. From there decide whether the suspicious software is malware or not.
A sandbox is an environment isolated from the rest of the system used to check for potentially malware files. It is used as a method to filter out potentially malicious files and delete them before they have a chance to cause damage to the device.
These are the following characteristics that you should look out for when looking for the right anti-malware software:
- Filter traffic: With traffic filtering, the software protects your device by blocking access to suspicious servers and websites related to malware distribution.
- Proactive security: software must scan, detect, and remove known malicious threats such as spyware, trojans, and adware
What is the difference between Antivirus and Anti-Malware?
The main difference between antivirus and antimalware is that the antivirus can protect the system from common viruses while the antimalware works to detect new threats.
Is it necessary to use both Antivirus and Anti-malware?
The answer is yes. You should use both anti-virus and anti-malware software on your system.
Using just one anti-virus or anti-malware software won’t catch everything on the system, which is why security experts recommend the layered approach. You’re better off having more than one type of tool to look at threats from different angles. Antivirus and malware complement each other, anti-malware designed to complement anti-virus protection as threats become more complex. By running both software at the same time, plus safe browsing habits, you’ll be given maximum protection against threats trying to get into your device. Personally, both pieces of software have their own purposes, and together they help to do a better job of proactively scanning, detecting and preventing suspicious threats.
Also, it’s important to note that even if you use anti-virus and anti-malware software on your system, it doesn’t protect you 100% against any malware.
Malware attacks will continue to happen and put user privacy at risk; Therefore, it is important that you understand the difference between antivirus and malware in order to choose the right software that suits your needs.
Remember that antivirus software provides protection against common threats (i.e. viruses, spyware, adware), while antimalware can scan and detect newer threats.
I also repeat, even if you install the above 2 software, it does not mean that you are 100% protected against any malware.
Alternatively, you can also learn how to start learning cybersecurity here.