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Antivirus vs Anti-malware


07 June 2019

So why is Re-solution doing a blog on a topic like this? They do the same thing right…?

Both refer to cybersecurity software, but what do they really mean? How do they relate to today’s digital threats?

So many questions…

So, what’s the difference between these two?

Well firstly let's start with the differences between "viruses" and "malware." You’re probably thinking, ‘but I already know this’. You probably do but others don’t so allow me to educate the masses. Viruses are a ‘specific’ type of malware, which are designed to replicate and spread, while malware is a broad term used to describe all sorts of unwanted or malicious code. Malware can include viruses, spyware, adware, trojans, worms, and more. "Anti-malware," is just a broad term that includes viruses, so it isn't clear which threats they cover either.

Antivirus is often called an anti-malware program, and people tend to use both terms interchangeably, by mistakenly thinking that antivirus programs can address all types of malware, which is not the case. Unfortunately, they can’t detect every type of infection, and can’t protect users against advanced forms of malware, as anti-malware software does

How can we tell the difference between the two then?

Here are some main features of antiviruses and anti-malware.

Antivirus:

  • Virus scanning, which is done in the background, scans the file or program which will only then open once the antivirus program has finished fully scanning the system. Most antivirus programs have a real-time scanning feature which allows to quickly detect the presence of malicious files on your PC.
  • It Blocks malicious script files and prevents them from running because they can put your computer at risk of being infected with malware.
  • Heuristic analysis is a method used with many computer antivirus programs. It's designed to identify previously unknown computer viruses, as well as new variants of viruses.
  • Automatic updates are necessary to track and detect new threats that didn’t exist when the antivirus software was installed.
  • Database of known malware which compares each scanned file to the contents of the AV database.
  • Ransomware protection is an added feature included in most of the paid versions of antivirus programs and offered to premium users. It gives your trusted apps access users most important files and documents, while immediately blocks everything else that’s suspicious
  • Antivirus might also be packed with phishing protection, vulnerability scan, browser protection, system optimization.

 

Anti-malware:

  • Scan, detect and remove known Trojans, adware, spyware, and other advanced malware
  • Acts as a shield and offers second-generation malware protection
  • Automatic software updates to easily identify new online threats
  • Traffic filtering for your Internet activity to secure your PC against cyber threats and blocking access to infected servers, PCs.
  • Provide online banking security for safer online banking experiences
  • Anti-phishing protection is a feature that is focused on detecting and blocking spam and phishing websites.
  • Protect against website involved in malware distribution
  • Provides a specialized malware database.

So… do I need both then?

Well, that’s up to you, but I do recommend it.

Anti-malware doesn’t try to replace user’s antivirus software, but rather helps it tick along, so users can benefit from multiple layers of protection to combat the growing number of malware attacks.

Antivirus programs are more efficient and effective on the good old classic types of online threats like worms, virus, trojan, keyloggers, while anti-malware can detect and remove new and sophisticated malware strains and strengthen security. Whether if it’s picked up something from a phishing email or just some nasty stuff off the internet.

Some anti-malware programs work ‘proactively’ to block ransomware before it has a chance to encrypt your data and can provide an extra layer of protection along with the antivirus program. This doesn’t mean that antivirus is useless, otherwise, you would be a fool to believe that you only need anti-malware, but it can’t fight against advanced forms of malware as an anti-malware does. For better protection, it’s best to use both antivirus and anti-malware programs.

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