Anti-virus vs. Anti-malware. If, while shopping, you’ve come across these two types of software both used to protect your computer, you were probably left with one big question. What’s the difference between the two? Does one do something the other doesn’t? Understandably, you may have been left confused by them. If so, you’re far from alone.
To understand this and discover what each one does and their differences first, we have to define their concepts, so let’s start. We are going to start by defining a few key terms.
What is a Virus?
A virus is a type of software code that sticks to other programs or files to perform unwanted functions. It’s able to duplicate itself, and its primary intent is to damage the entire operating system, typically Microsoft Windows.
How do viruses infect a system?
In short, the user must run it first. It seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? After all, who would want to run a virus? Let’s take a look at an example. Let’s say someone wants to download a free program they want that serves a purpose for them. Unknown to the users and maybe the program developer and it has been modified, and a virus added to it. Typically this happens when the developer’s website has been hacked, and they don’t know it. With the file now downloaded, since it’s something that person wanted anyway, it’s launched. BOOM! The virus is now activated and installed on the computer, and at least initially, no one is the wiser.
The thing to remember is a virus will never run by itself. It won’t come to life until the user decides to unconsciously set it up or on some occasions, open the program.
What is Malware?
Malware is a more general term that, in addition to encompassing viruses, also includes software like key loggers, bots, spyware, etc. The purpose is not only to corrupt the system but also to gain entry to your private data. Whether if its to steal it or take control of some of its functions. Think of malware as a large bucket. This bucket contains every type of malicious software, and depending on their goals, more than one can and will likely be used against you. So that brings us to our core questions…
What is an anti-virus?
Anti-virus or AV, for short, is protective software for our computers to keep them and their respective operating systems safe. Most Anti-virus programs run in the background of your PC and rely on a database of known “bugs” to help it detect a virus. It helps you to avoid those viruses that are trying to ruin our PC’s. Here are a few items AV works to prevent an infection from doing:
- Deleting files.
- Data alteration.
- Disabling critical operating system functions.
The anti-virus system is going to be scanning everything on your PC all the time. If it finds something strange, it triggers an alarm that will warn you, which will give you a chance to fix it immediately and prevent the virus from spreading.
Therefore, it is recommended to keep it updated at all times. Hackers create thousands of new, very sophisticated viruses each month. It helps that most anti-virus programs have an option to update automatically. It is highly recommended to leave this option enabled.
What is an anti-malware?
Anti-malware is what keeps away all the other dangerous software. These systems are great a detecting nasty things such as:
- And every type of malicious software not classified as a virus.
Difference between anti-virus and anti-malware
The most significant difference between the two is what each one solves. The first is very good for, as its name suggests, traditional viruses. Whether those viruses arrive at our computer due to being attached to a program, USB drive, or downloaded off the Internet.
An anti-virus does an excellent job of protecting our PC from viruses. But, it doesn’t catch or find everything. With that being said, the good news many anti-virus programs today are multi-functional. They now also protect our PC from many of the other types of malicious software we mentioned above… The only disadvantage is that they do not save us from all of them but are more effective than they were years ago.
Anti-malware, on the other hand, is ideal for sophisticated and less predictable attacks. It also is instrumental in avoiding threats to try to steal your information and send it through your network. Anti-malware aims not only to protect your computer from damage but also keeping your valuable data from leaving your PC.
So which one is better?
It is recommended to combine both of them in your PC and devices. Also, do not worry about performance. Many of the highly-rated paid programs on the PC are very small and lightweight. They are built not consume much memory, CPU, or Hard Disk Drive space.
We advise you to always keep in mind the security of your computers, laptops, and even mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets. Always remember to try to keep them updated, as every day you will be exposed through the Internet to the newest version of this horrible type of software Chances are you wouldn’t even notice it unless your system warns you that something is wrong.
For us, that is where their importance is clear — keeping your devices and your information secured. If you only have one of them right now, we recommended you to install the other.