People should be safe on the Internet, but reality shows us something else. Malware attacks are on the rise, and we need software programs to keep our devices secure.
Cyber criminals became more skilled, organized and persistent in their spam campaigns. They use new tactics, such as auto updating links in malicious emails, or new extensions to exploit flaws in outdated PCs.
A successful malware attack has great impact on both users and organizations, causing data loss, financial problems, or disrupting operations. The best way to combat these online threats is to keep your system safe using an antivirus program and antimalware software.
When it comes to choosing security software, many people are confused about the two terms – “antivirus” and “antimalware”.
And then come the questions: What is the best option? Which one to choose?
In this guide, we focus on helping you understand the difference between antivirus and antimalware programs, showing their pros and cons, and what the best solution that suits every user’s needs is.
Antivirus (AV): What is it and how it works
Before we jump into the waves of antivirus and antimalware, let’s see what is the difference between virus and malware.
A computer virus is a piece of software capable of self-replication that can harm computers and information systems. It can spread through the Internet, via malicious downloads, infected email attachments, files or documents.
Malware, on the other hand, works as an umbrella term that refers to software that is defined by malicious intent. This type of malware can be: adware, worms, Trojans, ransomware, and viruses.
It leads to the conclusion that:
a virus is a malware, but a malware is not always a virus.
More than that, malware is a more generic term while virus is more specific.
Now that we’ve clarified these two terms, let’s try to understand what antivirus programs are and how they can work to secure your personal devices.
Antivirus software is a piece of software originally designed to offer protection against computer viruses (as its name suggests). Given the proliferation of other kinds of malware, antivirus started to provide protection from other computer threats too, such as: Trojans, keyloggers, rootkits, backdoors, phishing attacks or botnets, but limited to the classic ones.
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. They cannot detect every type of infection, and can’t protect users against advanced forms of malware, like antimalware software does.
Finding the right antivirus software isn’t an easy task, but choosing the right one can make a difference and provide protection for your devices.
Here are the main features to look for in an antivirus program:
Antimalware: What is it and how it works
The terms “antivirus” and “antimalware” are often considered to be synonyms, but it’s important to identify the differences and clarify them.
Antimalware abilities can cover a broader software solutions, such as anti-spyware, anti-phishing or anti-spam, and is more focused on advanced types of malware threats, such as zero-day malware, quietly exploited by cyber attackers and unknown by traditional antivirus products.
The main features to look for in antimalware software:
Why antivirus and antimalware programs complement each other (And why you need both)
Antimalware (also known as malware removal tools) doesn’t try to replace users’ antivirus software, but rather complement it, so users can benefit of multiple layers of protection to combat the growing number of malware attacks.
Antivirus programs are more efficient and effective on the classic types of online threats (worms, virus, trojan, keyloggers), while anti malware can detect and remove new and sophisticated malware strains and strengthen security.
Some antimalware 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 antivirus program. This doesn’t mean that antivirus is useless, but it can’t fight against advanced forms of malware like an antimalware does. For better protection, you’ll need to use both antivirus and antimalware programs.
Are there any conflicts between antivirus and antimalware products?
An antimalware program is not meant to replace your antivirus, but to be a complementary and essential addition for your maximum online safety. It’s worth reminding that antimalware is 100% compatible with antivirus software, so should work just fine, without any conflicts.
Although malware attacks continue to grow and put users’ online privacy at risk, antivirus programs remain an important tool to help keeping the cyber criminals out of your PC and other devices. They can offer security protection, but at a limited level, without offering maximum protection against advanced malware attacks. Antimalware gives your antivirus a boost and enhance protection for your devices.
Often, technical terms are too difficult to be understood by non-techies, which is not fair. That’s why we tried to make things easier and more approachable with this guide.
Bottom line, we need to emphasize that none of these solutions can provide 100% protection against new waves of cyber threats. But you will need them both to keep you safe from viruses and malware, and decrease your chances of getting hacked.
Antivirus and antimalware programs complement each other, but they don’t necessarily compete.
It goes without saying that it’s better to be safe than sorry.
If you have any questions about how to keep your devices secure, please reach out to us. Contact your PC Corp Account Manager or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.