Difference between Antivirus and Antimalware

Key Difference: Antivirus or anti-virus software is a software that is used to prevent viruses from entering the computer system and infecting files. Many antivirus programs these days also eliminate different kinds of malware in addition to viruses. Anti-malware software is a software that detects, prevents and removes malware from a computing system. Anti-malware software is not limited to removing just one kind of malware (a feature of some anti-virus programs) but rather try and find all different kinds of malware.

Internet has become one of the must have thing in today’s world. It has become the most happening place of all times, it is where we do everything, where we turn when in problems and where we search for everything that we want. Internet has become the world-wide encyclopedia, where we research our every query. In short, it has simplified lives to the point where we can find everything in one place. However, it does not come without any repercussions.

Just as it has become quite easy to find everything online, it has also become the best place to target people for personal information. There are many different malware that are looking out to harm the computer system or collect private data about the user. Fear not, there are companies that have built software and programs that can protect the user’s system. These are known as Antivirus and Antimalware software. Although, they may seem like the same they differ from each other in certain ways.

Antivirus or anti-virus software is a software that is used to prevent viruses from entering the computer system and infecting files. Many antivirus programs these days also eliminate different kinds of malware in addition to viruses. The main purpose of an antivirus software is to scan, detect, prevent and remove many different kinds of software. The software employs a variety of strategies to detect viruses including searching for known patterns of data within executable code. However, the computer is still vulnerable against new types of viruses that may use different codes.

In order to counter this, many antivirus programs use heuristics, which is a technique that is designed to solve a problem more quickly than a classic method. This is done by creating an approximate solution when the classical solution fails. Initially, only executable files were corrupted or infected with viruses but with the new viruses, many files could also become infected requiring antivirus programs to manually search all files and folders that are available in the system. There are also drawbacks to having antivirus programs such as false-positive. This is when the antivirus program detects a non-malicious file as a virus and deletes it from the system. If the file is an important file, it could cause the operating system to stop working or certain applications to crash. Hence, files should be reviewed before they are deleted from the system.

Anti-malware software is a software that detects, prevents and removes malware from a computing system. Anti-malware software is not limited to removing just one kind of malware (a feature of some anti-virus programs) but rather try and find all different kinds of malware. Different types of malware include computer viruses, malicious BHOs, hijackers, ransomware, keyloggers, backdoors, rootkits, trojan horses, worms, malicious LSPs, dialers, fraudtools, adware and spyware.

Anti-malware works similar to anti-virus using signatures to try and find different types of malware that are present in the computer infecting files. One of the popular anti-malware is Malwarebytes’ Antimalware (MBAM) which is an application by Malwarebytes Corporation. The company offers a free version as well as a paid version for the software. Another well known antimalware is the Windows Defender that comes built in with every Windows PC; however, many people argue that is fails as a defender and they usually have to download external anti-malware and anti-virus programs.

Antivirus and anit-malware perform similar jobs of cleaning the computer of malicious programs and software. However, the major difference is that anti-virus places too much focus on viruses, while anti-malware software also focuses on various other kinds of malware that can be found. Many experts including Malwarebytes claim that a person should use both antivirus programs as well as antimalware programs to completely protect their systems.

Image Courtesy: ideologics.co.uk, hileytech.com

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