Antivirus vs Anti-Malware: What’s The Difference?

By October 18, 2017 Security
antivirus vs antimalware

When it comes to protecting your computer, you probably ask your friends what the best options are or maybe do some research online. Often we hear of terms like cybersecurity and antivirus as well as anti-malware, well what’s the difference? Furthermore, what’s the difference between malware and viruses? It’s kinda important to understand the definitions of these terms along with many others if you’re serious about protecting your precious data from threats that could endanger you.

When taking a look online for top antivirus software, you’ve most likely seen a few products called antivirus, anti-malware as well as anti-ransomware etc. So which one is right for you?

What’s the difference?

Firstly, malware is a broad umbrella term referring to any malicious code created to harm, steal your data or enable any other criminal purpose to take place. Malware typically includes spyware, ransomware, trojans, viruses and worms according to the Computer Antivirus Research Organisation’s naming program.

This means viruses are a form of malware but not all malware are a form of viruses. Viruses are a form of malicious software that is designed to replicate themselves and spread across your operating system. These are categorised as infectious malware along with trojans and worms. These malware get into your computer and infect it as well as replicating itself in order to spread more files to do even more damage. A common side effect of viruses is choking your computer processing power until the computer becomes unusable and needs a fresh install of windows.

With all the top antivirus products out there, there has been some confusion over what the difference between antivirus and antimalware is. With the increasing popularity of computers and the Internet, viruses were the most common type of malicious software and therefore became the most popular blanket term for any malware. Therefore, the popular term for cybersecurity protection software became antivirus. Since then, many Internet Security developers have come to name their top security products anti-malware.  However, there are still some calling them antivirus even though both of these types of software unknown to detect and resolve a wide range of issues.  Therefore, it is important for the buyer to figure out if the antivirus software they’re going to purchase covers the range of security issues they want to be covered for. [Read related article: Best Antivirus Software]


Important terms to know

  • Spyware is a well-known term in cybersecurity. Spyware is software that is injected into a computer system without the users’ knowledge. Its primary goal is usually to gather information. Spyware can gather keystrokes, personal information, browsing habits as well as other relevant banking related info like credit cards etc. Adware is actually a type of spyware that serves up those annoying advertisements where they should not be. You’ve probably seen those endless annoying pop-ups and various hyperlinks on every page you visit.
  • Ransomware is a highly malicious software that is designed to target a specific system and extort the user into paying a fee usually Bitcoin.  When infected, this program let’s the user know that it will release all private information or block them out of their important files or applications until a ransom has been paid, usually in the form of cryptocurrency. Ransoms can vary from hundreds to even thousands of dollars for both individuals and even more for corporations.
  • Trojans and worms are delivery methods for malicious programs and codes. A Trojan is a form of malware disguised as a legitimate program. Worms are software that infect a whole system and spread through networks as well as other computers through the use of various methods like instant messaging programs, email, and p2p programs.


What to look for in antivirus or antimalware programs

Ideally, in order to protect your personal computer or your businesses network of computers and servers,  you should invest in an all-around top antivirus program that can both prevent threats as well as neutralise them as they happen. Take a look at what to look for in terms of features and benefits in this article. Regardless of whether you are looking for top antivirus or top antimalware software, you should probably research the product beyond the title and make sure the product protects you from all types of malicious software. Many of the major antivirus brands do this even in their basic offerings.

There are so many antivirus programs available that you can download for free but they just don’t offer the level of protection that paid solutions do. Some antivirus products just protect you from viruses and leave you wide open to other forms of malware. Spyware protection is okay, but you’re better off with full protection from all malware.

When taking a look at various top antivirus programs it’s important to take into account the effect on your system resources. Some antivirus products are quite a bit heavier than others so this is important to note.

Whilst having the best antivirus available is certainly a great form of preventative maintenance and protection, it’s important to have all family members or employees trained up in safe computer practices for keeping their computer safe when online.  Sometimes even the best antivirus protection can’t stop the computer getting infected if someone opens an unsafe email attachment and clicks yes to open it, which can often override the antivirus protection.

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