What is the difference between antivirus and anti-malware?

Antivirus Antimalware Cyber Security

The threat of malware infection continues to rise.  Businesses and individuals are increasingly seeking digital security solutions with threat detection and mitigation capabilities. Anti-virus and anti-malware are both widely in use and the terms are often simply interchanged however there is an important difference between the capabilities of each.  Both your personal security needs and that of your business may not necessarily align, so it is important to understand the difference between an antivirus and an anti-malware solution and to make choices suitable for your needs.

The volume of cybercrimes continues to surge and the risk of damage from the advanced capabilities are also increasing. Malware remains one of the most prevalent threats to cybersecurity, the use of malware increased by 358% through 2020!  On average, 350,000 new malware-infused programs and potentially unwanted applications (PUA) are created every day – targeting businesses, common applications Internet users. It is essential to deploy the correct type of security solution to tackle both virus and malware attacks.

Virus or Malware ?

In simple terms, viruses are programs that contain malicious code, are capable of self-replicating and triggering specific functions in order to damage devices, interfere with applications, and corrupt data. A virus can be inserted into a program as a means of a disguise. Malware (short form of malicious software), includes trojans, ransomware, adware, spyware, worms, viruses, and numerous other variants of destructive code. The term malware itself includes all types of malicious viruses and programs. Therefore, we can conclude that any virus is also technically malware, however not all malware is a virus.

What Does Antivirus Do?

Traditional antivirus software works by scanning your computer or devices for known viruses, and often includes some malware protection. There are a plethora of antivirus solutions available today, however not all of them offer maximum protection against malware and viruses. When your goal is to protect your data and devices from viruses, it is always better to choose a premium version of a reputable antivirus solution.

What Is Anti-malware Software?

As cybercriminals continue to innovate their attacks to exploit new vectors, traditional security solutions are becoming increasingly inadequate to counter sophisticated threat tactics. Today, cybercriminals use advanced stealth-capable malware that traditional antivirus solutions will not detect. Protections against such advanced malware is available with modern anti-malware solutions that provide protection against next-generation malware threats.

Is Antimalware the Same as Antivirus?

Both anti-virus and anti-malware solutions are responsible for threat detection and mitigation. However, anti-virus and anti-malware solutions are not the same. Anti-virus solutions are specifically designed to detect and mitigate viruses and common malware. However, anti-malware solutions are more advanced and offer a higher level of security against advanced viruses and malware such as zero-day attacks and ransomware.

A typical Anti-virus solution will not provide mitigation against advanced malware. On the other hand, anti-malware solutions offer advanced protection against powerful malware attacks, including known viruses. To conclude, both antivirus and anti-malware solutions serve an important purpose and can be used together to provide a stronger security posture. 

What to Look For In Anti-virus Solution?

As high as 55% of traditional anti-virus solutions fails to detect advanced viruses and malware. Therefore, it is critical to look for the below features while choosing an anti-virus solution.

  • Active real-time threat scanning: Active real-time threat scanning means the program will actively scan files and programs to find potential risks.
  • Automatic updates: Continuous updates are important to keep the program efficient in detecting threats and protecting your data and devices.
  • Threat Mitigation: Always ensure that an antivirus program offers reliable threat mitigation and not just detects and blocks viruses and malware.

What to Look For In Anti-malware Solution?

There are a host of anti-malware solutions that offer advanced active threat hunting and AI-powered smart threat detection capabilities. However, if you do not need enterprise-level anti-malware solutions, at least look for the below features in an anti-malware solution.

  • Proactive security: An anti-malware solution must scan, detect and remove known malware threats like trojans, adware, and spyware.
  • Traffic filtering: This feature plays a vital role in protecting your personal networks and servers from various types of network attacks.
  • Sandboxing: Powerful sandbox allows you to test flagged applications and determine if they are safe to use or not.

Antivirus or Anti-malware? Which one do you need?

Both anti-virus and anti-malware solutions are important if you want maximum protection against malware and viruses. Antivirus solutions will protect your devices and data from traditional viruses while anti-malware solutions will offer protection against modern malware threats. Therefore, it is preferable to leverage both an antivirus and an anti-malware solution. In today’s modern interconnected digital environment, a layered approach to cybersecurity protections is the best approach. 

Reach out to to the team at Intrix Cyber Security for the best in breed next generation solution. 

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