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Antivirus vs Antimalware. Which one to choose?

Most people are confused which way to go when it comes to deciding between anti virus and anti-malware. The ultimate question is always which one offers the best security for my computer? To answer the question of antivirus versus anti-malware, we need to know the difference between the two subjects.

Virus vs Malware

A virus is a particular kind of malware. The virus malware spreads from one program on your computer to another by replicating its source code once executed. A virus may affect several components of a computer including files, programs, and even the boot section. Once a virus attacks a file or a program, it will control it by issuing commands. This may lead to programs failing to start when a command is given.

On the other hand, malware is a term used to refer to all malicious parties that may affect the normal functioning of your computer. These include viruses, trojans, worms, spyware, adware, nagware and so on. In a nutshell, every virus is a malware but not every malware is a virus. Malware programs can range from simple annoyances like pop-up advertising to serious computer damage like stealing passwords and data or infecting other machines on the network.

Additionally, some malware programs are designed to transmit information about your web browsing habits to advertisers or other third party interests without you knowing. Malware cannot damage the physical hardware of systems and network equipment, but it can damage the data and software residing on the equipment.

Antivirus vs Anti-Malware

Now that we know the difference between a virus and a malware we can go ahead and differentiate an antivirus from an anti-malware. Unlike viruses, malware are dynamic in nature. In the 90s, Viruses were a force to reckon with. As a result, viruses became the most dreaded form of malware. Advancement in computer knowledge has brought about solutions to almost all virus attacks. An antivirus protects your computer against malicious software that may be transferred from a third party such as the internet or through flash drives. An antivirus will detect such program files before they replicate and eliminate them completely.

Antivirus usually deals with the older, more established threats, such as Trojans, viruses, and worms. Anti-malware, by contrast, typically focuses on newer stuff, such as polymorphic malware and malware delivered by zero-day exploits.

An antimalware on the other hand does pretty much the same thing however it is more focused on new forms of malware. Basically anti malware use a behavioral technology to detect the unknown threats. While the antivirus is more efficient in dealing with viruses, trojans and other forms of malware that are already known, an anti-malware is more effective to unknown threats. Antimalware works in three different ways.

Sandboxing
If an anti-malware can not detect whether a file is harmful or not, it will test it in an environment away from the operating system. This environment is what we call a sand box, and its aim is to protect the system from potential harm.

Database Relation: This is a way the anti-malware relates to a remote database to get updates on new forms of malware or unknown files.

Heuristics: This is a way that anti-malware uses to deal with files that it is not sure where they fall. If an antimalware encounters a file that has malware behaviors but is not sure where it falls, it uses the information obtained in dealing with future situations.

An anti-malware will remain running on your computer every time every minute. It will scan every file that is getting to the computer and remove any file that may be defined as harmful. What makes an anti-malware different from an antivirus is that the definition of a malicious file for an anti-malware changes more often. In most cases, an anti-malware needs to remain connected to the internet to keep updating it self.

Does Antivirus have Antimalware capability?

These days security companies integrating the antimalware in antivirus products. And Antimalware companies are trying to integrate Antivirus engine in their products. As a user we must need both of these protection. So even an antivirus product is able to protect from malware. As we have already seen, viruses were more deadly and feared in the 90s to the extent of making news headlines. This explains the reason as to why many companies use the name antivirus. While an antivirus is used to deal with plenty of other malware threats besides viruses, the market seems to be understanding the term virus more.

Which one to choose?

Making a choice between an anti malware and an antivirus may not be the wise thing to do for anyone who wants to protect their computer. While most antiviruses will keep your computer from potential threats, there is always a chance that something new is coming up. In the light of an anti-malware protecting your computer from unknown malicious software, it is good to have both an antivirus and antimalware for your computer.

Best Antiviruses

Norton, Bitdefender, McAfee, Trend Micro, Webroot, Eset, Avira, Avast, AVG etc..

Best Antimalwares

Malwarebytes, HitmanPro Alert, Emsisoft, Zemana etc..

So we recommend you in combination with one antimalware and one antivirus product to keep you protected from all possible threats. As I am using in my Laptop Norton Security + Hitman Pro Alert + Malwarebytes. And this combination is very effective and is also light on system resources.

I chose Norton Security due to its strong virus definition, Smart firewall, community Insight and Tamper Protection.

I chose Hitman Pro as it has feature like keyboard input encryption, Webcam protection, USB Protection and Crypto Protection to protect from ransomware. It also uses a behavioral cloud based technology to scan the suspected file with other antivirus engine to detect any possible threat.

I chose Malwarebytes Pro as it has strong database of malicious Urls. It protects from bad urls, malicious advertising urls etc. along with its strong antimalware database.

This combination give me full proof protection from mostly all kind of threats and I am able to surf the internet without any fear and without any restriction. Please share your thoughts about this and also suggest best combination as per your experience.

This post was last updated on:2017-11-07 | First Published:2017-11-08

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