Antivirus and antimalware: do you need both?

Read this article to know what is the difference between a virus and malware and do you need separate protection from both or a single solution is sufficient. See what this detailed research says on this matter.

Everyone who is the owner of a digital device and uses the Internet (basically, everyone) needs security software. According to one study, hackers attack every 39 seconds. Antiviruses and antimalware programs are designed to defend your system against attacks and keep it protected.

In fact, there are many effective, reliable options out there. But it may be difficult to decide which one to use and whether you need to choose one of them or invest in both.

In this article, we will shed some light on the subject to simplify the matter for you. But first, let us meet the enemy.

Viruses and malware

A virus is an infectious program designed to replicate itself and spread in order to do more damage. They attach themselves to clean files and then corrupt the others.

The term malware is a blend of "malicious" and "software". It refers to harmful programs or malicious code, used to disrupt and damage the data or gain unauthorized access to a computer system.

There are many different types of malware, such as viruses, worms, trojans, spyware, ransomware, adware, nagware, scareware, rootkits, dialers, keyloggers, backdoors, rogue applications, and others.

So "malware" is a broader, more generic term, whereas "virus" is more specific. All viruses are malware, but malware is not necessarily a virus.

Antivirus vs. Antimalware

Because of that, antivirus is often called an antimalware program, and both terms are used interchangeably. However, they are not the same thing.

Previously, when people only started using PCs and the Internet, viruses were the most common threat and they received a lot of media attention. So cybersecurity companies of that time focused their marketing on viruses and named their products "antivirus software".

But as new infections were introduced, antivirus companies added new features to their products and started to provide protection against other types of malware as well. So, contrary to the name, antivirus programs do not target only viruses anymore. For instance, as FindReviews post says, such the well-known Kaspersky antivirus software protects also against adware, spyware, and malware. Both antivirus and antimalware are designed to help with fixing malware issues. But, at the same time, the two types of software they may focus on different things and have different functions.

Which one do I choose? Do I need both?

Antivirus software is designed to prevent infection and is more effective with common threats, such as trojans, worms, and viruses. However, antiviruses cannot protect against all forms of malware, because they do not detect some malicious programs and files and do not delete them.

Antimalware is more efficient with combating new, more sophisticated types of malware.
Antimalware programs disinfect the system, in case a virus somehow passed through the antivirus check. At the same time, antimalware cannot detect and remove certain infections, such as file infectors, or restore the files that have been corrupted or replaced by a virus.

That is why the optimal choice is to use both antivirus and antimalware in order to have an extra layer of protection.

Plus, since antimalware is generally considered as an additional scanning option, they are designed to run alongside antiviruses without causing conflicts.

In conclusion

So, as you can see from the above, antivirus alone is not enough to secure your computer. Additionally, antimalware should not replace antivirus programs. They complement each other and are both essential to your PC protection. But whatever software you decide to use, ensure that it does its job and keeps your system safe.


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