Tech Talk: The Difference Between Antivirus and Antimalware

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by Ryan Noyes

Recently my sister bought a brand new Macbook for around $1800 for college. I am not a Mac fan, but it is nice. About a week ago she comes to me asking why her laptop is “having a meltdown.” She says within seconds of starting it up, she gets popups, warnings, and emergency alerts telling to act quick or click here to resolve the problem. I knew right away that this is malware or adware. Within 20 minutes of helping her get rid of the malware, her computer was back to normal. This got me thinking – most people do not even know what malware or viruses are, let alone how to fix them. I am hoping this article will help with this problem.

First some background information. What are viruses? What is malware? A virus is a harmful program that can copy itself to inflict damage to a computer. Malware is a term for all the different types of harmful software. Some types are adware, keyloggers, ransomware, spyware, worms, and viruses. That’s right, a virus is malware, and malware is sometimes a virus, but not always. Viruses are known as “legacy threats”, meaning that viruses don’t evolve or change at all.

So why have two different softwares if viruses are pretty much malware? Well, in the 1990s viruses were a threat to computers, so software companies just called them antiviruses. A reason that you might not expect is name recognition. More people know about viruses rather than malware. Still, there is more to just name recognition that makes these two different. Antiviruses protect against threats that never evolve or change (trojans, viruses, and worms), and antimalware protects you against the newer threats or the ones to come (adware, keyloggers, and spyware). 

Which one should you choose? From my own experience, I would have one of each. For example: I have Norton Security and Malwarebytes. I recommend having one of each because each tool can’t protect you from everything out there. I use Norton (antivirus) for the older threats and Malwarebytes (antimalware) for the new threats. There are many different types of antivirus and antimalware out there, so there are plenty to choose from. Some recommendations for antivirus are Amiti, Avast, AVG, Bitdefender, Comodo, Forticlient, and Windows Defender Security Center (comes free with Windows). Some for antimalware are Bitdefender, Cybereason, Emsisoft, Spybot and Webroot.

There you have it. I hope that I have helped at least a little explaining the differences between antivirus and antimalware. I have given examples of the different software so you can protect your computers, but there are many many more out there that you can find. A lot of them are actually free, but if you want more tools or even 24/7 support, you will have to pay a monthly or yearly fee. Thank you for taking the time to read my article and I hope that it will help you learn more about the importance of your computer’s security!

Ryan Noyes was a member of the Information Technology Senior Seminar course in the fall 2017 semester. Ryan was working towards a career in Computer Engineer Analysis.


Link to online version of article: http://ryannoyes.us/beaconarticle/

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