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Antivirus vs. Antimalware – What is the Difference?

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An antivirus program removes viruses. An antimalware program gets rid of all malware in a device.

An antivirus program deals specifically with viruses. On the other hand, an antimalware program deals with all types of malware. Ordinarily, you need a single antivirus as well as an antimalware program in your machine to keep all the viruses, worms, spyware, adware and rootkits out of the machine while sealing all loopholes that support cybercrime.

A few years ago, computer viruses caused plenty of headaches and would be top items in the evening news on any given day. Lately, the viruses have found their match in the form of antivirus as well as antimalware programs that keep them at bay and away from the computer. However, this is not to say that viruses are decreasing in power and reducing the frequency of their attacks. If anything, the attacks seem to be increasing in number and intensity.

Virus is a Malware

Viruses are specific types of malware. Viruses achieve their objectives by replicating and spreading into an entire system. Malware is but a broad term that describes all types of malicious and unwanted codes. Malware refers to the following:

  • Viruses
  • Spyware
  • Adware
  • Nagware
  • Trojans
  • Worms

Origin of Antivirus

Viruses were big news a few years ago. Consequently, most security companies opted to put all their attention in dealing with the viruses, thus creating powerful tools called antivirus. Other tools that can deal with the viruses and other types of threats as well also entered the market and are called antimalware. Users now have the option of deciding whether to install antivirus or antimalware program. Users can install both programs as well.

Currently, the market is full of products that could fall in both categories. Therefore, it is not surprising to find an antimalware product in the market that still proves useful and effective in eradicating viruses or behaves like an antivirus program. In this regard, you need to think about the following types of products, which you can use as antivirus or antimalware:

  1. Avast
  2. McAfee
  3. Norton
  4. Kaspersky
  5. 360 Total Security

Norton’s case is a bit interesting. Symantec, which is the company that makes the Norton antivirus programs, says that the product is useful in eradicating the following types of threats from machines:

  • Infectious malware
  • Web threats
  • Concealment malware
  • Mobile malware

Some of the products are free. For other products, you need to pay some fee to download, install and use them to keep the machine free from different types of threats. Regardless of the differences as well as similarities between antimalware and antivirus programs, what you should know is that the computer must be free of all forms of infection.