The Difference Between Antivirus and Anti-Malware Software

When it comes to protecting your devices from malicious software, it's important to understand the difference between antivirus and anti-malware software. Antivirus programs are designed to protect against more established threats, such as worms, viruses, and traditional Trojans. On the other hand, anti-malware specializes in newer exploits, such as polymorphic malware and zero-day malware. Antivirus programs are good at protecting against the most predictable and dangerous malware.

They often deal with older and more established threats, such as Trojans, viruses, and worms. Anti-malware, however, tends to focus on newer things, such as polymorphic malware and malware distributed through zero-day exploits. Antivirus protects users from persistent, predictable but still dangerous malware. Anti-malware protects users from the latest, currently in use, and even more dangerous threats.

In addition, antimalware tends to update its rules faster than antivirus, meaning it's the best protection against new malware you might encounter when browsing the web. On the contrary, antiviruses are best at removing malware that can be contracted from a traditional source, such as a USB or an email attachment. While malware attacks continue to increase and put users' online privacy at risk, anti-virus programs are still an important tool to help keep cybercriminals away from their devices. They can offer security protection, but at a limited level, without offering maximum protection against advanced malware attacks.

Anti-malware boosts your antivirus and improves the protection of your devices. Antivirus focuses on prevention, that is, on protecting a machine by preventing it from getting infected in the first place. However, antimalware is aimed at eradicating and destroying malicious programs that have already been downloaded and activated. That's why choosing an antimalware program means investing in more powerful technology aimed at destroying and preventing advanced malware threats that classic antivirus programs can't.There is a wide range of anti-virus and antimalware programs available, so it can be difficult to determine which one is best for your needs. While anti-virus software can protect against common types of viruses, antimalware software works to detect new iterations of infections.

Antiviruses can't cope with the new wave of malware, and a layered approach is needed to be more secure. Antiviruses can't detect all types of infections and don't keep up with constantly evolving cyber threats. In fact, there are many different types of malware and the term should not be confused with computer viruses, although both are often used interchangeably. Anti-malware capabilities can encompass broader software solutions, such as antispyware, antiphishing, or antispam, and focus more on advanced types of malware threats, such as zero-day malware, that cyberattackers silently exploit and that traditional antivirus products are unaware of. Cybersecurity companies originally gained popularity with tried and true “antivirus” software for unique virus detection. While there's a lot of crossover between the two tools, many security experts recommend using antivirus and antimalware tools together to maximize protection. The two products date back to the widespread deployment of the Internet but with such similar names; the difference between antimalware and anti-virus products is not immediately clear.

To understand the topic better we will refer to antivirus software with the assumption that it has not been updated for the detection and protection of malware. However, as threats progressed many companies retained the original name of “antivirus” often while expanding threat detection capabilities. Price is an important factor to consider when you decide to buy security software whether it's antimalware or antivirus. So why do antivirus companies keep calling themselves antivirus? Ever since viruses made headlines in the 1990s security companies have focused their efforts on combating them.

Jacquelyn Hamling
Jacquelyn Hamling

Passionate travel junkie. Proud beer lover. Passionate coffee evangelist. Evil tvaholic. Hipster-friendly music ninja. Extreme travel scholar.