November 12, 2015
This is a question a lot of people ask, and it is quite natural for them to ask this question since most people think that a virus and malware are one and the same. In order for us to get to the answer, let us first understand what viruses are and what malware are. A virus is essentially a code that copies itself to your computer and does damage that may include the deletion of data or even the corruption of your operating system. Malware, on the other hand, is defined as a catch-all word for malicious software that can do a lot of bad things to your computer, and this includes what viruses do. So in short, viruses are malware, but you cannot really call all malware viruses.
So, now that we have that out of the way, the question as to whether or not you need anti-malware when you already have anti-virus still needs to be answered. We will get to that by first understanding what each one does. Anti-virus software are basically crafted to handle established and older threats to your computer, and these include worms, Trojans, and yes, viruses. Anti-malware, on the other hand, are made to take care of the newer strain of threats to your computers and your system. These include rootkits, adware, spyware, phishing and other similar threats from your computer.
Viruses can be transferred to your computer via a number of ways, like via a USB device or even through an email. Malware, can also infect your system the same way, but has more avenues to choose from when it comes to infiltrating your computer. Did you know that malware can enter your computer when you simply access an unsafe site or when you download legitimate looking content to your computer? Malware can also do more than just mess up your system or delete files. These can access sensitive information on your computer and deliver this back to its origin, or even determine your log-ins and passwords by detecting your keystrokes with what is called a keylogger. This makes malware more complex and more dangerous than your average computer virus.
Now since it has been established that viruses are considered part of the all-encapsulating term malware, wouldn’t it be wise for a person then to just get anti-malware protection and ditch their anti-virus for this? Some people believe that this is the best recourse when they are torn between choosing to go with an anti-virus or anti-malware. What they might not realize is that, no matter how good your malware protection is, there are some older viruses that may not be easily handled by this particular software. This is why most people are advised to have both.
Having both anti-virus and anti-malware helps ensure that you are protected from threats both old and new, and a lot of companies now offer both to help companies and consumers keep themselves covered from both threats. If you want to protect your computer as well as the information that is in it, and what you type on it for that matter, it might be a good idea for you to do the same. Oh, and the question should probably be, “When you have anti-malware, do you still need anti-virus?” And the answer is, yes.