If viruses are a type of malware, do I still need anti-virus software if I use anti-malware tools?

Akhil Kumar March 14, 2013

Virus, Trojan, spyware, adware are all types of malware, right? Then why to use anti-virus when there is anti-malware? Which one should I use? Or should I use 1 program of each?

  1. Nitesh Badala
    March 15, 2013 at 5:39 am

    if you have anti malware then no need of anti virus software. anti malware is enough to remove malwares but keep updating time yo time your anti malware software.
    IObit advance system care is good product you can try this

  2. Donald Schultz
    March 14, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    The best security apps that I have come across and really like is the Comodo anti-virus and firewall and Spybot Search and Destroy. Spybot is an malware/virus scanner, it will scan your entire pc and find everything including toolbars that you may have downloaded by mistake. I swear by these products and they are free of charge too which is great right now when we all are hurting for money.

  3. Rob Hindle0
    March 14, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    As the biggest risks these days come from the internet, yes, you need a full spectrum security suite. That will do a load more than just AV (though most AV packages are wider in scope than just viruses and are in practise anti-malware).
    If you ever suffer a security compromise you'll agree that there can never be too much security.
    Sadly these days we all need to become security experts if we want to be safe on the internet.

    Look beyond Anti Malware and think about your overall security policy.
    Use "difficult" passwords and store them in something like LastPass.
    Use a router with NAT.
    If you have a wireless router, secure it properly.
    If you log onto passworded services over public WiFi or internet cafe use something like Gmail two factor security.
    Use OpenDNS on your home network to block dodgy web sites.
    Use your self discipline - things like: don't click on links in emails even from friends if there is the slightest doubt about them, never share a password, don't go looking for "free" copies of commercial software.
    Be alert to the risks and techniques of "social engineering".
    Keep recovery disks and good backups for when, despite all your best efforts, you do suffer an attack.

    That's all a monumental nuisance - but nothing compared to the results of a severe malware attack.

  4. MrMike Mann
    March 14, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Your easiest answer would be to install a all-in-one Internet Security solution like ESET Smart Security ( http://www.eset.com). If later you feel you need more protection you can always add Malwarebytes Anti-malware (www.malwarebytes.org) but ESET should be enough for most users.

  5. Alan Wade
    March 14, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    AV programs search for virus'es and Anti-Malware programs search for malware. Yes, there is a difference, see ha14's post above.
    Whilst you should NOT have more than one AV installed, you should consider three or more different anti-malware programs. Most anti-malware programs specialize in different area's so one is never enough.

  6. Jan Fritsch
    March 14, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    By definition malware (or malicious software) is software that is aimed to intrude, damage sometimes even disable a computer system and/or steal data ~ this includes virus, trojans, worms, spyware or rootkits.
    Ad-ware (advertising-supported software) can contain or be part of the above but doesn't have to e.g. toolbars.
    Another gray-zone is the so called "scareware" which mostly contains some sort of malware but can also be actual functional software which uses intrusive ad-ware methods to generate profit.

    A dedicated anti-virus tool should protect you from both malware and scareware that contains malware. But they usually don't concern themselves with actual ad-ware.
    A dedicated anti-adware tool should protect you from stuff e.g. toolbars that may be installed along legitimate software.
    A "anti-malware" tool is often something in between. It detects a wide range of both but falls short in direct comparison with dedicated tools.

    You should use at least an anti-virus software to be safe. Anything else is up to your own preference. If you do want "all of it" I believe a good option would be a security suite which most developers offer nowadays. They are usually based around a solid anti-virus software from the developer with additional options like ad-ware detections, website-ratings (like Web of Trust), sometimes even anti-spam.

    • Jan Fritsch
      March 14, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      Maybe to add to the other answers:
      Basically the lines of anti-malware and anti-virus have overlapped and shifted in their duties. "Back then" anti-virus were solid against actual virus but didn't really protect you against trojans or spyware which changed on a almost daily basis. That's where the anti-malware came into play. They didn't concern themselves too much with virus but with heuristics and methods to detect the latter one.
      Nowadays anti-virus tools have shifted to detect pretty much all types of malware including zero-day-malware wherein the "anti-malware" tools have more shifted into the direction of protecting you from general threads like trojans, spyware, adware, sometimes even popups.

  7. Bruce Epper
    March 14, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Regardless of the classification, some malware will get by at least one antivirus/antimalware solution, so it is best to use multiple products to try to cover the gaps. Most of my clients (and my own systems) are using Bitdefender IS, Norton IS, or Norton 360 for their primary (real-time) protection on Windows systems and also have Malwarebytes (free version) that is manually run once a week as a precautionary measure. Those that are following this procedure have not had any malware-related issues. There have been a couple of instances where someone installing software doesn't pay attention to the dialogs and inadvertently installed unwanted software (primarily toolbars) which Malwarebytes tends to find and classify as PUPs.

  8. ha14
    March 14, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Antivirus is specific for viruses. Viruses are malicious code that edits files in wrong way and some travels from hard drive to another.

    Antimalware is for all malwares ( viruses, trojans, spyware, worms, rootkits, adware phishing...) anything that can harm windows. Antimalware is more complete than antivirus programs.

    spyware record everything on your windows and send it to the spyware author...some do more harm than just recording...

    once antimalware and antivirus they were specific security tools now they are commonly used in an interchangeable manner, it will be difficult to say which one is antimalware or antivirus, you have to read their specification because now they cover most things and overlap.

  9. Imesh Chandrasiri
    March 14, 2013 at 11:26 am
  10. Chinmay Sarupria
    March 14, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Antiviruses only focus on viruses but anti-malware defends against trojans, viruses, spyware, adware, worms, rootkit, phishing. So anti-malware tools are better than antivirus programs because antivirus only protects from 1 of the above seven but antimalware protects from all seven.
    More info: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_difference_between_antivirus_and_antimalware

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