Home Tech Antivirus vs. Anti-Malware Software: What Do You Need?

Antivirus vs. Anti-Malware Software: What Do You Need?

by Louise W. Rice

As we become increasingly dependent on the Internet, computers, smartphones, and other digital mediums, we must be more mindful of malicious software that can disrupt our work, entertainment, and financial security. One of the best ways to shield our digital footprint is to download the best cybersecurity software.

But with terms like malware, viruses, ransomware, Trojans, and more floating on the Internet, it can be hard to know whether you need to download anti-malware tools or top antivirus software.

What is the difference between malware and a virus?

The term computer virus has become a blanket term for any malicious software, but the fact is that a computer virus is just one type of malware. Likewise, modern antivirus software doesn’t just stop computer viruses.

Most modern antivirus software has anti-malware technology and can shield you from different unwanted programs. However, not all antivirus software is built the same. To stop all malicious threats, look for antivirus software that’s fast, effective, and light on your system. Here are some common malware threats and what they can do:

Computer Viruses

Computer viruses attach to other legitimate programs in order to replicate, spread, and corrupt your files and folders. However, computer viruses require human interaction to trigger. So, avoid activating files or downloading attachments or programs that seem suspicious. You can also shield yourself from most viruses by keeping your antivirus software up to date.

Computer Worms

Computer worms can also delete your data, but unlike viruses, worms don’t need to piggyback on a host file. They’re more dangerous than viruses because they can self-propagate on a system. Worms spread through emails, exploits, external devices, infected websites, and networks. Besides deleting files, they can also drop malware like ransomware. Update your antivirus, operating system, and be wary of suspicious websites and emails to stop worms.


Bad actors use adware to blast your screen with unwanted advertising pop-ups to make money. Some adware may install toolbars or track your online activity for marketers. Good antivirus software will block adware infections.


State-sponsored agents, stalkers, hackers, predators, and trolls, use different types of spyware to watch you through your webcam, listen to you through your microphone, track you through your GPS, or snoop on your text messages, emails, and Internet activity. The right anti-malware technology will remove spyware from your computer.


While there are dozens of different types of Trojans out there, they all have one thing in common — they use deceit to trick you into downloading them. A trojan may disguise itself as an authentic piece of software or email attachment but is secretly designed to steal your passwords, spy on you, hold your data for ransom, or open backdoors for threat actors to take over your system. Not only do you need the best cybersecurity software to block Trojans, but you should only use reputable software.

Who creates malware?

With so much malware on the Internet, you must be wondering who creates malicious software and why? Cybercriminals usually create malicious software to commit financial crimes, but states may also create sophisticated spyware to watch activists, journalists, and political rivals.

Whether you want to stop mildly irritating software like adware, or more dangerous unwanted programs, use cutting-edge anti-malware tools and stay vigilant.

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