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So what’s the difference between antivirus and anti-malware?

What’s the difference between antivirus and anti-malware?

By Wendy Zamora | September 11, 2015

It’s the $64,000 question. The ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. (And no, the answer isn’t 42.) Whenever someone begins their search for online security, they ultimately discover there are two major types of protection: antivirus and anti-malware. Which leads them to the inevitable query:

What’s the difference between antivirus and anti-malware?

Virus vs. malware

Before we can answer that, we need to first unveil what, exactly, are viruses and malware. A virus is a piece of code that is capable of copying itself in order to do damage to your computer, including corrupting your system or destroying data. Malware, on the other hand, is an umbrella term that stands for a variety of malicious software, including Trojans, spyware, worms, adware, ransomware, and yes, viruses. So the logic follows: all viruses are malware. Not all malware are viruses. Ya dig?

Unfortunately we can’t stop there because it’s a little more complicated than that. Viruses are considered to be legacy threats. By this we mean: they’ve been around for a while and haven’t changed all that much. They aren’t used very often by today’s cyber criminals, which is why many antivirus companies have evolved to fight more than “just” viruses. This can include infectious malware like worms, web threats like keyloggers, or concealment malware, such as rootkits.

So why do antivirus companies still call themselves antivirus? Since viruses made headlines in the 90s, security companies focused their efforts on fighting them. Thus the term antivirus was born. It all boils down to marketing. Most people are familiar with computer viruses and what they do. Not a lot of people know what malware is.

Compare and contrast

Still, there are key differences between antivirus and anti-malware software that go beyond semantics. What differentiates antivirus and anti-malware companies are the types of malware they specialize in and how they deal with them.

Antivirus usually deals with the older, more established threats, such as Trojans, viruses, and worms. Anti-malware, by contrast, typically focuses on newer stuff, such as polymorphic malware and malware delivered by zero-day exploits. Antivirus protects users from lingering, predictable-yet-still-dangerous malware. Anti-malware protects users from the latest, currently in the wild, and even more dangerous threats. In addition, anti-malware typically updates its rules faster than antivirus, meaning that it’s the best protection against new malware you might encounter while surfing the net. By contrast, antivirus is best at crushing malware you might contract from a traditional source, like a USB or an email attachment.

If antivirus and anti-malware were dances, antivirus would be the waltz and anti-malware would be hip-hop.

So which one should you choose?

No one tool can catch everything, which is why security experts recommend a layered approach. It’s better to have more than one set of eyes looking at threats from different angles. “I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying ‘jack of all trades, master of none,'” says Samuel Lindsey, Malwarebytes user advocate. “That’s how I see all-in-one security suites; they just can’t detect everything on any given day.”

Your best bet is to use an antivirus program to catch the classic threats and an anti-malware program, like Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium, for the newer, more advanced dangers. And you needn’t worry about the impact of running two real-time scanners at the same time on your machine’s performance—most anti-malware software is lightweight, easy-to-run, and designed to work alongside antivirus.

So there you have it. Your questions have all been answered. You may now be at peace…

Is your network security at risk?

Security is an issue that affects all organisations, regardless of their size and the days where hackers penetrated companies to steal specific information has evolved to a risk far greater. Even small 5-person companies can become part of a bot network and be used for mass spamming purposes.

Failing to install appropriate antivirus software on individual machines or to protect your network with a firewall can result in networks being used as a base for proxy attacks, sensitive information being stolen and sold in and your entire network crashing because of virus damage.

Read More »

Desktop Virtualization

With organisations constantly tightening their belts and austerity measures becoming more commonplace, it is becoming increasingly difficult for IT personnel to provide high levels of service without compromising on performance, reliability and security. This is particularly true of big companies with large user bases such as schools, colleges and universities.

However, maintaining high standards of service and providing employees with the latest software versions is not as expensive as you might think, as a number of our clients have discovered by investing in our desktop virtualization solution. Unlike other solutions, it offers cost savings from the outset as well as ongoing reduced maintenance and energy bills.

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Company News September 2012

We’ve had a busy year to date and have started working with a number of new clients. We have been awarded ICT and managed services contracts from local companies, KJ Architects and IDTechEx as well as from St Mary’s Primary School (Suffolk) and Sir Robert Pattinson Academy (Lincolnshire), St Christopher’s Primary School and Prince William School. We look forward to developing long-lasting relationships with all these organisations.

We would also like to introduce Jason Platt, Paul Thomson and Francisco Janes. Jason and Paul have recently joined our technical team and their main responsibilities are to provide onsite support to larger clients as part of their managed service agreement. Collectively they have more than 30 years’ experience in ICT support and we hope you will find their technical experience useful and beneficial.

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Recent NComputing Deployment in Education

West Row Community Primary School (Cambridgeshire) was previously using desktop computers to provide pupils and teachers with an enhanced learning and teaching experience. However, these computers were approaching their end of life.

A cost-effective desktop refresh was therefore under consideration

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Government is giving back to small business, we can help you get your Internet upgrade and £3000 grant!

The next question is, do you qualify? The following criteria applies:

  • You are a SME, registered charity, social enterprise or sole trader
  • Is Your business is within an eligible area one of the 22 cities taking part in the scheme.
  • You are currently on 30Mbps or less
  • Installation of your new broadband connection will cost over £100
  • The connection is for your business premises. You can apply for a connection at home if this is your main work base, but this does not apply if you work from home occasionally
  • You are willing to sign up to a minimum 6 month contract with your broadband supplier
  • The broadband service you select delivers a speed or performance improvement on your current connection. There are some detailed requirements on speedthat you should check before applying
  • You have not received more than around £120,000 in grants in the last 3 years
  •  The grant will only cover the initial installation cost of the connection. No on-going revenue charges will be included. The minimum grant amount available is £100.

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E-Mail Archiving

Here’s the reason why you should archive all your email

According to the Data Protection Act, anyone has the right to ask for details of personal information held relating to them by an organization. The Act also requires businesses to ensure that they take appropriate technical measures to protect any data they hold from being misused, lost or damaged, and all this data must be searchable and quickly made available on request.

Breathe Technology “CleneMail” cleans, archives and indexes all your emails – in the Cloud.

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