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Whats the difference between Anti Malware and Anti Virus Programs

Last response: in Applications
January 13, 2012 6:10:14 PM

Over the past month or so I have been debating with a few other techs over what the differences between anti malware and anti virus programs. Although I understand that opinions vary, to me the terms should be used one in the same for the average user, with an option for more details for the mid-level to advanced user rather. My reasoning is most people search for an "anti virus program" and not an "anti malware program" unless otherwise instructed by a tech adviser.

Unfortunately, as a tech it is easy to let the desire to correct someone overwhelm you. Hence, my colleagues argument.

So I have to ask, when it comes to a basic computer user does anyone think it really matters if we call an "anti malware program" and "anti virus program" and vice verse? After all, to the newbie they one in the same?

Any thoughts ideas feed back and or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
a b 8 Security
a b è Antivirus
January 13, 2012 6:19:03 PM

Antivirus is meant to find, and remove viruses from your computer. Viruses are unwanted and malicious code that deletes, edits and or adds files in the hope of being destructive.

Antimalware is programs that defend against all malware. The main malware groups are trojans, viruses, spyware, adware, worms, rootkits, phishing. Antimalware software is definitely more complete than antivirus programs and it a much better purchase because you will run in to atleast two types of malware. Simply put there are seven major threats and antivirus software only protects you against one of those seven.
January 13, 2012 6:38:54 PM

I agree in part with you, and wiki answers. But does it really matter to the laymen? How many times has someone come up to you and asked for an "AntiMALWARE" program? Know what I mean?

For example, Microsoft Security Essentials (self proclaimed free "Anti-Virus") and Kaspersky Internet Security do not refer to their programs as Anti-malware but they do remove trojans, viruses, spyware, adware, worms, rootkits, phishing as well. Within the deadly "seven threats."

I agree with you that some other programs do not remove all threats and vice verse. But to the laymen newbie, soccer Mom just looking for anti-virus software its all the same. Perhaps its this is not an easy yes or no answer.
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a b 8 Security
a b è Antivirus
January 13, 2012 6:41:00 PM

I agree but they don't cover exactly the same issues of infection.
January 13, 2012 6:55:58 PM

Yeah. Looks like there is no definitive way to win this argument on the tech side. But for the laymen its all the same.
a b 8 Security
a b è Antivirus
January 13, 2012 6:58:56 PM

You are right though,the average user probably might not understand the differences.
January 13, 2012 7:22:00 PM

Perhaps a categorical list would help sort of like this:

Free Antivirus Software
Microsoft Security Essentials
Avira Anti-Vir
Super AntiSpyware
PC Tools
Emsisoft Anti-Malware
Dr.Web CureIt!

Free Online Scanners
Symantec Online Scanner
CA Online Scanner
Windows Security
BitDefener Online File Scan
Nod32 Online Scanner

And so on... but still there always seems to be varying opinions. For example, although the Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool calls itself "Free anti-virus software Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool 2011" under its knowledge base supportDOTkasperskyDOTcom/avptool2011/main?qid=208284232 and removes many of the seven virus threats. To a lot of techs it is just a Tool, no more no less.
a b 8 Security
a b è Antivirus
January 13, 2012 7:24:32 PM

Yes i would consider it a tool also!
Rescue disc-just a tool.
January 17, 2012 4:47:50 AM

Anti-virus is specific.That is it can remove the viruses.
Anti-malware is general.Malware includes trojans, viruses, spyware, adware, worms, rootkits, phishing