Antivirus vs Internet Security

Threats on the Internet are getting better at penetrating computer systems. Hackers and cybercriminals are developing malicious software that can damage anything from personal computers to mainframes running an entire company. That is why it is necessary to put security layers in place. However, there are several types of security applications. It can be quite confusing for anyone unfamiliar with such programs. Specifically, many experts recommended installing an antivirus program and Internet security.

But, what's the difference between the two? Aren't they the same?

What is an Antivirus?

The antivirus is one of the earliest security programs around. It was developed to combat the early forms of viruses. In the past, viruses were not as lethal as the versions that we have today. Most variants just replicate and spread itself over a network. Some could damage few files. Others could disrupt standard computer functions. Otherwise, they were just a mere annoyance.

An antivirus is a program which scans for any signatures of virus it knows. It updates its database of virus signatures by downloading new signatures from the developer's servers. However, an antivirus program cannot recognise any threats that are not in its database. Eventually, most antivirus programs get heuristic methods.

A heuristic is a method of monitoring and evaluation the activities of an application. The antivirus will then decide if it behaves like a virus or not. It will notify the user of any suspicious activities on the computer along with suggested actions. While it is not 100% accurate, this method allows security experts and developers to keep up with the rapidly increasing number of virus online.

Antivirus applications provide a specific security function: protect your computer from virus. Because of this, it can run in the background without any significant effect on the computer's performance. It uses a small amount of memory and CPU. Most of the time, users set their antivirus programs to run immediately during boot. Scheduled scans and updates are also recommended to make sure that your antivirus has the latest virus signatures.

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Examples of Antivirus

There are countless antivirus programs available on the Internet. Free and paid solutions perform at varying degrees of success. Thankfully,  experts and consumers regularly review and evaluate these programs.

Examples of Antiviruses - Antivirus Vs Internet Security


Examples of antivirus programs are Panda Antivirus, Avast Antivirus, Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition, Avira Free Antivirus and AVG Antivirus. These examples are free and offer very basic security features. Paid solutions are also available such as Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, McAfee Antivirus Plus, Symantec Norton Antivirus Basic, Kaspersky Antivirus, and F-Secure Antivirus. The paid antivirus programs often offer more features, regular updates, and even support services.


Choosing which one to install depends on your needs. Casual users often find free solutions enough to protect their computers. Paid antivirus programs offer better solutions especially if you download files, stream movies, and visit a wide variety of websites.

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What is an Internet Security?

Internet security programs are an evolution of more basic security applications. In contrast with antivirus solutions, Internet security programs aim to provide a wide range of security solutions and protection in one place.

It is not a single program, hence the frequent use of the term "suite." Internet security suites are typically composed of more than one application aggregated into one interface. Interestingly, at its core is an antivirus program. Aside from protection from viruses, it usually includes a firewall, an anti-malware, anti-spyware, and email protection programs. 

The firewall protects real-time attacks by filtering any suspicious threats from the Internet and network. The anti-malware and anti-spyware aim to protect the computer against threats which are entirely different from a virus. Malware and spyware are programs which can damage the computer, steal sensitive information, and even hold your system hostage for a ransom.

Internet security suites make it easy to track and monitor your computer's security health. Some even aim to become total computer solutions by including tools such as defragmenting tools, memory cleanup apps, uninstaller, and network monitoring tools, which makes it easy to maintain your computer's health in one place.

However, running an internet security suite takes more computing power than antivirus programs. It still depends on your system. But, older computers may find it challenging to keep Internet security suites running in the background. It demands more memory which slows down some applications and computer functions significantly.

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Antivirus vs Firewall

Examples of Internet Security

The ever-increasing number and varieties of threats are becoming a significant concern among security specialists, businesses, and consumers. That is why developers are focusing more on creating internet security suites, and even total security solutions, to provide multi-layer solutions.

Examples of Internet Security - Antivirus Vs Internet Security


Examples of Internet security suites are Kaspersky Total Security, Bitdefender Total Security, Norton Security Premium, Trend Micro Internet Security, F-Secure Safe, and ESET Smart Security Premium. These examples offer core security applications such as antivirus, malware, real-time protection, and system monitoring tools.


These examples are perfect for those who are not familiar with security measures. Most Internet security suites make it easy for any users to operate. Some even automate specific processes such as scheduling scans and setting-up the firewall. Much like antivirus programs, experts and users widely review the Internet security suites.

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Antivirus Vs Internet Security

Antivirus

Internet Security

The antivirus is one of the earliest security programs around. It was developed to combat the early forms of viruses.


It uses a small amount of memory and CPU.

Internet security suites are typically composed of more than one application aggregated into one interface. Aside from protection from viruses, it usually includes a firewall, an anti-malware, anti-spyware, and email protection programs.


Running an internet security suite takes more computing power than antivirus programs.

How about Anti-Malware?

Where does anti-malware fit in all of these? As mentioned above, most Internet security come with anti-malware programs as its core function. However, anti-malware programs can also offer multiple services. An excellent example is MalwareFox. It includes features which strengthen your computer security, Aside from scanning for malware, it also has ransomware protection. It protects your system from dangerous ransomware that aims to extort money from you.

MalwareFox also cleans your browser which provides better and faster browsing performance. It also protects your system by analyzing suspicious files and promptly blocks them. The Zero-Day Attack Protection ensures that your system is protected even from the unknown threats. More importantly, unlike Internet security suites, it is light enough to run in the background without affecting your system. MalwareFox can also scan your system in less than five minutes using its Smart Scan Mode.

Anti-malware is a perfect tool for those wanting to have additional protection to run alongside antivirus programs. It is also lighter than total security suites so that you can run it in the background. Most come with features that you will regularly use as your main security functions.

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Antivirus vs Anti-Malware

Final Thoughts

Experts suggest downloading a primary antivirus program. Then, download a secondary solution which can handle most of your security needs. It depends on your needs and what you do online. Anti-malware is appropriate for basic users. Advanced users who download files often, visit various websites and receive a lot of emails may consider Internet security suites at those offer more layers of protection.

Leave a Reply 1 comment

Akshat - May 30, 2018 Reply

I always prefer antivirus over the security package because it is cheaper and you have free windows firewall that works pretty good too.

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