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 key-loggers, 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.