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Anti-Virus or Anti-Malware? What’s the Difference?

Malware, Virus, Tomato, Tomahto?

Recently, I’ve received a few different questions on the concepts of anti-malware and anti-virus programs.  Are they the same thing?  Which is better?  Is PC Matic an anti-malware program?

There’s a lot to be said on the matter.  But here is the most basic explanation.  Malware is a blanket term used to describe worms, ransomware, viruses, trojans, and cryptojacking.  Therefore, a virus is malware, but not all malware is a virus.  But what does this mean in terms of protection?  Most anti-virus vendors today are really an anti-malware solution.  This means they will block other threats than just a virus intrusion.  Although, it is always best to confirm with the specific vendor themselves.

For those who were inquiring about PC Matic — it is indeed an anti-malware solution.  It was actually named the best anti-malware solution by American Security Today’s ASTORS awards last year and honored as an anti-malware market leader by Cyber Defense Magazine’s InfoSec awards earlier this year.

So for those who thought the term virus and malware were synonymous, hopefully, you now know the difference.  Also, for those who are unclear regarding their own cyber protection, it is best to confirm with the vendor what exactly they protect against.  Often times, solutions are termed anti-virus programs because that is simply the term that has been used year over year for all security solutions.  As cyber security threats move beyond the traditional virus, your software should move towards effectively blocking all forms of malware.

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