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Difference between Antivirus and Antispyware

Last Updated : 13 May, 2024
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1. Antivirus: 

Antivirus is application software that is designed and developed to protect our computers from malware, viruses, computer worms, spyware, rootkits, keyloggers, etc. Antivirus software functions to scan, detect, and also to remove software viruses from our computers. So in simple, we can say it is a security software to detect and destroy viruses from our computers and prevent viruses to protect our computers. 

There exists different antivirus software which is also of different types based on the Operating System (OS) compatibility like Antivirus for Windows OS, Antivirus for Linux OS, Antivirus for Android OS, Antivirus for MAC OS. 

2. Antispyware: 

Antispyware is one type of security software that detects, removes, and protects from unwanted spyware programs. It is a type of malicious software designed to track a user’s online activity and gather information. It is intended to steal valuable information without the user’s knowledge. Antispyware may also be called apyware on the Internet. 

Nowadays many modern security suites bundle antispyware functionality alongside antivirus protection, personal firewalls, etc which can detect and remove spyware applications. 

Even today, not enough people take spyware seriously or guard against it. Most antispyware works by checking your system for known spyware files. Each application must simply be checked against a list of known spyware. This means that you must maintain some sort of subscription service so that you can obtain routine updates to your spyware definition list. Most antivirus solutions now also check for spyware. In today’s Internet climate, running antispyware is as essential as running antivirus software. Failing to do so can lead to serious consequences. Personal data, and perhaps sensitive business data, could easily be leaking out of your organization without your knowledge. And, as was pointed out earlier in this book, it is entirely possible for spyware to be the vehicle for purposeful industrial espionage.

Barring the use of antispyware, or even in conjunction with such software, you can protect yourself via your browser’s security settings. Additionally, several times throughout this book, you have been warned to be cautious about attachments and Internet downloads. You would also be well advised to avoid downloading various Internet “enhancements,” such as “skins” and “toolbars.” If you are in an organization, prohibiting such downloads should be a matter of company policy. Unfortunately, many websites today require some sort of add-in such as Flash in order to function properly. The best advice for this situation is to only allow add-ins on trusted, well-known sites.

Difference between Antivirus and Anti-spyware :

S.No. Parameters Antivirus Anti-spyware
1. Definition Antivirus software is software that is designed to detect, block and then remove a virus from our computer system. Anti Spyware is software which aims to detect specific set of malicious applications known as Spywares.
2. Terminology Virus is a program that is loaded onto our computer without our knowledge and runs against your wishes and creates trouble to our system where this antivirus software blocks this. Spyware is software that continuously gathers user information and important data through the user’s Internet connection without his or her knowledge where this anti-spyware blocks this.
3. Scope Antivirus is a broad term, this software acts as a security for all including this spyware also. Now a days, this anti-spyware program is coming under the antivirus software.
4. Requirement For casual or regular use of your computer, you can install antivirus software as it will serve the purpose of basic protection to your system. If you need to protect your company data or client data then you must install antispyware software to ensure maximum protection from spyware.
5. Optional It is not optional to install for basic protection. It is optional to install if your antivirus program has anti-spyware.
6. Scans  At the very basic level, the antivirus will scan the hard drive for existence of malicious programs on it and will trigger which happens on-demand or in intervals. At the very basic level, it checks for spyware. It also has features to scan other resources like registry, start-up folder etc. to determine whether Spyware is already installed.
7. Techniques Antivirus software uses various types of techniques for the detection of any viruses which include signature-based scanning, behavioral scanning and heuristics. Anti-spyware software basically uses behavioral scanning techniques/methods to detect and remove spyware.
8. Vendors Some antivirus software vendors include McAfee, AVG, Trend Micro, etc. Some anti-spyware software vendors include Microsoft, Webroot, McAfee, etc.

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