Difference Between Antivirus and Firewall

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 30, 2022, 12:41

Antivirus and Firewall are both mechanisms that provide security to computer and internet systems. Due to their close functionalities, people are often confused between the two. However, they are very different from each other. Read Difference Between Antivirus and Firewall.

Antivirus protects the system from internal attacks by recognizing corrupt files and viruses, whereas Firewall, as the name suggests, is a protective wall to stop malicious incoming traffic which can harm the system.

What is Antivirus?

  • A cybersecurity mechanism that identifies and removes internal threats in a computer or internet system.
  • Antivirus deals with threats like worms, viruses, trojans, spyware, malware, etc.
  • It regularly scans programs and files that can carry potential threats in the form of viruses.
  • If a threat is found, Antivirus employs security measures like fixing or deleting the virus.

Generations of Antivirus

  • The 1st generation was specific to detecting the signature-specific virus.
  • The 2nd generation improved a little and moved ahead from just identifying the signature-specific virus. It used a more heuristic approach to identify viruses.
  • The 3rd generation started using memory-resident antivirus software programs.
  • The 4th generation uses multiple ways to detect viruses like scanning, monitoring, deleting, etc.

There are a lot of efficient antiviruses available in the marketplace like McAfee Antivirus Plan, Webroot Secure Anywhere, Norton 360, Avast Free Antivirus, Trend Micro Antivirus security, etc.

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What is Firewall?

  • A firewall protects the system from incoming traffic that can be harmful to the network.
  • With the internet connecting millions of networks globally, Firewall protection is becoming increasingly important.
  • It is also known as a 'packet filter' as it uses some pre-determined rules and regulations to analyze and filter all the incoming data.

Types of Firewalls

Packet Filters

  • Screens and filters all the incoming data.
  • Also engages in counter-attacks like IP spoofing, source routing attacks, etc.
  • Packet filters are further divided into two categories: dynamic packet filters and stateful packet filters.

Application Gateway

  • They are also known as proxy servers as they control the flow of incoming traffic and communication.
  • They also conceal the originating IP address for the outside and public networks.

Circuit Gateway

It is almost similar to an application gateway; however, they can convert the origination IP address into small packets in order to conceal it efficiently.

Difference between Antivirus and Firewall

Antivirus

Firewall

Antivirus protects the system from internal attacks like spyware, virus, trojan horses, etc.

A Firewall is a security wall that protects the systems from harmful invasions.

Regularly scans the system to make necessary adjustments to improve the system's defence mechanism.

It is also known as a ‘packet filter’ as it regularly filters the potentially harmful incoming data.

Antivirus cannot verify read-only files.

A firewall cannot perform the duty of Antivirus, i.e., cannot prevent internal attacks.

Antivirus is only available in form of software.

It can be in the form of hardware, software, or both.

Antivirus cannot engage in counter-attacks.

As a form of counter-attack, it can engage in IP spoofing and routing attacks.

Antivirus programming is simpler as compared to the Firewall.

A Firewall’s programming is very complex.

 

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FAQs on the Difference Between Antivirus and Firewall

Q.1. What is the most important difference between Antivirus and Firewall?

The most important Difference Between Antivirus and Firewall is that Antivirus protects the network from internal threats by removing them from the system whereas the firewall is a protective wall that prohibits external malicious threats to enter the system.

Q.2. Why is it important to know the difference between Antivirus and Firewall?

Although both antivirus and firewall are cybersecurity measures, there is a lot of difference between Antivirus and Firewall. Hence, to provide heightened security to your system, it is advisable to know about both in some detail.

Q.3. Why do people confuse the two despite the differences between Antivirus and Firewall?

Despite the differences between Antivirus and Firewall, people confuse between the two because they are both mechanisms that provide security to computer and internet systems

Q.4. What is the difference between Antivirus and Firewall with regard to the form in which they are available?

The difference between Antivirus and Firewall with regard to the form in which they are available is that Antivirus is only available in the form of software whereas Firewall is available in the form of hardware, software, or both.