In this tutorial, we’ll review the differences between Antiviruses and Firewalls. Firstly, we’ll define the terms and describe them. Next, we’ll review how antiviruses and firewalls work and examine some examples. Then finally, we’ll highlight some drawbacks and benefits of each of them.
Before we delve into antiviruses and firewalls, it’s important to note that these two terms are usually used in the context of computer security. Computer security comprises anything that has to do with protecting computer systems from malicious attacks and cybercriminals.
2. What Is an Antivirus?
An antivirus refers to a software program that is capable of detecting and handling viruses and malicious files in a computer system. The typical behaviour of an antivirus is to search and scan the file system of a computer or computing device to identify any files that resemble or are suspected to be malicious in any way.
After identifying these suspected malicious files, the antivirus gives options for dealing with them. Some versions of antivirus place the malicious files in quarantine, where the user decides on what to do with the files. Other versions remove the malicious files right away. This is generally possible because antiviruses are designed to recognize a variety of viruses and malware.
2.1. Antivirus Methods
The key aspect of antiviruses is their ability to detect different types of viruses and malware. Hence there are different approaches to this. Let’s discuss a few.
Signature-based methods detect viruses and malware by analyzing the structures of viruses and malware. Heuristics-based methods use algorithms to identify versions of viruses that resemble known virus signatures. On the other hand, behavioural-based methods identify viruses by examining the behaviour of suspected virus files.
Recently, data mining and machine learning techniques have been employed in virus detection software because of their ability to learn from vast amounts of data.
2.2. Benefits and Drawbacks
The main benefit of using antiviruses is that it protects devices from viruses and malware. Additionally, it protects the files and programs on computers.
However, a few drawbacks exist. Firstly, antivirus programs must be updated to keep their virus databases updated. This ensures that new viruses are detected well in time.
Additionally, most antivirus programs do not offer complete protection. It is impossible to keep up to date with all the viruses on the Internet.
A firewall is a system that controls the incoming network traffic in a computer network or computing device. We can think of a firewall as an actual wall that serves as a barrier and a form of protection for the network:
Firewalls usually allow and block packets based on predefined security rules implemented in the network. For example, we can block the reception of packets from a specific website or requests from specific clients.
3.1. Types of Firewalls
The most common type of firewall is a packet-filtering firewall. These operate at the network level and filter out packets from the network according to set rules. Proxy firewalls filter out packets at the application layer of a network. This means they accept connection requests on behalf of other clients or servers. Network Address Translation firewalls translate IP addresses to a common IP address to keep individual IP addresses hidden. Next-generation firewalls combine traditional firewalls with other security features.
3.2. Benefits and Drawbacks
Firewalls have the benefit of keeping devices protected from threats such as viruses, spyware, and malware. They can be used to secure networks, be it a private home network or a larger network.
However, the drawback is that a good firewall system is often complex to implement, especially for larger networks. It is not as simple as installing an antivirus program. It requires network administrators to come up with some security rules to implement.
4. Key Differences
Now let’s look at the key differences between the two:
In this article, we’ve discussed the difference between antiviruses and firewalls. Antiviruses scan and detect viruses and malware on a computer system. On the contrary, firewalls filter out packets based on set security rules.
Additionally, antiviruses are usually implemented as software programs, while firewalls can be implemented as both software and hardware. The key differences between the two are in their mode of operation.