Difference Between Malware & Antivirus

by Bobbye Alley

Keeping your personal computer free of viruses is a common concern. Proper use of antivirus software can help you avoid malware and viruses. The difference between malware and antivirus is that malware can damage a computer, whereas antivirus software can prevent problems and help repair damage.


Malware, or malicious software, infiltrates your computer without your knowledge. Malware is a form of a computer virus and can be as simple as an annoying program or very dangerous, such as a program that can copy account information and relay it to another party. Once malware is installed, it must be removed completely to ensure the security of the computer.

Antivirus Software

Antivirus software is used to help prevent and remove malware and other computer viruses. Paid and free programs are available, but all antivirus programs should be updated often so they can detect and stop the latest computer infections before they are installed. Sometimes, though, a new virus can dupe antivirus software, so it must be removed.

Using Antivirus Software on Malware

If malware does infect a computer, use antivirus software to remove it. Make sure the antivirus software is up to date and run the program to detect, isolate and remove the offending program. For undetectable malware, an anti-malware program, which is specialized antivirus software, may be necessary.

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