What is the Difference Between a Firewall and Antivirus?
Antivirus and firewall are mechanisms for providing
security to your systems but the vulnerabilities in both these cases are
different. Talking about the major
difference, Firewall acts as the barrier for incoming traffic to the system
while Antivirus protects against internal attacks such as malicious files etc.
Both of them functions on 2 entirely different
approaches such as Firewall focus on the inspection of data flowing from the
internet to computer. On the other hand, Antivirus emphasizes upon faulty
program inspection steps like detection, recognition, and removal. The firewall
is like gatekeeper between the outside world and your computer while antivirus
software is the resident detective.
What is the Firewall?
One can consider the firewall as the standard approach
which safeguards local computer assets from the external threats. It is
designed for filtering out IP packets coming from network to computer. A
firewall is also regarded as an effective way of protecting local system and
against a network, as well as simultaneously one can access WAN or internet.
It is application software that offers security
against malicious programs which are coming from the Internet. The approach of
Antivirus includes the process of detecting, identifying, and then finally
eliminating the virus from your device.
The function of Antivirus and Firewall
You can also refer to the Firewall as the “packet
filter”. It monitors outgoing and incoming traffic as well as analyzes the data
packets which travel along with a network and hence plays the role of a barrier
between the network and your system. The packets are filtered before the
sending procedure or if anything suspicious gets identified, the packets are
discarded. Antivirus is considered as the set of programs which are designed to
look for system vulnerabilities and then take the required action.
The basis of contrast is given below –
Implementations are only found in the software
software and corrupt files
• The main
concerns are external and internal threats
• After the
malware removal, there is no possibility of counter attacks
• The basis
of attack inspection is faulty software that is living on the computer
are found both in the software and hardware
• Filter and
monitor (more like IP filtering)
• The concern
here is only external threats
Counterattacks in the form of routing attacks and IP spoofing
• Basis of an
attack inspection is incoming packets
In the antivirus v/s firewall dissimilarities, primary
distinguisher is a mechanism that these software use for safeguarding systems
from the malicious attacks and what they can safeguard.
Security v/s inhibition
The virus protection of firewall observes traffic in
network hence inhibiting the entry of malicious data into a network thereby
thwarting viruses. But, the virus can still enter your system through download,
spam link, or even from the flash drive. Furthermore, once the virus bypasses firewall
protection, the role of antivirus comes into the picture.
Antivirus scans as well as spots malware from barring
it so that it cannot disperse further either by segregating or obliterating
corrupt file. Besides, even though firewall halts viruses and malware from
entering your system, complete elimination of cyber threat infecting a system
is not possible by the same.
The difference in the problem approach
Firewall and antivirus protection utilize different
methods for protecting systems from any damage. Antivirus uses a heuristics
approach for spotting and eliminating an assortment of malware from the
computer, and the firewall secures it from malicious threats and interference.
The firewall allows entry of the good packets into the system and negates entry
of the bad packets. Hence, the antivirus removes any virus or malware from the
computer through detection however, the firewall protects snooping eyes and
imposition of hackers.
The firewall basically works at the network protocol
level for safeguarding both private and public networks from the unwanted
intrusion. The setting up of a firewall comes with its own benefits and
downsides. It has the capability of only preventing unauthorized access between
the computer networks as per the pre-defined set of the network protocols. In
case of antivirus, it works at file level which means software program will
scan only for those harmful programs which are installed on the computer like
Trojans, worms, spyware, adware, rootkits, keyloggers, and malware etc.
Antivirus and firewall both seem a bit similar that
offers the mechanism for protecting the computer from internal and external
threats. However, a type of attack might differ in both cases. The firewall
blocks unauthorized and untrusted programs for gaining access to communicate
with a computer, but detection, recognition, and removal is not what it
performs. Rather, it prevents and restricts outgoing/incoming traffic so that
it does not reach the system. But, Antivirus identifies, detects, as well as
removes malware (malicious program) from a computer.
With the above-mentioned information, a person will
wonder how he can get the instructions on locating firewall and antivirus
software. The cyber world is now expanding at an astonishing rate. Thereby, it
becomes really confusing when it comes to identifying the best antivirus and
firewall as a part of the cybersecurity strategy. Furthermore, one cannot opt
for an antivirus along with the firewall software because the operations
performed are different that are exceptional.
In a nutshell, there is an important difference
between firewall and antivirus software. The antivirus removes the corrupt
files by detection through deleting or isolating them but the firewall
safeguards the malicious information from entering a system. Knowing the
difference between both the software will enable a person to understand what
they will need for their system.
A lot of people are unaware of the dissimilarity
between a firewall and antivirus and are often confused between these 2 terms.
Yes, both of them are part of Cyber Security methods that safeguard the system,
but they are poles apart in terms of their work and operation. It is relevant
for you to gain some knowledge about it in order to make a well-informed
decision and buy the best cyber security solution for home or office.