Antivirus Vs. Virus – What’s The Difference? (Beginner’s Guide)

You have probably heard that you need to protect your computer from viruses and other bad stuff that may harm your computer. These terms can be confusing at first.

Let’s make sure you understand the basics to stay safe.

Is Antivirus a Virus?

Antivirus is not a virus. Antivirus is a type of software you install on a computer to protect you from viruses. But sometimes you can get infected with viruses from bad antivirus programs that claim to protect you.

Now that we know what antivirus programs do we will take a closer look at what you need to be safe.

What’s the Difference Between Viruses & Antivirus?

Antivirus software is designed to detect and remove viruses from computers. Antivirus is not an antidote to the virus, it’s a program that will run on your computer to find any bad software (like viruses) and make sure they don’t do any damage on your computer.

So, in order to keep your computer free from viruses, you will need an antivirus program.

Antivirus programs are designed by programmers to keep you safe. They keep themselves up to date on all the security threats out there to make sure their programs are doing a great job at protecting the computers where the program is installed.

You typically pay a one-time fee for antivirus programs or you can pay a monthly (or yearly) fee.

The reason why you should expect to pay for antivirus programs is that they need to be maintained and updated regularly. The thing is that new viruses and bad programs are being designed all the time in order to exploit and steal private information.

So the companies that create the antivirus programs need to stay on top of this and that cost manpower.

They need to employ a team of highly educated people to stay on top of this and update their antivirus software all the time so it also takes the latest threats and viruses into consideration.

Do I Need to Protect My Computer from Viruses?

You do need to protect your computer from viruses. Newer computers do a better job of keeping viruses out but new viruses are being developed constantly so it’s important to have a good antivirus program installed to stay safe.

Some people will say that newer computers are so safe that you don’t need an antivirus program to check for viruses. But the fact is that every day new viruses are being launched that are designed to harm your system or steal your data.

So, it’s still critically important to stay protected.

There’s also a lot of talk about whether you need antivirus programs for a Macbook Computer. This debate will probably never end and it really comes down to how you use your computer.

6 Signs That You Need av Antivirus Program

If you don’t know whether you need an antivirus program or not we have put together a list of things you should run through.

These are some of the most common use cases where we believe you would need a good solid antivirus program on your computer.

  1. You don’t feel like you know when to spot a bad link online
    Viruses typically infect our computers after we click on a “bad link”. This can be a link on a website or inside an email. It can also be a link on Facebook or on a forum.
    When you click a malicious link it will either take you to a page that can cause harm to your computer or it may install bad software to your computer directly as a download.
  2. You have had gotten viruses previously
    If you have a history with viruses and you tend to get them again and again it’s really important that you get some protection from a good trusted antivirus software provider.
    This is a clear sign that you have a tendency to click on malware and get bad stuff installed unto your system.
  3. You tend to click on links in emails from senders you don’t recognize
    If you feel like you are the gullible type or you just like to think the best of all people you might need protection online. NOT everyone online means you well. There are many threats online and it’s important to stay cautious.
  4. You use your computer to access your bank data
    If you use your computer to access your bank account and you don’t know exactly how to stay safe online you should also make sure you don’t go online without a good antivirus program.
    Your bank data is always a target for IT hackers, and the same goes for other types of personal data like your medical data and even your Facebook data.
  5. You use your computer on public wifi
    If you like to bring your laptop to cafes, airports, restaurants, etc. you need to make sure you have a good antivirus protection software running at all times.
    In this case, you also need a VPN. You can read more about that here in our article about how VPNs protect you from hackers (together with antivirus software).
  6. You would consider yourself a beginner at “computer stuff”
    If you would categorize yourself as an online novice you definitely need an antivirus program. That goes for everyone who learned to use computers at a late stage in life and anyone who still has a hard time figuring all these things out.

How Do I Protect My Computer from Viruses?

You protect your computer by installing a trusted antivirus program. There are good and bad antivirus programs and even programs that are presented as antivirus programs that do, in fact, contain viruses. It’s important to be critical and not choose any antivirus program.

Notice that not all antivirus programs are “created equal”, so to speak.

There are many examples of bad antivirus programs that end up causing more harm than good. This can be on purpose or due to a lack of competence from the company behind the programs.

It might not be intended by the company.

In a second we will look at a list of antivirus vendors that all have a pretty good reputation in the market. They are the big antivirus companies that have been known for putting out a good solid product that they keep updating.

Here Are the Big (Trusted) Antivirus Companies

There are MANY big antivirus providers out there. There are also many good antivirus companies that you can trust to have the best intentions.

Here’s a list of some of the biggest and trusted antivirus companies:

  • Norton
  • Avast
  • AVG
  • Panda
  • Avira

The list could be much longer but we believe you only need a good handful to make an informed choice. It can get really confusing to compare these companies as their products are very similar in nature.

Most of these vendors have free trial periods or even completely free programs you can use.

It’s super important to be cautious whenever anything on the internet is free. (Nothing online is never truly free). Make sure to read our article here about free antivirus software before you make any decisions.

Do Antivirus Companies Make Viruses?

In general, antivirus companies do not make viruses. Antivirus companies create programs to protect computers from viruses. However, there are good and bad antivirus programs and it’s important to only use a trusted antivirus program to avoid getting infected from the antivirus program itself.

There have been examples in the past where antivirus programs did more harm than good.

Many people have speculated whether the bigger antivirus companies may be behind some of the many clever viruses out there. After all, they would benefit from it and it would be easy to build the solution into their system so only people who don’t run their protection software would get infected.

But when you think about it, it doesn’t make much sense.

At least when we talk about the big trusted companies (check the list above).

Remember that these companies employ a long list of highly-trained IT professionals who have devoted their work-life to fight viruses and malware. If any of those employers were to hear about such a scam they would definitely blow a whistle somewhere.


Was this article helpful? Like Dislike

Click to share...

Did you find wrong information or was something missing?
We would love to hear your thoughts! (PS: We read ALL feedback)