It’s easy to jump to the conclusion that once you’ve installed anti-virus software, your computer is now protected from all security problems and there is no need to take any further action to protect it. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Anti-virus and firewall software run in different ways, to cover different bases. Neither is foolproof, but both have vital roles to play in your computer’s security.
What is Anti-Virus Software All About?
The job of anti-virus software is to scan your computer for any traces of malware, and then remove it. This includes detecting viruses in your files or programs, worms in your system memory or Trojan horses in your software (programs that appear to be useful but in actuality are destroying or stealing important information). Your anti-virus software exists to detect all of these threats and make sure that they do not take over your computer.
Anti-virus technology is pretty comprehensive for what it does – but the protection it provides is reactive, rather than proactive.
What is a Firewall All About?
A firewall, on the other hand, seeks out malware that is trying to cross over from the internet into your system. It is like a defensive barrier and all information passing through undergoes a security test. If it doesn’t meet your firewall’s guidelines, then it will be denied access to your network.
While anti-virus software removes existing threats, a firewall stops threats from reaching your computer in the first place.
Why Do I Need Both Anti-Virus & a Firewall?
If your firewall is there to prevent malware from reaching your computer, you might well assume that anti-virus software is a little redundant. Why the need for a double layer of protection?
In reality there are gaps in the protection provided by your firewall. It is impossible for it to read information that is arriving on your computer via email attachments, and hackers are constantly thinking of new and clever ways to bypass the firewall system. Untrustworthy downloads or unsafe applications that you install from social media all continue to pose a risk to your computer’s security. However careful you are, it is impossible to know that every email you open is safe.
Your firewall is there to deflect hackers and malicious data from entering your computer’s system. If a virus, worm or Trojan does manage to bypass your firewall’s filters, this is where your anti-virus software then steps in to detect the malware and remove it from your system.
Ensuring that you have up-to-date anti-virus software running on your computer is essential for the security of your system. Nevertheless, there is no such thing as a “perfect” anti-virus or anti-malware technology. A firewall is an excellent way to have an additional layer of protection – because the risks of losing, crippling or destroying your computer are not worth it. You can never be too safe.
How safe is your online behavior? Check out this great advice about using free downloads and find out if you are not making the “online safety” cut.