There are many options available to us to improve security when browsing the Internet and using any device. There are many threats that could affect our computers. Many types of malware that are designed to steal passwords, infect systems, collect information, hijack computers … To avoid all of this we can use security programs. Now, they are not all the same. In this article we are going to talk about the main differences between an antivirus and a firewall . Both can help us prevent threats from entering our computers.
Protecting equipment security is essential
As we have mentioned, there are many types of attacks that can compromise the security of our computers. Many threats that in one way or another could affect the proper functioning, serve as a gateway for cybercriminals and even control computers connected to the network.
Today our data has great value on the net. Hackers look for a way to steal information and then sell it to third parties and make a profit. They can include us in spam lists, send targeted advertising or even send personalized attacks.
To prevent this from happening we must protect the systems . It does not matter if we are using a computer or any mobile device. Whatever the case, the risk is present and can affect us. Therefore, we must have tools that adequately protect us.
That is where programs such as antivirus or firewall come into play. There are many more, but without a doubt these two options are the most popular. They are complementary, so that in the same team we can have both options. In fact, Windows 10, which is the most used operating system on computers, has its own antivirus and firewall.
Differences between antivirus and firewall
Both the antivirus and the firewall will help protect our computers. They are essential to prevent attacks, prevent malware from reaching systems, and prevent hackers from carrying out their strategies. But they are not the same. They have differences that we will explain.
What is an antivirus
An antivirus is a software that is responsible for scanning the system in search of threats. You can scan at a point in time or in real time. In this way, you would let us know in case you see something strange on our computer. For example, if when tracking it finds a malicious software, it would launch an alert for us to eliminate it or even automatically delete it.
We can say that it is mainly a security program at the software and application level. It will analyze the files that are on the computer, programs that we have downloaded, attachments that come to us by e-mail, etc.
The antivirus normally receives frequent updates. This way you can keep your database up to date and be prepared to detect new varieties of malware that may arrive. We already know that hackers constantly modify their attacks precisely to bypass security barriers.
Therefore, we can say that the antivirus is a software in charge of analyzing our system. It is responsible for detecting malicious software, processes that may be a danger, and threats in the form of malware. You can remove them directly or repair them if necessary.
What is a firewall
On the other hand we have the option of the firewall. It is also a very useful program to improve security. This time it is a tool that acts as a barrier to allow or not the entry of connections . It can inspect the data that comes from the Internet to a server and therefore prevents cybercriminals from sneaking into our network.
Basically what it does is block unauthorized access . We can configure it and create a white list of connections that we will accept. Also generate a list where we include certain addresses that we want it to block, but allow all the others.
It is especially interesting to offer greater protection to business networks. A firewall can be both software and a physical device. We can also use it at the home user level, of course.
In short, a firewall is more geared towards blocking dangerous connections that can affect our computers. It can be both a physical device and a program. It is an option to take into account to protect our systems and thus avoid problems.
How to use the antivirus and firewall correctly
Now that we know what an antivirus is and what a firewall is, we are also going to give some tips to use them correctly. A review of some aspects that can be decisive for these security programs to really protect our equipment.
Use reliable programs
Something basic that we must take into account when installing an antivirus or firewall is that it is a reliable program . On the Internet we can find a large number of options, both free and paid. However, not all of them are going to work equally well.
We must inform ourselves of the program that we are installing. We can search for data on the Internet, see comments from other users, etc. It is important that we install a tool that really protects us and does not have any kind of problem.
Keep your antivirus and firewall up to date
Of course, something essential for everything to work well is to keep your antivirus and firewall properly updated . Sometimes vulnerabilities emerge that can be used by hackers to carry out their attacks. Thanks to security patches we can correct these flaws.
But in addition, the new versions will allow an improvement in terms of performance. That antivirus or firewall that we install will be able to work better on our system, without slowing it down and causing failures.
Configure programs correctly
We must also properly configure security programs. Many of them have essential options to increase protection and reduce risk. We can schedule automatic scans, create whitelists on the firewall, etc. There is a range of possibilities that we can take into account.
Do a periodic review
Another issue to take into account is to carry out a periodic review to verify that both the antivirus and the firewall are going to work correctly. They may not be running a scan periodically or there may be a pending update not applied. Therefore, a check from time to time to see that everything works well is necessary.
In short, as we have seen there are differences between an antivirus and a firewall. In both cases, we are facing a tool that can help protect our systems, even if they function differently. We must always have this type of program on our computers and thus avoid risks.