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Firewall vs. Antivirus: What’s the Difference?

Published: October 08, 2023 on our newsletter Security Fraud News & Alerts Newsletter.

In today's interconnected world, cybersecurity is more important than ever. Businesses of all sizes face the threat of cyberattacks, and the stakes are high. A successful attack can result in the loss of sensitive data, financial damage, and reputational damage. Fortunately, there are a variety of cybersecurity solutions available to help businesses protect themselves. By investing in these products and services, businesses can defend themselves against a wide range of threats, such as viruses, malware, and SQL injections.

What is a firewall?

A firewall filters traffic between two or more networks. It is used to protect an organization's internal network from external threats such as malware, hacking, and denial of service attacks. Firewalls can be implemented in a number of ways, including by using network address translation (NAT), application-level gateway (ALG), and stateful inspection.

So, why do I need antivirus?

Antivirus software is designed to detect, prevent, and remove malicious code from computers and devices. These products are typically used to protect against computer viruses, which are malicious programs designed to replicate and spread across an entire network. However, antiviruses can also be used to protect against other types of malware, including spyware, adware, and ransomware.

What is the difference?

A firewall is responsible for monitoring traffic to and from your network. It blocks or allows traffic as per specific security rules set up by the IT department of your organization. A firewall can be implemented as hardware, software, or a combination of both. Antivirus software, on the other hand, is designed to detect and remove malware from your computer, or prevent it from making its way onto it in the first place. Firewalls primarily work to prevent unauthorized access to your network, while antivirus software helps to protect your computer from malicious software.

Both firewalls and antivirus software are important tools for keeping your computer and network safe, but they work in different ways. It is important to have both a firewall enabled and antivirus installed on your computer, and kept up-to-date at all times. While a firewall is typically deployed within the IT side of your organization, they are also available on most home operating systems too; and usually they are enabled by default. It’s best to leave them that way and let them do the work for you. Antivirus, however, may require some action from you, depending on how your company works. At home, just set it to automatically update. At work, however, ask your IT department or manager if some action is needed for your workstation.

By working together, these two tools can provide comprehensive protection against a wide range of threats.

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