Before many people have the doubt to question about the difference between a firewall and an antivirus, they got both of them totally messed up. People usually assume an antivirus as a firewall and it is very common today simply because paid antivirus comes with a firewall as well.
Personally I was one of the victim of messing those two up when I was a young teenager. However I begin to spot the difference between them when I changed my antivirus from a free edition to another free one, which is AVG antivirus to Avast antivirus.
The reason I made the switch was not because of the firewall thing, but I was just having a hard time removing a malware from my computer with AVG antivirus. I then try out other antivirus and come across Avast antivirus where it finally got my job done.
I was impressed and so I begin to read about the specifications of Avast antivirus and get to know that Avast antivirus Home edition does not provide a firewall!
What is the Difference Between an Antivirus and a Firewall?
The main scope of an antivirus is to disinfect an infected computer. Most antivirus comes with a real-time protection where it will scan for any incoming data in real-time and warn the user when there is any suspicious activity.
Once they have the permission from the user to authorize the disinfection duty, the antivirus will either quarantine or delete the infected file.
This basically describes the role of an antivirus and the drawback here is, it can be too late at times. Cleaning up the mess after the infection is not really the best method.
That is why firewall will comes into the security strategy where it will try to prevent any malicious software from accessing the computer. Unlike the antivirus, the antivirus will only take action either during the infection or after the infection.
A firewall instead will prevent the malicious software by asking the user for the permission whether it should let certain files or data to access the operating system. You can put it in the way where a computer firewall is just like the Great Wall of China.
As you might think I am trying to boast about the cool stuff of firewall, you are wrong about that. A firewall has its drawback as well where it does not have a good disinfection capability. That is why antivirus and firewall can work very well together simply because they don’t share the same role.
Do You Really Need Both Antivirus and Firewall?
If you ask me, I would say why not have both? Firewall is not an expensive software. You can easily a good one such as ZoneAlarm Firewall for around $20 dollars now. If you are on a really tight budget, a free one can do the job as well such as the Comodo Firewall.
However do consider on the pros and cons before downloading and using it. If you are using Windows Vista and above, you can rely on the Windows firewall but at least not for me.
I had bad experience with Windows XP firewall’s security and preferred to stick with a third-party one. As a conclusion, I highly recommend that we should use both antivirus and firewall in our operating system in order to achieve maximum security.