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Difference between Antivirus Versus Firewall

Often times there are users who don't know the difference between antivirus and firewall. Both antivirus and firewall are mechanisms that provide security for a system. However, there is a difference in the two. Firewalls help to control traffic in the system by acting as barriers for incoming traffic, while antiviruses protect systems against internal attacks by perceiving or spotting any malicious files and viruses.

Comparison Chart

Comparison Basis Firewall Antivirus
Implemented in Hardware & Software Software ONLY
Operations Performed Monitoring & Filtering Scanning infected files & software
Concerns ONLY External threats BOTH Internal & External threats
Counter Attacks IP Spoofing and routing attacks None, once the malware is removed
Attack Inspection Malicious software in the system Incoming packets
Complexity Programming is highly complex Simple programming in comparison
Protection Saves from all kinds of threats to the system Only saves the system from viruses

What is Antivirus?

Antivirus is an application or software which is a security that protects the system from any malicious software that comes from the internet, be it an external threat or an internal threat as the antivirus works on both software and hardware. An antivirus always follows the same three steps in order to perform its tasks:

  • 1) Detection - The software will be aware of the attack and locates the source of the malware
  • 2) Identification - Recognizes the type of virus that is detected
  • 3) Removal - Removal of the infected file and any trace of it and restores the original backup file/program.

The limitation of an antivirus is that it only supports certain file protocols, and it cannot perform antivirus checking to read-only files.

What is Firewall?

Firewall is a more specified version of a network router. A firewall monitors and examines whether packets are allowed to enter or leave the network. All traffic must pass through the firewall, and only authorized traffic is allowed to pass.

The limitation of a firewall is that it cannot prevent any internal attacks that don't go through the firewall.

In conclusion, there is a significant distinction between antivirus and firewall software. An antivirus removes corrupt files through detection by isolating or deleting them, whereas a firewall protects anything malicious from entering the system.

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