In the realm of cybersecurity, Firewall and Antivirus are two words used interchangeably. Both are used to protect the software and hardware of a system. In comparison, both firewall and antivirus applications are intended to secure a network of PCs from internal and external threats. However, there are fundamental differences between a firewall and antivirus software. One of the key differences between antivirus and firewall is that antivirus is a software app, while a firewall can be hardware or software or both.
Most people do not know the difference between a firewall and antivirus. However, people need to know that there is a different vulnerability between the two. Firewalls help control network traffic by acting as a barrier for incoming internet traffic, whereas antiviruses protect systems against internal security with protection systems.
The key emphasis of firewalls is inspecting information that flows from the internet to the system, while that of antiviruses is examining malicious programs through procedural steps that include identifying, detecting, and removing. In this blog, TechNinjaPro will explain further the difference between an antivirus and a firewall.
What is a Firewall
A firewall is hardware or software or a combination of both to secure and protect a private computer or a network of systems. This protection is achieved by allowing legitimate internet traffic and filtering all unauthorized users from accessing private networks and computers. A firewall in a PC is a type of cybersecurity tool for information security by detecting and blocking out all attempts at unsolicited access. A firewall acts as the first line of defense in network security and blocks data packets that do not conform to its set of rules.
Functions of a Firewall
- A firewall acts as an application proxy, commonly referred to as an application-level gateway.
- The key function of a firewall is packet filtering.
- Management functions.
- DPI, Deep packet inspection, and firewalls.
List of Firewalls
- Palo Alto
What is Antivirus
An antivirus is a software app installed to protect it from malicious viruses and malware from the internet and external sources. A firewall cannot protect a PC from a malicious virus attack, which might corrupt or disrupt the system. Hence, installing an antivirus app on PCs is always suitable to take care of this security aspect.
Functions of Antivirus
An antivirus app works on the three-step principle mentioned below:
Detection: An antivirus detects a virus or an attempt to infect the system with a malicious virus that can create some damage to the system.
Identification: An antivirus then tries to identify the virus, type of virus, and its characteristics.
Removal: After detecting and identifying a virus, an antivirus removes the virus from the system. It can also quarantine the virus so that it can create no further harm.
Difference Between an Antivirus and a Firewall
Firewalls and antiviruses are two different cybersecurity tools for securing the systems. Now, let’s have a look at the difference between antivirus and firewall.
A firewall can be hardware or software or a combination of both.
An antivirus is a software app, and no added hardware is needed.
All data packets coming into the PC are vetted by the firewall, which looks for authenticity. Only authorized data packets are allowed access to the system
Antivirus is not meant for such authentication of data or users.
A firewall deals with external threats from unauthorized users.
An antivirus protects systems from threats from within and camouflages files sent from outside in numerous formats.
A firewall is a bit more complex and expensive than a simple antivirus app, especially for big enterprises needing multi-layer data security.
An antivirus is less expensive than a firewall.
A firewall protects the entire network from threats related to malicious data packets from unauthorized users.
An antivirus protects at an individual system level.
A firewall protects both software and hardware by blocking suspicious users.
Antivirus protects the software and system information by detecting and deleting infected files.
A firewall is the outer layer of protection to filter malicious data packets, but it is sometimes possible to bypass a firewall. For example, when information is accessed from a flash drive.
In such cases, the antivirus can protect your system by scanning for infected files.
Despite many antivirus and firewall differences, for a comprehensive and robust security system to be in place, most businesses go in for the installation of both tools to plug all vulnerabilities.
From the above antivirus and firewall comparison, it is much clear that both are essential cybersecurity tools, and when used in tandem, they can have a significant benefit in protecting a system network from multiple threats. Antivirus and firewall are both seemingly similar that offer a mechanism to protect a system from internal and external threats.