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The Difference Between Antivirus and Anti Spyware

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You should always make sure your computer is protected from viruses and other sorts of malware. There is a vast variety of tools out there which help you secure your devices, and most of them are quite easy to install and use. They work in different ways and have their own categorizations, depending on the scope and technique of their defence.

While antivirus software might be the most common tool, anti spyware software is also becoming increasingly important. This is because of the focus on data protection these days, and the danger of malicious persons spying on your data and using it for nefarious purposes.

Therefore, it is clear that there is a need for effective protective measures on your computer. If you protect your devices, everything from your social media accounts to your Spectrum TV portal will be secure. But do you need antivirus or anti spyware programmes? Or do you need both? You can answer these questions once you know the difference between the two and how well they can serve your needs.

What Is Antivirus Software?

Antivirus programs cover a wide range of hazards such as viruses, malware, spyware, keyloggers, rootkits, computer worms, etc. They scan your computer on a regular basis to detect any threats or any file that seems harmful.

Then, it destroys and removes these threats, so that your computer experience remains secure. You can also enable deeper scans that go into the minutiae of your computer to find any possible threats. With most of your work being online, there’s a constant risk of viruses and malware entering your system. Therefore, a strong antivirus programme is essential.

Examples: Kaspersky, Norton Antivirus, Bitdefender Antivirus Plus

What Is Anti Spyware?

Anti spyware programmes are basically software applications that detect, remove, and prevent spyware in your computer. Spyware refers to malicious programmes which track your online activity and gather your information.

These malicious programmes attempt to steal your information without you knowing, and anti spyware software prevents this from happening. These have become quite important, particularly in this age where most of your information is somewhere on your computer or online. Anti spyware might be sold as separate programmes, but is often packaged with security suites.

Examples: SpyHunter, Spyware Terminator, Malwarebytes

What Are The Differences?

There are a few key differences between antivirus and anti spyware programmes. These differences are not meant to put one above the other, but can help you decide what to choose for your security.


The biggest difference between the two types of software is the scope they cover. Anti spyware programmes are specially designed to just tackle spyware and remove it. On the other hand, antivirus software has a much wider scope.

It detects most security threats, from viruses and worms, to spyware and malware. If you are working in an extremely data-sensitive field, a strong spyware programme is a no-brainer. However, in most other cases, antivirus software will protect your information satisfactorily.


Both antivirus and anti spyware programmes have their own techniques to do their job. At the most basic level, antivirus software will scan your hard drive in intervals, and will detect and deal with any threats there.

On the other hand, spyware looks specifically for any suspicious spying activity, and will check resources like your registry and start-up folder to see if spyware is already there or not. Both of these software perform constant scans and deal with any threats they detect in their own ways. Their scanning frequencies may differ, depending on the software you choose.

READ ALSO: Best Antivirus For 2022


If you’re using your computer as an individual in just a regular and casual way, a decent antivirus programme will work quite well for you. However, if you are working in a field where you need to protect company data and client data, you need to make sure you have the maximum protection against spyware. In that case, you’ll probably need a strong anti spyware programme in addition to your antivirus software.

When it comes to general requirements, you need to see the features of each programme and determine what they all cover. If you find a solid antivirus programme that also has good anti spyware features, you won’t have to install both. However, if data is an extremely sensitive point for your company, then you might need both


In conclusion, both antivirus and anti spyware programmes have their own applications. Depending on your needs, you can have either just an antivirus software, or both. You just need to evaluate your requirements accordingly.


Hannah George
Hannah George
I have been working as a content writer for a Digital Marketing Company and has developed a necessary understanding of the field. Apart from working on campaigns, I also work as a freelancer and a fashion blogger.


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