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Difference between Firewall and Antivirus - The Complete Guide

Difference between Firewall and Antivirus - The Complete Guide
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What is a Firewall?

A firewall can be hardware or software or a combination of both that provides protection and secures a particular computer or a network of computers. It filters IP packets sent from the external unauthorized network to the computer. This protection is so strong that it allows only legitimate and authorized users to access the system.

A firewall is not a new concept used by cyber security analysts to protect various networks and systems for the last 25 years. A firewall is a network security technology that works as a shield between an internal network and external sources such as the internet, detecting and blocking digital data that do not follow its regulations.

What is an Antivirus?

An antivirus program is a type of software that protects a computer from harmful viruses and malware from both diverse sources. In most cases, a firewall will not be able to defend a system from a harmful virus intrusion that might interrupt or ruin the system.

As a result, antivirus software should always be installed on computers to ensure that this element of security is taken care of.

Difference between Firewall and Antivirus

A firewall is a security network that can be either hardware or software, or both, and is meant to protect computer systems and networks from harmful intrusions.Antivirus is a software utility application that protects a system against internal attacks such as viruses, trojan horses, spyware, and so on.
A firewall is referred to as a “packet filter” because it examines all incoming data packets for potentially malicious information.Antivirus scans for vulnerabilities in the computer system and makes the necessary adjustments to strengthen the system’s defenses against attack.
For the most part, a firewall’s job is to keep an eye on network traffic and prevent unauthorized users from gaining accessThe primary role of an antivirus is to search, monitor, identify, prevent, and eradicate any existential danger to the computer system.
A firewall protects against unauthorized invasion at the network protocol level.An antivirus will simply check the system for any potentially dangerous applications such as viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and so on.
One of a firewall’s drawbacks is that it cannot prevent internal assaults or attacks that evade its network coverage.Antivirus software has the drawback of not being able to check read-only files.
A firewall software called DEC Seal debuted commercially in 1992. Computer scientists Brian Reed and Jeff Mogul from the United States were the driving forces behind the development of the system.In 1987, a German computer security specialist named Bernard Robert Fix developed a tool to eradicate a virus from DOS-based system files that had become infected.

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Advantages of Firewall

  • Hackers and remote unauthorized access are prevented by a firewall
  • It safeguards information.
  • Privacy and security are given prime importance
  • It defends our system against the Trojans.
  • A network-based firewall, in general, such as a router, can protect many systems, but a firewall based on operating systems can only protect single computers.
  • Hardware firewalls do not interfere with any of the system functions

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Types of Firewall

Packet filters

Packet filters are also known by the name screening router and screening filter. It actually decides whether a packet should be forwarded or discarded based on outputs.

IP spoofing, source routing attacks, and small fragment attacks can all compromise the packet filters’ security. Dynamic packet filters and stateful packet filters are two complex types of packet filters.

Application gateway:

It is also referred to as the Proxy server. It acts as a proxy or substitute, controlling the flow of application-level communication while concealing the originating IP from the outside public.

Circuit gateway:

It’s identical to an application gateway, but it has some more features, such as the ability to create a new connection between itself and a distant host. It could also convert the source IP address into packets from the end user’s IP address. This is how the source’s original IP address is hidden.

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Functions of Firewall

  • It acts as an application-level gateway
  • Firewalls carry out Deep Packet Inspection
  • Packet filtering is the primary function of a firewall
  • Carry out Management functions
  • Stateful firewalls are different from stateless firewalls in that they are dynamic.

There are so many factors like risk profile, vulnerabilities, the criticality of the organization’s operational area, resources necessary, etc that decide the complexity level of the firewall.

Limitations of Firewall

One limitation of a firewall is that it cannot prevent internal attacks. Authorized attacks cannot be identified and prevented by firewalls. Some software firewalls can affect the performance of the system as it occupies RAM resources and can consume processing power.

Functions of Antivirus

Antivirus functions include detection, identification, and removal of viruses. This software conducts a detailed analysis of the system and scans the files and programs to detect and identify them, followed by deletion.

functions of antivirus

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Advantages of Antivirus

  • Virus protection and transmission prevention
  • Spam and advertisements are blocked
  • Anti-hacking and anti-data-theft protection
  • Protects against threats from gadgets that can be removed
  • Data protection
  • Spyware and phishing attempts are prevented by a firewall
  • Restrict websites to ensure more protection
  • Cost-efficient

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Generations of Antivirus

First: simple scanners (record of program lengths)

This can determine a virus only if there is a virus signature. These are signature specific and if any other virus attacks the system, this type of antivirus fails.

Second: heuristic scanners (integrity checking with checksums)

These generations of antivirus use a heuristic approach. It tries to identify code blocks linked to virus attacks.

Third: activity traps (memory resident, detect infected actions)

They are memory-resident antivirus software that tries to detect the patterns of working of the virus and not on the structure.

These are known as behaviors-blocking software which has many features like scanning and monitoring. This type of antivirus works along with the operating system and detects activities similar to virus-like patterns. Any action that is uncertain is identified. These types of antivirus give importance to the prevention of attacks rather than detecting the virus

Limitations of Antivirus

  • Only the CIFS (Common interface file system) protocol is supported by antivirus software, not the NFS file protocol.
  • It is almost impossible to provide antivirus protection to files that are being read and written at the same time.
  • It is impossible to run antivirus software on read-only files.

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Let’s wrap up by quickly summarising the main difference between antivirus and firewall.

A firewall protects our software and hardware but antivirus protects our software. We can simply say that antivirus is an unbiased person who treats all the software the same.

The firewall prevents the entering of malicious programs into our system. Antivirus also serves the same purpose along with removing infected files

A firewall secures your computer by preventing vulnerable packets on the port, whereas an antivirus eliminates damaged data at the file level.

IP spoofing and routing assaults are two approaches that have the potential to compromise security, particularly when it comes to packet filters (Type of firewall). In antivirus, however, once malware has been purged, no counter-attacks are available.

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