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Differences Between Internet Security and Antivirus Programs

Differences Between Internet Security and Antivirus Programs

Antivirus software protects you against viruses, spyware, phishing, and all other sorts of malware. Basic security is offered in a single, relatively versatile program that doesn't include many extras. Typically, antivirus programs are built around their virus scanner, which can automatically or manually identify and remove threats. Their real-time protection features constantly guard against most, but not all dangers arising from the Internet.

Internet security suites almost always include antivirus features along with a range of cybersecurity tools that aren't concerned with viruses or malware. These include a firewall, a spam blocker, a secure browser for online banking and shopping, as well as mobile anti-theft measures. A password manager, parental controls, and a VPN are also common. These are usually embedded in a dashboard or offered as stand-alone programs.

Put simply, antivirus programs are a type of Internet security software, but not all Internet security tools are antivirus software. This means that Internet security suites offer more comprehensive protection than antivirus software alone.


Most antivirus programs are included in comprehensive Internet security suites that give users much more than just basic virus protection. Decide which features are important to you when making your choice: Anti-theft measures? A password manager? A VPN? Cloud backups? Parental controls? The list is endless. Not every suite offers everything, and more is rarely better, at least in terms of performance.

Our Top 5 Internet security suites deliver the best overall packages with only minor limitations. Be sure to check out our detailed reviews for 15 of the most popular antivirus and Internet security solutions to find out more.


What's the difference between an antivirus program and Internet security software?

Antivirus software protects against viruses, spyware, phishing, and other types of malware. Internet security suites, in addition to antivirus scanners, can include firewalls, protection against spam, a password manager, or secure browsers for online banking or shopping.

Do I need Internet security software?

Since Internet security is a broad term, whether you need it depends largely on what your goals are. For those who want to enhance their antivirus or real-time protection capabilities with other security features in a single software package, we recommend looking into Internet security suites.

What's the best Internet security suite?

In our comprehensive review series, Bitdefender took first place owing to its excellent desktop and mobile apps, high level of security, features, numerous customization options, and solid support. Finding the best Internet security software depends on your individual needs and which features you'd like. Another important factor to consider is your budget.

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