Difference Between Firewall, Anti-Virus and, VPN-Explained!

More often than not, most people tend to forego the security of their devices for reasons of pure confusion.

With terms such as ‘Firewall,’ ‘VPN’ and ‘Anti-virus’ thrown into every conversation about cyber-security. The ordinary person is bound to get confused about what kind of preventive measures he or she should take against the arsenal of malware and cyber-crimes that might be targeting them.

Well, those people are in for a good time today. It is because mentioned below is everything you need to know about Firewall, VPN and Antivirus software. Moreover, you will also be able to differentiate them.

What is a Firewall?

In essence, a Firewall is a necessity for any computer. It’s an operating system and integrates the following features:

  • A firewall is any software or hardware that protects the operating from external intrusions and threats.
  • A firewall functions by surveilling incoming and outgoing traffic through a network.
  • It secures the operating system by blocking malicious program and preventing access to unsecured websites.
  • Firewalls allow certain packets of data to pass through by checking it against a set of rules.
  • Firewalls work on a predetermined set of rules, thus they cannot identify what is harmful and what is not, by themselves.

What is an Anti-Virus Software?

Antivirus software can be considered to be the first line of defense when it comes to your computer’s security. Typical antivirus software has the following features:

  • An antivirus works primarily by identifying and removing harmful and malicious threats.
  • Antivirus targets a much broader range of threats to a device’s safety. It includes trojans, viruses, malware, and spyware, to name a few.
  • The antivirus works to target threats by utilizing signature/code and behavior analysis, which allows the antivirus software to identify malware and threats.
  • The functions of antivirus software are usually provided through a third- party source.
  • To ensure that the antivirus program installed runs smoothly, users need to update it frequently. Failing to do so might open up vulnerabilities that were not present before.

What is a VPN?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) helps protect the user’s identity when they are online, and consists of the following features:

  • A VPN works by encrypting all of the network traffic of its users. It does so to prevent sensitive information from being seen by third-party sources.
  • While using a VPN, users can bypass certain geo-restrictions and access sites that are restricted in their country.
  • The VPN provides a level of anonymity to the user. VPN hides users IP address, which usually contains information about the user’s identity as well as their location.
  • VPN is also able to work on public Wi-Fi, which contains a significantly more significant number of threats than a personal or home Wi-Fi.

What are the differences between a Firewall, Anti-Virus, and VPN?

If you’ve made it this far in the article, you’ve developed a good understanding of how the three most common defenses against cyber-crimes and malware work.

However, as stated in the beginning, you might still be confused as to what software to install on your device.

To clear the air of any more doubts, mentioned below are the differences between the three preventive measures. It is hopeful that the information provided below will aid you in your understanding of the matter.

Difference between VPN and Firewall:

  • A VPN and a firewall don’t allow its users to impose or configure malware settings in the way that a Firewall does.
  • Moreover, the Firewall functions to block certain types of network traffic (as requested by the user), whereas the VPN works in a more general way and provides a secure ‘tunnel’ for the entire network’s communication.

Difference between VPN and Antivirus:

  • VPNs allow its users to forego the limitations put in place by governments or ISP. It enables the users to access restricted content, while firewalls and antivirus software don’t.
  • Antiviruses are designed to detect and prevent malicious software from corrupting a devices OS. On the other hand, VPNs encrypt all the network communication and provide anonymity to a certain degree.

Difference between Firewall and Antivirus:

  • A firewall can only block specific programs that it deems to be harmful according to the predetermined conditions configured by the users. However, antivirus software performs a full scan throughout the device and catches on things that a typical firewall might have missed.
  • Another less noticeable difference between an antivirus and firewall is that a firewall is implemented in hardware and software. Whereas an antivirus can only be implemented as a software.

So, where do you go from here?

Now, you’ve familiarized yourself with the differences present between a Firewall, VPN and Antivirus software. You might be starting to see some clarity between choosing what software you need to install to secure your devices.

Well, the answer to that question is pretty simple.

All of the software mentioned above, including a firewall, antivirus, and VPN, work best when they complement each other.

So, to amp up the security of your Operating System makes sure that you’ve got a robust firewall software. Also, antivirus software of the highest quality to protect your computer from malware and other threats, such as hackings, etc.

To maintain your anonymity while browsing through the web, or securing your privacy, you could use a VPN.

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