The difference between antivirus and antispyware/malware software

Windows security threat expert Kevin Beaver provides a thorough description of the differences between antivirus and antispyware/malware software.

Could you give me a thorough description of the difference between antivirus software and antispyware/malware software? How do I know if what is infecting my computer is a virus or spyware/malware?
Generally speaking, antivirus software can search for and protect against viruses, worms, and Trojans. Antispyware is usually a separate piece of software that searches for and protects against pesky pop-ups that install spyware, potentially dangerous cookies, Windows registry entries, etc. Both are needed to adequately protect a Windows system and you'll need to install/run both to search for pests that may be causing you problems.

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This was last published in April 2006

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