Antivirus, Anti-spyware, Ad blocker – What does it all mean?

071514-laptopWe spend a lot of time on this blog warning you about security risks and updating you about new viruses and other forms of malware. There’s an easy way to protect your computer – install software designed to catch and handle attacks on your computer.

Which kind do you need? Here are some definitions of the types of software that can protect your computer.


Antivirus software is designed to detect and destroy, disarm, or remove malware. Most do it all: Various kinds of viruses, worms, ransomware, Trojan horses, adware, and spyware. (What do these terms mean? Read our blog post defining them.) You’re probably most familiar with antivirus software – you’ve heard of most of the big names: McAfee, Norton, Windows Defender, and Bit Defender, to name a few.


Anti-spyware software aims to detect and remove spyware, and like most antivirus programs, it can be set to rescan your computer on a schedule. Spyware is malware that gathers information about a person or organization without their knowledge. Anti-spyware features have been added to most antivirus products, but a few common programs that focus on spyware include Spyware Doctor, Ad-Aware SE, or Spybot.


Ad blocking software does exactly what its name implies: It blocks or filters ads online. Most modern browsers have the ability to block pop-up ads, probably the main reason users look for ad-blocking software. To block other kinds of ads – embedded audio and video, animations, or programs like Flash and Windows Media – you can get browser extensions or add-ons that will do the job for you.

You’re Not Done Yet …

Installing antivirus, anti-spyware, or ad-blocking software is just the first step. These programs need to be updated in order to remain effective. New viruses and malware is being released all the time, but the software can’t detect these new threats if it hasn’t been updated regularly.

Not sure where to start or what to install? Let PNSolutions help! Contact us today to discuss your security needs.

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