What Antivirus To Buy __TOP__
1. Norton packs in everything but the kitchen sink (opens in new tab)Norton's antivirus products offer a password manager, unlimited VPN data, identity theft protection, parental controls and even online storage. If you're willing to pay, you'll get almost every kind of digital security you could ever need.
what antivirus to buy
2. Bitdefender offers the best value in antivirus software (opens in new tab)Bitdefender Antivirus Plus combines great malware protection with an assortment of useful features and an easy-to-use interface, all at a very affordable price.
All of Norton's antivirus products offer excellent malware protection, and the once-heavy system-performance load is much lighter. The number of extra features each program has varies, but the sweet spot in the lineup is Norton 360 Deluxe.
It includes a password manager that works on all major platforms, unlimited VPN service, dark-web personal-data monitoring, parental controls and up to 50GB of online storage space. Two other offerings, Norton 360 Premium and Norton 360 Platinum, give you more online storage and expand the antivirus and VPN coverage to 10 and 20 devices, respectively.
If you want full-on identity protection, Norton offers three bundles with varying degrees of LifeLock service and even more online storage. Their subscription prices run well into the triple digits, but still cost less than if you were to buy the identity protection, password manager, cloud-backup storage and antivirus software separately.
Unlike some of the other best antivirus software makers, Norton doesn't offer a file shredder, file encryption or secure web browser with any of its products. Yet every other digital-protection service you could possibly ask for is included with at least some of its bundles.
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is our top choice among entry-level antivirus products. It has very good, if not perfect, malware-detection scores. Its active scans don't add much to the background system impact, but that background load is a bit heavy.
The premium antivirus suite, Kaspersky Total Security (19.99 UK/$44.99 US), adds backup software, parental controls, file encryption, a file shredder and an unlimited password manager. We think it's the best antivirus software you can buy today.
The multi-device licenses of those two security suites also come with an identity-protection service. But none of the McAfee products have a secure browser or webcam protection, which you often get with other premium antivirus programs.
However, none of Trend Micro's programs include a two-way firewall or webcam protection, standard with other brands' midrange offerings. Nor does the premium product have the cloud storage or backup software that some of the best antivirus brands add as extras to their flagship packages.
ESET is one of the biggest antivirus names in Europe, with a very small system-performance load and fast scans. Its malware-detection rate used to be kind of meh, but has improved markedly in recent lab tests.
Free antivirus software used to offer subpar protection while being full of ads and suggestions to upgrade to a paid antivirus program instead. Now though, Kapsersky offers a free version with excellent malware protection. (Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition has been discontinued, although Tom's Guide readers can still download it using this link (opens in new tab).)
A merger between Avast and AVG created a combined malware-detection engine that is much better than the sum of its parts. Likewise, Microsoft Defender Antivirus is now one of the best free antivirus programs out there and it comes built-in with both Windows 10 and Windows 11.
Microsoft's built-in antivirus software is now a heavy hitter. While Windows Defender, aka Microsoft Defender Antivirus, doesn't quite beat Norton or Kaspersky in malware-protection lab tests, it comes out ahead of Avast, AVG and most other free antivirus products while operating almost entirely behind the scenes.
You won't be getting many extra features with Windows Defender itself, yet Windows 10 does have parental controls, a gaming mode and protections for its own Edge and Internet Explorer browsers. There's no built-in VPN, but you also won't be bothered by pop-ups trying to upsell you to paid antivirus software.
We still recommend going for Kaspersky Security Cloud Free, which has even less of a system impact, better malware protection and more useful extras, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with using Windows Defender as your primary antivirus solution.
That's too bad, because Kaspersky Security Cloud Free is the best free antivirus product we've ever tested. We've never seen such a combination of excellent protection and extra features in a free antivirus program.
Compared to premium paid antivirus programs that are big, heavy and loaded with extra bells and whistles, Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition is like a '60's sports car, stripped to the essentials but still providing plenty of power.
It's the best free antivirus software if you want a security solution that you can set up and then forget about. It's also perfect if you need to protect the computer of an elderly relative but don't have time to manage antivirus software from afar.
Avast Free Antivirus has the best assortment of extra goodies of any free antivirus program, including a hardened browser, a gaming mode, a Wi-Fi network scanner and a recently added ransomware shield. (Unfortunately, the unlimited password manager has been discontinued.)
However, Avast Free Antivirus caused a pretty heavy system load in our testing and its scans took a long time. It also kept nagging us to upgrade to Avast's paid antivirus protection, and played bait-and-switch with features that looked like they were free but weren't.
The good news is that AVG's wide range of customization options and its file shredder and system optimizer are still available, and its interface is open and easy to use. The bad news is that like Avast Free Antivirus, AVG AntiVirus Free constantly bugs you to upgrade to paid antivirus software.
What's the difference? Unlike antivirus software, Malwarebytes Free can't prevent a PC from being infected. But it does an excellent job of cleaning out malware that's already on your system, as well as removing (legal) adware and potentially unwanted programs that antivirus software often ignores.
Malwarebytes Free doesn't interfere with any antivirus software that's already installed, so it's perfectly safe to install it alongside one of our recommended brands. (Just don't upgrade to the paid Malwarebytes Premium, true antivirus software that does poorly in lab tests and which will conflict with other AV programs.)
Most vendors offer single-device licenses for Windows PCs. But multi-device, multi-platform licenses for five, 10 or more computers and mobile devices are available in midrange and premium antivirus packages, covering Windows, macOS, Android, iOS and sometimes even Linux. Some vendors offer plans that cover an unlimited number of devices.
Gone are the days when you could walk into a store and pay a one-time fee for an antivirus product that came in a box off a shelf. All the vendors now sell their software licenses as yearly (or multiyear) subscriptions. The upside is that you'll always get the latest software, which you can download and install straight from the internet.
Many antivirus products are sold online for much less than their list prices. However, each brand offers basic, midrange and premium configurations of features and pricing, with every step up adding more features.
Our evaluations are based on the interface, performance, protection and extra features that each antivirus program offers. Was the interface intuitive and user-friendly? How much did malware scans slow down system performance? How well did the program detect and remove malware? Does the program offer other useful tools or features?
As for malware detection scores, we used results from three independent testing labs: AV-TEST (opens in new tab) in Germany, AV-Comparatives (opens in new tab) in Austria and SE Labs (opens in new tab) in England. Each lab puts the products from all of the major antivirus brands through stress tests which involve thousands of pieces of malware including hundreds of new samples since unknown malware is more difficult to detect.
But ultimately, relying on any one app to protect your system, data, and privacy is a bad bet, especially when almost every antivirus app has proven vulnerable on occasion. No antivirus tool, paid or free, can catch every malicious bit of software that arrives on your computer. You also need secure passwords, two-factor logins, data encryption, systemwide backups, automatic software updates, and smart privacy tools added to your browser. You need to be mindful of what you download and to download software only from official sources, such as the Microsoft App Store and Apple Mac App Store, whenever possible. You should avoid downloading and opening email attachments unless you know what they are. For guidance, check out our full guide to setting up all these security layers.
Hackers don't just make money by selling your personal information. They can use that data to buy things fraudulently, compromise your credit score, drain your bank account, and generally wreak havoc on your and your business's financial life. Adding antivirus software to your computers is the least you can do to protect yourself. Other things you can do to protect yourself include installing anti-malware software, using a VPN, improving your password, and setting up two-factor authentication on your devices."}},"@type": "Question","name": "How Much Does Antivirus Software Cost?","acceptedAnswer": "@type": "Answer","text": "There are free options of antivirus software, but you get better protection and more features with a paid subscription. Paid versions offer features such as VPN, password management, and parental controls. Prices range from $20 to over $100 a year, depending on the number of licenses, the number of devices you want covered, and the features you prefer.","@type": "Question","name": "Is It Worth Paying for Antivirus Software?","acceptedAnswer": "@type": "Answer","text": "Free AV software has improved greatly over the years, and anyone using Windows 10 or higher already has free AV software that works pretty well. Free is good if all you want is software that detects malicious software, blocks it from doing damage, and scans your system. But paid versions will offer protections on web browsing, protect identity, or offer VPN services, as well as password managers and parental control across multiple devices and operating systems. These services are becoming more essential as more people are working remotely or using a single device for work and personal computing.","@type": "Question","name": "What's the Difference: Antivirus Software vs. Antimalware?","acceptedAnswer": "@type": "Answer","text": "Viruses are designed to replicate and spread. Malware is a catchall name for all types of malicious code aimed at damaging a computer or network. All viruses are malware, but not all malware is a virus. AV software identifies threats through signature detections based on what's already known in the signature database. The two types of defense software complement each other, but the two are different and protection against both is necessary for true protection."]}]}] When you visit the site, Dotdash Meredith and its partners may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. Cookies collect information about your preferences and your devices and are used to make the site work as you expect it to, to understand how you interact with the site, and to show advertisements that are targeted to your interests. You can find out more about our use, change your default settings, and withdraw your consent at any time with effect for the future by visiting Cookies Settings, which can also be found in the footer of the site. 041b061a72