Antivirus Software Reviews
If you're in the market for strong and efficient antivirus software then look no further. The names may actually surprise you-this isn't your grandpa's list of computer security, big names like McAfee rarely are surprisingly absent. We're in the midst of a new age of computer security with clouds, online backups, and other new technologies and the threats are innovating too. There are close to a million new malware programs released each day.
You need the type of antivirus software that plows through all the infections and corruption to deliver you a powerful computer cleanup. Whether you're an advanced user or just beginning, many of the programs we list here have a simple setup and installation. That means you don't have to worry about constantly updating the software, running scans, or stressing out about suspicious files.
Antivirus Software: What to Consider
Before choosing antivirus software to protect you devices, take these important questions into consideration:
- How simple and easy is the installation?
- What kind of infections does it remove? Malware or viruses or both?
- Do virus scans slow down your computer? How long does it take to scan?
- Can you customize scans?
- Is technical and customer support readily available 24/7 if you have an issue?
- Does it offer phishing protection?
- Do you own a PC or a mac? Viruses are a bigger issue on PCs and some common antivirus software isn't available for Macs.
Meet the Best Internet Security Providers
- Easy to install on any computer, infected or not
- Effective at removing malware
- 100% Identifies new threats
- Phishing protection
- Scans for insecure settings
- Long scan time
- Pricey, but comes with 3 licenses
Kapersky Anti-Virus is our top pick for virus protection and this well-rounded product has you covered in all areas. And at $59.99, it is competitively priced. This software protects your PC from viruses, bots, spyware, phishing malware and more. Kapersky's installation process is very fast and shouldn't take more than a few minutes. However, you should expect the average scan and cleanup to last about 45 minutes, which is on the longer side.
Malware detection and elimination is one of the areas in which Kapersky shines. When tested, the product typically detects and blocks about 89 percent of malware on a PC in its first scan. And the product typically eliminates the majority of remaining malware in subsequent scans. You would be hard-pressed to find a superior program for malware outside of those specifically produced to only remove malware. Kapersky Anti-Virus also steers users away from phishing websites. When you log-on to a fraudulent website designed to log-in to your accounts, an alert pops up on your screen alerting you of the risk. If you want anti-virus protection that has you covered in nearly every facet, you can't go wrong with Kapersky Anti-Virus.
- 24/7 technical support
- Malware blocking and phishing protection
- Secure browser for financial transactions
- Remote management
- OS Rescue doesn't require CD
- Cleanup can take a long time and may cause some collateral damage
Bitdefender is another strong product. At $59.95 per year and $79.95 for three licenses, it is a bargain too. Bitdefender protects you from online threats, social media hazards, viruses, spyware, phishing as well as dangerous attachments in e-mails and instant messenger chats. Bitdefender is stuffed with features that protect your PC from a multitude of threats. The primary features introduced in the newest version of the product are Bitdefender Central, which is a security hub used for managing multiple devices with the tool installed (Windows, Mac OS X, Android) from a web interface. The second is Ransomware Protection, which prevents hijackers from encrypting and deleting your private data in order to use it as a ransom against you.
Bitdefender's installation process is very fast as well. Once installed, Bitdefender gets right to work and a diagnostic scan begins to determine your computer's security status. Once completed, Bitdefender enters its default Autopilot mode. In Autopilot mode, the program silently and constantly scans your computer and browser for threats and you'll never notice it. So, for instance, if Bitdefender detects a threat while you're using the computer, it quietly quarantines the threat without any notifications popping up. Furthermore, Autopilot mode adjusts to how you use your computer. Whether you're working, playing a video game or watching a movie, Bitdefender adjusts to do its job in the least intrusive and distracting way possible. Moreover, Bitdefender detects about 93 percent of malware on a machine, which is outstanding.
- Identity theft protection options
- Online back up
- Reasonably priced
- Doesn't include anti-phishing
- Can sometimes flag good programs
ZoneAlarm offers anti-virus and anti-phishing protection for PCs and recently they’ve begun to specialize in protection against mobile threats. If you are just looking for low maintenance, basic protection, they offer free anti-virus software and free firewall protection. You can also upgrade to their premium software for more robust security. Their mobile security is currently only available for Android users.
- Multiple tools for removing malware
- Blocks outside threats to your computer
- Stay safe on social networks
- High scores in test labs
- Email scanning
- Only helpful for viruses and malware
- The more protection and security you want, the more you pay
Norton is probably the familiar name in this group. Norton's anti-virus products are the most well-known and probably the most used. At $89.99 for a 10 licenses, Symantec Norton may be the best value out there. Especially considering that it is a cross-platform suite which allows you to use it on multiple devices. Malware detection is where Symantec Norton really shines. When tested, the product detected about 93 percent of malware, which matches Bitdefender for the top score. Phishing protection is another area in which Symantec Norton is top notch.
While not quite at the level of Kapersky, this virus protection software adeptly identifies fraudulent websites and notifies you as soon as you enter a potentially dangerous website. Furthermore, if your email provider does not automatically filter out spam, you can set Norton to do it for you. The program can quickly and quietly clean up all your email accounts once this feature is enabled. Norton incorrectly filed just 0.5 percent of valid e-mails as spam and missed about 5.6 percent of spam. However, it should be noted that Kapersky and Bitdefender score a bit higher than Norton in regard to spam detection. Both of these products misfile fewer e-mails and miss less spam. Symantec Norton does offer a few other helpful features such as Norton Identity Safe, which is essentially a password manager that stores your information and fills out your web forms. In addition, the product also configures your network and Internet permissions for good and bad programs. Norton destroys known bad programs and also monitors the behavior of new or unknown programs. The program's behavior based detection system automatically activates if it detects any strange behavior from new or unknown programs.
G Data AntiVirus
- Great malware blocking
- Manage startup programs
- Uses two engines for scanning
- Flags possibly harmful programs
- Online and offline security
- Hard time cleaning up already infectious malware
- Varying phishing protection
- Its two engines can cause problems on some systems
G Data Anti-Virus is another solid choice to protect your computer. It's another well-rounded product that offers protection from malware, adware, viruses, phishing and more. In addition, it also scans incoming emails for viruses as well your own outgoing emails to ensure that you aren't sending out anything malicious. And at just $29.95 for a year and $39.95 for three licenses, it is one of the best values on the market. Where G Data really shows is its value is in malware and spyware protection. In tests, G Data has excelled in its ability to protect against new malware, its ability to detect known malware less than 90 days old and in its ability to detect malware that is older and widespread.
G Data receives top marks in each of these areas and detects a bit more than 93 percent of malware. However, G Data's scans can take quite a bit of time (up to 80 minutes per scan) and it doesn't feature any sort of autopilot mode like Bitdefender features. In comparison, the average scan using one of the preceding products clocks in at about 30 minutes. Additionally, G Data blocks users from phishing sites and protects you while banking online. The product also includes an emergency DVD that helps users boot and clean an infected PC. The product also includes antivirus for Android phones as well, which is helpful. While G Data is certainly a fine product and well-priced, it isn't as strong as the previously mentioned products. You should feel protected using it, but not quite to the same degree you should if you purchased one of the other products.
For most of us, purchasing a good computer is a fairly significant investment. You will often spend over $1,000 on your machine and spend a great deal of time using it either for work or recreation for two or more years. This makes protecting your investment of the utmost importance. Which, in turn, makes selecting the best anti-virus software of the utmost importance. What you can reasonably afford is obviously the first consideration. You likely spent a reasonable amount of money simply purchasing your new PC, so it's understandable if you are hesitant to spend a bit more. But, like we said earlier, buying a computer is an investment of sorts so you'll want to spend enough to reasonably protect you and account for your internet usage.
Once you find a few products which you consider affordable, you'll want to ensure that the product is compatible with your machine. There are a number of products out there that are exclusive to Windows or Mac. Furthermore, you'll want know how long each scan takes. Ideally, a single scan shouldn't take much more than half an hour, though the times may vary. Moreover, you will want to know and understand your product's features. Firewalls, anti-spyware, anti-malware, anti-phising and anti-spam are the primary features you will want to research. You should tailor your considerations to what you will primarily be using your PC for. If you plan on sending and receiving a large amount of e-mails, anti-spam will likely be one of the most important features for you.
Conversely, if you do a lot of online shopping, anti-phishing will likely be most important to you. The key for everyone is finding the most well-rounded product which best addresses your needs. Lastly, you will also want to be aware of how many licenses you get with each product. If you have four devices but your preferred product only offers three licenses, you may want to consider another one.
Antivirus software is important today. Having efficient computer security not only gives you peace of mind but it keeps your sensitive information safe, as well as files with strong emotional value such as digital photo albums or long conversations with a friend online. We did the research and we read what the customers think. After weighing the pros and cons, decide which one is right for you.