With nearly 90% of all desktop devices running on Windows, it should come as little surprise that this is the target for many cyber criminals. After all, why attack a smaller target when you could take down the biggest?
Fortunately for Windows users, the technology behind the operating system is constantly tweaked and upgraded to improve security and prevent malware attacks. Unfortunately, if a device does become infected, the user could stand to lose a lot more than just their PC.
The best free antivirus for Windows 10 might be able to help you out to a certain extent, but it is important to remember that malware is inherently destructive and some of the worst attacks have caused billions of dollars worth of damage and emptied bank accounts across America. This is why having the best antivirus for PC is so important.
In This Article:
The Top Antivirus For Windows
#1 McAfee – The Best Antivirus for Windows
With threats like the formidable BlueKeep bug around, it’s time to invest in the best and get McAfee to watch your digital back for you. McAfee offers comprehensive antivirus protection at a competitive price while adding in plentiful extras and customizable features.
It may not be the easiest to install or the fastest to scan but, when it comes to protection, McAfee is the equivalent of a hardshell alpine climbing jacket, compared to Windows Defender, which is more of one-dollar poncho from Walmart. To be fair, Windows Defender has improved a lot in recent years, but it’s still not a patch on McAfee as the best antivirus windows 10 service.
Using artificial intelligence and sandboxing technology, McAfee is able to detect and destroy worms, viruses, ransomware and other forms of malware before they can even set foot in the sacred realms of your Windows PC.
McAfee’s Total Protection is a cybersecurity suite designed to operate on Windows and created to combat everything from the most common to the previously unknown, zero-day threats. It includes an encrypted storage vault for your sensitive files, a password manager, parental controls in the form of its Safe Family feature, and additional identity theft protection.
With all the necessary bells and whistles, McAfee’s premium product certainly offers the best protection, although some users, especially those operating older versions of Windows, may find it rather sluggish. But, as your mom probably told you, it’s safety first, even in cyberspace.
A great all-rounder, McAfee is one of the best antiviruses around, utilizing the latest technology to protect your Windows device and prevent infection. If you feel you’ve read enough already, you can subscribe to McAfee here, otherwise, you can find out exactly how it’s bells and whistles operate by reading our full review.
#2 AVG – The Best Free Antivirus for Windows
If you really do want some extra protection against malware threats and cyber crimes but really don’t want to pay for it, then AVG’s free antivirus is a reliable option. Although the free version is limited compared to AVG’s premium package, Internet Security, which is the equivalent of McAfee’s Total Protection, it nevertheless offers multilayered malware protection and key security features, like protection against phishing attacks.
When the first AVG product was released 20 years ago, few were aware of the multiple billion dollar industry cybersecurity would become but throughout those two decades, AVG has been at the heart of it. While AVG’s free product certainly won’t let you down, its latest premium package offers the entire spectrum of cybersecurity protection for a Windows device.
AVG Internet Security includes robust ransomware protection and safeguards any Windows device against malware infection. It will also optimize your device’s performance, protect your Webcam against peeping Toms and hijackers, and ensure the only online shopping sites you visit are both safe and secure. It also comes with an enhanced firewall designed to keep the virtual wolves from your digital door.
A much lighter weight product than McAfee, AVG runs more smoothly on older operating systems and won’t interfere with your device’s performance or speed when scanning. Fortunately, AVG performs without a hitch most of the time and getting started is as streamlined as the installation process itself. This is a good thing as the one area that AVG disappoints is customer support. With no live chat support available to free users, all you have to go on is the online help sections and customer forums. Overall, however, AVG is an effective and functional antivirus and its free version is proficient at keeping the worst cyber threats at bay.
AVG’s paid products are comparable with McAfee’s when it comes to both features and technology so signing up for AVG certainly isn’t a bad idea. If you want to find out more about what makes AVG one of the best antiviruses for PC, check out our full review.
#3 Avast – The Best Range of Antivirus Software for Windows
Although AVG and Avast are owned by the same company, the products have their own distinguishing features. Like AVG, as one of the best antivirus windows 10 service, Avast has everything from a free basic product available to the most sophisticated cybersecurity.
While Avast’s free antivirus includes just three features, compared to the 13 included in Avast Ultimate, it still does an excellent job of protecting your Windows device against a range of cyber threats, from malware to phishing, ransomware to hackers.
All Avast’s products use sophisticated technology to filter, detect and combat infection, including machine learning to detect unusual behavior and CyberCapture which puts the device into a state of quarantine if it identifies a possible malware threat.
Avast’s Ultimate package is one of the most comprehensive antivirus software packages for Windows, incorporating an advanced firewall, a safe sandbox to test out new apps, anti-phishing protection, ransomware security, webcam protection, a password manager, and even a VPN. In some respects, Avast would do better at limiting its range and leaving things like VPN protection to the experts. Nevertheless, it offers cutting-edge antivirus protection with some powerful extra features.
Like AVG, Avast is a lightweight app that works efficiently in the background without disrupting normal operating procedures. An intuitive interface makes all Avast’s products simple to operate, although it, like AVG, is also somewhat lacking when it comes to free customer support. If you’re willing to pay the extra for premium technical support, however, it’s a different story and Avast will do practically everything for you via a virtual assistant.
With an impressive range of lightweight products, Avast is definitely producing some of the best antivirus solutions for Windows 10. Not convinced? Then check out our full review here.
Is Windows Defender Worth Defending?
Every Windows device comes with various inbuilt security features, including Windows Defender. Over the years, cybersecurity experts have loved to hate this particular feature, but recent tests conducted by AV-Comparatives show a marked improvement in Defender’s performance and ability to detect and remove cyber threats. Nevertheless, Defender scores still languish far behind the test results achieved by our top three antivirus products for Windows.
Fortunately, even Windows appears to be aware of its security shortcomings and has made adjustments to Defender that allow other antivirus products, like McAfee, run alongside it, giving users the best of both worlds. Although Windows Defender is constantly being patched and tweaked just like any other software, those improvements don’t always go according to plan.
Last month, a Windows update caused conflicts within the system, preventing both Windows Defender Application Guard and Windows Sandbox from opening on some devices. As a result, some users would have been operating without proper protection, unless they had an additional antivirus app running.
Incidents like this are rare, however, and it’s fundamentally Windows Defender’s poor performance when it comes to identifying potential threats and its habit of throwing up false positives that makes it struggle to compete with the likes of McAfee and AVG.
Protecting Yourself Against the Latest Windows Vulnerabilities
Despite Windows’ May 2019 update, hackers exposed a serious vulnerability in a Windows protocol that could compromise millions of devices. It’s believed that the BlueKeep bug is still present in nearly a million computers worldwide.
By exploiting a vulnerability in the Remote Desktop Protocol, BlueKeep is believed to have the potential to cause as much disruption and damage as the WannaCry ransomware that broke out two years ago. While a patch has already been released to combat the vulnerability, some experts say the cybersecurity world was too slow in its response. Nevertheless, McAfee has already developed its one remote code execution, which was no mean feat, and, according to McAfee’s head of advanced threat research, Steve Povolny, required “a set of unique skills”.
The patch is available and operating, however, other malware removal tools designed specifically for eradicating BlueKeep can also be downloaded free of charge. Another piece of encouraging news is that antivirus software like McAfee and AVG detected the threat and managed to keep it at bay. Despite that, McAfee supported Microsoft in its appeal to users to patch, saying, “We can confirm that a patched system will stop the exploit and highly recommend patching as soon as possible”.
With so many PC users choosing Windows as their preferred operating system, it’s little wonder that this huge target attracts so many cyber attacks. Although Windows is constantly updated and its inbuilt security features vastly improved over recent years, Windows Defender is far from being the best antivirus for PC.
It’s important to understand that, even if you never stream or visit an unsecured website, your device is still susceptible to attack and, without an additional antivirus program to backup Windows Defender, you leave yourself and your operating system vulnerable to a wide range of cyber threats.
Malware infections have the potential to compromise your device and access sensitive data which could mean you lose your favorite photographs, the contents of your bank account and even ownership of your own identity.
Taking precautions against cybercrime is essential in the current digital era and the best antivirus Windows 10 service is a vital aspect of that defense. Given the extent of protection McAfee’s Total Protection and AVG’s Internet Security offer, spending a few dollars a month to safeguard your PC makes economic sense. A premium antivirus will give you multiple layers of protection and additional security features like spam filters and system scans.
In other words, only will the best antivirus for Windows, McAfee, give you excellent protection against malware, but it will also give you greater control over your children’s internet usage and enable you to effectively manage your passwords and limit vulnerabilities.