An antivirus is a vital part of protecting both the health of your PC and your personal identity. Buying online without identity theft protection, for example, could well compromise more than just the health of your hard drive. Want to know the very best antivirus software the market has to offer this year? Here’s our definitive list.
Despite having been in business for over 25 years, Norton clearly hasn’t chosen to rest on its laurels, and continues to produce antivirus software that features almost unrivaled detection rates and a comprehensive set of functionalities.
The Symantec Online Network Response (SONAR) reporting network beams updates out to computers as often as once per hour. And it’s also some of the best virus protection currently available: Norton almost achieved top marks in the latest AV-TEST evaluation, scoring a stellar 17.8.
Other areas the program achieves top marks in include its phishing protection, considered the best in the industry, and the user interface, which is now features a slick and intuitive layout that is a far cry from what it was in days of yore. There’s a lot to be said for the value of experience, we think. The fact that Norton brings over two decades of it to the antivirus game and is still doing it right alone warrants it a spot on this year’s chart.
Please read our extensive Norton Antivirus Review here
If you’ve got a lot of devices that need protecting, we think that McAfee is a particularly suitable choice. The software allows you to protect up to ten devices on one license, which is a lot more generous than what some of the alternatives are offering.
If ransomware protection is what you’re really after (those programs that hijack your system and then demand money to let you back in), McAfee’s a particularly good option. The company operates a Threat Intelligence Exchange to help users get ahead of emerging threats in this department.
Because McAfee users are often rolling it out for the whole family, we also liked the simple, slick UI, that makes it obvious which devices have been properly protected and which have not (those that have are emblazoned with a green arrow symbol). Those focused on identity theft protection (and who isn’t nowadays?) will also take comfort in the comprehensive system cleanup options that the system includes. These allow users to conduct a deep-level clean of system files for optimization (including the Windows registry) in addition to cleaning out browser histories that are often prime sources of identity leaks for malware that have gained system access.
To further secure the system from the grips of viruses and malware, McAfee has put together a nice vulnerability scanner that prowls through the program list and identifies programs in need of a patch or update. Because outdated software are easy to attack vectors, this is an important means of bullet-proofing your system. This is one option that takes deep-level system protection seriously.
Please read our extensive McAfee Antivirus Review here
What makes TotalAV special? In contrast to Norton, this is one of the newer kids on the block – TotalAV only came into existence last year. So why do we like it despite its newer pedigree?
For one, the platform supports quite a vast array of platforms, including some of the more exotic options such as Chromebook (in addition to Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS). What’s more, the versions perform more or less equally well across all support platforms, including even Android. This makes it a great option for families with a broad range of devices to secure, including smartphones and tablets.
In addition, TotalAV also comes with some really nice extras that other providers skimp out on, including a full scale VPN and a password vault for storing sensitive login information (an important step to take if you’re starting to get serious about fraud protection). Users can also dive into the system boost functionalities to disable some services that could be causing performance lags during system startup. This is helpful for those operating slower hardware that need a kick in the right direction to get up to speed.
Overall, we think this is one new entrant to the antivirus fray that’s worth keeping a close eye on in years to come.
Please read our extensive TotalAV Antivirus Review here
If you’re relatively new to the world of anti-viruses BullGuard is a good choice – its simple user interface makes navigating its menus a breeze and it’s often recommended. In addition to its straightforward UI, BullGuard is also faster than most of the competition. Basic, quick scans can be performed in under two minutes while its footprint on system performance is generally light.
On the ransomware protection end of things, BullGuard also scores highly. The software includes a system called behavioral detection which attempts to identify emerging security threats based on patterns before they have been codified into a formal virus database.
What also makes BullGuard noteworthy is its spam blocker which is fully customizable allowing users granular control of what kind of messages are blocked from accessing their inbox. Besides being a nuisance, spam emails are a common vector for viruses. Although spam detectors are bundled with online mail clients such as Gmail, for desktop users, having adequate protection remains an important priority. The filter works in Outlook, Windows Mail, and Mozilla Thunderbird, providing options for all major operating systems.
BullGuard is a great choice for those looking for something simple but effective. The spam filtering is an added bonus.
Please read our extensive BullGuard Antivirus Review here
Kaspersky perhaps deserves to be thought of as the professional’s choice. The Russian antivirus provider takes keeping abreast of the latest cybersecurity threats so seriously that it runs a dedicated VirusDesk where cybersecurity experts pore over the latest threats being picked up across the user network. Although the company recently launched a free tool, power-users will almost certainly want to splash some cash to avail of some of the features that have won Kaspersky its hard-earned reputation.
In addition to its high-performing malware removal tool, which is regarded as best-in-class, Kaspersky takes phishing protection to the next level. Anti-spyware tools carefully guard access to webcams and microphones preventing unauthorized access while a virtual keyboard helps circumvent keyloggers’ ability to intercept data input during vulnerable times such as online banking and shopping.
The premium offerings also bundle five unique tools for detecting any dangerous activity on users’ computers including a System Watch tool that monitors system activity for suspicious behavior and can even undo changes it flags for users. Talk about futuristic!
Please read our extensive Kaspersky Antivirus Review here
What we think
The antivirus market has always remained a crowded space. But whether you need a powerful antivirus engine or want an extensive choice of whistles and bells like peripheral device control and built-in VPNs, any of the above options will be an excellent choice to help guarantee you the security that your system deserves.