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The 10 Best Antivirus Programs

Antivirus Program
1 BitDefender Antivirus Plus In a time when you find all kinds of free antivirus software everywhere, the annual fee involved in BitDefender antivirus plus might make it less appealing initially, but trust us, you’d get plenty of bang for every buck you spend on this tool.

The engine that runs this security solution is by far the most reliable and accurate piece of software on the Internet today, and has also been approved by a great multitude of third-party testers and reviewers.

BitDefender’s web filtering feature prevents you from accessing malicious websites, and you get a secure web browser that ensures complete safety of your online financial transactions. You’re offered a password manager as well that auto completes your credit/debit card details in the web forms.

The solution has an efficient anti-phishing module which alerts you whenever you come across malicious links in the search engine results. Thereafter, it blocks your access to all such dangerous websites.

Although it might conflict with a few programs on your system and grab more amount of resources (compared to other antivirus solutions), BitDefender antivirus plus is among the best when it comes to performance optimization, detection rates and bonus features.

BitDefender Internet security on the other hand builds on the features of AVP and offers antitheft features, firewall, file encryption, antispam and parental advice on three times the number of devices. Strangely, it costs less than the BitDefender Antivirus Plus. In fact, if you can stretch your budget a little, you could invest into the Total Security 2018 edition of the product that offers multi-device protection, including Mac and Android.

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2 ESET NOD32 Antivirus This one’s an expert-level antivirus for even the most seasoned computer users. While ESET NOD32 antivirus doesn’t offer a huge variety of features, it in no way comes short in terms of its power. It’s just that it’s more focused on the antivirus fundamentals. You get real-time malware protection, exploit protection, prevention from attacks that use malicious and PowerShell scripts, URL filtering for blocking malicious websites and an anti-ransomware layer.

The device control module of ESET NOD32 limits the infection risk from other devices, as it controls access to optical storage media, USB drives, external hard drives and even devices connected through FireWire and Bluetooth. Even though it seems like an unusual extra, it can make a huge difference if others keep plugging their devices into your system on a fairly regular basis.

Please note, ESET NOD32 antivirus is not targeted at beginner-level users. If you’ve no clue about antivirus software, you might find its interface slightly clumsy. Some of the features are pretty advanced level and you might not find even the ‘Help’ feature useful in that regard.

On the other hand, experienced users would really appreciate the ESET NOD32’s configurability and power. The above-average protection offered by it does an excellent job at keeping you safe; and its lightweight design ensures that the package doesn’t slow you down.

ESET’s Internet Security edition builds on the NOD32 and offers additional protection, in terms of antispam, web cam protection, botnet protection, firewall and more on three times the number of devices. On the other hand, you could also invest into the Smart Security Premium edition of ESET, for a little extra. It provides everything detailed above, as well as secure data and password management.

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3 F-Secure Antivirus SAFE This one’s an excellent collection of multiple antivirus software tools, and despite being slightly more expensive than other antivirus programs, the number of features it offers makes it worthwhile.

When you invest into F-Secure Antivirus SAFE what you get is a brilliant antivirus product from F-Secure, as well as family safety tools, banking protection (while online shopping), a device finder which helps you track lost iOS/android device (with the ability to remotely delete or lock it too).

While people say that F-Secure Antivirus SAFE generates a good number of false positives, especially compared to the competition, how it impacts you depends on the way in which you use your computer.

Its interface is particularly impressive and the software is very easy to use. It’s so light that you can just leave it by itself and focus on the other computer tasks. The program doesn’t have any negative impact on the system performance, and even if there’s something that needs intervention, it can be handled with no more than a few mouse clicks.

On the whole F-Secure Antivirus SAFE serves as an appealing antivirus package which is lightweight, quick and run smoothly alongside different security tools, without causing any conflicts.

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4 Kaspersky Antivirus This one’s a slightly stripped-back security package that focuses heavily on the core security aspects of the computer. Web filtering keeps out the dangerous URLs, smart monitoring technology tracks and reverses any malicious actions and its accurate antivirus engine efficiently detects and removes any threats.

On the whole, whatever’s offered by Kaspersky works extremely well. Many experts have found it to be amongst the most efficient software at malware blocking, in terms of finding and removing them. Kaspersky is very easy to use too. It offers a well-designed interface that has just the right number of options and buttons. While they’re not too basic, they’re not intimidating or complicated either. You get a good number of on-screen instructions making it easy for you to understand how things work. Even the beginner-level computer users can feel at home instantly!

If you’re after a consistent, reliable and accurate malware protection, Kaspersky antivirus software is just the right antivirus program for you.

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5 Norton AntiVirus Basic The Norton AntiVirus basic version is top-notch malware hunter that can deliver automatic computer protection for your computer, despite offering a good number of settings, options and tweaks to those who require a certain bit of customization. All these aspects make Norton AntiVirus Basic one of the best antivirus software suites of the present times.

While the URL blocker feature safeguards you from malicious websites, its file reputation service is widely-talked-about and is capable of instantly recognizing any suspicious downloads. In the rare event that a malware still finds its way through to your system, the antivirus software has intelligent behavior monitoring skills that get into action at any sign of trouble.

If you’re someone who’s more a hands-on type of user, you’re free to run the scans anytime you want. Perhaps, you could set up and save some custom scans on specific areas, depending on your requirements. The scans can even be scheduled at a certain time of day or night, when your system is idle, and is not running on the battery power.

However, please note, the bundled-in software - Norton Identity Safe even though is a very efficient password manager, it can sometimes give problems with certain browser extensions. The chrome version of it might stop working all of a sudden, without any reason. But it’s not mandatory for you to use the Identity Safe feature. All other main functions of Norton AntiVirus basic deliver very well. The software comes highly-rated by a large majority of testing labs, has various configuration options for experts, is easy to use and has been carefully developed to have least impact on the system performance.

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6 AVG Ultimate Rated very highly by a good number of expert reviewers, AVG ultimate comes across as a solid security suite that’s definitely worth considering. As there are unlimited installs offered with this antivirus product, it offers excellent value for money (especially to families).

The product features a built-in firewall, a web shield and a file shield apart from a ransomware module and several other defensive layers that keep your computer constantly protected from all possible threats and angles.

In addition, it offers many different kinds of system scans including a comprehensive DVD/USB analysis. If we talk about the value-added extras, you get a driver updater, a VPN service and an integrated password manager. PC Tuneup is another attractive inclusion that comes free of cost with it. Having an overall next-generation feel to it, AVG Ultimate is rapidly becoming the most preferred antivirus software in every home across the US as well as in other parts of the world.

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7 McAfee Total Protection Many people might think that the ‘Total Protection’ in this product’s name is a huge claim, however, if you look closely you’d find that this antivirus tool from McAfee does exceptionally well at living up to its promise on many different fronts. McAfee is counted amongst the oldest companies in antivirus business and their Virus Protection Pledge implies that if your computer does get infected by a virus, despite the product, their engineer will remotely access your system and help you get rid of it. You also get unlimited installs with this product, which is definitely an excellent value for the money spent on its purchase.

With McAfee total protection you also get a Vulnerability Scanner which regularly downloads the latest versions of your applications, apart from the antivirus scanner, and email and web protection features. Also bundled in is an efficient password manager.

The ‘My Home Network’ provides you with an impressive overview of your network, allowing you to instantly see if there are any unauthorized devices connected.

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8 Panda Antivirus Pro URL filtering to keep malicious websites at bay, ultrafast cloud-based scanning, real-time malware detection, Panda antivirus Pro has everything going right for it, and has every feature you’d expect from a top-rated antivirus software.

But that’s just the beginning! The antivirus program has a two-way firewall which ensures complete system security. Its application control system is capable of figuring everything that runs on your PC, and can stop even some of the latest and undiscovered malware. You get a virtual keyboard which you can use to enter any confidential data, without any fear of it being intercepted by the key loggers. The software also provides a tool with which you can create a bootable USB rescue drive, capable of removing even the most dangerous and stubborn threats.

While the Panda Antivirus Pro firewall does an excellent job at securing you with its firewall, seasoned network users might not find it as efficient as the standalone firewalls. However, that’s a small price to pay for such an excellent piece of antivirus software.

The product is extremely easy to use. All options are organized in a very straightforward manner, just like the Windows 10 interface, with the main modules being only a click or two away. There is also no need for the firewall to be aware of anything more than your current network location – public, work or home.

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9 Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security This one’s a fairly capable antivirus tool that is extremely easy to use and has above-average antispam features. Other than that you get an effective ‘Folder Shield’ module that is very efficient at blocking ransomware.

Top testing labs on the Internet rate it very highly on the protection front, despite it giving a fairly large number of false positives. Other services report that it’s extremely accurate and there are no issues with the false positives at all!

If at all you find any problem with Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security, it’s most likely to be with the performance impact. The product is not rated very high on that parameter. However, if you interact with real users, their experiences with regard to the performance impact are slightly more favorable. They find its protection levels to be quite similar to that of BitDefender, with the false positives being only marginally higher.

If you do wish to use Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security, it’s highly recommended that you take it for a test ride first, using its 30 days free trial period. Its attractive bonus features and high detection levels might make it just the right antivirus software for you (as long as you’re unaffected by any performance impacts).

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10 Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus While every antivirus program claims to be lightweight today, Webroot SecureAnywhere is the only one that delivers exceptionally well on this front. You can install it in a matter of few seconds, with the program files consuming no more than 2MB space on your hard drive! There aren’t any bulky signature updates and the RAM footprint is also very small.

Talking about its features, quite unexpectedly there are no compromises at all! Apart from the basic antivirus protection, the software provides accurate real-time anti-phishing, smart behavior monitoring, network connection monitor, a firewall and an enhanced anti-ransomware, apart from many other interesting extras.

While it might not make sense to compare the accuracy of Webroot SecureAnywhere with that of the big competitive products, as none of the big testing labs have evaluated its offerings regularly, but whenever they’ve done it, they’ve found this tool scoring pretty well.

There is plenty to like about this antivirus software, apart from its features too, for instance you get a 70 days’ comprehensive money-back guarantee, which shows extreme confidence of the developers in their product. If you’re sick and tired of bloated and super-complicated antivirus engines, Webroot would come a breath of fresh air to you! On the whole, it definitely deserves to be on your shortlist!

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antivirus program

While a large majority of Windows users feel that they shouldn’t have to pay for the antivirus programs, a great multitude of android and Mac users believe that they don’t require any protection at all. Although the high-profile of Windows makes it a more prominent target, the reality is that android and Mac OS/OS X users are equally vulnerable to virus and malware threats.

The number and kinds of cyber threats that exist out there implies that protecting your computer is all the more important these days. However, picking the right tool to do the job can be a big task. There are so many options in the market that you might find it very difficult to pick the right one for your needs. That’s the reason we’ve created the ranking list of the top antivirus programs (above), to make that job easier for you.

All security companies position and market their products in a manner that they seem to be the best. But who should you trust?! While you can easily pick any of the above detailed 10 antivirus programs, we’d also like to acquaint you with the process of selecting the best security product. Following are important factors you must keep in mind:

Go for all-inclusive protection

If we look back at the 90s, having an excellent security product meant that you could just do with any simple antivirus program. However, these days an excellent security product goes far beyond antivirus protection. It also efficiently provides protection against: cybercrimes, ransomware, censorship, third-party monitoring, apart from firewall protection and much more.

A comprehensive security product should include different security layers that can efficiently keep you safe from the modern-day cyber threats. While it must perform well against the conventional malware types, it doesn’t mean that your system should be left open to ransomware infection. The latter can be more damaging than any conventional virus. Hence, when you go out looking for the next best security solution, it’s important to opt for something that offers all-rounded protection. The antivirus program must provide protection against all types of threats including: viruses, trojans, spyware, ransomware, web threats, network attacks, root kits, adware and worms.

Look for reliability

When it comes to picking the best antivirus solution, the most important criteria you cannot afford to miss is its reliability. If your antivirus program is reliable enough, it would:

Offer up-to-date protection – No point buying a solution that uses outdated and old malware definitions. Online threats evolve on a continuous basis and so should the antivirus products. A good and reliable antivirus product would update itself on a regular basis, usually many times per day.

Protect without causing any conflicts – The program mustn’t conflict with other important programs on your system. In case there are any potential conflicts, it should ask you to remove those programs first.

Automatically do security scans – A reliable security solution would enable you to automate the anti-malware scans. This way, you can schedule the scans depending on your work schedule.

Prevent unwanted termination of its processes – Powerful malware are designed in a manner that they tap into the weaker areas of an antivirus program. Some of these malware might try terminating the antivirus program and take complete control of your system. It’s important for a reliable security product to always prevent any such unwanted termination.

Look for performance impact

By their very nature, security products are programs that require a good amount of computing resources, to efficiently do their job. As you might expect, the computing power needed by them is far more than an average audio player for instance. This is an area where all antivirus developers try to find an edge, by minimizing their product’s impact on your computer’s resources and performance. These programs would get the job done even if your system isn’t the most high-end one. From the performance perspective, an efficient security product should:

Minimize the impact on performance – A security solution would be no good if it slows down your system. It should have the ability to use your system’s resources in a manner that it doesn’t negatively impact your computing experience, in terms of responsiveness and overall performance.

Minimal impact on the boot time – The antivirus program shouldn’t adversely impact the boot time of your system, and it should remain as fast as prior to the installation of the product.

Swift scanning – Good antivirus programs are much faster than others with regard to the scanning and removal of malware threats.

Make effective use of the bundled tools

A lot of antivirus programs come with additional bundled tools apart from the core security modules. These may be things like parental control tools, encrypted storage option on the cloud, password wallets etc. While all these bundled tools shouldn’t be your first consideration when you go out looking for a security solution, they can definitely make you tilt slightly towards a product that offers them for free.

For instance, if you’re a frequent international traveler and take your laptop with you, an antivirus solution that includes a free of cost VPN service would be more beneficial compared to a solution that comes with none. On the other hand, if you’re a parent and are offered two similar antivirus programs, but one provides you with a free-of-cost parental control module, you’d obviously go with that one.

When given a choice of multiple security products, with one or more of them having additional bundled tools, you must check if those tools are: really useful, security oriented, free-of-cost and without any risk of harming your privacy or security.

Pay heed to the usability aspect

A top-rated security solution must be easy to use for both seasoned as well as new computer users. It implies that the program should be:

Easy to navigate – The program must make it extremely easy for you to navigate through its various settings, menus, tabs and windows.

Easy to use on different touchscreens – We all know that the days of plain old monitor are passé. All modern-day computers come equipped with touch screens that make interacting with them easier and quicker. Hence, more and more people are using touch to control the workings of software. A good antivirus product must be compatible with the screens and should have checkmarks, large buttons, all types of switches, tiles and so on. It should have control elements which can be easily handled by the touch of your fingers, and not just the mouse.

Easy to comprehend – Regardless of how easy it may be to navigate through an antivirus program’s user interface, it won’t solve any purpose if you don’t understand 90% of the things. The offered configuration options must be easy to understand for all level of users.

Easy to locate documentation – All top-ranked security products make documentation access very easy for the users. After all, what’s the point of including ‘help’ documents if they can’t be located easily?

Open to giving you complete control of its functioning – While majority of people look for security solutions that don’t require any intervention, some people might want to customize such solutions based on their specific requirements. If that’s you, the security product you’re looking at must provide you with comprehensive control of its functions.

Be prepared to seek support

There’s nothing in this world that can be termed as perfect, so you should be prepared to call for help whenever something doesn’t work as expected. That’s the reason you must pay heed to the support options before deciding on any specific antivirus solution.

In most cases, the developers of best antivirus programs are big IT security companies that provide a wide range of support options. So, whenever you face any issues with their products, you must be allowed to write an email to them, have a live chat with one of their support executives or call up their support service for direct help. None of these options should come at a cost, over and above what you’ve already paid for the product.

Go by the reputation of the developer

Although it might sound a bit conservative, it cannot be denied that the best antivirus solutions are usually offered by only the big names in the IT security industry. Investing into an antivirus solution offered by a company with solid reputation in the market is any day safer than going with an unknown entity.

Be cost aware

You might think that all these criteria are fine, but do they all hold the same importance as the cost of the antivirus program? While many people opt for less expensive antivirus solutions, which is often considered an okay approach, please note, it isn’t always the best.

When it comes to antivirus products, you must seek lowest-priced products only if they adequately meet your security requirements. There’s no point buying a cheap antivirus software if it doesn’t protect your data from all the threats out there!