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Best antivirus software for 2023

Getting the best antivirus solution to protect your computers and mobile devices is crucial – new malware and viruses develop every day. Even everyday tasks like opening email attachments expose you and your data to the risk of identity theft, scams, and ransomware infection.

And so, if you’re a PC enthusiast with a powerful computer, you should do everything you can to protect your precious and costly device. After all, the security measures present in Windows and Mac operating systems aren’t enough against the latest cyber threats. You need to be wary of anything you download to maintain the security and privacy of your device – an antivirus can help with these tasks.

The cybersecurity experts at Cybernews conducted thorough hands-on tests on 25 services to uncover the best antivirus software in 2023 and help you choose the one that fits your needs best. Besides our firsthand experiences, these selections merge insights from autonomous labs like AV-TEST, AV-Comparatives, and SE Labs, along with our in-house trials for comprehensive evaluations.

Note: At Cybernews, we regularly test and research antivirus software to update this list with products that are of the highest quality.

Best antivirus 2023: Top 5 picks

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When choosing an antivirus, look for these things:

Choosing the best antivirus might seem challenging at first. There are so many options offering a variety of different features for PC and mobile devices. So, how do you decide which one definitely suits your needs?

Here’s what you should look for before choosing an antivirus:

  • Look for a constantly updating malware database. New cyber threats are being constantly developed to ensure antivirus programs can’t detect them. For such a reason, we only included providers known for regular malware database updates.
  • Check security features. The best antivirus solutions should include more than just malware protection. It should provide you with other essential features, for example, a VPN, a password manager, or any other protection measures. Unless you already have such tools, you can opt for more feature-rich services.
  • Check which system changes will be implemented. A lot of protective software will get admin access to your device, and some of them tend to make a great deal of changes. Make sure that your chosen antivirus will not install unwanted browsers, toolbars, or shady backdoor deals. Also check for unwanted driver updaters, potential DNS changes, or come pre-installed with the hardware.
  • Look into the brand history. Well-known antivirus companies have a pretty good reputation, but sometimes they can slip up. When choosing a brand to trust your security to, check for recent data and security breaches, questionable affiliations, and other red flags.
  • Seek for all-around antivirus protection. If you’re not the only one using a computer or a mobile device, you should consider getting an antivirus that would provide extra protection. Some providers have solid parental control features, while others protect your home network and alert you about possible dangers.
  • Consider your budget. Not all antivirus programs offer the same bang-for-the-buck ratio. That’s why spending less (or more) can sometimes get you many more features.
  • Try the software first. You can always use the money-back guarantee that antivirus services offer to try the product out. This way, you’ll test it out yourself and see whether or not it’s worth the money you’re paying.
Recent updates
In our recent update, we provided more detailed information on how we test antivirus software, including links to public test malware databases. Additionally, we included more tips on what to look out for when choosing an antivirus software that fits your needs best.

Top 10 best antivirus software in 2023 for PC

We tested 25 leading antivirus services to find the absolute best in the industry. Throughout our evaluations, we discovered the strengths and weaknesses of the top 10 antivirus solutions that made the final cut. Learn more about our findings by reading the descriptions below.

1. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus

The best overall antivirus protection software in 2023

Bitdefender interface
Max simultaneous connections:15 devices
Free version:Yes
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
Current deal:🔥Cyber Monday! Get Bitdefender for up to 50% OFF!🔥

Bitdefender is the best antivirus software of 2023 because it offers flawless malware protection rates and security from all types of online threats. Depending on your plan, Bitdefender can become your all-in-one cybersecurity suite with a VPN and a password manager.

Test results. According to the 2023 July-August AV-TEST results, Bitdefender garnered maximum points in all categories (protection, performance, usability). Our in-house Bitdefender tests showed similarly impressive results, with the Whole System Scan finding all 10 malware-infected sample files we hid in the system. However, it’s vital to note that the Quick Scan failed to find these viruses.

Features. Besides the previously mentioned Quick Scan and System Scan, Bitdefender offers Advanced Threat Defense to monitor in real-time for suspicious behavior and prevent zero-day attacks. Another crucial perk is Online Threat Prevention, which ensures the web pages you visit are trustworthy and secure. You’ll also get a password manager and even a VPN with a daily data limit of 200 MB to keep you anonymous online.

Compatibility. You can get Bitdefender on various operating systems, including Windows and macOS computers or iOS and Android. Each app is neatly organized and beginner-friendly, ensuring you quickly adapt to it.

Pricing. With prices starting from $29.99/year, Bitdefender has budget-friendly subscription options for anyone. With Bitdefender's Family plan, you can connect up to 15 devices at once. There's even a Bitdefender antivirus free edition and a 30-day free trial for premium services that might help you make up your mind before committing.

2. Norton 360 Antivirus

Premium antivirus with top security features for all your devices

Max simultaneous connections:10 devices
Free version:No
Platforms:Windows, macOS, iOS, Android
Current deal:🔥Cyber Monday! Get up to 78% OFF Norton Antivirus🔥

Another optimal antivirus pick is Norton 360 antivirus. Its malware detection rates are just as great as Bitdefender’s, while the apps are straightforward to get the hang of. Norton 360 is convenient for those who wish for a seamless antivirus experience.

Test results. As of August 2023, Norton Antivirus has near-perfect results according to AV-TEST, with slight setbacks in the performance category. Our Norton 360 Antivirus review showed similar results. The real-time protection feature instantly blocked all threats as soon as we released them. However, the full scan was quite heavy on system resources.

Features. Norton's additional security measures include a smart firewall, secure cloud backup, dark web monitoring, parental controls, a VPN, and a password manager. A strong contender to Bitdefender if you overlook test results.

Compatibility. We tried all available apps (Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS) – the interface is organized and easy to navigate on all of them. However, some extra features open up in different tabs, which can be cumbersome. Another mild drawback is that some features, like the password manager, are browser extensions.

Pricing. With prices starting from $14.99/year, this antivirus is an excellent choice for robust malware protection. Plus, there’s a free 7-day trial even for Norton 360 Deluxe and Premium plans.

3. TotalAV

The essential free antivirus package and excellent premium software for multi-devices

Total AV user interface
Max simultaneous connections:6 devices
Free version:Yes
Platforms:Windows, Mac, iOS, Android
Current deal:🔥Cyber Monday! Get TotalAV, now 84% OFF!🔥

With excellent malware detection rates, TotalAV earns one of the top spots on our best antivirus list. It performs well in most areas and is intuitive enough to appeal to average users.

Test results. According to the 2023 August AV-TEST summary, TotalAV is excellent in the usability department but lacking in performance and protection. It successfully blocks 97% of zero-day and 100% of 4-week-old malware attacks, providing solid but not perfect protection against various cyber threats. When testing TotalAV in-house, the service found 7 out of 10 malicious files during the full scan.

Features. TotalAV stands out from most antivirus services with its robust free plan. Without spending a single dollar, you get a malware scanner and anti-phishing protection. If you get a paid subscription, your security coverage expands greatly with real-time protection and ransomware shields. On top of that, it also includes a Cloud Scanner, a Disk Cleaner, and other optimization tools. These will help free up some space in your hard drive and make your startup more efficient. TotalAV also offers a VPN with unlimited data, a password manager, and an ad blocker to ensure safe online browsing.

Compatibility. In terms of apps, the interface of mobile (Android and iOS) and desktop (Windows and macOS) apps is well-organized and straightforward, just like the installation process itself.

Pricing. Apart from the free plan, there are also three other plans with prices starting from $19.00/year. You’re also entitled to a full refund since each plan has a 30-day money-back guarantee.

4. Surfshark Antivirus

Great all-around antivirus protection with a top VPN for a budget-friendly price

Surfshark AV banner
Max simultaneous connections:5 devices
Free version:No
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android
Current deal:🔥Cyber Monday! Get Surfshark Antivirus - 83% OFF + 4 months FREE!🔥

Surfshark is primarily known as a leading VPN provider – but its excellent antivirus suite makes it so much more. It's a great internet security suite of features for all your online safety needs.

Test results. According to AV-TEST, Surfshark antivirus has room for improvement in the protection and performance departments. The software blocks 100% of prevalent malware but isn’t as effective against zero-day attacks. Meanwhile, In our in-house Surfshark Antivirus overview, the full scan was swift, covering over 100,000 files in 90 seconds and finding 7 out of 10 potentially malicious files.

Features. As expected, Surfshark AV grants real-time protection that always secures your system. There’s also Alert, which notifies you whenever your data leaks on various internet databases. Moreover, customers gain webcam protection and a secure search engine where their search queries are completely confidential. Finally, Surfshark has one of the best VPNs in the business, keeping your privacy intact when surfing online while offering some of the best speeds in the industry.

Compatibility. The antivirus is available on Windows, macOS, and Android devices. All apps are very neatly organized and simple to use. Note that the VPN app is available on other operating systems, such as Linux and iOS.

Pricing. You can get Surfshark antivirus on 5 devices for only $49.08/year. A standard 30-day money-back guarantee is included for risk-free testing.

5. NordVPN Threat Protection

Top real-time threat protection and an excellent VPN for mobile devices

nordvpn threat protection banner new
Max simultaneous connections:6 devices
Free version:No
Platforms:Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows
Current deal:🔥 Cyber Monday! Get NordVPN Antivirus – 68% OFF + 3 months FREE! 🔥

NordVPN is one of the world’s most popular VPN providers. But in recent years, the company has been steadily moving towards becoming an all-in-one data privacy solution. Now, NordVPN is an excellent security package. It hides your IP address and offers real-time protection against various online threats.

Test results. Independent labs like AV-TEST haven’t thoroughly tested NordVPN Threat Protection. As such, we gave the service more attention in our NordVPN Threat Protection evaluation. To start, we tried the File Protection feature by attempting to download malware-laden files. Overall, the feature had a 90% success rate of detecting malicious files. Conversely, the web protection tool was also quite effective at blocking ads and trackers. However, sometimes, the user experience would suffer due to excessive Javascript blocking.

Features. NordVPN Threat Protection is split into Web protection and File protection. The first half eliminates ads, malware, web trackers, and trims URL tracking parameters. Meanwhile, the second half scans your downloaded files for malware, deletes suspicious ones, and sends executable files for cloud-based scanning if it requires further examination. Most importantly, NordVPN is the best VPN on the market, allowing you to easily mask your IP address and surf the web at blazing-fast speeds.

Compatibility. Threat Protection is included in almost all desktop and mobile NordVPN apps. As such, you’ll have no trouble securing your Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. Each subscription supports 6 simultaneous connections per account.

Pricing. Threat Protection is available on almost all NordVPN applications and comes free with every NordVPN plan, making this antivirus a versatile internet security package. The plan prices start from $3.19/month.


The best lightweight antivirus software to protect all your devices

NOD32 user interface
Max simultaneous connections:5 devices
Free version:No
Platforms:Windows, Linux, Mac, Android
Current deal:🔥Cyber Monday! Get ESET, save up to 50%🔥

ESET NOD32 is the leading Slovak cybersecurity product, and offers an excellent and reliable antivirus suite – well worth a place on our best antivirus software list.

Test results. The independent testing lab scores don’t disappoint – the antivirus is categorized as a Top Product that blocks 100% of attempted attacks.

To verify this, we conducted our own ESET antivirus tests. While the scanning options can appear complicated to novices, the custom scan (which appears to be a mixture of quick and full ones) found all the threats that we challenged it with. System resources were allocated well, too; other enabled apps didn’t suffer from major performance issues during the scans.

Features. With its core package, you get real-time protection against malware and ransomware. But, if you're worried NOD32 Essential Protection might not be enough, you can opt for ESET Internet Security, which includes web protection to prevent harmful JavaScript injections. For those who want to go all-in, there's an option to pick the ESET Smart Security Premium package. It will add a password manager and encryption for personal files.

What’s exceptional about ESET NOD32 is that it’s cloud-based and offloads most heavy processing to its servers. This process means much less work for your device and better performance.

Compatibility. You can get ESET on Windows, macOS, and Android. Unfortunately, it’s not available on iOS, but other apps are clean and user-friendly. Considering the Apple ecosystem’s security, this might not be a big problem.

Pricing. In terms of pricing, the basic plan starts from $39.99/year. The price of each package increases with the number of devices that you need to protect.

7. Malwarebytes

Simple and intuitive antivirus platform for all your devices

Malwarebytes - BF(2023) - banner
Max simultaneous connections:5 devices
Free version:Yes
Platforms:Windows, Android, macOS, ChromeOS, iOS
Current deal:🔥Get Malwarebytes, now 50% OFF🔥

Malwarebytes is another solid anti-malware program that does the job well. It performs admirably in independent lab testing, especially when detecting malware.

Test results. Malwarebytes garnered excellent results in AV-TEST evaluations, missing only half a point in protection and performance categories. It offers nearly 100% protection rates against widespread and 0-day malware attacks. However, the app had quite an impact on system resources during our in-house Malwarebytes test. So, we wouldn’t recommend launching any apps during full scans. Additionally, it found 7 out of 10 threats during the 6-minute scan.

Features. Malwarebytes uses real-time malware protection to monitor your activity and stop potential cyber threats before they enter the system. Additionally, there’s ransomware prevention to help you avoid file-encrypting viruses from attacking your device. What’s also worth mentioning is that Malwarebytes includes exploit protection, which is useful when preventing malware from infecting the device and spreading further.

Aside from that, Malwarebytes offers a VPN to help encrypt your internet traffic and protect private information when browsing online. Your devices will be protected from malware, incoming and outgoing internet traffic, and other data.

Compatibility. You can install Malwarebytes on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android platforms. The software is easy to use and allows setting different scans, including daily threat scans.

Pricing. What’s worth mentioning is that there’s a free Malwarebytes version, but it only offers a virus scanner. If you want full malware protection, the premium plans start from $49.99/year.

8. McAfee Total Protection

Great cross-platform support with a basic plan to secure you from malware threats

McAfee user interface
Max simultaneous connections:Unlimited devices
Free version:Yes
Platforms:Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Current deal:🔥Cyber Monday! Get McAfee, save up to 67%🔥

McAfee falls into the category of our top antivirus software suites since it offers not only protection against the latest cyber threats but also provides additional security features, doing more than just essential malware protection.

Test results. The latest test results from AV-TEST show that McAfee Total Protection lives up to its name and provides absolute protection against all malware types. Naturally, we had to confirm this with our own McAfee antivirus tests. And while detection was indeed excellent, the scanning process took a long time and required 100% CPU usage, making it impossible to perform other tasks while the app was in action. We tested McAfee ourselves and threw 10 malicious files for it to detect. While the quick scan found none, the full scan blocked all threats, not even halfway through the scan. This is a rare sight to see, even with the best antiviruses.

Features. McAfee’s core package includes a VPN, a password manager, and a file shredder, among other features. Additionally, the antivirus provides identity theft protection and security for your network. The Home Network Security allows managing all devices connected to the Wi-Fi and alerts you of any intrusion attempts (unavailable on Windows).

Compatibility. McAfee supports Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android operating systems and offers easy-to-use apps.

Pricing. McAfee’s prices start from $39.99/year, and there are both low-priced and more expensive tier options. However, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee for you to test all the features without the risk of committing to an unsatisfactory service.

9. Avira Antivirus

Best antivirus with a free plan and robust security features

Avira user interface
Max simultaneous connections:50 devices
Free version:Yes
Platforms:Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Current deal:🔥Cyber Monday! Get 1 year of Avira at 65% OFF!🔥

Avira Antivirus is one of the best antivirus software packages available in both free and premium segments that offers outstanding protection.

Test results. The most recent independent Avira tests show that the antivirus service is quite powerful in most areas. It ensures 100% protection against prevalent malware and around 99% security against 0-day attacks. As for our initiated Avira Antivirus tests, the service distinguished itself with a super fast full scan, taking only 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Moreover, it managed to block all 10 malicious files. Although CPU usage was high, it shouldn’t be considered a drawback since it only takes a few minutes.

Features. The default Avira package includes a VPN, a firewall, and a password manager. Besides that, this antivirus has advanced ransomware protection, web protection for safe online shopping, email protection, and a file shredder. There’s also an automatic software updating feature, browser safety tool, password manager, and regular malware protection solutions.

Compatibility. Avira antivirus is compatible with the most popular operating systems (Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS). However, not all features are available for macOS – email protection and download scans are for Windows users only.

Pricing. Avira’s prices start from $15.99/year, but if you turn out to be unhappy with the service, there’s also a money-back guarantee for up to 60 days.

10. Trend Micro

Simple and secure antivirus for online threat protection with a budget-friendly price

Trend Micro antivirus banner
Max simultaneous connections:10 devices
Free version:Yes (Android and iOS)
Platforms:Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, iOS
Current deal:🔥Cyber Monday! Get Trend Micro, now 54% OFF!🔥

Trend Micro is another solid antivirus software that can help you protect your devices from cyber threats.

Test results. The latest independent Trend Micro tests show that the antivirus offers top results in protection and usability with mild performance issues. To be precise, you can expect 100% protection against zero-day and popular malware types. On the other hand, our Trend Micro tests demonstrated that while there were a few spikes, the antivirus wasn’t heavy on system resources overall. The virus scanner managed to delete 8 threats out of 10 in under 9 minutes.

Features. This antivirus uses AI technology to scan for malware. Aside from that, Trend Micro offers Pay Guard and Folder Shield for safe shopping and document protection from ransomware. You can also enjoy using Social Media Privacy Protection, Fraud Buster, Dark Web Monitoring features, and a VPN to add an extra layer of security when browsing online. Trend Micro also allows using system optimization tools and a password manager to boost your device’s performance and keep all of your credentials safe.

Compatibility. Trend Micro is compatible with all major operating systems (including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS), so you can use it on desktop and mobile devices, and it’s ideal for beginners. However, it does take ages to uninstall the app.

Pricing. With this provider, you can check out their free version to see how it feels. And if you want to test out the Trend Micro Maximum Security or other premium plans (which start from $19.95/year), they include a 30-day money-back guarantee as well.

Antivirus software rankings

When it comes to protecting your devices from the ever-evolving online threats, selecting the right antivirus software is key. Below is a list of the top 15 antivirus software options, each with its strengths and features to consider. While these antivirus solutions have been carefully selected out of 25, not all antivirus programs are included in this list.

  1. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus. Excels in providing excellent malware detection rates, a user-friendly interface, and a wide range of additional security features, such as a secure browser and password manager.
  2. Norton 360 Antivirus. Offers comprehensive protection with features like real-time threat detection, secure VPN, and cloud backup. Its user-friendly interface and extensive customer support enhance its appeal.
  3. TotalAV. Combines strong malware protection with system optimization tools, making it a well-rounded choice for users seeking both security and performance enhancement.
  4. Surfshark Antivirus. Surfshark not only offers robust antivirus protection but also includes a VPN to ensure your online privacy and security. It's a great option for users looking for both services in one package.
  5. NordVPN Threat Protection. It goes beyond VPN services to include advanced antivirus features, making it an excellent choice for those seeking added online security.
  6. ESET NOD32. Known for its fast scanning, efficient resource usage, and strong detection capabilities against various malware types.
  7. McAfee Total Protection. Offers a wide range of features, including antivirus, firewall, secure browsing, and identity theft protection, making it suitable for users who desire all-in-one security solutions.
  8. Avira Antivirus. Strong malware detection and minimal impact on system performance. Its free version offers significant protection as well.
  9. Trend Micro. Effective ransomware protection and a wide array of privacy features make it an attractive choice for users concerned about online privacy.
  10. Malwarebytes. Specializes in targeting malware and adware, making it a powerful complement to traditional antivirus solutions.
  11. Aura Antivirus. A user-friendly interface and a range of scanning options make it suitable for users who prioritize simplicity.
  12. Intego. Designed specifically for Mac users, it offers comprehensive protection against macOS-specific threats.
  13. AVG Antivirus. AVG provides solid malware protection and various features such as email and link scanning, enhancing overall security.
  14. Avast Antivirus. Avast is known for its diverse set of features, including real-time protection, Wi-Fi security scanning, and a robust free version.
  15. Sophos Antivirus. Basic remote control app, scanning, and threat analysis. Provides different layers of security and flexible pricing.

Why is Kaspersky not on our list?

Some antivirus software like Kaspersky didn’t make it to our top list. Even though Kaspersky had a spot among our top antivirus tools for quite some time, the questionable integrity of data services and practices made us reconsider offering it to our users.

The Russian-owned company has been reported to be in communication with Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) and is responsible for providing them with real-time intelligence and identifying data on customers’ computers. Plus, the domain of the Russian Ministry of Defense is hosted in Kaspersky's infrastructure, and Eugene Kaspersky, the owner of the company, has recently refused to condemn the Russian army's unlawful military actions in Ukraine.

In light of this, Cybernews cannot recommend Kaspersky as a 100% secure and reliable antivirus service.

Comparison of antivirus software 2023

Bitdefender Norton 360TotalAVSurfsharkAVNordVPN TPESET NOD32MalwarebytesMcAfeeAviraTrend Micro
Free versionYesNoYesNoNoNoYesYes (Android, iOS)YesYes (Android and iOS)
PriceFrom $29.99/yearFrom $14.99/yearFrom $19.00/yearFrom $49.08/yearFrom $3.19/monthFrom $39.99/yearFrom $49.99/yearFrom $39.99/yearFrom $15.99/yearFrom $19.95/year
Device supportWindows, macOS, Android, iOSWindows, macOS, iOS, AndroidWindows, Mac, iOS, AndroidWindows, macOS, AndroidWindows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOSWindows, Linux, Mac, AndroidWindows, Android, macOS, ChromeOS, iOSWindows, Mac, Android, iOSWindows, Mac, Android, iOSWindows, Linux, Mac, Android, iOS
Identity theft protection
  • Advanced Threat Defense
  • Profiles
  • Ransomware remediation
  • AntiSpam
  • Anti-tracker
  • File shredder
  • Anti-webcam hijack
  • VPN
  • Password manager
  • Real-time threat protection
  • VPN
  • Smart Firewall
  • Password manager
  • Cloud backup
  • SafeCam
  • Safe Browsing (VPN)
  • WebShield extension
  • Secure Password Vault
  • Ad blocker
  • System tune up
  • CleanWeb
  • Data breach monitoring
  • Surfshark VPN included
  • Private search engine
  • Real-time protection
  • Ad blocker
  • Automatic download scanner
  • VPN
  • Tracker protection
  • Anti-theft tools
  • Password Manager
  • Switch Protection Mode
  • Secure browser
  • Real-time protection
  • Exploit protection
  • Browser Guard
  • Ransomware protection
  • QuickClean
  • Shredder
  • Vulnerability scanner
  • McAfee WebAdvisor
  • McAfee Speed Up
  • Password manager
  • Password manager
  • VPN
  • Safe shopping suite
  • Email protection
  • Firewall
  • Ransomware protection
  • Social Media Privacy Protection
  • Fraud Buster
  • Dark Web Monitoring
  • VPN
  • Password manager
  • Optimization tools
ReviewBitdefender reviewNorton 360 reviewTotalAV reviewSurfshark AV reviewNordVPN reviewESET NOD32 reviewMalwarebytes reviewMcAfee reviewAvira reviewTrend Micro review

How we tested antivirus software

The Cybernews research team tests every antivirus app hands-on to get the feel of the app and evaluate overall malware protection. Out of hundreds of antivirus programs, we investigated 25 popular solutions.

To select only the best antivirus providers for our list, we perform in-house testing of the security software and take into account independent lab testing results. The main points to note were antivirus software performance, malware detection rates with already known and zero-day threats, and different security features providers offer.

Additionally, we sought out those providers with easy-to-use apps, compatibility with various devices, and value-to-price ratio. These criteria are important to users, so we ensure that the providers in our best antivirus software in the 2023 list offer comprehensive security packages.

Providers tested:25
Operating systems used:Windows, macOS, Android
Minimum virus detection rate:80%
Features tested:Real-time protection, scanning options, web protection, spam filters, firewall, parental controls, bonus features

We performed our tests on the Virtualbox VM with Windows 11 installed on Lenovo ThinkPad T14s Gen 2 device with AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 5650U processor, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, with Windows 11 Pro operating system.

During in-house testing, we used various popular malware samples, including ransomware, keyloggers, spyware, adware, and others. These online threats are found in malicious files prepared in advance and set up in a controlled environment that imitates the world wide web.

To test out the antivirus, we downloaded ten malicious files and took notice of how many of them the software was able to identify and remove. For successful performance, we sought out a minimum of 80% detection rate.

In addition to in-house testing, we also take into account independent antivirus testing labs, like AV-Test Institute, SE Labs, and AV-Comparatives. They continuously put antivirus software to the test and monitor their performance, false positives, and how they detect malware and other threats.

Why you can trust Cybernews?

We has been testing antivirus software and other cybersecurity products for many years. The expert Cybernews research team tests numerous products in-house following a well-established testing process, and rely on independent testing lab findings. Cybernews has rated hundreds of products and spent many hours analyzing and evaluating each of them to provide you with the best options and help you make better buying decisions.

Video review: Best antivirus of 2023

In this video, we'll review the top antivirus software of 2023 based on independent testing results, features, and pricing. So whether you're a casual user or a power user, we'll help you find the perfect antivirus software for your needs.

Do you really need antivirus software in 2023?

No matter what level of IT skills and online browsing habits you have, an antivirus is a necessary addition to your cybersecurity posture.

Here are some of the reasons why you’d benefit from investing in an antivirus:

  • You often end up on suspicious websites. Unreliable websites are the primary source of various cyber threats that can infect your devices. Premium antivirus tools can block malicious sites and intrusive ads to help you avoid malware.
  • You shop online regularly. If you’re entering your credit card details nearly every day, it would be wise to use an antivirus that puts your transactions in an encrypted secure browser screen.
  • Your kids use your device. If you have children, making sure they stay safe is even more important. With the parental control features, such as webcam blocking, you can protect your children even while not at home. Chances are there are more than a few devices connected to your home Wi-Fi. A home antivirus can protect all of them at once, saving the hassle of catering to each separately.
  • You don’t have all-around protection. Whether you’re using a password manager, a VPN service, or a secure email as separate products or not, you can benefit from a quality antivirus suite. Nowadays, they incorporate most of these cybersecurity tools, so it’s significantly easier to use them and ensure the all-around security of your device.

As the years go by, it’s less about malware but about cybersecurity in general. Keep in mind that great antivirus solutions are feature-rich and come cheaper than getting a file encryptor or a VPN separately.

Free vs. paid antivirus: should you pay?

Although free antivirus solutions can offer basic protection against malware and fulfill simple needs, you should pay if you want reliable and all-rounded security.

There’s one thing to remember – antivirus companies need to make money: either from premium plans or from your personal data. This means that an unreliable antivirus company can sell your information to cybercriminals or other third parties.

Not to mention that some free antivirus software can include pop-up ads or even malicious programs that can infiltrate you with malware (the last thing you want from an antivirus).

So, if you still want to get a free service, look at serious and legitimate companies that offer the best and tested free antivirus services, for example, TotalAV. They’re still interested in you eventually paying for premium plans, but at least they won’t do you harm.

However, expect fewer features and serious limitations as you go. Often, free plans will let you run simple system scans. But features like custom scanning, ransomware protection, and advanced firewalls are usually only available when purchasing a premium plan.

What’s the best antivirus software overall?

Based on our testing and review results, as well as independent testing lab evaluations, Bitdefender is the best antivirus software overall. It guarantees high malware protection rates as well as a wide feature array, including real-time protection and a VPN.

Bitdefender offers great protection from threat actors who are always lurking in various corners of cyberspace. One wrong move, be it clicking the wrong link or visiting a suspicious site, and you may infect your computer or another device with malware. For such a reason, using an antivirus, especially if it has a real-time protection feature, is crucial.



prefix 2 years ago
How necessary is antivirus software? forgive me but I’ve been using my computer for ages without any protection and nothing happened. I never click on random links and generally try to be careful online so I don’t see how my computer could get infected. I also use vpn with blockers. I would be interested to know if I may actually face any threats even with such low risk . I’m genuinely interested, always eager to learn. Thank you for your help.
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Dear wounducknow,
Words cannot describe how essential the antivirus software is. I’m happy that you were able to dodge malware so far, but the fact is that it’s getting more sophisticated, and there’s more and more of it. No matter how internet-savvy you are, you may still get infected with malware one day. Besides, Antivirus Suite would check whether your email ended up on a leaked database. Therefore, for starters, I recommend you install Bitdefender, which has a powerful free version. If you like it, you can get the full suite that will cost you less than a couple of bucks per month.
prefix 2 years ago
After similar hacking experiences on an Android cellphone as several posters mentioned (with VPN in fact), purchased a desktop-Windows 10 to discontinue internet use with cell. Have Comcast internet service with modem. Main use consists of sensitive and financial information. while having once burned twice shy-itis, which comprehensive paid anti-all program is best? Choosing a replacement for gmail is another conundrum. Don’t intend to sync with other devices or WiFi anything if can help it.
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Hey, Andreas. In your case, I suggest the Norton Antivirus suite. It has its own VPN and password manager. And since none of the suites above offer a secure email service, you should choose either Tutanota or ProronMail.
prefix 2 years ago
Any article that includes Norton 360 in it, automatically is removed as a valid source. Their software has been a bloated nightmare for years. In corporate world their software is dangerous as it missed a LOT. Replacing with other solutions makes you aware of how much it misses.
It really is that bad of a product. When you lose up to 33% of resources because of it, you must uninstall.
prefix 2 years ago
The 5 best antivirus software of 2021?
Is this a joke?
I had trouble with them… not good experience… ha ha
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Hi, AuSS. No, I’m afraid that’s not a joke. I’d love to hear about the antiviruses that you love most, though. Have a good day!
prefix 2 years ago
I can’t imagine my life without gaming. Actually, I spend a fortune on games, however, I don’t want to spend money on antivirus. They are expensive and not always needed ( on the daily basis). Suggest the best free antivirus for gaming. I sometimes download stuff for games (skins, mods, and so on) and websites mostly are very suspicious and download stuff at my own risk.
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Hey, Leon. As there are not that many good free antiviruses, I’d consider choosing from our list of best free antivirus software.
prefix 2 years ago
Can someone explain the difference between antivirus and antimalware? Antivirus is detecting, blocking, and removing viruses, malware, and ransomware, as well as preventing identity theft and block phishing and fraud. Isn’t antimalware the same? It’s so confusing.
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Dear Jourdan,
There is some confusion with these terms. Technically, malware is any type of software that does something bad to you. This includes viruses, Trojans, ransomware, and so on. However, there are plenty of products named Antivirus, while in fact, they combat all sorts of malware. Therefore, when choosing the best antivirus software, you should look at the features and whether there’s everything that you want. Some tools might not include ransomware protection, while others might ignore adware.
prefix 2 years ago
I guess Bitdefender is not only the best antivirus but also the world’s most popular antivirus. The premium plan is not expensive, and you get a lot in one bundle. That’s why I don’t buy a VPN for example. I used Avast when I purchased my first PC, however, I’ve switched to Bitdefender. It has a very understandable UI, and when I needed some help, live support just saved me.
prefix 2 years ago
Việt Nam
Oli Oli
prefix 2 years ago
you can never be too secure, right? i use a vpn, which has some ad blocks, so many suspicious websites do not even load. but the main concern is – can i have two antivirus programs on my computer? will they conflict with each other, or it will just like double protection if one antivirus didn’t find potential malware, the other will?
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Dear Oli Oli,
Thanks for the comment. You can have two antivirus programs, but they will most likely conflict with each other. In a way, it’s like using two condoms – double doesn’t always mean two times better. I’d suggest adding a password manager to your security suite instead. Stay safe!
prefix 2 years ago
i always thought that the answer to do smartphones need antivirus is no. i mean, i rarely download anything to my phone from suspicious places. however, i was so wrong! i visited one website and something automatically went downloading 🙁 my son when was playing with my phone installed it (simply clicked yes-yes-yes) and my phone went to brick mode.i had to install software from zero. from that moment – always use antivirus on my phone, on my pc, and even on the tablet.
prefix 2 years ago
My old man is so bored with this quarantine that he decided to pull out his old dusty Thinkpad. It takes eons to load, runs as fast as a crippled tortoise yet sounds like a jet engine. I don’t understand why he doesn’t get a new one.
Anyway, now he’s going to dive head first into the new internet. I’m a bit concerned, but I can’t stand over his shoulder all the time and tell him to not click on some weird links. And there’s no way that he would pay for a program. So, long story short – I’m looking for the best free antivirus for older computers. Any ideas?
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Dear RockerChell,
Well, it seems that your dad is not yet ready to let it go 🙂 Convinging him into installing Panda Dome should work. Good luck!
Eddy Hepburn
prefix 2 years ago
Ok, here’s the thing – I got a Macbook Air for Christmas. Now, I’m not really a big fan of Apple so I never really used their products that much in the past, but I have a feeling this might change. I was told that Macs have better security than Windows, but I’m not convinced. I’d feel better with some extra security layers. Problem is – I don’t know what to choose. Do you have any suggestions on what’s the best antivirus scanner for mac? Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll get back to me!
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Hi, Eddy. You’re right about not trusting your online security on Mac alone. As always, you can try a free antivirus first. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, Kaspersky Anti-virus, and Avira Antivirus can all be great for macOS.
Duncan N.
prefix 2 years ago
All these articles about hacks got me a bit concerned. I could use a program that would protect all of the devices in my house. What do you think is the best antivirus for multiple pcs? And would I need a different program for phones or tablets? So many devices are connected to the internet, yet I’m not sure if a VPN on my router would be enough protection.
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Hey, Duncan! Thanks for stopping by. While using a VPN is a big step towards securing your home network, there are still many potential threats that only a reliable antivirus can handle. In your case, I’d suggest McAfee Total Protection. It works on both desktop and mobile devices, comes with plenty of features, and allows to easily manage all devices that are connected to wifi.
Phillip Hedley
prefix 2 years ago
So my grandma decided that she needs a laptop. I think it’s great that she decided to stay more connected to everyone, was always against modern tech, but the pandemic really made her reconsider. Problem is she got some really cheap one with weak specs. So I have to ask – do you have recommendations for best antivirus for low resources computers? Not something that I can test on my own beastly rig so I got to ask the professionals.
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Dear Phillip, thanks for the comment. I’m happy that your grandma has decided to go online! I suggest trying Panda Dome – it’s both free and doesn’t require the latest hardware to run smoothly.
Sherri Hardwick
prefix 2 years ago
Do you know what’s the best antivirus for students? A lot of us have to study remotely now and the universities don’t provide us with things like that, have to manage all of these cybercriminals by ourselves. Which is understandable I suppose, but I’d still like something that gives a good discount to students.
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Hi, Sherri. First of all, you don’t have to pay for a good antvirus! There are at least a few with great free versions. I suggest you to try Bitdefender Antivirus Plus or Kaspersky Anti-virus.
prefix 2 years ago
Hey there, Cybernews. I was curious about what you think is the best antivirus for small businesses. We’re not in the IT business, but I’ve been reading all these stories about how all kinds of businesses get attacked with ransomware or other kinds of hacks. I have an online store so it’s really important to keep it running all the time. Right now we don’t need a lot of computers secure, but that could change in the future. I want something that wouldn’t cost too much when the amount of computers increases. Perhaps there are some antiviruses that have an unlimited amount of devices?
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Hello, MountainShard. Getting an antivirus for business protecion is a very good idea. In your case, the best choice is Bitdefender Antivirus Plus. It has a great free version and isn’t pricey in case you decide to upgrade. When it comes to unlimited devices, McAfee Total Protection is probably your best bet. Good luck!
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