The best antivirus software in 2020

Antivirus provider icons

What is the best antivirus software? Does it have to be free, or does it have to be pricey and full of features? If it's the best antivirus for PC, will it also be good for Mac, Android, and iOS?

In this article, I will tell you what to pay attention to so you can choose the best virus protection for yourself in 2020. Therefore, don't just pick our #1 option – your choice may be waiting a few floors below.

Table of Contents

Today’s top 5 best antivirus software:

  1. Bitdefender Antivirus - Best virus protection in 2020
  2. Norton Antivirus - Best features if you can afford them
  3. Kaspersky Anti-virus - Superb performance and protection
  4. McAfee Total protection - Great cross-platform support with basic plan
  5. Avira Antivirus - Best free plan on the martket

The best antivirus software to buy today

Below you will find our best antivirus programs for 2020. All of them have the necessary tools to provide maximum protection and bonus features that you may find useful. Once again, don’t just pick #1 – I recommend investing a little bit of time to find the service that best suits your needs.

1. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus – best virus protection in 2020

bitdefender user interface
Price:From $17.99/yr
Free version:Yes
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
Customer support:24/7 email, phone, and live chat

Running for almost two decades, Bitdefender has earned its place among the best antivirus providers. It has over 500 million users, mainly because of its great free version, but the premium options are well-worth your money. And when you add a password manager and a VPN, Bitdefender Antivirus becomes a full cybersecurity suite. No wonder you will find it at the top of most best antivirus lists.

Pricing plans

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is the first of many premium packages. For $17.99/yr (3-year plan), you’ll be getting solid protection for your Windows computer. It includes tools against malware, spyware, adware, ransomware, and even a VPN. The latter has only a 200 MB daily allowance, so you will probably want to upgrade to unlimited, which costs $39.99/yr. Alternatively, you can always get a standalone VPN solution.

$25.99/yr is the price of the Internet Security suite, which adds parental control and a firewall, but it still works on Windows only. For maximum protection, Bitdefender Total Security gives you all main platforms plus Device Optimizer for $39.99/yr. This automatically includes five simultaneous devices that can be upgraded to 10, just like the other plans.

Payment options include credit cards, PayPal, and cash at 7-Eleven/ACE. There’s also a 30-day free trial that might help make up your mind before committing.

Features

The results from multiple independent antivirus testing labs have shown time and time again that Bitdefender is an elite antivirus software,even if we count only the basic plan. This comes thanks to its extensive feature package on which many competitors would gladly put a bigger price tag. But not Bitdefender.

This antivirus protects your web surfing, banking, and if you haven’t set automated updates, this service will inform you when it’s time to patch up your system. There’s also a secure browser with a virtual keyboard to prevent keylogging

Another feature of Bitdefender is a file shredder that you can utilize for disintegrating those sensitive documents for good. What’s more, your files will be protected from ransomware attacks.

I particularly liked the anti-webcam hijack feature that comes with the Internet Security 2020 plan. Along with parental controls and a two-way firewall, it should help keep your children safe. And if you decide to go for the Total Security plan, you will have virtually everything you might need, including most features of Bitdefender’s competitors.

Let’s try to find something bad to say about our #1 solution. For starters, if you have an old device, Bitdefender might slow your system down while running in the background. However, the active scans run really smoothly.

Furthermore, some may find Bitdefender a bit complicated, but this stems from the sheer number of features. On the other hand, setting it up properly once will be enough until you decide to reinstall your OS. And this will probably happen during the Year of Porcupine, which is never

Verdict

To conclude, Bitdefender found the courage to do things differently and packed the most features into its cheapest version, making it more than an afterthought for most home users. Indeed, when you provide quality for a fraction of the price, it’s hard not to reach the top.

Pros

  • Best malware protecion
  • Excellent core
  • Feature-rich
  • Excellent free version
  • Great value for money
  • Frequent updates
  • Exceptional scores in independent tests

Cons

  • Full VPN access requires paying extra
  • Could use fewer resources while running in background

2. Norton 360 Antivirus – best features if you can afford them

Norton user interface
Price:From $39.99/yr
Free version:No
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
Customer support:24/7 live chat and phone

Norton, after nearly three decades from launch, remains a reputable name in the antivirus industry – independent antivirus testers score it highly. What’s more, this provider packages arguably the most extensive list of cybersecurity tools. This is an amazing service, but it’s among the most expensive suites in 2020 and also doesn’t have a free version.

Pricing plans and features

Norton 360 prices start from $39.99/yr with the Standard plan. In contrast, you get the best Bitdefender suite for such a sum. Standard plan gives you one device, core protection tools, a firewall, 10 GB cloud backup, a VPN, and a password manager. There’s also a SafeCam (Windows only) and Dark Web Monitoring, which is limited to your email only at this stage

For an extra $10/yr, you also get Parental Control and School Time features - this family-oriented plan that supports up to five devices is called Norton 360 Deluxe. Next come the plans that offer extra identity protection and should prove invaluable to those with the added risk of losing lots of money. Some call them rich people.

After this, prices spike as LifeLock is added to the mix. Here your social security number, name, address, DOB are added to your email monitoring, alerting you whenever this personal data is used by someone when applying for credit or services. You can also initiate Credit Monitoring and Reimbursement in case of identity theft.

Skipping the mid-range Norton 360 with LifeLock offer, we arrive at the Ultimate Plus for $299.99/yr (that’s for the first year and unlimited devices). With this offer, you get Identity Lock that can immediately lock your TransUnion credit file. Furthermore, Transaction Monitoring lets you centralize all info about cash withdrawals and other bank operations.

If that wasn’t enough, Court Records Scanning checks whether some criminal gave your name and DOB to the police. Finally, Norton 360 with LifeLock also checks your 401(k) and home title.

Is there something that Norton Antivirus doesn’t include? Well, you won’t find a file shredder, file encryption, and secure browser.

Verdict

To sum up, Norton 360 offers excellent protection while not overloading your device. It’s easy to use but at the same time provides plenty of options for advanced users. And while the prices are high, one would be hard-pressed to find a better deal when buying all the components one-by-one.

Pros

  • Excellent protection
  • Plenty of extras
  • Powerful identity-theft suite
  • Low resource usage
  • Easy-to-use

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No free version
  • LifeLock is oriented to the US users

3. Kaspersky Anti-virus – superb performance and protection

Kaspersky user interface
Price:From $29.99/yr
Free version:Yes
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
Customer support:24/7 live chat, phone, and email

Before I move on, I have to inform you that in 2017, the US government banned Kaspersky Anti-virus from its institutions, citing ties with the Russian government. However, putting Putin aside, Kaspersky has an excellent reputation and is always at or near the top in independent antivirus tests.

Features and pricing plans

Once again, the features differ greatly among pricing plans. The cheapest plan starts at $29.99/yr for 3 Windows computers. In addition to basic virus and malware protection, Kaspersky adds a phishing filter, anti-ransomware, and network defender features.

Moving on to the Internet Security suite, we get apps for macOS and Android plus a bunch of new features. Those include a two-way firewall, a webcam blocker, and payment protection. The latter is named Safe Money and loads every check-out page on Kaspersky’s encrypted browser with a built-in virtual keyboard, thus protecting you from hackers.

Finally, with Total Security (from $44.99/yr) comes iOS support and an option to upgrade from 5 to 10 simultaneous connections. This plan adds file encryption, a password manager, and parental controls. So is it worth upgrading to? Well, you be the judge.

Payment options include credit cards and PayPal. The 30-day money-back guarantee means you can test the priciest Kaspersky plan and see which features are a must for you. Also, you might want to try the free version, which is unfortunately based on different antivirus software

Verdict

To conclude, Kaspersky Anti-Virus is a powerful tool, even when we’re talking about the basic plan. Still, it cannot compete with the price and the number of features that Bitdefender provides.

There’s nearly a 100% chance it will block any type of malware, just like it’s been doing so far. At the moment of writing this review, Kaspersky had the highest score in AV-Test, AV-Comparatives, and SE Labs tests.

Pros

  • Top scores from the independent tests
  • Great protection against ransomware
  • Free version
  • Light on system load
  • Fast scanning

Cons

  • Russian jurisdiction
  • Password manager is free only in Total Security

4. McAfee Total Protection – great cross-platform support with basic plan

McAfee user interface
Price:From $29.99/yr
Free version:Yes
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
Customer support:24/7 live chat and community support

Even though John McAfee himself has called his antivirus “one of the worst products on the f*cking planet,” nowadays, you will find McAfee Total Protection on most best antivirus lists. The company was owned by Intel from 2010 until 2017 when Intel and TPG Capital closed a strategic deal to convert Intel’s Security division into a company called McAfee.

Features and pricing plans

McAfee Antivirus distinguishes itself from its competitors by offering Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS support starting from the basic plan. However, apps for Apple devices have fewer features.

For $29.99/yr, you can get a single license for any device. What’s more, just like Bitdefender, McAfee offers most features for everyone and adds only a few in pricier plans.

The core package includes a VPN, a password manager, file encryption, and a file shredder, among others. Throw in an extra five bucks and receive 5 devices plus identity protection essentials. Now, the so-called Family plan for up to 10 devices is $39.99/yr, but it doesn’t seem to add anything else.

Finally, McAfee Total Protection Ultimate is more than two times pricier than the top Bitdefender suite but comes with unlimited devices. Besides, you get a full anti-identity-theft package with dedicated agents and insurance for 1 million dollars.

Credit cards and PayPal are accepted. Also, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee for you to test all the features without the risk of committing to an unsatisfactory service.

McAfee Total Protection doesn't have free version.There used to be one for a now-defunct product called Security Cloud, but I don't think we'll see something similar in the near future.

I really liked the mobile-oriented Guest Mode, which allows you to lock certain apps and give the phone to your kids to play some games or watch some videos. There’s also an option to lock apps with a PIN code. I also must mention Home Network Security – it allows managing all devices connected to the wifi and alerts you of any intrusion attempts.

Verdict

Looking at the results from the independent tests, I can say that McAfee does great most of the time. However, there are more than a few below-average results from MRG Effitas that didn’t certify Avira and this antivirus in Q2 2020.

When summed up, it’s clear that McAfee belongs on this list, but it’s certainly not at the very top. Nevertheless, I can recommend this antivirus software to anyone, especially families and groups with many devices.

Pros

  • All plans support majort platforms
  • Generous device limits
  • Basic package is feature-rich
  • Solid firewall
  • Home Network Security feature is a godsend

Cons

  • Some independent test results are poor
  • Performance could be better
  • Apple products have fewer features

5. Avira Antivirus – best free plan on the market

Avira user interface
Price:From $34.69/yr
Free version:Yes
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
Customer support:24/7 live chat and community support

500 million users have done a right choice by choosing Avira Antivirus – it’s one of the best antivirus software available in both free and premium segments.

Features and pricing plans

Avira’s free version is great. It includes a VPN, a firewall, and a password manager when most of the time you’ll be paying extra to get some or all of them. The Pro version ($34.69/yr when taking a three-year plan) doesn’t seem to add that much – you get customer support and an ad-blocker.

The same can be said about the Internet Security suite ($43.33/yr) – it just cannot compare with the competitors above. So what can you get from Avira Prime, the most luxurious pricing plan?

The full version jumps right to $93.33/yr and gives five devices, which is too much for one person and too few for most households. Unfortunately, the unlimited simultaneous connections come at the price of $120.33/yr, which is way too much because you don’t get any additional bonuses save for unlimited VPN bandwidth

But do the features of Avira Prime justify its price? I doubt that. It has VIP support, secure payments, premium mobile apps, and free access to future products. To me, the latter sounds like a promise that won’t necessarily translate into quality.

There’s a 30-day money back guarantee, which has become an industry standart. Payment options include credit cards and PayPal.

What distinguishes Avira from other antiviruses is its system optimization tools. For example, you can speed up the booting of your device or concentrate the juice towards one resource-heavy task, such as video rendering.

Verdict

I was glad to see great scores from most independent test labs. Avira Antivirus got the maximum score in AV-Test and SE Labs, finishing second in AV-Comparatives together with Norton. Unfortunately, together with McAfee, Avira failed to certify after MRG Efitas Q2 2020 test.

However, a low price-to-value ratio is what leaves this otherwise solid solution at the last spot of our best antivirus software list.

Pros

  • Great free version
  • Not resource-intensive
  • User-friendly
  • Supports all popular platforms

Cons

  • Some independent test results are poor
  • Mobile apps available in Avira Prime only
  • Price-to-value ratio could be better

6. BullGuard Antivirus – best option for gamers

BullGuard user interface
Price:From $29.99/yr
Free version:Yes (Android-only)
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android
Customer support:24/7 email, community forum, and live chat

Features and pricing plans

You'll be surprised how capable BullGuard’s malware engine and firewall is. Their combination will ensure that most malware doesn’t get through, and if it does it won’t stay on your device for long.

If you're worried that this antivirus will clog your system and occupy a significant portion of your resources, there's good news. It's one of the friendliest services to gamers. There's a Game Booster that prioritizes full-screen software processes.

There's also a Secure Browser feature that offers additional protection against DNS poisoning attempts. This will save you from phishing sites and other such scams. Plus, it protects your payment information from surveillance.

Premium tiers also include BullGuard's ID Protection, which scans the dark web and pastebins for your leaked personal data and accounts. Speaking of pricing, Bullguard offers 3 different service tiers. If you're not sure whether you want to commit straight away, you can try the service with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Verdict

Overall, Bullguard is an exceptional service. However, it's more exceptional on some operating systems than on others. It's superb on Windows, but it isn't very impressive on macOS and iOS. Seeing how malware continues to be prevalent on Mac as well as on Windows, that's something that we'd like to see improve. That aside, BullGuard stands as one of the best antivirus services we've tried.

Pros

  • Game Booster
  • Effective malware scans
  • Custom malware scan
  • Free version for mobile users
  • Vulnerability monitor
  • Good scores in synthetic tests
  • Frequent discounts

Cons

  • Multiple device usability is limited
  • Dated UI
  • Clogs up system when not used in gaming mode
  • Mediocre parental controls
  • No iOS support

7. Panda Dome – top-notch quality and flexibility

Panda Dome user interface
Price:From $44.24/yr
Free version:Yes
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android
Customer support:24/7 email, phone

Strange name aside, this service is one of the most popular antivirus services for home users. This is due to the fact that it has a free version, which could be used on its own and still provide reliable security.

Features and pricing plans

Panda Dome Antivirus uses cloud-based solutions to provide real-time virus countermeasures. Although it seems unlikely, even the free version is as potent as some of the rivaling options.

There's also a smart Data Shield that protects your personal information from leaking on the dark web. The service also includes a password manager. It isn't as extensive as other third-party offers, but it gets the job done if you want something simple.

If you want the best out of the package, the paid plans don’t disappoint. With each plan your first month is free, so you will have plenty of time to test the service in-depth. Each of these plans adds significant subscription benefits.

The Essential plan adds multiple device protection against malware, a wi-fi shield, and external device virus scanning. The advanced plan includes ransomware protection and parental controls. The Complete plan adds a password manager and a Data Shield for personal data protection. Then, there's the Premium offer with unlimited VPN access and priority customer support.

Verdict

All things considered, Panda Dome is one of the few antivirus suites that have real-time protection available on the Free plan. Plus, you can try the paid offers for a month before you're required to pay up. If you don't need every feature that they have in their package or need something more, you can customize the service with additional protection modules like Panda Cleanup, Panda Dome Passwords, Panda VPN, or Panda Family.

Pros

  • Great free version
  • Attractive UI
  • Support for a wide range of OSs
  • Cloud-based
  • Efficient at removing malware
  • Great performance scores

Cons

  • On the expensive side
  • No iOS support
  • Free version has annoying ad pop-ups
  • Additional features locked behind protection modules
  • Included password manager is dated

8. ESET NOD32 – the best lightweight antivirus software

ESET NOD32 user interface
Price:From $39.99/yr
Free version:No
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android
Customer support:Live chat, email, knowledge base

If you aren't phased that NOD32’s product mascot is basically the Judgment Day Terminator, you’ll find a great antivirus in this leading Slovak cybersecurity product. Not only does it include robust anti-malware protection, but it’s also supported on a wide array of devices. It’s also not a memory hog and will run smoothly on weaker machines.

Features and pricing plans

ESET NOD32 is able to achieve a lot of things because their antivirus is genuinely cloud-based. It offloads most of the heavy processing to their servers. This means much less work for your device and better performance.

There's also a Gaming mode, which suspends all scans and notifications, so you can be focused on the more important things, while your antivirus doesn't get in the way.

If you're worrying that basic NOD32 protection might not be enough, you can opt for ESET Internet Security. You'll get a slight price bump, plus protection against harmful Java script, webcam protection, network monitoring, and more. For those who want to go all-in, there's an option to pick ESET Smart Security Premium. It will add ransomware protection, a password manager, and encryption for personal files.

Verdict

ESET aims to be a lightweight solution for your devices. It's perfect for those who need a quick scan once in a while to make sure their devices are clean. Not all antiviruses need an elaborate list of features. However, if you want to go that route, no one's stopping you. By climbing up to higher pricing tiers, you can get a lot out of ESET antivirus products, including support for macOS, and iOS devices, and additional cybersecurity tools.

Pros

  • Cloud-based
  • Doesn’t require a lot of system resources
  • Great malware labs test scores
  • Remote device control option
  • File encryption against ransomware
  • Intuitive UI

Cons

  • Somewhat expensive
  • Only manual updates
  • Lacks additional features
  • Some settings might be too confusing for common users
  • Customer support is hit or miss

9. Trend Micro Antivirus – most advanced suite on the market

Trend Micro antivirus user interface
Price:From $39.95/yr
Free version:Yes (Android and iOS)
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
Customer support:Phone, email, social media

Trend Micro is a service that stops malicious files before they even start downloading. Your Trend Micro experience begins by the program determining your common usage patterns. Then, machine learning algorithms block every action that deviates from normal behavior. This doesn't mean that alerts will flare-up any time you try downloading files - the setup is a lot more advanced.

Features and pricing plans

Trend Micro Antivirus doesn't try to be a one-click solution to end all your cybersecurity struggles, but it does go a long way. Using predictive machine learning and endpoint sensors, it can achieve many things that many other antivirus solutions can only dream of.

Aside from advanced measures, you can also find fan favorites: a firewall, application control rules, and a sandbox to test suspicious apps in an isolated space. In short, you can use it like any other antivirus solution. Everything that you otherwise need is there.

However, everything comes at a price, and Trend Micro Antivirus is one of the most resource-heavy solutions. You can count on it to protect you against malware, but you can expect slowdowns too. It's even worse for weaker machines.

Not only can this software be costly for your system - it will also punish your wallet. Plus, the first few tiers are Windows-only. Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security and Trend Micro Internet Security are Windows-only, too. Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac is a separate plan. Then, there are Maximum Security tiers with Premium and Ultimate service bundles.

Verdict

Although getting started with this tool is easy, payment plans will confuse a lot of users. To make matters worse, most of them are set to auto-renew, so if you forget to cancel your subscription, you'll be charged. Having said that, it's one of the most advanced antivirus toolkits and worthy of the title of true next-gen antivirus.

Pros

  • Most advanced antivirus on the market
  • Great at removing malware
  • Highly customizable
  • Many bonus features
  • Layered ransomware protection
  • Sophisticated spam filter
  • Mute mode

Cons

  • Needs a lot of system resources
  • Expensive
  • Limited parental controls
  • Might be a bit tricky to set up

10. F-Secure SAFE – reliable protection in a slick package

F-Secure SAFE user interface
Price:From $69.99/yr
Free version:No
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
Customer support:Phone, email, community forums

Scandinavian company F-Secure has developed one of the most powerful antivirus solutions. Here's what you should know about it.

Features and pricing plans

F-Secure SAFE doesn’t have a long list of features to boast about. It includes the necessary basic measures that you could expect from an antivirus suite. Plus, there is ransomware protection, parental controls and support for a wide range of devices.

Sadly, you won't find a firewall, which should be included in every top contender's resume. However, when it comes to internal malware protection, F-Secure is a robust solution. You can even upload malware samples to their databases to get them adequately analyzed. There's also a browser extension that enables you to browse safely.

Their pricing plans can leave many confused about which option to pick. There's the basic antivirus, but it only includes a very barebones suite for a steep price. You should go for F-Secure SAFE and customize its subscription length and number of devices supported.

Verdict

F-Secure is quite an expensive product. However, if you're only looking for a traditional antivirus, F-Secure should be a perfect fit. With that said, other services offer a lot more bang for your buck. Our advice: wait for deals and only then pull a trigger on this service.

Pros

  • Simple to use
  • Effective against malware
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Low system impact
  • Rare notifications

Cons

  • Limited features
  • Basic plans offer poor value
  • Overpriced
  • No anti-phishing protection
  • One year plans only

How we curated our best antivirus software list

Naturally, most antivirus software offers a similar set of features, such as real-time scanning or defense against ransomware. For most users, solid basics can be enough, and they don’t have any reason to pay more for something they don’t want. On the other hand, unique features are what make an antivirus solution stand out from the others.

Here are the criteria that we used to determine the best antivirus programs in 2020:

  • Independent antivirus testing. Does the company even invest in such testing? What are the results? We take a look at results from AV-Test Institute, SE Labs, AV-Comparatives, and others.
  • In-house antivirus testing. This one is mostly for spyware, adware, and other types of malware. It’s one thing to launch an antivirus that scores highly and another to retain the position throughout the year
  • What is its record with false positives? New malware examples come out each day, and even the best antivirus software can’t catch it all 100% of the time. But how does one solve the problem of false positives? I look at which antivirus solutions don’t overreact and let you browse freely.
  • Bonus features. I check which antiviruses offer firewalls, spam filters, secure browsers, and other extras. Then I compare the number of features you get and the asking price.
  • Supported devices. If you’ve found the best antivirus for Windows 10, that doesn’t mean it will work on your iPhone.
  • Performance. If you don’t have the latest hardware, an antivirus scan can hamper your device’s performance.
  • Ease of use. No matter how sophisticated the best antivirus software is, any user should be able to scan their device.
  • Reputation. It’s hard to stay clean, but only clean antiviruses can reach the top. And that’s why you won’t see AVG or Avast at the top of our list.
  • Price. You shouldn’t be trying to save on protecting your devices. On the other hand, there’s no reason to choose overpriced antivirus software. In any case, the majority of best antivirus software developers offer different packages for individuals, families, and businesses.
  • Customer support. Is there 24/7 support? If so, is that via email or a live chat? These are important questions that say a lot about your provider’s outlook on its clients.

Video review: Best antivirus software of 2020

The best free antivirus software

Good antivirus software doesn’t have to cost much. Actually, it doesn’t have to cost anything at all. Four out of five antivirus solutions mentioned above have either good or great free versions. If that wasn’t enough, there are other highly-rated brands to check out.

Do I need antivirus at all?

The answer depends on what kind of user you are. Are you tech-savvy enough to spot a phishing email or a fake website? If the answer is positive, chances are you can stay malware-free for the foreseeable future. However, it depends on your current security level and the shadiness of the websites that you visit.

If you don’t use a password manager, a VPN, or secure email, you might benefit from a quality antivirus suite. Nowadays, they incorporate most of these cybersecurity tools that significantly lower the risk of infecting your devices.

Another factor is the amount of online shopping you do 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

Furthermore, if you have family and kids, making sure they stay safe is even more important. With parental controls, 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 wifi. An antivirus can protect all of them at once, saving the hassle of catering to each separately.

So while I’d say that you do need an antivirus, it doesn’t have to be a premium option. That is unless you want some features unavailable elsewhere. Because as the years go by, it’s less about viruses and malware (best antiviruses catch nearly all of them pretty easily) but about cybersecurity in general. So while getting a file encryptor and a VPN can become costly, antivirus suites bundle everything together and make it user-friendly for most of us.

Antivirus is not a cure-all remedy

Just like any other software, antiviruses are prone to vulnerabilities. They can also slow your device down or even collect data about you, especially when we’re talking about free versions. Besides, if you’re a Windows user, you already have a robust anti-malware tool in Defender. If you’re a Mac owner, there’s simply less malware and vulnerability points to lose your sleep on

Finally, it’s all about your online habits – if you throw your credit card details all around the dark web and let your children play with your phone, you’re in the risk group. And compared to the possible damage of a ransomware attack or identity theft, those few bucks a month for the best antivirus software should be a no-brainer.

How to choose the best antivirus software?

Choosing the best antivirus software depends on the following factors. First, you have to see if you’re already using some kind of online protection. Maybe it’s a VPN or a password manager?

If so, you can look for a cheaper option that doesn’t include these features. If not, then I advise taking an all-in-one bundle – most antiviruses have them, including our Top 5.

The next question is about the users – is it only for you or also your family and kids? Some providers have solid parental control features while others protect your whole home network and alert about possible dangers.

Another factor is your budget. Not all antivirus programs offer the same bang-for-the-buck ratio. That’s why spending thirty dollars on Kaspersky instead of Avira might be a good idea.

Finally, you have to like the software because most companies sell one-year or longer subscriptions. However, the majority offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, so testing before buying will save you both time and money

How does antivirus work?

There’s no unified description of what a virus is and what malware is. The word malware is an all-encompassing term for harmful software, such as viruses, Trojans, worms, and others.

In most cases, antivirus software scans your computer for possible malware and compares your files and programs to known viruses. It also checks possible variants of known malware types. Finally, the so-called heuristic scan tries to detect unknown malware by looking at the way your programs behave.

There are two types of scans that are usually available. The background scan provides real-time protection by actively checking the programs that are currently opened. In contrast, a full system scan checks every file on your hard drive. It’s recommended to run one after installing the antivirus and after the real-time scan finds an infection.

There’s always the chance of a false positive. It’s when your antivirus program thinks that it has found a virus while in fact, it’s a new but safe app that you’ve downloaded. Whitelisting can prevent future false positives.

FAQ

What is the best antivirus for Windows 10?

The best antivirus software for Windows 10 is Bitdefender Antivirus. It’s our top-rated piece of software that has excellent reviews from many cybersecurity experts. Bitdefender offers plenty of features at a small price and has 24/7 live chat and email support.

Is it worth paying for antivirus software?

If you’re doing bank operations online and visit some less reputable sites from time to time, I’d strongly recommend getting a premium antivirus. While there are many reliable free options, it’s worth paying for antivirus software because of the sheer number of features. Those often include a VPN, a password manager, a file encryption tool, and a secure email, all-in-one.

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