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Best antivirus software in 2024

In today's reality, where data breaches and new malware emerge daily, you and your devices are not safe if you don't use antivirus software.

Cybercriminals have come up with ingenious attack techniques and can use advanced methods to defraud you. Here’s an example. You come across a familiar-looking website that offers expensive products at unbelievably low prices. Without suspecting a scam, you make a purchase, only to discover that it’s a scam when nothing arrives.

Fortunately, by installing antivirus software on all your devices and keeping your systems up-to-date, you can avoid successful cyberattacks and strengthen both your personal and financial security. But which antivirus should you choose?

We conducted thorough hands-on tests on 25 antivirus utilities to uncover the top 10 antivirus programs in 2024 to help you choose the one that fits your needs best. In addition to our own experiences, we also use insights from independent organizations that test security software.

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

Top-rated antivirus programs of 2024

📢 LIMITED OFFER: Get up to 58% OFF Norton Antivirus

Akvile Tamasiuniene Ieva Jociūtė author sarunas karbauskas vincentas
Why You Can Trust Cybernews

Our team of researchers thoroughly tests antivirus software following a well-established testing process. In unison, our experts combine in-house and independent testing lab findings with first-hand experience to help you make informed decisions about each product. Learn how we test antivirus software.

Antivirus Software Tested
Malware Samples Tested
Hours of Extensive Testing
Recent updates
In the most recent June 2024 update our researchers team conducted new in-house antivirus effectiveness tests and checked antivirus labs results to ensure that the antivirus software is up-to-date. Moreover, I clearly defined which antivirus product is suitable for each user group. I also analyzed independent antivirus lab tests, reviewed their top-rated products, and examined how these test results have changed over time. However, the biggest change was back in April when Norton took the #1 spot away from TotalAV.

Detailed reviews of top antivirus apps in 2024

Whether you need a complete antivirus package or specific features like banking protection, my guide has you covered. We reviewed 25 robust antivirus providers and picked the top 10. Read below to learn about their strengths and weaknesses.

1. Norton 360 Antivirus – the best antivirus for malware protection overall

Max devices covered:10
Free option:Yes, 7 days
OS compatibility:
Windows, macOS, iOS, Android
Current deal:Get up to 58% OFF Norton Antivirus

Norton is the best antivirus software of 2024 that offers a feature-rich package with an intuitive interface. It has effective real-time protection, offers a reliable VPN and password manager for added digital security.

However, compared to TotalAV, Norton's interface might be less user-friendly. For example, using two interfaces to navigate Norton feature packs is a bit confusing. If you want to adjust settings, you might get lost easily.

In-house test results. Norton 360 showed mixed results in our in-house tests. For starters, we tested real-time protection with 10 malware samples, and the antivirus garnered a 70% success rate. Protection failed to identify and remove 3 malicious files. In the second test, we challenged real-time protection with malware samples found in the wild, including 5 URLs pointing to malware and 5 samples with assigned domains. The results showed that real-time protection with wild samples is quite effective, catching 8 out of 10 downloaded malicious files, resulting in an 80% protection rate. Worth mentioning that Norton’s real-time protection scanning was much slower compared to Avira, Malwarebytes, or Bitdefender.

The full system scan was also 80% successful and took over 5 minutes to scan 350K files. However, we were thoroughly disappointed by the Power Eraser feature, which failed to detect any malware no matter how hard we tried.

Independent test results. Regarding independent lab tests, the March-April 2024 AV-TEST reports show near-perfect results for Norton. Provider lost only a point in performance for slowing down frequently-used application installation and a half-point in usability.

In the March 2024 test, an independent lab, AV-Comparatives, found that Norton antivirus successfully blocked 99.97% of threats. However, it had 26 false alarms, which prevented Norton from receiving the Advanced protection award.

Features. Norton antivirus has some great features to safeguard your digital security. It offers Smart Firewall, PC cloud backup, parental controls, and system optimization features. One of the most noteworthy Norton Antivirus features is its VPN service, which I consider one of the best on the market. The VPN provides adequate security with AES-256 encryption and the OpenVPN or IKEv2 tunneling protocols. Unsurprisingly, it isn’t particularly fast since it lacks WireGuard.

Norton AV VPN

Just like Bitdefender, Norton Antivirus developed an AI-powered tool to detect scams. It’s called Genie and is available for free on mobile devices. Besides that, the antivirus grants software updater capabilities, which checks popular software for updates, and we found it works well (it updated Microsoft Visual C++, Edge, and Google Chrome).

I also tried Norton's Safe Web feature and found it impressive. It's a browser extension that provides information about a site's security. When users get search results from a search engine, after a few seconds, marks indicating the safety level of the sites appear.

Pricing. With prices starting from $19.99/year for the Plus plan, this antivirus is an excellent choice for robust malware protection. Additionally, there are Standard plan at $39.99/year for 1 device, Norton 360 Deluxe at $49.99/year for 5 devices, and Norton 360 Advanced at $191.88/year for 10 devices. You can try those plans with a 7-day free trial.

Who It's For

Norton has been fighting viruses and malware since the MS-DOS days. If you want reliable protection from a trusted brand with decades of experience, Norton Antivirus is the way to go.

2. TotalAV – the best antivirus for digital security

Total AV user interface
Max devices covered:8
Free option:Yes, free version
OS compatibility:
Windows, macOS, iOS, Android
Current deal:Get TotalAV, now 80% OFF!

TotalAV is an affordable and well-performing antivirus. It’s a great choice for anyone needing budget-friendly and effective cybersecurity service that’s easy to manage.

TotalAV is a fantastic tool, especially for beginners. It provides essential scan options like Quick and Full scans, along with features to tidy up your device by removing unnecessary files. The user interface is simple and easy to navigate, with neatly organized categories and a pleasing overall design. However, our in-house test results were contradictory.

In-house test results. Our TotalAV evaluations began with real-time protection tests, which were quite favorable for the service. It was tested in two ways: with malware samples prepared beforehand and live samples found in the wild (7 URLs pointing to malware and 3 samples with assigned domains). The initial live test showed that real-time protection worked 90% of the time. But when we tested it with pre-prepared malware samples, it only caught 60% of them.

Unfortunately, the full scan was only 60% effective against the prepared malware samples we hid in the main drive. On the other hand, a quick scan ran for around 2 minutes but failed to find malicious files hidden in obscure places.

Independent test results. The AV-TEST March-April 2024 summary showed great TotalAV performance. TotalAV blocked 100% of zero-day attacks. The provider only lost half a point in performance because it caused slowdowns on popular apps.

AV-Comparatives, another independent testing lab, awarded TotalAV's protection the highest rating of Advanced+. In their March 2024 test, TotalAV successfully blocked 99.94% of threats with 12 false positives.

Features. TotalAV provider stands out from most antivirus services with its feature-rich suites. For example, it offers a VPN and password manager. TotalAV's antivirus package includes WebShield feature, which is my favorite among others and has shown great effectiveness. It blocked 60% of malicious URLs with domain names and warned about potential danger for two others. Additionally, it blocked 100% of malicious websites accessible through only IPv4 protocol.

TotalAV offers better PC optimization tools than other antivirus providers, like Norton, making it a good choice if you want to improve your computer’s performance. I liked that TotalAV includes a Cloud Scanner, a Disk Cleaner, a System Tune-up, and other optimization tools. These are beginner-friendly and will help you free up some space in your hard drive.

TotalAV system tune up

I was also impressed by TotalAV's ad-blocking and tracker-blocking features. They effectively blocked trackers and advertisements across the web without causing any negative impact on my experience during casual browsing.

Pricing. There are three TotalAV plans available. Antivirus Pro for protection against online threats, which costs $19.00/year for 3 devices. Then there is an Internet Security suite for online protection with an included VPN for $39.00/year and 5 devices. Also, Total Security plan for complete protection, which includes VPN, Total Adblock, Password Vault, and Device Protection for $49.00/year and 6 devices.

Who It's For

TotalAV provides affordable antivirus protection with essential features like quick and full scans, ideal for beginners. Independent tests highlight strong performance against zero-day threats, making it a reliable choice for budget-conscious users.

3. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus – the best cross-platform antivirus protection

Bitdefender interface
Max devices covered:15
Free option:Yes, free version
OS copatibility:Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux
Current deal:Get Bitdefender for up to 78% OFF!

Bitdefender is one of the top antiviruses with amazing protection rates and robust security suites. Whether real-time protection, deep system scanning, or maintaining secure VPN connections -- Bitdefender can do it all with excellent results. What sets it apart from other providers, is compatibility with most popular operating systems like Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux.

While Bitdefender provider has many great features, there's still room for improvement. Most tools are efficient, but for instance, the VPN is limited to 200MB of data per device unless you upgrade to the Premium Security Plan. Also, features like web protection could be more effective.

In-house test results. Regarding in-house tests, Bitdefender’s real-time protection easily dealt with all 10 malware samples we pitted against it. It caught 9 out of 10 downloaded malicious files. We ran another real-time protection test with live malware samples from the wild, including malware with assigned domains and only IP addresses (5 of each). Bitdefender successfully protected against all of them, achieving a 100% success rate.

Bitdefender real time protection

For our research, we also performed all basic Bitdefender scan options, like Quick scan and System scan. Deep scanning was highly effective and resulted in 90% detection rate. However, Quick scan was completely ineffective as it wasn’t able to detect any malicious samples.

Independent tests. Bitdefender accumulated a perfect score in the 2024 March-April AV-TEST independent evaluation, losing only half a point in performance and a half a point in usability. Additionally, during independent AV-Comparatives tests, it got a high 99.92% protection rate with only 8 false alarms.

Features. Bitdefender is a top choice because of its bonus feature variety. For example, I liked Scamio, an AI-powered chatbot that can analyze suspicious messages and links to determine their trustworthiness. Like Surfshark antivirus, Bitdefender is one of the many antiviruses, which employs a webcam protection feature. Webcam Filter shields your camera and microphone from unauthorized access. While it's simple to cover your built-in webcam with duct tape, muting the microphone is more challenging and equally risky.

Bitdefender, like Norton antivirus, also has a VPN feature. However, Bitdefender has a 200MB daily data limit, whereas Norton offers unlimited data. So, while Bitdefender’s VPN is suitable for anonymity, I found it unsuitable for data-heavy activities like video streaming and gaming.

Pricing. Bitdefender antivirus package prices start at only $19.99/year if you opt for the excellent Antivirus Plus plan. This option protects up to 3 Windows devices with essential features. Total Security plan covers up to 5 Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android devices and costs $49.99/year. And there are also Internet Security plan for Windows up to 3 devices for $49.99/year You can also utilize the free plan and 30-day money-back guarantee to enjoy Bitdefender without commitment.

Who It's For

Bitdefender is renowned for its top-tier protection and comprehensive security features across multiple platforms. Despite some limitations, like a 200MB daily VPN data cap, it excels in real-time protection and deep system scanning, making it a strong choice for users prioritizing security.

4. Surfshark Antivirus – the best antivirus software bundled with a VPN

Surfshark AV banner
Max devices covered:5
Free option:No
OS compatibility:
Windows, macOS, Android
Current deal:Get Surfshark Antivirus - 80% OFF + 3 months FREE!

If you're looking for an all-in-one option for your digital security, Surfshark antivirus might be the one. We appreciated Surfshark's duo of VPN and antivirus, which makes it a perfect solution for non-techy users. The provider offers convenient and user-friendly apps for Windows, macOS, and Android, making it ideal even for beginners.

In-house test results. We began in-house Surfshark antivirus testing by evaluating real-time protection, which fared pretty well against malware samples we prepared in advance. Overall, the service dealt with 90% of the malware samples we threw at it, only missing one. However, with malware samples found in the wild, it was ineffective, with a success rate of 20%.

On the other hand, the full system scan managed to identify 7 malicious files stored deep in the C disk. Though it wasn’t as lightweight as expected (it used around 80% of CPU resources). Additionally, it’s important to note that Surfshark antivirus is incompatible with other antivirus software and refuses to work until you uninstall it.

Independent tests. Regarding independent lab tests, AV-TEST hasn’t evaluated Surfshark antivirus for over two years. The November-December 2022 update shows the service loses in protection and performance, while usability is perfect.

Features. In my research, I found out that Surfshark appears to use Avira's software development kit (SDK). This SDK includes scanning technology that checks for known malicious hashes. If it finds an unknown file, it sends it for analysis. The analysis involves machine learning models, heuristics, and generics.

Another thing I liked, is that customers gain webcam protection. Unlike Bitdefender, Surfshark antivirus doesn't include microphone protection, only Webcam protection. This feature ensures unauthorized apps can't access your webcam without your knowledge. It's a valuable security feature for users concerned about unknown parties spying on them through their cameras.

surfshark antivirus web protection

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.

Pricing. You can get Surfshark antivirus on 5 devices for only $47.85/year. A standard 30-day money-back guarantee is included for risk-free testing.

Who It's For

For users seeking a simple yet effective digital security solution, Surfshark antivirus, bundled with a VPN, offers convenient protection on Windows, macOS, and Android. Priced at $47.85 per year for up to 5 devices, it's ideal for those prioritizing ease of use and basic security needs.

5. Malwarebytes – the best free antivirus software

Max devices covered:20
Free option:Yes, free version or 14-day free trial
OS compatibility:
Windows, Android, macOS, ChromeOS, iOS
Current deal:Get Malwarebytes, now 25% OFF

Malwarebytes is another solid anti-malware program that does the job well. It offers one of the best free versions around, which has scanning and malware protection. The interface is user-friendly and easy to navigate. However, when compared to other providers, it may seem a bit outdated and old-fashioned.

In-house test results. We conducted tests on real-time protection in various scenarios. In the first test, we used URLs leading to malware samples found in the wild, some without a top-level domain, and others with assigned domains. During these tests, we discovered that enabling the Malwarebytes Browser Guard extension significantly boosted effectiveness, achieving a success rate of 90%. Without the extension, the success rate dropped to 60%. However, real-time protection was ineffective in the second test in a controlled environment with 10 malware samples.

malwarebytes real time protection

Scanning with Malwarebytes was a rather confusing endeavor. The purpose of the three options (scan, quick scan, configure scan) is unclear because neither performed as a full scan that other providers offer. Crucially, these scans failed to detect any malware in most cases. Only by picking the custom scan and configuring it did we manage to get a somewhat positive result in which Malwarebytes found 50% of the malware.

Independent tests. Malwarebytes garnered excellent results in the 2023 September-October AV-TEST evaluations, missing only half a point in the 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 review.

Features. Malwarebytes doesn't quite measure up to top vendors like TotalAV and Norton. Its protection falls short of industry standards, and it doesn't offer as many additional features. What’s worth mentioning is that Malwarebytes includes exploit protection, which is useful when preventing malware from infecting the device and spreading further. When Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit finds an application being attacked, it stops the harmful code from running and shuts down the app to keep things stable. This helps because a targeted app might not work right after being attacked.

Aside from that, Malwarebytes like TotalAV and Norton antiviruses offer a VPN to help encrypt your internet traffic and protect private information when browsing online. This means your online activities will be confidential, and you’ll gain protection from man-in-the-middle attacks while surfing the web on public hotspots.

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 $38.24/year for 1 device.

Who It's For

Malwarebytes offers effective free malware protection and includes useful exploit protection, though its scanning options and overall malware detection rates may not match top competitors like TotalAV and Norton. It's a good choice for users seeking basic, user-friendly malware defense.

6. ESET NOD32 – the best antivirus for web protection

NOD32 user interface
Max devices covered:5 devices
Free option:Yes, 30 days
OS compatibility:
Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
Current deal:Get ESET, save up to 15%

ESET NOD32 is a leading Slovak cybersecurity product that offers an excellent and reliable antivirus suite – well worth a place on our best antivirus software list. This provider stands out with its features for internet protection. For example, it offers effective Parental controls, Web access protection, even Email client protection and more. It should particularly appeal to intermediate users due to its impressive array of setting customization options.

In-house test results. Regarding our ESET antivirus testing, the service confirmed its solid performance. The real-time protection feature detected all 10 malware samples we prepared in advance. However, the service did not remove or quarantine all of them, which was slightly alarming.

The complete scan did not disappoint either and detected 90% of the malware we planted. It took roughly 9 minutes to scan 140K files and was lightweight, not requiring too much device memory.

Independent tests. AV-TEST evaluated ESET in March-April 2024. The provider scored maximum point in each category: protection, performance and usability. . Additionally, the latest March 2024 test results from AV-Comparatives put ESET NOD32 into the Advanced+ category. Overall, the antivirus reached a 99.93% online protection rate and suffered from only 10 false alarm.

Features. ESET plans grant everything you expect from any antivirus solution. I really appreciate the web protection features offered by ESET. These include parental control, web access protection that detects and blocks scams and phishing sites, email client protection that scans incoming and outgoing emails, and antispam protection that detects and removes spam emails. What's particularly impressive is the ESET Anti-Theft feature, which sets it apart from other providers. If your device ever gets lost or stolen, ESET Anti-Theft allows you to monitor its usage and track its location using IP address localization.

eset anti theft feature

Overall, ESET offers essential protection against vulnerabilities. Like Bitdefender and Norton antiviruses, ESET, with its Home Security Ultimate plan, provides unlimited VPN. Moreover, with ESET, you’ll get lightweight scans and even a Gamer mode feature, which minimizes CPU usage to improve overall performance.

Pricing. ESET antivirus offers three types of plans: Home Security Essential with all crucial protection features, Home Security Premium, which includes a password manager and encryption for files, and Home Security Ultimate plan, which includes a VPN and identity theft protection. In terms of pricing, the Home Security Essential plan starts from $49.99/year and protects 1 device. However, you can choose to protect up to 10 devices. Of course, the subscription price increases accordingly. The same happens with other plans.

Who It's For

ESET NOD32 stands out for intermediate users with robust internet protection features, including effective parental controls and Anti-Theft capabilities. It offers reliable performance in real-time protection and system scans, backed by positive evaluations from independent testing labs.

7. Intego – the best antivirus software for Mac

Intego banner
Max devices covered:5
Free option:No
OS compatibility:
Windows, Mac
Current deal:Get Intego, now 60% OFF!

Intego Antivirus is among the best antiviruses for macOS. It offers great real-time protection and effectively scans for malware.

Intego is easy to use, but you must get used to it. When you install the Windows version, it's just one program. But on Mac, you'll get 5 separate mini-apps. It makes sense because each tool has a lot of functions. Still, I'd prefer everything in one app because switching between apps can be a bit of a hassle.

In-house tests. We tested real-time protection in three different situations. First, with various malware types, including ones usually found on Windows and Linux devices, where it was 60% effective. Second, with malicious files specific to Mac operating systems, which it caught 80% of. Finally, against malware currently found in the wild, where it protected against 70% of threats.

Scanning worked well overall. The quick scan took less than a minute and found 6 out of 10 malicious files, while the full scan took about 4 minutes and found 8 out of 10, giving an 80% protection rate for full scans and 60% for quick scans.

Independent tests. The recent independent tests by AV-TEST show that Intego antivirus software scored well in almost all categories. It only lost half a point in protection and one point in performance, mainly due to slightly slower installation of frequently used apps. Also, during AV-Comparatives testing in 2023, Intego demonstrated a 99.4% malware protection rate.

Features. I really liked Intego NetBarrier. It's a feature that allows users to customize their device's firewall settings. You can easily control incoming and outgoing traffic, even on your local network (LAN). It also shows which apps are using the internet and whether it's incoming or outgoing data. This makes it simple to spot any potentially malicious apps. Plus, the app is easy to understand and navigate.

intego net barrier

Another interesting feature is the Washing Machine. It reclaims scan caches, downloads, logs, and trash for unused files that take up unnecessary space. While testing, it found 6 items in Caches and Logs, totaling only 32 MB. The Organize feature allows users to tidy up desktop items into neat folders, which could be helpful if you don't organize files neatly. All the scans in this feature pack are fast, taking less than 10 seconds.

Overall, Intego is a great antivirus for Mac. However, other providers, like Norton antivirus, provide better value with additional features like a password manager and a VPN. Moreover, while Intego excels in anti-malware protection for Mac devices, Norton, Bitdefender, and TotalAV offers comprehensive security features across platforms.

Pricing. Intego has three pricing options for Mac and Windows devices, based on how many devices you want to cover. Prices start at $19.99 per year for one macOS device.

Who It's For

Intego Antivirus is highly effective for Mac users, offering strong real-time protection and efficient malware scanning. However, those needing comprehensive cross-platform features might find better value in alternatives like Norton, Bitdefender, or TotalAV.

8. McAfee Total Protection – the most complete cybersecurity software

McAfee user interface
Max devices covered:Unlimited
Free option:No
OS compatibility:
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Current deal:Get McAfee, save up to 70%

McAfee is one of the best all-around antiviruses for cybersecurity. It offers not only protection against the latest cyber threats but also provides additional security features, doing more than just essential malware protection.

The software interface is nice and easy to use, but it feels a bit chaotic because some features are only available on the web. Still, the app's options are straightforward and well-explained, so you won't get lost while using it.

In-house test results. Similarly to Malwarebytes, McAfee underperformed in the real-time protection department when its extension was disabled. To be precise, it didn’t catch any malware while WebAdvisor was disabled. However, the results went up to 90% success when the extension was enabled.

Conversely, quick and full scans were average at best. On a positive note, the quick scan was fast (scanned 4K files in 2 minutes) and needed no more than 35% of CPU resources. Unfortunately, it found only 40% of threats. Meanwhile, the complete scan took around 40 minutes to scan 190K files, yet showed only a 50% success rate.

Independent tests. On the other hand, the latest March-April 2024 test results from AV-TEST show a different picture in which McAfee Total Protection lives up to its name and provides absolute protection against all malware types. Provider scored max points in all categories: protection, performance and usability. Moreover, AV-Comparatives, an independent testing lab, gave McAfee’s's protection the highest rating of Advanced. In their March 2024 test, TotalAV blocked 99.91% of threats with just 19 false alarms.

Features. McAfee is safe and dedicated to cybersecurity. Comparable to other top providers, it offers VPN and Tracker Remover, which clean up cookies and temporary files. Moreover, you can also access features like ID Protection through McAfee Protection Center website. To enhance system performance, it offers an App Boost feature. What I liked, among other features is convenient File Shredder. When you use the McAfee Shredder tool to delete stuff from your Recycle Bin and Temporary Internet Files, it ensures that the info can't be recovered.

mcafee file shredder

Additionally, the software suggests trying three free browser extensions. I tested each one and found them quite effective, especially considering they're free. One stops auto-playing videos, another guards against malicious websites and phishing attempts, and True Key is a handy password manager.

Pricing. McAfee has three plans to offer: Plus, Premium, and Advanced. Prices start from $39.99/year. 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.

Who It's For

McAfee offers strong all-around cybersecurity with comprehensive protection and additional features like VPN and Tracker Remover. Despite a slightly cluttered interface, it performs well in independent tests and provides a 30-day money-back guarantee for users to explore its capabilities risk-free.

9. Avira Antivirus – the best antivirus for Windows PC

Avira user interface
Max devices covered:50
Free option:Yes, free version
OS compatibility:
Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
Current deal:Get 1 year of Avira at 43% OFF!

Avira Antivirus is one of the best antivirus software packages available in free and premium segments offering outstanding protection for Windows and other OS systems.

Avira Antivirus is user-friendly and has a nice, intuitive interface that I personally like. It's packed with features, but navigating through them is a breeze. Features like Game Booster, VPN, Password Manager, and more can be really handy additions to your antivirus.

In-house test results. Our Avira Antivirus analysis showed satisfactory results. Real-time protection mustered a 90% success rate against malware samples we prepared in advance.

Sadly, the quick scan results were pretty disappointing. We tested the feature thrice by altering where the malware files were located, yet Avira failed to find any of them in all cases. Thankfully, the full scan showed better results (70% success) at the cost of CPU usage, which skyrocketed to 92%.

Independent tests. The most recent 2024 March-April independent Avira tests by AV-TEST show that the antivirus service is powerful in most areas and scored maximum points at protection and usability. It ensures 100% protection against prevalent malware and 0-day attacks. Moreover, AV comparatives also found Avira to be reliable, with a 99.95% protection rate with just 12 false positive.

Features. The default Avira package includes a VPN, a firewall, and a password manager. I liked that Avira offers Game Booster. I tested it by opening various applications like Office, Calculator, Steam, and more. Even when running a game, Game Booster effectively stopped Office from using any CPU percentage, optimizing unused apps to use 0% CPU. Other apps like Maps and VMWare used only a small percentage of CPU (0.1%-1%) when used alongside the game.

Another interesting feature of Avira, similar to Norton antivirus, is its dark web monitoring capability. Avira's Identity Assistant, available in your My Avira account, regularly scans the internet using an ongoing algorithm to check if your personal data has been exposed on the dark web.

avira identity assistant

What is impressive is that developers can use Avira's SDK (a package of tools, libraries, and resources) for their own software applications. For instance, Surfshark uses Avira's SDK.

Pricing. Avira has three security suites for users. Avira Antivirus Pro has all basic features like detecting and removing malware. Avira Internet Security plan comes with Password Manager and Software and Driver Updater. And then there is the Avira Prime plan, which adds extra perks such as VPN, premium apps, and junk remover. Avira’s prices start from $26.99/year, but if you want to try it risk free, there’s also a money-back guarantee for up to 60 days.

Who It's For

Avira Antivirus offers strong protection and user-friendly features like Game Booster and VPN, suitable for both free and premium users across Windows and other OS platforms. Despite mixed results in quick scans, its overall effectiveness and competitive pricing starting from $26.99/year make it a solid choice for comprehensive digital security.

10. Trend Micro – best budget-friendly antivirus software

Trend Micro antivirus banner
Max devices covered:10
Free option:Yes, free version for Android and iOS
OS compatibility:
Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, iOS
Current deal:Get Trend Micro, now 54% OFF!

Trend Micro is a budget-friendly and serviceable antivirus that can help you protect your devices from cyber threats. It has a clean-looking, easy-to-navigate interface. However, it’s not the best when talking about performance.

In-house test results. Trend Micro is another antivirus where the independent lab test results didn’t align with our Trend Micro test findings. The provider detected only 70% of the malware we prepared for the real-time protection tests. Meanwhile, systems scans performed even worse.

Once again, we performed a quick scan three times with varying malware placement, yet the antivirus failed to detect anything in all cases. Meanwhile, the full scan took around 54 minutes to scan 376K files only to muster a 40% detection rate.

Independent tests. Conversely, the latest independent Trend Micro tests from AV-TEST give the antivirus software perfect scores almost in all categories. It only lost half a point because it slowed down overall device performance. Moreover, during AV comparatives testings, Trend Micro showed a 97.10% protection rate with only 3 false positive.

Features. I liked how easy it is to access Trend Micro's features and how clean the interface looks. For instance, you can quickly tap on the Scan button to see all the available scan options.

trend micro scan options

Trend Micro also has a handy PC Health Checkup feature that works really fast and finds unnecessary files and passwords for quick cleaning.

Additionally, I was impressed by Trend Micro Password Manager, which can be added as a browser extension or downloaded as an app. It can store passwords, form information, and even has a secure notes folder.

Unfortunately, features like VPN, you can only get with the top-tier Premium Security package. Similarly, a password manager is only included in the top two plans. Also, none of the pricing plans includes specific features like a firewall, webcam protection, file encryption, and identity theft monitoring. That's why this provider is perfect for people with basic needs who don't want a bunch of extra features.

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.

Who It's For

Trend Micro offers budget-friendly antivirus protection with a user-friendly interface and useful features like PC Health Checkup and Password Manager. However, it may not suit users needing top-tier malware detection or additional features like VPN and firewall, which are limited to higher-priced plans.

How to choose antivirus software

Choosing the best antivirus might initially seem challenging. There are many options offering protection against malware threats, as well as various additional features for PC and mobile devices. So, how do you decide which one suits your needs?

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

  • Performance. Look for reviews or performance tests that compare how the antivirus software affects your system's speed and performance. You can also check if it slows down your computer during scans or regular use with free software trials.
  • Security. Search for additional security features antivirus products can offer. For example, a VPN, a password manager, or other protection measures can add an extra layer of security for your devices.
  • Features. Assess the additional features offered by the antivirus software, such as firewall protection, web browsing protection, email scanning, parental controls, and secure browsing. Choose the features that align with your specific needs and preferences.
  • Detection rates. Research the antivirus software's detection rates for various types of malware, including viruses, trojans, worms, and ransomware. Look for independent tests such as AV-TEST or user reviews that evaluate its effectiveness in detecting and removing threats.
  • Reliability. Check on the official product website if the antivirus software receives regular updates to its virus definitions and database. Regular updates are crucial for staying protected against the latest threats. It's also a good idea to check the reputation of antivirus software online. This helps you see if there are any concerns about data breaches or threats to user privacy.
  • Compatibility. Ensure that the antivirus software is compatible with your operating system (Windows, macOS, or Linux) and any other devices you intend to protect, such as smartphones or tablets.
  • Ease of use. Download a trial version or check out user reviews to see how easy the antivirus is to install, navigate, and use. A user-friendly interface is essential for hassle-free protection.

Considering these factors will help you to choose antivirus software that provides reliable protection without compromising usability or performance.

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Tech copywriter and security expert

Antivirus software rankings 2024

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. Norton 360 AntivirusOffers strong protection with features like real-time threat detection, secure VPN, and cloud backup. Its user-friendly interface and extensive customer support enhance its appeal
2. TotalAVCombines comprehensive malware protection with system optimization tools, making it a well-rounded choice for users seeking both security and performance enhancement
3. Bitdefender Antivirus PlusExcels 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
4. Surfshark AntivirusSurfshark 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. MalwarebytesSpecializes in targeting malware, making it a powerful complement to traditional antivirus solutions
6. ESET NOD32 Known for its fast scanning, efficient resource usage, and strong detection capabilities against various malware types
7. IntegoDesigned specifically for Mac users, it offers comprehensive protection against macOS-specific threats
8. McAfee Total ProtectionOffers 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
9. Avira AntivirusStrong malware detection and minimal impact on system performance. Its free version offers significant protection as well
10. Trend MicroEffective ransomware protection and a wide array of privacy features make it an attractive choice for users concerned about online privacy
11. Aura AntivirusA user-friendly interface and a range of scanning options make it suitable for users who prioritize simplicity
12. AVG AntivirusAVG provides solid malware protection and various features such as email and link scanning, enhancing overall security
13. Avast AntivirusAvast is known for its diverse set of features, including real-time protection, Wi-Fi security scanning, and a robust free version
14. Sophos AntivirusBasic remote control app, scanning, and threat analysis. Provides different layers of security and flexible pricing
15. NordVPN Threat ProtectionIt goes beyond VPN services to include antivirus features, making it a decent choice for those seeking added online security1

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.

Other notable brands that left aside our list

Some antivirus softwares don't make it to the top 10 list, but that doesn't mean they aren't worth considering. Here are 5 antivirus providers that deserve mention but aren't quite at the level of the best ones on the market right now:

  • Aura antivirus – offers crucial digital security features in one subscription, but its real-time virus scanner only detects half of the threats, and its VPN has US-based servers with significant speed decreases
  • AVG antivirus – a good choice for cyber threat protection because it offers an impressive range of features and has solid malware protection rates. However, it was a bit heavy on system resources in our tests, and it detected some false positives during independent lab testing
  • Avast antivirus – a great antivirus that scans devices, checks online networks, protects webcams, and blocks suspicious activities. However, past data-selling practices raise privacy concerns, despite being discontinued
  • Sophos antivirus – a reliable antivirus that's been around for many years, so we can trust their expertise in handling malware and viruses. However, while they cover all the basics, there aren't many advanced features available
  • NordVPN Threat Protection – while bundling with a robust VPN may seem like a good deal, NordVPN's Threat Protection falls short in performance. Unlike an antivirus, it only scans executable files, leaving out images, PDFs, and Word documents during download

Antivirus software comparison 2024

Check out the comparison table below, where we've listed the top antiviruses along with their key features. Explore the benefits and differences of each antivirus service to help you make an informed decision when choosing one.

BrandRatingFree optionPriceOS compatibilityIdentity theft protectionVPNPassword managerKey features
1. Norton 360
✅Yes, 7 daysFrom $29.99/yearWindows, macOS, iOS, Android✅Yes✅Yes, unlimited✅Yes
  • Smart Firewall
  • Cloud backup
  • SafeCam
2. TotalAV
✅Yes, free versionFrom $19.00/yearWindows, macOS, iOS, Android✅Yes✅Yes, unlimited✅Yes
  • WebShield extension
  • Ad blocker
  • System tune-up
3. Bitdefender
✅Yes, free versionFrom $19.99/yearWindows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux✅Yes✅Yes, 200MB data cap perdevice✅Yes
  • Advanced Threat Defense
  • AntiSpam
  • Ransomware remediation
4. Surfshark AV
❌NoFrom $47.85/yearWindows, macOS, Android❌No✅Yes, unlimited❌No
  • CleanWeb
  • Data breach monitoring
  • Webcam protection
5. Malwarebytes
✅Yes, free version or 14-day free trialFrom $38.24/yearWindows, Android, macOS, ChromeOS, iOS❌No✅Yes, unlimited❌No
  • Exploit protection
  • Browser Guard
  • Remediation map
✅Yes, 30 daysFrom $49.99/yearWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS❌No✅Yes, unlimited✅Yes
  • Anti-theft tools
  • Switch Protection Mode
  • Secure browser
7. Intego
❌NoFrom $19.99/yearWindows, Mac✅Yes✅Yes, unlimited✅Yes
  • Parental controls
  • Firewall
  • System optimizer
8. McAfee
❌NoFrom $39.99/yearWindows, Mac, Android, iOS✅Yes✅Yes, unlimited✅Yes
  • Ransomware protection
  • Vulnerability scanner
  • WebAdvisor
9. Avira
✅Yes, free versionFrom $26.99/yearWindows, macOS, Android, iOS❌No✅Yes, unlimited✅Yes
  • Safe shopping suite
  • Firewall
  • Email protection
10. Trend Micro
✅Yes, free version for Android and iOSFrom $19.95/yearWindows, Linux, macOS, Android, iOS❌No✅Yes, unlimited✅Yes
  • Social Media Privacy Protection
  • Dark Web Monitoring
  • Fraud Buster

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.

testing antivirus

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 2024 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 ThinkStationAMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO 3945WX 12-core processor, 3.99 GHz, 64 GB RAM, 3TB SSD,with Windows 11 operating system. Meanwhile, Mac tests was done on a VMWare setup as a MacOS 12.0.1 Monterey (allocated 16GB of RAM, 4 CPU cores 3.81 GHz).

We used various popular malware samples during in-house antivirus engine testing, including ransomware, keyloggers, spyware, adware, and others.

The tests consist of two parts. First, we focus on real-time protection by testing it in a closed environment that imitates the World Wide Web. We do so by downloading unzipped malware files to see if the security feature reacts appropriately.

After that, we store the malware onto the device to evaluate an antivirus service’s scanning capabilities. Crucially, we turned off real-time protection so it wouldn’t interfere with the scanning process. We test quick and full system scans to see the difference between the two.

In addition to in-house testing, we also consider 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.

Video review: best antivirus of 2024

In this video, we'll review the top 5 antivirus software of 2024 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 2024?

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 have your own business. Regarding the UK Cyber Security Breaches survey, in 2023, 32% of businesses and 24% of charities faced breaches or attacks. The numbers are even higher for medium businesses (59%), large businesses (69%), and high-income charities earning £500,000 or more annually (56%). The most common type of attack was phishing attempts. Whether you run a small or large business, it's important to have antivirus software to avoid any losses.
  • You shop online regularly. According to the latest data from Statista, in 2023, the United States had more than 270 million people buying stuff online. That's over 81% of the whole US population shopping on the internet. 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.

What security threats can an antivirus protect against?

Generally speaking, antivirus software protects you against malware (malicious software), which comes in various forms. Contemporary cyber threats include ransomware, spyware, rootkits, adware, cryptojackers, phishing attacks, viruses, and more. These can affect computers, smartphones, and other internet-connected devices like routers and IoT home appliances.

Besides that, the best antivirus services can also block online ads (which can contain malware), improve your device’s performance by removing certain inefficiencies, and monitor the dark web for data leaks. Some providers also include VPNs and password managers, which are just as vital for keeping your overall cybersecurity in check.

Most importantly, not all antivirus services are equally effective because the cyber threat landscape changes constantly. Thus, it’s crucial to pick trustworthy providers that frequently update their tools to tackle the latest malware effectively. You’ll know which options are the best by analyzing independent antivirus labs like AV-TEST and by reading reviews on third-party sites like this one.

Best antivirus based on independent lab testing

According to AV-Comparatives and AV-TEST independent lab results, all our tested providers perform similarly. Norton and TotalAV excel in our in-house tests, while ESET and McAfee scored perfectly in AV-TEST’s latest review for protection, performance, and usability. On the other hand, in AV-Comparatives evaluations, all providers scored over 99.50% in protection rate, except Trend Micro, which scored 97%.


I love how, over time, our top providers have consistently performed well, with only a few hiccups. When issues do come up, their teams are quick to fix them, aiming to be the best again. For example, Norton has had a high score consistently. The same goes for TotalAV. Norton’s antivirus results dipped slightly compared to last month, but overall, it’s still maintaining a strong performance.

Here's how AV-TEST's evaluation results for some providers changed from February to April:


Most of them received Advanced certification due to their high protection scores.

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 PUPs or adware (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 with robust identity protection, for example, Norton 360. 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.

Which antivirus software do we recommend?

Based on our testing and review results, as well as independent testing lab evaluations, Norton 360 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.

Norton 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.