That said, Norton AntiVirus Plus's main functions deliver on all fronts: it's easy to use, has the configuration options experts need, comes highly rated by the testing labs, and is carefully designed to have the least possible impact on your system performance. Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus is extremely undemanding without compromising on protection.
Operating system: Windows and Mac Maximum devices covered: 1 Stand out features: Always-on security, identity protection, real-time anti-phishing, firewall monitor. Installation takes seconds, the program files barely grab 2MB of your hard drive, RAM footprint is tiny, and there are no bulky signature updates to tie up your bandwidth. There's no compromise on features, though. Along with the core protection, there's smart behaviour monitoring, accurate real-time antiphishing, a firewall and network connection monitor, enhanced anti-ransomware, and other interesting extras.
It's not easy to compare Webroot's accuracy with the competition, as the big testing labs rarely evaluate the company's products. But when they are reviewed, they generally score well, and our own tests show solid and reliable protection. If you're tired of overly complicated and bloated engines, Webroot must be on your shortlist. This doesn't mean the package is short on power, it's just more focused on the fundamentals. ESET NOD32 Antivirus comes with real-time malware protection, some of the best heuristic detection around, an anti-ransomware layer, exploit protection, URL filtering to block malicious websites, and modules to prevent attacks using PowerShell and malicious scripts.
A Device Control module limits the risk of infection from other devices by controlling access to USB sticks, external hard drives, optical storage media, even devices connecting by Bluetooth and FireWire. It's an unusual extra, but could make a difference if others are regularly plugging devices into your PC. The interface is clumsy sometimes, some features are very advanced, and even the Help isn't always exactly helpful.
Above-average protection does a good job of keeping you safe, and a lightweight design ensures the package won't slow you down. ESET Internet Security builds on NOD 32 and triples the number of devices covered plus offers firewall, botnet protection, webcam protection, antispam and more.
It adds all of the above as well as password management and secure data. F-Secure Antivirus SAFE is a great collection of antivirus tools, and while it's a bit more expensive than some of the other programmes on this best of list, the amount of features you get makes the cost worthwhile. With F-Secure Antivirus SAFE, you get the brilliant antivirus software from F-Secure, along with banking protection for safe online shopping, family safety tools and a device finder that lets you track your lost Android or iOS device, and if needs be remotely lock or delete it as well.
The package typically receives maximum marks for protection from AV-Test, and generally scores highly with AV-Comparatives, too. They also say it can generate significantly more false positives than most of the competition, but how that affects you will vary depending on how you use your computer. The interface is a major plus. It's extremely easy to use, lightweight, and for the most part you can just leave the app alone to look after your PC.
The program has minimal effect on your system performance, and if you do need to intervene then you can generally solve any issues in a couple of clicks. In , F-Secure Anti-Virus SAFE remains an appealing package: fast, lightweight, and able to run alongside many other security tools without conflict - you can read more about the company's offering with our F-Secure Anti-Virus review of its slightly lighter product. Kaspersky Anti-Virus is comprehensive and easy to use without alienating more expert users.
Operating system: Windows only Maximum devices covered: 5 Stand out features: Automatic scans, drive-by cryptomining infection prevention, simplified security management. Kaspersky Anti-Virus is a stripped-back security package which focuses on the core security essentials: web filtering blocks dangerous URLs, an accurate engine detects and removes threats, smart monitoring technologies track and reverse malicious actions, and that's about it. Fortunately, what you do get works well.
Very, very well. We've consistently found Kaspersky to be amongst the best at blocking malware, and removing it from an infected system, plus it's regularly top-rated at sites like AV-Comparatives. The program is easy to use, too. A well-designed interface has just the right number of buttons and options — not too basic, but not complicated or intimidating, either — and there are plenty of on-screen instructions to explain how everything works.
Even a beginner will be at home right away. If you just need accurate, reliable and consistent malware protection, Kaspersky Anti-Virus will serve you well. Operating system: Windows only Maximum devices covered: 1 Stand out features: Ransomware protection, advanced AI learning, email scam safeguarding, Pay Guard.
Bottom Line: Symantec's Norton Deluxe delivers lab-certified Mac antivirus protection along with a two-way firewall, a password manager, and a full-powered VPN. Bottom Line: Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac excels in independent lab tests, and it goes far beyond mere. We've tested more than 40 utilities to help you pick the best antivirus PCMag has a separate roundup dedicated solely to the best Mac.
And it seems to get better and better as time goes on. How good is it exactly? The top testing labs all rate it highly for protection, although there's some disagreement on the details. In particular, AV-Comparatives says it gives a high number of false positives, which could be a real nuisance. But AV-Test reports high levels of accuracy and no issues with false positives at all. If there's a problem here, it's likely to be performance impact. PassMark's March Performance report assessed 14 security products on various performance-related benchmarks, and Trend Micro came towards the bottom part of the list.
Our experiences with the product are a little more favourable: protection levels appear similar to Bitdefender, false positives are only marginally higher, and it doesn't slow down our system noticeably more than anything else.
So if you're determined to get free antivirus, we strongly suggest that you check out our list of best security downloads in below. Cons: Worst score in antiphishing test. However, some are prone to false positives, and that could be dangerous. Two-factor authentication. For a little bit more you can purchase the Bitdefender Total Security edition. He was present at the formation of the Association of Shareware Professionals, and served on its board of directors.
We'd recommend running the trial for its full 30 days before you buy, then, to see if you notice any problems. But if you're unaffected, its high levels of detection and excellent bonus features make Trend Micro a good choice. Panda Dome Antivirus Pro comes with plenty of features and an interface optimised for Windows Real-time malware detection, speedy cloud-based scanning, URL filtering to block malicious websites: Panda Dome Essential antivirus has all the goodies you'd expect from the best antivirus software.
That's just the start. Panda Dome is jam-packed with added extras that some of the other plans on this list don't match. From port scanning and ping handling to in-depth process monitoring and an integrated VPN. When it comes to the main event - virus protection - there's not a lot of Panda test results from the independent labs around right now, but the figures we've seen don't exactly fill us with confidence as Panda came towards the bottom of the pile according to AV-Comparatives.
This doesn't mean that Panda Dome will put your devices in harm's way, but you can understand why we'd recommend other providers over it on this basis. The interface will be a little bit decisive, too. With so many weird and wonderful features included, Panda Dome does a very capable job of making sure that they can all be accessed and you can go as in-depth as you need.
But on the other side of the same coin, this might put off users who just want a quiet, simple antivirus package. One undoubted bonus is the price - Panda Dome Essential is one of the best value programs out there. And you even have the option of paying a little more and upgrading to cover an unlimited number of laptops, phones, tablets and desktops with a single subscription.
Paying for a premium service means you get more features, such as spam filters, parental controls, system scans and advanced firewalls. This makes them more suitable for power users, those who want a bit of extra security and anyone who wants their system to run as smoothly as possible.
It also means you avoid annoying pop-ups that try and tempt you to upgrade to the full version. And, as you've discovered above, they don't really cost too much to buy. But these days you can get top quality protection absolutely free, with just about every single major vendor out there offering a free antivirus. Windows has come a long way in terms of security, but it's still fair to suggest that Windows 10's built-in solution, Windows Defender, is the last free AV app you should trust to keep your system clean. So if you're determined to get free antivirus, we strongly suggest that you check out our list of best security downloads in below.
We've highlighted their features -and shortcomings - to ensure that you pick out the best one. Bitdefender Antivirus Free edition has received a major overhaul and taken the top spot in our free antivirus roundup. It's the best free security software you can download today. Essentially consisting of the AV section of the full product, Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition's clean, light, well constructed scanning mechanisms — which are almost universally faster than the industry average — and unrivalled virus definitions mean Bitdefender is back at the top of the free tree. The free version's insistence on running in autopilot mode is a double-edged sword, making the process of virus management easy but taking it out of the user's hands; while we're inclined to trust it, there have been cases in the past of automatic systems going slightly rogue, such as the incident a few years back when Panda Antivirus identified itself as a virus and locked up a large number of Windows systems.
Review and where to download: Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition.
Avast and AVG haven't yet fully merged, despite the former formally acquiring the latter in mid The newly combined company says the two free antivirus products will remain separate, although there's apparently a joint AV package on the way soon. Obviously, though, Avast now has a lot more data to work with, having expanded its effective userbase and, therefore, its threat detection network to a whopping million users. The latest edition of Avast Free Antivirus adds an automatic gaming mode to mute popups and reduce system load when you're firing up a processor-hungry game, which is very handy indeed, and the interface has been given a clean new overhaul.
There's a password manager, too, which is an undeniably good addition to your security portfolio. It scores well on AV-TEST's widespread malware benchmark and continues a clean sweep against 0-day attacks — presumably that expanded detection network is really helping. Less impressive is the slight negative effect Avast has on software launch times, and its slightly popup-heavy attitude.
Review and where to download: Avast Free Antivirus. Marketing itself as "business-grade security", Sophos Home does a little more than most free antivirus software, and actually seems better suited to families. You get standard virus protection and anti-malware protection, along with browser tools like anti-phishing and, most importantly, content control.
Combined with central management of up to 10 PCs, this means you can effectively lock down your kids' browsing options.
Although Sophos Home has always had desktop notifications, there was no premium version of the software for it to encourage an upgrade to. That changed in February with the launch of Sophos Home Premium. Review and where to download: Sophos Home. Download the software from trusted sites. If you click on a pop-up ad promising free AV protection, you could easily end up with malware on your computer. These ads are a common scam employed by cybercriminals.
To be safe, go straight to the source and manually type in the web address for the company that offers the product you want to use. I write about all things "cyber" and your right to privacy.
What I enjoy: cooking and learning to code with my kids. I've lived in the Bronx for more than a decade, but as a proud Michigan native, I will always be a die-hard Detroit Tigers fan no matter how much my family and I get harassed at Yankee Stadium.
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Please call Member Services at Join Consumer Reports. Already a member? Welcome to Consumer Reports. You now have access to benefits that can help you choose right, be safe and stay informed. Get Started. These tips from CR's testers will help you find great malware protection—including some that's free. By Bree Fowler. Last updated: May 07, Sharing is Nice Yes, send me a copy of this email. Send We respect your privacy. Oops, we messed up. Try again later.
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