Last Updated July, 2020
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01
Editor's Choice
Star Ratings
Offers anti-spyware, smart firewall, and secure VPN
  • Free 30-day trial
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Varied plans for consumers
9.9
overall rating
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02
Star Ratings
Fairly priced and comes with an advanced malware engine
  • Free version is available
  • Cross-platform compatible
  • 30-day money back guarantee
9.9
overall rating
Read Review
03
Star Ratings
An antivirus solution for home users with family-friendly tools
  • 30-Day, 100% money-back guarantee
  • Free trial
  • Suitable for families
9.8
overall rating
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04
Star Ratings
Offers comprehensive solutions for total PC protection
  • Simple-to-use interface
  • Protection against phishing
  • Comprehensive protection against malware
9.8
overall rating
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05
Star Ratings
Provides solid protection from most threats at a low cost
  • Light and fast
  • Doesn’t affect system performance
  • Compatible with all major platforms
9.7
overall rating
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06
Star Ratings
Renders total antivirus solutions for protecting Windows systems
  • Low consumption of resources for performance
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Simple user-friendly interface
9.7
overall rating
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07
Star Ratings
Offers real-time and advanced active security
  • Easy to install
  • Easy to use 30-day
  • Money-back guarantee
9.6
overall rating
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08
Star Ratings
Anti-fraud and anti-theft features make it ideal for home users
  • 30-day trial
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • 24/7 support
9.6
overall rating
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09
Star Ratings
Enjoy improved features with this highly compatible antivirus
  • Effective spam filters
  • Provides great malware protection
  • Pay Guard feature for banking details
9.5
overall rating
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10
Star Ratings
A reliable antivirus with enhanced safety features
  • Free version available for Windows
  • Multi-device installation
  • Cross-platform compatibility
9.5
overall rating
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11
Star Ratings
Optimally protects your devices from a multitude of web threats
  • 30-days money-back guarantee with AVG Internet Security
  • Secure search
  • AI detection
9.4
overall rating
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12
Star Ratings
A highly customizable antivirus with superior security features
  • Strong anti-malware protection
  • Highly customizable
  • Wi-Fi inspector
9.5
overall rating
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All you need to know about antivirus software

With the increased use of computers and the internet across the globe, the threat of virus attacks on the systems has also increased. These attacks pose a risk to the data security of individuals as well as organizations, and data theft is a huge risk if a system does not have antivirus software.

When it comes to data security, antivirus software plays an important role in protecting confidential information. For individuals, antivirus is essential to secure financial transactions and privacy of any other data, and it is recommended for everyone to prevent threats from external drives, CDs, and browsing the web.

However, before investing in antivirus software, it is important to consider some factors to make an informed decision about which one suits your requirements the best.

What is antivirus?

A software program made to search for, detect, and prevent any virus threats to the computer is referred to as an antivirus. Without an antivirus, a computer is at the risk of a virus attack the moment it connects to the internet. These attacks are constant and thousands of new malware are created daily, so detection tools provided by antivirus companies need regular updates to keep up with and prevent the latest cyberthreats. With the advancement in technology, some new malware can avoid detection and cause permanent damage to the system, and privacy and data may be compromised. This is where antivirus software comes into the picture and prevents these attacks.

How do antivirus work?

Once a computer is loaded with an effective antivirus, the software will start scanning the computer. All the programs will be scanned for certain known types of malware and any unwanted or suspicious behavior in the system that may indicate the presence of an undetected, new malware. Usually, an antivirus will use three scanning processes:

  • Specific detection
    This is a process in which programs and files are scanned for known malware.
  • Generic detection
    In this process, the antivirus scans for malware that are types of known families or viruses related by a common code base.
  • Heuristic detection
    This scanning process looks for unknown viruses and malware. The antivirus software looks for any suspicious activity or file structures to detect malware on the computer.

How much does antivirus cost?

The cost of antivirus can vary based on the plan opted for. A basic antivirus used in home computers provides virus protection, firewall protection, and protection while browsing the web by showing a warning before entering malicious websites. This basic software cost less than the other premium software with advanced security features.

Antivirus that can boost the performance of a system are also available in the market. These packages are a little more expensive than the basic ones, but they also include anti-spyware and anti-virus software. These packages are designed to provide a diagnosis of any problem with the computer and even fix them.

Some more advanced antivirus software packages provide stricter security against malware that comes into the system through the web. These enhanced security features make these antivirus options expensive, but the additional levels of security are worth the price. This type of antivirus software provides antivirus security, firewall, anti-spam filters, firewall, chat, and file encryption, and file shredder.

Does antivirus slow down a computer?

Even the best antivirus can slow down the performance of a computer, and a computer can usually be slowed down by as much as 50%. Although advancement in technology has lead to the slowdown not being a big problem anymore, it cannot be ignored that having an antivirus on the system will hamper the overall performance of a computer.

When a computer has antivirus software, its programs keep scanning and working constantly, which puts the system to continual use. These scans can take place at regularly scheduled intervals, every time an app is downloaded, or every time a file is downloaded from the internet. These regular scans require power to function, and they affect the overall performance of the computer.

Does antivirus protect against hackers?

No protection makes a system a hundred percent safe from hacking, but having an antivirus loaded on the system can reduce the risk of everyday malware attacks, which can pose a serious threat to data security.

Does antivirus remove malware?

Antivirus software is typically built to prevent malware attacks on the system, and some software is also equipped with the feature to remove malware from an infected computer. However, a stand-alone malware remover is a more convenient option of detecting and removing viruses from the system, so ensure knowing the requirements is important before investing in an antivirus.

Does antivirus stop phishing?

There are many modern antivirus software designed to offer a layer of protection against phishing attacks. Although these products do not prevent phishing emails from dropping into the inbox, they identify phishing websites and block the page, preventing them from loading.

Does antivirus stop ransomware?

Once ransomware has taken control over a computer, no antivirus can stop it, but there are many antivirus software that can prevent ransomware. Meanwhile, the existing antivirus software options are also being enhanced to enable them to overcome the threat of ransomware.

Top antivirus programs

There are more than enough antivirus software available in the market, which makes picking the best one much more difficult. Listed here are some of the most popular antivirus software to choose from:

Norton

Norton Security is a product of Symantec and has been a pioneering leader in antivirus and malware protection business since 1989.

  • Online threat protection
  • Secure VPN
  • Dark web monitoring

Total AV

An intuitive, fair-priced antivirus system with advanced malware engine and a comprehensive suite of features to protect your device and data.

  • Remote firewall protection
  • Identity protection
  • Enhanced security tools

McAfee

A popular and reliable antivirus solution designed for home users with useful features including identity theft protection and great customer support.

  • Multi-device compatibility
  • Round-the-clock assistance
  • Performance optimization

Is paying for antivirus worth it?

Although it cannot be foolproof security against malware, investing in antivirus can protect a computer from unknown attacks to a very large extent. Also, digital security is very important to prevent identity and data theft, so having an antivirus loaded on the system is beneficial.