Computers have transformed almost every aspect of life, from helping students to learn how to learn, to monitoring patients in hospitals, to regulating crucial manufacturing processes. Cyberthreats like ransomware, malware, and viruses have also increased because of the increased reliance on computers. Antivirus software is designed to spot these threats and prevent them from damaging your PC or stealing personal information.
When deciding on an antivirus program, it is important to consider its virus-scanning capabilities as well as whether it has an internal fire barrier, and how it performs in independent laboratory tests. You may also consider the customer support, how often the program updates and the number of devices it can protect. Some programs, such as Norton come with additional features that can help you avoid identity theft and protect your privacy online.
Top-rated programs offer a variety of security options. These include heuristic identification which seeks out behaviors that are typical of malware or viruses and signature matching, which compares files to a list of known malicious code. Certain programs also employ Sandboxing, which blocks suspicious files and runs them in a sealed virtual environment where they cannot cause harm.
Many of the top antivirus programs are no cost, but they might not offer as many additional features as paid alternatives. For instance, Bitdefender’s Free version performed excellently in our tests and includes a firewall, whereas its premium version includes parental controls, a file shredder and a password manager. Similar to that, Malwarebytes’ free version scored top marks in AV-Test for 2023 but fell short in our tests for usability. Intego Mac Security X9 comes with an effective combination of tools, including VirusBarrier and NetBarrier, that identified and eliminated the majority of malware-related threats during our test.