" Best overall "
Number of devices3-5
Things we liked / disliked:
- All-round cybersecurity solution
- VPN included
- Desktop and mobile security with one license
- VPN has daily data cap
For computers, the flu season never ends. That’s why you need antivirus software. These are the trenches, moats, and dragons guarding our precious data.
In 2021, using the best antivirus programs is not optional, it’s obligatory. Today, malware comes in all shapes and sizes. Some of these malicious apps can flood your computer or smartphone with pop-up ads. Others can completely lock you out of your device, demanding ransom payments in exchange for your files. You shouldn’t be focused on cleaning your computer when it gets infected, but rather on preventing the disaster from happening in the first place.
Here is the best anti malware protection for 2021:
This is a quick glance at the current state of affairs on the antivirus market. Of course, there are many more options to choose from, but we’ve decided to limit our selection to only the best of the best.
These 11 products include antivirus software that will meet all your needs. Whether you’re in the market for a free antivirus, cheap software for your small business, ransomware protection, or even a VPN, we’ve got them all.
Antivirus products have come a long way in just the past few years. These apps come with many tools up their digital sleeves and provide the best internet security for computers, smartphones, and even tablets.
Hunting down malware on your hard drive is just the first part of this complex puzzle. Antivirus programs are now capable of defending your computer from bot and ransomware attacks. Some of the more modern antiviruses can even serve as password managers and parental locks.
So what are the best antivirus programs?
After identifying the best antivirus, it’s time to delve deeper into what malware protection actually means and why millions of people use this software.
When we get ill, we rely on medication and home remedies to flush out the bug. That’s exactly what antivirus software does for your computer. What’s more, this software is designed to prevent the infection from occuring in the first place. You can set it up to scan all the data on your device from time to time or schedule scans when you know you won’t be using your computer. Today, the best antivirus apps are designed to provide a full picture of how healthy your device is.
When you get sick, your doctor needs a certain amount of information in order to offer a diagnosis. When it comes to antivirus programs, this information comes in the form of a database that usually gets updated daily. Certain antivirus manufacturers may update their virus definitions several times a day. Some programs store these databases on your own device, while the top antivirus apps store them in the cloud. Then they use them in a so-called heuristics process to check if the scanned file is actually malware.
But there are instances when malware can morph. Hackers are always trying to surprise antivirus companies with sneakier and more devastating versions of viruses. A good antivirus can heuristically figure out if the suspicious file should stay under supervision and whether it contains any similarities to the viruses that the app is already familiar with.
Prevention is a key feature of modern antivirus programs. The best ones should be getting multiple updates per day and be capable of catching zero-day and other undiscovered, but potentially harmful, malicious files.
The best malware removal doesn’t come for free. Many companies are now offering either fully free antivirus programs or create so-called lite versions of their existing software. That has led to concerns over whether the cheaper or completely free versions can protect devices amid suspicions that companies snub the freeloaders in favor of paying customers.
In our humble opinion, having any kind of computer protection always beats leaving your device completely vulnerable to hackers. However, free malware protection comes with some caveats, which can include a constant barrage of advertisements or some nasty surprises like tracking your browsing data. It goes without saying, but software manufactured by a reputable company shouldn’t do this.
It’s worth noting that even the best free antivirus for an Android phone lacks features found on premium versions. When you’re offered a free antivirus download, more often than not there is an option to upgrade to a more complex version or a set of paid upgrades for the app you just downloaded. So, there’s no reason not to trust a free piece of antivirus software, but in the long run it’s better to invest in a paid option.
One of the most common dilemmas is whether one even needs an antivirus anymore. While it is true that modern operating systems and browsers are way better at detecting malware than their predecessors, there’s still the threat of ransomware attacks. Seven billion virus attacks happen each year, and you need top malware protection to stay safe online.
So, whether you just want to browse the internet or run a business, you should install antivirus software on your computers and smartphones. At the end of the day, it’s better to have a small, unobtrusive app running in the background than losing months of work or having your credit card details stolen.
In order to select the top 11 programs and determine which one is the best antivirus, we’ve conducted an in-depth analysis of each product. Antivirus manufacturers don’t really have a standardized set of features you can expect to get when purchasing software, so determining what’s most needed is an important part of our evaluation. Here’s how we do it.
A nice set of features is always a plus in our book, but this isn’t always a deal breaker when choosing the perfect antivirus. An antivirus that excels at computer protection is better than one jam-packed with features but with mediocre virus detection.
That said, a modern antivirus needs a complete toolset to really stand out. Top antivirus software offers ransomware protection, phishing detection, and prevention tools or a file shredder. All these contribute toward improving the software’s score.
A good antivirus doesn’t need to be a jack of all trades, but it’s always a plus when the software comes with extras like an integrated password manager. A number of antivirus manufacturers even incorporate some form of basic VPN functionality into their software, while others prefer to offer parental control tools. We also take into account the price increases these add-ons bring to the table.
Even the best mobile antivirus needs to be affordable. We look at how many licenses you get with your purchase, whether it’s possible to save by getting a multi-year license, and if it’s possible to get a discount when ordering a mobile version along with a desktop one. Finally, we scrutinize the upgrade prices and how add-ons contribute to the overall package.
Not everyone is a computer whiz, and a lot of people don’t like to have a bunch of buttons shoved in their face while scanning their system. The best antivirus protection software makes the most important information easily accessible.
Users should be able to see whether the scan finds any viruses and have all the features properly labeled and easy to reach. We also value programs that aren’t too pushy with premium add-ons and notifications. Sometimes, a user just wants to work in peace while the antivirus does its thing quietly in the background.
Aside from the aforementioned general guidelines for finding the top antivirus, there are a few other things to keep in mind while shopping around.
Stick to familiar brands – There’s a reason some companies are better known than others, and it generally has to do with the quality of their products. Some of the names on our list are synonymous with malware protection and ingrained in the everyday lives of the digital population.
Licensing – You can’t exactly stroll to your nearest store and grab the best Android antivirus app. When signing up for one of these products online, it’s important to keep an eye on the plan you’re choosing. There are monthly licenses, yearly licenses, multi-year contracts, renewable memberships, one-time payments, upgrades, and downgrades. Make sure you know whether the updates stop when your license expires and if the company charges you automatically each year. The best offers should cover more than just one device.
Try before you buy – It’s always best when you can dip your toe into the water before taking the plunge. Always be on the lookout for free trials or free editions for every top antivirus app. Due to growing competition, most antivirus manufacturers now offer a 30-day free trial. Many have free versions that are fully capable of protecting your devices from malware.
Think about what you really need – Antivirus isn’t the same as an anti-malware app. The latter is used as a cleanup tool once your computer is already loaded with spyware or adware. Antivirus removes the bug and is designed to actively prevent the intrusions. Check out the manufacturer’s website to make sure that the product you are getting fulfills your needs.
Kaspersky is currently the best on the market. It’s a complete security solution for your PC and smartphone that’s both affordable and reliable.
Look no further than software produced by Kaspersky, Symantec, and ESET. These companies are known for creating the world’s leading antiviruses and internet security solutions.
Yes, especially for the highest-rated ones. While even the best free antivirus for Windows 7 or Windows 10 can provide some protection, it’s never a complete package. Paid antiviruses always protect your computer better than their free counterparts.
Every computer needs an antivirus. While Apple doesn’t state this explicitly, the company would surely encourage you to use any form of extra malware protection on your laptop or desktop computer. Hackers are increasingly targeting Macs, so every cybersecurity company we’ve included on our best antivirus list offers apps for Apple PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.