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When I purchased my first computer back in 1999, there were only a handful of antivirus software programs to choose from. Many of these were free antivirus software or offered as part of a computer package like Trend Micro Internet security. Not too much thought was put into them because viruses weren’t as common as they are nowadays.
However, antivirus software is no longer a nice to have, but an absolute necessity. But the question is, which one do you choose?
Myself and my team have spent many hours researching antivirus companies and antivirus tools, so without further ado, let’s dive in and take a look at the best antivirus software packages.
Best Antivirus Software of 2024
We have narrowed the choice down to the 10 best antivirus software choices for 2024. From free antivirus programs to paid antivirus software. See below for our top antivirus protection picks.
- Bitdefender: Best Overall Protection
- Norton: Best Antivirus for Mac Users
- TotalAV: Best Free Antivirus Software
- Surfshark: Protects Unlimited Devices
- ESET: Best Antivirus for Windows
- Malwarebytes: Best Malware Protection
- McAfee: Best for Multiple Devices
- Avira: Best Antivirus for the Price
- AVG: Best for Solo Entrepreneurs
- Trend Micro: Best Phishing Protection
- Very Fast scans
- Does Daily Scans
- Excellent Malware protection
- Ransomware protection
- Minimal impact on system performance
- Server Protection
- Bitdefender antivirus free edition is available
Bitdefender antivirus and Bitdefender antivirus plus package is our number one choice when it comes to the best overall protection of all of the antivirus programs as it has several robust features and is perfect for individuals, small businesses and large businesses.
For starters, they have very reasonable pricing and individuals can expect to pay in the region of $20 for one device, and up to $90 for 10 desktop or mobile devices. The individual packages include standard antivirus services like anti phishing protection, vulnerability assessments, and a file shredder to permanently delete sensitive data from your device. This is an ideal antivirus solution for small or one-man businesses as well.
The Bitdefender antivirus Business package which is called the GravityZone platform starts at $105 per year for 5 devices and 2 file servers. It is considered one of the best when it comes to antivirus software in 2024. This package provides tools tailored for small businesses without dedicated IT teams, which means it is easy to operate and you will receive access to application behaviour monitoring, ransomware protection, web-based security and server protection.
This is a significant advantage for small businesses with local file servers as other antivirus packages charge extra for server protection. If you can't afford the paid version, it is even worth using the Bitdefender antivirus free edition which offers good security features too.
- Excellent Mac-specific antivirus suite
- VPN Internet Security
- 24/7 Customer Support
- Cloud backup for Mac users
- Outstanding malware detection
- Malware Protection
- Dark web monitoring
While we were searching for the best antivirus software for Mac users, the one that kept coming up all the time was the Norton antivirus software.
For starters, it has an excellent reputation and most people who have ever owned a PC, whether a Windows or Apple Mac, have heard of the name Norton. In fact, it is such an old antivirus program that it dates back to the MS-DOS era.
One of the main features of the Norton antivirus package for Mac is its remarkable performance. Numerous independent testing labs gave the package consistently high scores for its effectiveness in blocking a wide range of threats.
Not only did it block known viruses, but also new emerging threats. Some of the main features were its malware detection, webcam protection, VPN that encrypts your personal information, top-notch firewall protection and loads more features.
So if you operate a Mac and are looking for a reliable top antivirus software then Norton Antivirus is our recommendation.
- 100% Free Antivirus software
- Speeds up the performance of the device
- Instantly removes Harmful Malware
- Includes a VPN
- Protects All Devices Windows, Mac, Android & iOS
- 5 Star Trustpilot Rating
Many people are not in a financial position to afford to pay for an antivirus subscription, so are forced to choose a free antivirus solution to at least have some protection. Therefore, we set out on a quest to find the best free antivirus software in 2024.
TotalAV was the one we chose as it ticked all of the right boxes. The main thing that caught our eye was the fact that despite it being a free antivirus software, it did not compromise internet security as one would expect.
Some of the features of this free antivirus program was real-time protection against phishing attacks, viruses and malware. However, not only does TotalAV offer the above basic protection but also offers practical features like system optimization and a safe browsing extension that keeps you away from malicious websites.
The added benefit is the low system resource usage which ensures that your computer performance is not compromised and TotalAV just works quietly in the background.
They do offer a paid version of their software for those looking for additional tools like a password manager and comprehensive web security, and it doesn’t come with a hefty price tag either.
- Unlimited device connections
- Top-tier VPN included
- Works on IOS Android devices too
- Strong security features
- User-friendly apps
Surfshark is considered to be one of the best antivirus programs when it comes to virtual private networks (VPNs), and one of its main features is the ability to protect an unlimited number of Windows devices and other devices while you are only paying for one subscription.
Whether you have a bunch of gadgets from smartphones and tablets to laptops and even smart TVs – Surfshark can protect them all. This feature makes the Surfshark security suite a great choice for families, small businesses, or simply individuals who have many devices.
The best part is that you don't have to worry about your speed slowing down or the security of your devices as Surfshark provides secure encryption to ensure your operating systems are protected. They also have fast servers all over the world so you can be sure that their service is fast and reliable.
Moreover, Surfshark's user-friendly antivirus apps make it easy for anyone, even those new to VPNs, to set up and protect their entire digital network.
- Exceptional Windows protection
- Low system resource usage
- Gamer mode for uninterrupted gaming
- Protects access to data, network and webcam
- Secure online banking and payment protection
- Parental Controls
- Great customer support
We consider ESET to be one of the top contenders for the best antivirus software for Windows operating systems. First and foremost, ESET has been around for many years and has an excellent reputation when it comes to identity protection, identity theft monitoring, malware detection, ransomware protection and many other antivirus protect features.
The part we enjoyed the most compared to other antivirus software is the fact that the security software runs quietly in the background and we didn’t notice our system slowing down or becoming unresponsive in any way.
Furthermore, ESET also goes beyond just antivirus protection as it also offers additional security features, including a firewall, online banking protection, and even identity theft protection tools for laptops. The user-friendly interface was also a pleasure to use.
We also found that ESET has an excellent support team which is available 24/7. Their support staff were very knowledgeable, friendly and helpful.
- One of the best malware detection software
- Ransomware protection
- Lightweight and fast scans
- Available for Windows, Mac and Linux
- Removes adware and spyware
- Works on IOS Android devices too
When it comes to essential malware protection, one antivirus engine that kept coming up time and time again was Malwarebytes.
What makes Malwarebytes one of the best antivirus packages is that its speciality and focus is on detecting and eradicating all forms of malware threats, including the sneakiest and most advanced strains that often slip past other antivirus packages. It's like having a dedicated guard solely tasked with finding and eliminating malicious software from your system.
Malwarebytes not only identifies known malware but also recognizes unusual activities and behaviours that could indicate a new threat. This proactive approach is vital in an era where malware constantly mutates and adapts to evade detection.
One of the key advantages of Malwarebytes is its lightning-fast scanning, allowing you to perform thorough system checks without slowing down your system resources. Additionally, it has a user-friendly interface so you don’t need a whole load of technical expertise to operate the system.
Malwarebytes also offers real time protection, web filtering, and even ransomware protection to protect you from as many malware threats as possible.
- Protects multiple mobile devices
- Robust parental controls
- Comprehensive security features
- Unlimited VPN access
- Password manager included
- McAfee Total Protection
McAfee Total Protection is our best antivirus software for businesses in need of comprehensive security across multiple mobile devices and computers. McAfee antivirus is a household name as it has been around for years and has an excellent reputation.
What makes the McAfee total protection antivirus package a favourite among business owners and individuals is its versatility and user-friendly approach. Similar to Surfshark, you only pay one subscription and you receive the Mcafee total protection across various platforms, including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. This multi-platform compatibility is a huge advantage in a world where we use many different devices in our daily lives.
The McAfee antivirus protection also incorporates features such as a firewall, secure browser capabilities, malware detection, and even a password manager, ensuring that your online activities are safeguarded and your sensitive information remains private across all your devices.
We also found it to be user-friendly and we didn’t need a degree in IT to make the antivirus software work on our devices either! In a nutshell, you get McAfee total protection for little effort and a low single subscription.
- Real Time Protection
- Enhanced firewall protection
- Remote management capabilities
- Phishing Protection
- Malware Scanning
- Identity Theft Protection
When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck when buying antivirus protection, Avira takes the crown as the best antivirus software for the price.
We were quite surprised to find that despite the low price, the level of internet security protection was remarkable. Even the free version had many great features similar to the Avast antivirus software.
For a fraction of the cost of some competitors, you gain access to a full suite of security features, including real time protection, firewall, malware protection, password manager, and even a system optimizer. Avira proves that you don't have to break the bank to enjoy comprehensive protection.
In addition to its affordability, Avira also has a user-friendly interface and uses minimal system resources ensuring that your computer's performance remains unaffected while the antivirus software silently keeps you safe. It's perfect for individuals or small businesses looking for internet security without straining their budgets.
In our opinion, it is most definitely one of the best antivirus software programs for the least money and best track record.
- Real Time Protection
- Enhanced firewall protection
- Remote management capabilities
- Phishing Protection
- Malware Scanning
- Identity Theft Protection
For solo entrepreneurs or small businesses looking for the best antivirus software, we would recommend the AVG antivirus software. Not only do they have an excellent free version, but they also offer comprehensive protection for a cost-effective price. Namely, it offers an array of pricing options to suit various budgets, ensuring that you can enjoy solid protection without breaking the bank.
The core features of the AVG antivirus services include real time protection, firewall, password manager, malware protection and email filtering, which are all perfectly suited to the needs of solo entrepreneurs. These features protect your sensitive business data and protect your computers and mobile devices from threats while allowing you to focus on growing your venture without cybersecurity worries.
AVG's user-friendly interface makes the implementation process simple when it comes to configuring and managing your antivirus protection. This is a significant advantage for solo entrepreneurs who may not have an IT team at their disposal and need straightforward solutions that just work.
In addition to its excellent antivirus protection, AVG also includes features like web protection, system performance optimization, and even a secure VPN.
- Excellent phishing detection
- Real Time Protection
- Trend Micro Maximum Security
- User-friendly interface
- Webcam Protection
When it comes to guarding against phishing attacks, Trend Micro Maximum Security emerges as one of the best antivirus programs. While we were evaluating the various antivirus programs to see which ones offered the most effective phishing protection, Trend Micro consistently proved itself.
What sets Trend Micro apart is how it manages to stay ahead of phishing threats, which continue to get more advanced as time goes on. Trend Micro combines advanced technologies with extensive threat intelligence, resulting in one of the most robust and up-to-date phishing protection mechanisms available.
Trend Micro antivirus security excels in identifying and blocking phishing attempts in real time, safeguarding your personal and financial information from falling into the wrong hands. Whether you're clicking on suspicious links in emails or encountering malicious websites, Trend Micro's ability to recognize and block phishing attacks is truly impressive.
This dedication that Trend Micro has to internet security extends to both personal and business users. Trend Micro Maximum Security package offers tailored solutions for individuals and enterprises, ensuring that everyone can benefit from its advanced protection capabilities.
Moreover, Trend Micro antivirus security includes features like the best web filtering antivirus protection, password manager, firewall, and system optimization.
Factors for Reviewing and Rating the Best Antivirus Software
When it comes to reviewing and rating the best antivirus software, there are various factors that we take into account. Below is a breakdown of most of the factors that we consider:
First and foremost, the antivirus programs must be updated frequently, even if they only offer a free version. It is no use if they don’t do updates regularly as viruses are evolving all the time. Therefore, The best antivirus software should be equipped to adapt to operating systems.
Reliable Protection Against Threats
The primary goal of any antivirus software is to provide reliable protection for their customer’s operating systems which can include parental controls, dark web monitoring, webcam protection, malware protection and any other threats. The best antivirus systems should be able to detect and remove these threats with ease.
How Much it Costs
When it comes to assessing the cost of a system, it can vary depending on the needs of your operation. You may be an individual who is happy to use the free antivirus services offered by almost all security software, or you may operate a company that requires more extensive coverage. We take all this into account when establishing whether the cost is reasonable.
Impact on System Resources
An antivirus suite should operate in the background without slowing down your system. You can’t have your system freezing due to the antivirus engine using up too many resources. This is a crucial factor, whether you are using a paid antivirus software or a free version.
Quality of Customer Support
Quality customer support is another area where the best antivirus systems excel. In today’s fast-paced business environments, it is essential to have good customer support available should you encounter any issues or have questions about any aspects of your antivirus package, whether you are using Kaspersky anti virus, Bitdefender antivirus Plus or even the Bitdefender antivirus free edition.
Looking Back at the 5 Best Antivirus Software Options
In the fast-moving and evolving landscape of cybersecurity, trying to find the best antivirus software program can be very challenging, especially when it is such an important decision to make. To help you with this decision, we've reviewed and selected the 5 best antivirus solutions based on key factors such as identity protection, user-friendliness, features offered, customer support and cost-effectiveness. Let's take a closer look at these:
Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition and Bitdefender Antivirus Plus Edition has earned its place as the best antivirus overall protection. It offers many features such as webcam protection, malware protection, identity theft protection, and other features. While its business plans can get expensive with added features, the Bitdefender antivirus free edition allows you to scan your PC for threats, which still gives you some internet security, parental controls and dark web monitoring despite being a free version.
Norton is hailed as the best antivirus for Mac users because of its good reputation and excellent scores from various testing labs. Its firewall and other features ensure comprehensive security without confusing users with complex settings.
This security software offers protection against a wide range of digital threats. Its sophisticated firewall and additional features contribute to a comprehensive shield for your Mac.
With Norton, you're getting not only a trusted name but also a strong defender for your Mac. Its reliability and well-deserved reputation make it a top choice for those looking for one of the best antivirus systems on the market.
TotalAV turned out to be the best free antivirus software, offering essential malware protection, parental controls, webcam protection and protection against phishing attacks. Even though it is a free antivirus software, it doesn't compromise on core features.
We also found it extremely user-friendly and was a breeze to install, without us having to contact their customer service for any help either. Overall, we found TotalAV is a fantastic choice for individuals and small businesses looking to safeguard their systems without breaking the bank.
Surfshark scored top points for its capability to safeguard an unlimited number of devices all at the same time, making it an excellent choice for families, small businesses, or individuals who like to operate multiple gadgets. Its user-friendly apps make it incredibly accessible and, most importantly, efficient, ensuring that your internet connection remains responsive and does not slow down or freeze.
The fact that there is unlimited device coverage means that all your family members or team members can experience the same high level of online protection without the hassle and cost of managing individual subscriptions. Whether it's guarding your data against prying eyes, parental controls, webcam protection or excellent malware protection, Surfshark's antivirus suite makes it one of the best for securing unlimited devices.
ESET is our choice for the best antivirus suite for Windows due to its extensive history in Windows security. It offers a high level of defence against a broad spectrum of threats, which includes malware detection, parental controls, webcam protection and a Ransomware shield.
ESET's user-friendly interface ensures that even those without extensive technical knowledge can navigate its features with ease. Whether you're a Windows power user or simply looking for protection for your personal computer, ESET is the recommended choice.
How to Get Started with Bitdefender Our #1 Antivirus Software
To begin your journey with Bitdefender, launch a secure browser and go to their official website. Here, you will be presented with 3 different plans to choose from. Namely Bitdefender Total Security, Bitdefender Internet Security or Bitdefender Antivirus Plus. Whether you're safeguarding your personal devices or managing security for your business, Bitdefender has the option for you.
Create Your Account
Once you've chosen the right plan, it's time to create your Bitdefender account. This is a crucial step as it will serve as your portal for managing your antivirus protection. Click on the White Login button situated at the top right-hand corner of the site.
Click on the Bitdefender Central Link in the drop-down box which will take you to a Sign-In page. You will see some text which says “ No account? Create one” Click on the Create one link.
Secure Your Devices
After creating your account, you'll be guided through the process of securing your devices. Download and install the Bitdefender software on your computer, smartphone, or tablet. Follow the on-screen instructions, and in a matter of minutes, your devices will be protected.
Explore Additional Features
Bitdefender offers a wealth of additional features beyond antivirus protection. Take some time to explore these tools, including a firewall, system optimization, and more. Customize your security settings to suit your preferences.
Bitdefender will keep you informed about the state of your security and any potential threats. Regularly check your dashboard for updates and reports, ensuring that your devices remain safe.
Threats that Antivirus Programs Protect Users Against
In today's digital world, the importance of antivirus software in safeguarding your major operating systems and Windows Macos IOS devices cannot be stressed enough.
These security tools shield you from numerous threats which could bring your business to a standstill if the viruses or malware are not stopped before they can take hold of your system.
Even if you can’t afford to buy an antivirus security suite, at least consider the free antivirus options which can also be very good despite being a free version.
Viruses are malicious programs that can replicate themselves and infect your files and software. They can wreak havoc on your system, causing data loss and compromising your privacy. Antivirus software detects and removes viruses to prevent their destructive spread.
Antivirus software is all that stands between your device and the virus, so it is essential to ensure that you buy an antivirus security suite that not only finds the virus but removes it too. If you can’t afford to buy a full antivirus software, at least install a free version which will offer some protection.
Trojans disguise themselves as legitimate software and look like harmless applications but they are nothing of the sort. They actually carry harmful payloads. They often create backdoors for cybercriminals and hackers to give them unauthorized access to your system.
If you have ever been hacked or had a trojan on your computer, you will know exactly what havoc can be created, so to prevent this, you need to use an antivirus solution for Trojan and malware detection to ensure your system remains secure and has full malware protection.
Ransomware is a nasty form of cyber threat which is often used by terrorist organisations to get large sums of money from unsuspecting companies. In a nutshell, Ransomware encrypts your files and the people controlling it demand a ransom to remove the ransomware. It can be devastating, leading to data loss and financial consequences.
Antivirus software and malware protection detect and block ransomware attacks, protecting your valuable data. The aftermath of a successful ransomware attack can be truly devastating, as it often results in data loss, financial consequences, and severe disruption to both personal and professional affairs. The emotional distress and financial burden can also be devastating.
Spyware covertly monitors your online activities, including keystrokes, browsing habits, and personal information. It can lead to privacy breaches and identity theft. Spyware can get onto your computer, Windows MacOS IOS systems in many ways.
The most common ones are through Freeware or Shareware downloads, infected email attachments, malicious websites, phishing attacks, infected removable media and more.
Even if you have outdated or unpatched software, this can leave your system vulnerable to cybercriminals who exploit these vulnerabilities and inject spyware onto your computer.
The best free antivirus and paid antivirus tools work to identify and remove spyware, keeping your digital life safe and confidential.
Adware inundates your system with unwanted advertisements and pop-ups, degrading your online experience. Antivirus software not only blocks these annoyances but also prevents potentially malicious adware from infiltrating your IOS Android mobile device or computer.
Many of the best free antivirus programs can prevent adware, so it does not need to be a costly exercise to get rid of unwanted adware.
Rootkits are highly sophisticated advanced malware that burrows into your system, making them challenging to detect and remove. They often embed themselves so deeply that even the best antivirus software programs battle to remove them.
These malicious programs can cloak their presence and provide unauthorized access to cybercriminals, presenting a severe threat to your data and privacy. Given their elusive nature, rootkits are particularly dangerous and they can wreak havoc in your organisation.
However, the advanced capabilities of antivirus solutions extend to uncovering and removing these elusive rootkits. These tools employ deep scanning techniques to root out hidden threats, ensuring that your system remains free from this clandestine menace.
Keyloggers record your keystrokes, potentially capturing sensitive information like passwords and credit card details. These are also the gadgets that criminals attach to Automated Teller machines ( ATMs) to record your PIN.
Antivirus software, armed with its vigilant scanning and removal mechanisms, plays a crucial role in identifying and getting rid of keyloggers, thus acting as a barrier to ensure your valuable data remains secure and out of the reach of cybercriminals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are any of the free antivirus software decent options?
Yes, Surprisingly, the companies on this page that offer a free antivirus program still provide more than basic antivirus protection and excellent malware protection and are just as good as some of the paid antivirus providers.
What are the limitations of free antivirus software?
Unfortunately, while these free systems are good, they still lack some advanced features like firewall protection and customer support. Some of them also tend to have annoying adverts and pop-ups which can be frustrating.
Do I get internet security protection when using antivirus software?
Yes, Many antivirus packages include internet security features like firewall protection, ransomware protection, malware protection, safe browsing, identity theft protection, and anti phishing protection.
Should I test antivirus software options before buying a subscription?
Yes, It is always a good idea to test out an antivirus solution by using their free version before committing to a subscription. This way you can also ensure that the system does everything you want it to do.
Do the best antivirus software companies offer VPN services as well?
Some top antivirus companies also offer VPN (Virtual Private Network) services as an additional offering. VPNs provide online privacy and security by encrypting your internet connection and masking your IP address.
Will I get phishing protection from an antivirus program?
Yes, many antivirus programs include phishing protection features. These features help detect and block phishing attempts, safeguarding you against fraudulent websites and email scams.
Is there a difference between malware and antivirus software?
Yes, there is a big difference as one is good and one is bad. Malware refers to malicious software like viruses, Trojans, and ransomware. Antivirus software, on the other hand, is a tool designed to detect, block, and remove malware from your system.
Do antivirus software products also offer identity theft protection?
Some antivirus companies provide identity theft protection as part of their security suites. These services normally also include credit monitoring, parental controls, identity monitoring, and alerts in case of potential identity theft.
I'm on the latest version of Windows, do I need antivirus software?
Yes, even on the latest versions of Windows, antivirus software is crucial. While Windows includes built-in security features, additional antivirus protection offers an extra layer of defence against future threats.
I'm on a Mac computer, do I even need virus protection?
Yes, Mac computers are not immune to malware and online threats. Although the risk is a lot lower than a Windows system, having virus protection for your Mac is still advisable to ensure your data and privacy are secure.
In the land of digital security, our search for the best antivirus software for 2024 led us to a diverse array of solutions, each offering its own unique aspects. Bitdefender claimed the title of Best Overall Protection, offering a comprehensive shield against an extensive range of threats while being cost-effective for personal users.
Norton turned out to be the best antivirus for Mac users, and TotalAV impressed as the Best Free version providing essential protection without breaking the bank.
Each of these top antivirus software programs demonstrates its unique strengths, catering to diverse user needs and preferences. Whether you prioritize overall protection, platform-specific requirements, or budget-friendly solutions, these options ensure you navigate the digital landscape with confidence and peace of mind.
At the end of the day, we would advise you to analyse the needs of your business and establish which antivirus software will be the best for you.