How do we rate the Best Antivirus software?
In 2018, Billions of individuals fell victims to cyberattacks resulting in the loss of tens of millions of US dollars and millions of personal information, including credit card details and, locations, etc. Cybercriminals have been upping their game with every passing year, leaving all the cybersecurity companies playing catch up. We’ve already seen big-name companies, including Google+, Marriott Starwood Hotels, Quora, Facebook, British Airways, and a dozen other companies report data breaches where vital user details were leaked. If such big companies are losing millions of dollars every year to cybercriminals, how safe do you think your gadgets are?
Cyber Security has never been as crucial as it is today. So much stuff is taking place in the online space, including shopping and social interactions, which means a small breach can be disastrous. To protect your credit card and personal information, data security/protection has to start at a personal level. This is where Antivirus software come in.
The purpose of Antivirus is to make sure that your gadgets, be it a PC, Mac or mobile devices, are protected against malware and other forms of cyber-attacks. This is crucial because even though you might be doing your shopping on a secured website, if malware is already in your PC, then the protection features of the site you are visiting will never be sufficient. An antivirus is supposed to make sure that you never end up picking viruses and malware from the internet. Ultimately, you should have more protection against ransomware, scams, identity theft, and a dozen other issues.
This brings us to the biggest question yet; which is the best Antivirus? The question may seem easy, but once you learn of the dozens of companies offering antivirus software, you will realize that identifying one software from the hundreds of options can be very unnerving. Where should you even start? If you are facing this predicament (as you should), then this review should provide you with all the answers you are looking for. That’s because we went ahead and did the exhausting task of testing and reviewing software to identify the best Antivirus in the market at the moment.
Before we even start discussing the Antivirus that made it through our tests, it’s vital that we share with you the essential factors that make an antivirus good.
What makes an Antivirus good?
The first and most important bit is on how well the software manages to scan, detect, and remove malware. Ideally, an antivirus should be able to detect a virus before it is even downloaded from the web. It’ll also be of added advantage if the software can detect and block or at least warn you of the websites that are notorious for having malware. In the event that malware finds its way into the PC, the important thing would be on how efficient the software is in detecting the malware and removing it. If the software does not a detect a virus on its own (which is already a red flag) then the next thing is to see how quickly it will identify the virus once you initiate a scan. While scanning, it’s also vital to see how the performance of the laptop will be affected. A software that lags or slows down the performance of a PC significantly is usually a deal breaker to most of us.
The next aspect is on user-friendliness. You should be able to maneuver through the antivirus features and access all the necessary functions without breaking a sweat. Trust me, you want to spend less time getting your Antivirus to work and more time doing your online businesses knowing your data is secured.
Finally, you need to check the extra features that come with the software. This is where good antiviruses are separated from the best. If you get a few additional features that will make your online life seamless then the better. It’s also at this point that you should check how many devices can use the Antivirus with a single license. But you should know that these usually come at an extra cost.
Top 3 Antiviruses
- Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2019
If you are looking for a highly secured antivirus software that does more than just the standard functions of Antivirus, then this is one of your best picks. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus boasts of over 500 million users! The insane numbers speak for themselves.
The Antivirus is highly sensitive to malware, and it’s configured to alert you and initiate the process of ejecting the virus as soon as possible. Its detection is also very reliable, and hence you should never experience any instances where a malware finds its way into your PC without getting noticed.
The Bitdefender Antivirus Plus also beefs up security with a state-of-the-art multi-layer ransomware protection. It also does an excellent job of blocking malicious sites and links. This is further boosted by a reliable anti-phishing module.
It also provides a secure browser and password manager. These improve internet banking and general online shopping since your credit card details will also be autocompleted in web forms.
The Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2019 is also a good option because it can be used in up to 3 different devices. The software has a Central mobile application that keeps all your linked devices safe.
There is also an option to integrate the Antivirus with a VPN, but this is limited to 200MB per day.
If you are excited about this software (like we are), then you can get it and save 60% if you are in the US or 50% for those in the UK. A 1-year plan goes for $29.99, 2-year plan for $62.99 while the 3-year plan is retailing at $83.99.
Other features of the Antivirus include:
- Rescue mode
- Battery mode
- Auto-pilot function
- Work, movie and Game Modes
- Social network protection
- File shredder
- Vulnerability assessment
Unfortunately, Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2019 is only available on Windows 10. Mac users will need to seek other alternatives.
Also, this software tends to pull lots of system resources, which is good, but then it might affect how other programs are working.
2. Norton Antivirus Plus
The Norton Antivirus Plus is the replacement for Norton Antivirus Basic. It features water-tight security with the ability to block URLs from malicious websites. In case a malware sneaks its way into your PC, this Antivirus will detect the download immediately, and it’ll start to remove it from your PC. There is also the possibility that malware finds its way into your PC, and it gets activated. In such an event, Norton Antivirus will immediately quarantine your device by protecting files that are not affected while also working to remove the malware. It’s very easy to view the Norton Antivirus Plus quarantine mechanism as questionable since it means that it might not be effective in preventing the malware in the first place, but I’d like to think otherwise. The truth of the matter is that regardless of how effective Antivirus is, there will always be a chance that malware may still get into your devices. The chances may be slim, but they’re still there. So, I’d love to think that it’s better to be prepared in such an event and that’s precisely what Norton Antivirus Plus offers.
You can also choose to run custom scans with this software. You could do it manually or program the Antivirus to initiate the scans at a specific time automatically. Unfortunately, the scans will only run if your device is connected directly to the primary power source and not battery. Also, the system must be idle while the scanning is taking place.
Norton Antivirus Plus also gets the upper hand over Bitdefender Plus from the fact that it is lite on other system resources and hence your device’s performance shouldn’t suffer much. However, from other aspects, Bitdefender comes out on top.
A 1-year subscription for a single Mac or Windows PC is currently going for $39.99 while the 2-year subscription is retailing at $94.99.
Other features of Norton Antivirus Plus include:
- 2Gb cloud back up
- Automatic updates
- Smart firewall
The major issue we experienced with this Antivirus was in regards to the Chrome extension, which is quite unreliable. For instance, the password manager failed to work numerous times for no reason at all.
3. McAfee Antivirus Plus
McAfee Antivirus Plus is perhaps the best buy for everyone who’s looking for budget-friendly multi-system protection. The Antivirus allows you to protect up to 10 devices at just $44.99 for the whole year. And it’s not just limited to PC, but it also has apps for Android and iOS. This should surely be enough to cater for all the gadgets in the house.
The software has a decent inbuilt firewall that is programmed to automatically detect potential threats and fight them off immediately. You can choose to perform custom scans which do a great job without affecting the overall performance of the gadgets. The Antivirus also has vulnerability scans that check how secure you are and whether your software is up to date or not.
In the department of blocking URLs, McAfee isn’t the best, but it doesn’t perform that badly. The good news is that if a URL goes unnoticed and a suspicious file is created in your system, the Antivirus will detect it pretty fast. McAfee also reassures their users that if their computers are to be infected with a virus, a security expert will reach out and try to remove the threat remotely. In case they are unsuccessful, the company will issue you a refund.
The most significant issues with McAfee Antivirus Plus is that it’s not reliable at blocking suspicious URLs. This leaves a small window of a potential data breach.