Computers have revolutionized almost every aspect of our lives, from helping students learn, monitoring patients in hospitals and regulating crucial manufacturing processes. This increased reliance on computer gadgets has also brought an increase in cyberthreats including malware, viruses and ransomware. Antivirus software is designed to identify these threats and stop them from causing damage to your computer or stealing your personal information.
When selecting an antivirus software it is important to look at the ability to scan for viruses and whether it comes with a firewall and how well it does in independent laboratory tests. You might also want to take a look at the customer support, the frequency it updates and the amount of devices it is able to protect. Some programs, like Norton, include additional tools that can help secure your identity and protect your privacy online.
Top programs provide multiple security options. These include heuristic detection which looks for signs that are typical of viruses or malware as well as signature matching, which matches files against a database of known malicious code. Certain programs employ sandboxing to block suspicious files in a virtual environment that is secured and where they cannot do any harm.
Many of the best antivirus applications are no cost, but they might not come with as many extra features as paid-for alternatives. Bitdefender’s premium version comes with parental controls, file shredder and password manager, however its free version scored very well and also comes with firewall. In the same way, Malwarebytes’ free version was praised by AV-Test for its top score for 2023 however it fell short in our test of usability. Intego Mac Internet Security X9, however, offers a strong combination of tools (VirusBarrier and NetBarrier) that killed and slowed the majority of malware threats in our test.