THE BEST ANTIVIRUS OF 2021
How safe is your personal data? A powerful antivirus protection software safeguards your computer and personal information against online threats and hackers plaguing the internet with destructive viruses, malware, ransomware, and clickbait. Phishing sites impersonate legitimate sites such as banks, government & social platforms and try to steal your confidential information. Why risk your data and identity stolen?
How safe is your personal data? A powerful antivirus protection software safeguards your computer and personal information against online threats and hackers plaguing the internet with destructive viruses, malware, ransomware, and clickbait. Phishing sites impersonate legitimate sites such as banks, government & social platforms and try to steal your confidential information. Why risk your data and identity stolen?Get the top antivirus software and protect your PC or Mac, today! Last Updated: January 26, 2022
- Best Antivirus Protection of 2020
- Fast & Advanced Malware Protection
- For Windows, Mac, Android & iOS
- 24/7 World-Class Customer Support
- 60-Day Money-Back Guarantee
- Anti-Malware & Real-time Firewall
- Simple to use
- 24/7 Customer Support
- Connect safely to public WiFi
- Free 24/7 customer support
- 100% virus removal guarantee
- 24/7 customer support
- Multi-layer protection
- Paid tech support
- File backup and encryption
- Defends from cyber threats
- Secured browser
- Use on up to 5 devices
- Anti-Malware Security
- WiFi Security Scan
- Malicious URL blocking
- Real-time browsing safety
- Removes Unwanted Programs
- Advanced Anti-Malware
- Download and share files safely
- 24/7 email support
- Protect against security vulnerabilities
- Hourly updates
- Actively guards against malware
- Powerful antivirus engine
- WiFi & Webcam protection
- 24/7 email support
- Antivirus + Browser & Disk Cleaner
- 24/7 email support
- Enhanced Security Features
- 30 Day Money Back Guarantee
Want to learn more about Antivirus software?
Get the most out of your antivirus protection software right here.
What is an Antivirus software?
Antivirus and security suite cover a wide range of features and tools that keep you protected around the clock, such as a firewall, web security, and data encryption. The full suite safeguards your device(s) against external (online) and internal threats (offline) and ensures your private information remains hidden from prying eyes.
In today’s vast threatscape of duplicitous viruses, invisible exploits, and slithering worms an effective and updated antivirus protection a must.
Why do I need antivirus software?
Viruses, spyware, adware, malware, worms, and Trojan horses are programmed to cause serious damage and take control of your device – important files corrupted or deleted, your device bombarded with spam or completely shuts down.
With the rise of Cryptomining and DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks, infected devices are exploited and turned into zombies completely controlled by hackers conducting illegal activities (from your IP), slowing and ultimately crashing your device.
Moreover, ransomware is becoming more popular than ever, taking over your device, encrypts all your personal and business data and locks any access to your private information for a costly ransom payment.
An advanced and updated antivirus and security software provide all-around protection against threatening viruses and other malicious programs that harm your device.
How does an antivirus software work?
It’s always important to use the best antivirus and update it constantly.
Viruses vs. Spyware vs. Adware vs. Malware vs. Trojan - What's the difference?
Malware – is a broad term that encircles computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware, adware and more. Malware is short for malicious software and designed to intrude any device operations or activities. Hackers and spammers usually use malware to access your device and collect any sensitive or personal information.
Virus – a program or a piece of code that can replicate itself, delete or corrupt files. Viruses often disguise themselves as images, website URLs, links, email attachments and downloadable files. They can interrupt any device operations or activities by filling up disk space, access memory space and infect your device.
Spyware – is a malicious program designed to spy on you. It can secretly invade your device through an email you opened, a website you visited or a file you downloaded, scan and your hard drive and record personal information or online habits (login usernames, passwords, financial transactions, banking details, device configurations, buying history) through keyloggers that enter your internet browsing. Spyware can also slow down your device significantly.
Adware – sends intrusive ads and popups relating sites and topics you visited. While it may sound harmless and even helpful, it consumes your device and internet connection speed. An adware program can have spyware and keyloggers built-in which spies and invades your private information.
Trojan horses – is a type of malware designed to breach the security of your system while supposedly operating harmless functions. Once activated, Trojans enable cybercriminals to spy on you and steal sensitive data.
A good an updated antivirus and security software keeps your protected from viruses, malware, spyware, adware, Trojans and more.
What is ransomware?
This phenomenon is insanely increasing daily, especially with the use of cryptocurrencies used to pay the ransom.
A good an updated antivirus and security software keeps your protected from ransomware.
Free vs. Paid antivirus software?
When it comes to detecting new threats, paid antivirus and security software deliver extremely strong infrastructure and monitoring that will instantly pick up on viruses and malware that free plans neglected to detect.
Pricing wise, when using a free version, you might end up paying more in the long run as free providers offer extremely limited protection and most certainly will not include internet security features.
All our important, financial, medical, or business-related files, transactions using private data (banking and credit details, passwords, account login details, etc.) and sensitive photos are exposed, so investing in a sturdier security system is a must.
Paid antivirus providers will cover both on and offline activities and offer 24/7 real-time protection against viruses, malware, spyware, adware, ransomware, Trojans or any other online threats. Paid antivirus and security software encompass advanced features such as identity theft protection, parental control, performance optimization, IoT protection (cameras, trackers, controllers, appliances, etc.) automatic file backup (photos, financial files, and other important documents), extra encryption to protect your most private files against malware, Trojans and ransomware.
If your device has already been infected, a paid antivirus software will offer virus removal and cleanup tools, in addition to its high-quality protection capabilities.
An advanced and updated antivirus and security software provide all-round protection against threatening viruses and other malicious programs that harm your device.
The Complete Guide to Antivirus Software
How to protect your personal data online
Today, more than 90% of people have concerns about online privacy and what happens to their data. The truth is, they’re right to worry. Computer viruses affect millions of people each year. Aside from putting your personal information at risk, these viruses can damage your computer, thus costing you a lot of money in the long run.
With the above in mind, we’ve created this article explaining, in detail, what a computer virus is. Moreover, we will give you in-depth information on antivirus software as well as step by step guide on how to install an antivirus and perform a scan of your device.
Computer Viruses Explained
Computer viruses are a form of malicious software that can either hinder your daily productivity, or worse, destroy your computer and all of the files it contains. The intent of the virus depends entirely on the programmer and what they aim to achieve by installing a virus on your device.
Unfortunately, the majority of computer viruses spread quickly. They attach themselves to one of your documents or programs, and without you knowing, they copy themselves onto your files. These viruses execute malicious code, giving them control over your computer. They then spread to over devices on the same network, corrupting other systems on their path. In a matter of hours, a virus can cause irreparable damage to your device.
The Different Types of Computer Viruses and Online Threats
As with all technology, computer viruses have become more sophisticated over the years. Moreover, there are different types of viruses and online threats you should know about if you want to keep your computer, files, and personal data safe. Here are some of the different types of computer viruses and online threats you should be aware of:
Ransomware locks and encrypts your computer and data. As the name suggests, you have to pay a ransom to regain access to the full capabilities of your device. The only way to unlock it is to pay by Bitcoin or some other form of anonymous digital currency. Unfortunately, because this virus works by shutting down your system from the inside out, there is often nothing you can do to remove it.
Additionally, the hacker that has taken your computer hostage will often not unlock your computer even after you have paid the ransom. They may also dig through your sensitive information with the aim of extorting you for more money.
Unlike other forms of malware, adware doesn’t come with any true danger. While it can make you more vulnerable to other threats, adware is seen as more of a nuisance than a first-hand security problem as it slows down your computer. Adware forces advertisements onto your operating system, thus harming your online experience. At times, it can also hijack your browser, displaying specific content instead of the content you were actually searching for.
A Trojan, also known as a Trojan Horse, is a form of malicious program that pretends to be legitimate software. It works by tricking you into downloading it onto your computer. Once downloaded, it infects your device by opening up a gateway through which other malware can pass.
Computer worms are particularly dangerous because instead of targeting only your computer, they affect the entire network that it is connected to. By affecting the network, they can travel from one device to the next, damaging systems, files, programs, and everything else in between.
Spyware makes its way onto your device without you even knowing. By doing so, it will secretly spy on you, thus allowing it to collect your personal data along the way. These types of programs have one goal - to steal your personal information. Some of the information this form of malware can gain access to includes:
- Online banking details
- Social security information
- Account usernames
- Account passwords
- Credit card information
Spyware programmers will aim to collect your data to make purchases online or commit identity theft. They may also sell it to third parties.
Phishing is when an individual or organization contacts you via email, phone, or text message in order to lure you into thinking that they are a legitimate business in need of your personal information. Their aim is to get their hands on information such as your banking details, passwords, and other identifiable details. Some common signs of a phishing email include:
- Offers that are too good to be true
- Suspicious hyperlinks
- Unexpected attachments
These types of emails often come from unusual senders that you won’t have met or spoken to before. They will also come with a sense of urgency thus encouraging you to miss certain details that would allow you to identify them as cyber criminals.
Today, hackers use various methods, including some of those mentioned above, to steal peoples’ identity online. These hacks are targeted towards individuals, businesses, and website databases in order to obtain sensitive information about their visitors and clients. By doing so they can:
- Pretend to be someone else during a criminal act to avoid repercussions
- Obtain money and products illegally
- Receive health benefits and free medical care
High-tech online identity theft is extremely common and gives hackers access to public records in order to use information for various fraudulent activities.
That’s when Antivirus Software come in…
While all of the threats listed above may seem daunting, the best way to avoid falling victim to them is to install an antivirus on your device. Antivirus software works by warding off malware, hackers, and of course, viruses. By installing the leading, top-notch antivirus programs onto your computer, you can browse the web and go by your daily activities without having to worry about malicious programs attacking your device or stealing your personal information.
While antivirus software works to prevent infections from making their way onto your computer and network, high-quality programs also quarantine and remove any threats as they are discovered. The best antivirus software should perform the following functions:
- Scan files for viruses and malware
- Perform automated security scans
- Notify you about threats and remove them from your device
- Block hackers and phishing sites in real-time
- Offer 360-degree protection against all online threats and vulnerabilities
- Automatic update virus database
- Keep your computer fast and updates
- Share reports of your computer’s overall health
Additionally, the antivirus software you choose should be able to protect all of your devices, including your phone and tablet.
How Does an Antivirus Protect Your Computer?
What makes a computer virus so terrifyingly effective is that programmers design them to be undetectable. Often, you will have no idea that your computer has a virus until it is too late to do anything about it. However, the best antivirus software will detect any threats and alert you as soon as they appear.
From there, the program will run you through the steps you need to take in order to remove the virus from your device. Here’s more in-depth information about some of the functionalities your antivirus should have and how they work to fix your digital security issues:
The most popular antivirus software uses two scanning methods to detect and eliminate threats on your computer. The first one is called active scanning. It checks your entire device for threats. This includes your web browsers and internet activities as well as your files and any programs you installed previously.
The second type of scanning is reactive. This type of scanning occurs when you install or run a new program on your computer. It will ensure that you are downloading and installing safe content onto your device, especially when doing so from an online source. Your antivirus software should run this type of scan every single time your computer is running a program it hasn’t seen before.
Every day, cybercriminals work together to create new, sophisticated pieces of malware with the aim of launching attacks against individuals and companies across the world. As a result, your antivirus software should send you regular threat updates so that you don’t fall victim to an attack.
Furthermore, the digital security software that designed your antivirus should update their threat database on a regular basis to ensure that a virus doesn’t pass through your antivirus’ radar. At Reviewmaster®, you can find out which antivirus programs perform a heuristic analysis of your computer in order to detect malicious software while also identifying malware behavior.
While this may seem like an obvious feature to look for in an antivirus, not all software can remove both viruses and malware. With this in mind, it’s important that you check that the software you go for can offer you the full security coverage you need to keep your device safe.
The Different Types of Antivirus Software
The truth is, not all antivirus software is made the same. To keep your computer, files, and your personal information safe, you need to be able to differentiate between low and high-quality antivirus programs. Also, while your new computer may come with an antivirus, it doesn’t mean that you’re out of harm’s way.
Your laptop manufacturer will have an agreement with an antivirus company, allowing them to sell you your device with a pre-installed piece of software. Oftentimes, this software is only a basic subscription, meaning you won’t have all the features necessary to keep you safe. Moreover, just because your computer manufacturer suggests one brand, it doesn’t mean it’s the best one for you.
With the above in mind, here are the two different types of antivirus software available for you to choose from:9
Basic Antivirus Software
Today, there are hundreds if not thousands of basic antivirus programs for you to choose from. While they do come with some security features, they often don’t offer users the full protection they need to keep their computer, network, files, and sensitive data safe from malware and other third parties.
The majority of basic antivirus software may detect threats but falls short when it comes to removing them from your device. These types of antivirus are a good option if you want to prevent a computer virus. However, if you believe you may already have a threat on your device, they will not be able to help you.
If you do find a basic antivirus that can detect and remove threats, you need to check if there is a catch. More often than not, these companies bombard you with advertisements warning you to upgrade your subscription to maximize your computer’s security.
Last but not least, make sure to check how long the basic subscription lasts. Antivirus companies often offer users access to their full security suite for a limited amount of time. Typically, these free trials only last up to a month but, some do expire within a week. Once their offer expires, you will have to upgrade to a paid plan otherwise you’ll go unprotected, leaving you open to attacks.
Premium Antivirus Software
While you should make the most of free trials in order to test the various features every antivirus has to offer, it’s important that you upgrade to a paid subscription before the free period ends. Paid antivirus services scan, detect, and remove viruses and malware from your device. They also come with a mound of extra features for you to enjoy for a monthly or yearly fee.
Some of the most popular and important features include:
- Browser monitoring
- Malicious URL monitoring
- Anti-spam filters for email accounts
- Data backups
- Protection against phishing
- File shredding
- Email protection
Choosing the Best Antivirus
Choosing the best antivirus software for your computer can be challenging. You need to make sure that you are getting all of the features you need to stay safe while also choosing a service that fits within your budget. The best way to choose an antivirus for your computer is to compare products. You should also:
Read Online reviews
Online reviews allow you to understand more about each antivirus software from an individual or company that has first-hand experience using it. At Reviewmaster®, we compare the various antiviruses on the market based on their features, price, and compatibility with devices. Moreover, we collate user reviews so that you can see exactly what consumers are saying online.
Test Services With the Free Trials
For a more practical approach to finding the best antivirus software for your computer, sign up for each antivirus’ free trial. Many of the software companies offer full access to their suite for a limited time so that you can make an informed decision about their products. Use these free trials to compare the different programs available.
Check the Type of Software Each Service Offers
Remember that antivirus software doesn’t always stop malware from affecting your device, the same as malware software doesn’t always act as an antivirus. Before paying for a subscription, make sure your chosen service detects and eliminates both viruses and malware from your computer.
Features to Look for in Antivirus Software
Basic antivirus software will keep you safe as long as you refrain from any risky online activities. This includes everything from visiting untrusted sites to downloading programs that you’re not sure of. Also, avoid sharing files with others and don’t open every email attachment that comes through your inbox.
Unfortunately, even if you don’t undertake any online activities that could put you in danger, remember that the same cannot be said for others. If a friend, family member, or colleague sends you an email with malware or a virus in it, you may not know until it is too late. Additionally, basic antivirus software won’t protect you if you plan on streaming shows and games on the internet.
With the above in mind, we suggest you opt for a paid subscription with a reputable antivirus company who offers the following features as part of their service:
Virus Detection and Removal
First and foremost, your antivirus should be able to detect and remove all types of threats. These include but are not limited to:
- Phishing software
While this may seem obvious, there are antiviruses that only target specific types of software. For your protection, you should choose a program that comprehensively detects all types of malware.
Programmers from across the world work together to develop new types of malware on a weekly basis. As a result, you must choose antivirus software that can keep up with these threats and provide the necessary protection to keep you and your device safe.
Automatic updates are a vital feature your antivirus software should have. These updates are what will allow it to learn, track, and contain new threats that are being developed regularly. While some antivirus programs allow you to perform updates manually, you may miss one, leaving you without adequate protection and exposing your system to infections.
Backup and Restore
If the worst does happen and you need to wipe your computer after an attack, you need to know that you can restore your most important files. The most popular antivirus software will backup files so that you can restore them if you are forced to reboot your computer and start from scratch. Most importantly, the software will scan these documents to ensure that you’re not reinstalling a virus onto your device.
All antivirus programs are designed to detect malware. However, not all of them do so in the same way. Less advanced antiviruses will force you to conduct manual scans of your computer to determine if it has been affected. The best antivirus software uses a dynamic scanning system to check your device for the presence of malicious programs, documents, websites, and emails.
If you don’t choose an antivirus with real-time scanning, you will have to perform checks on your computer yourself. This makes it much easier for malware to infiltrate your device. While running a manual scan will allow you to identify any threats that make their way onto your device, the malware may have already caused irreparable damage by then.
Unlike popular belief, putting files in your trash folder and emptying it doesn’t delete them permanently. As a result, anyone with access to your hard drive can recover the data in these files, putting you at risk. Luckily, advanced antivirus programs come with digital shredders which overwrite your files more than once, making them impossible to retrieve.
The key to keeping your computer safe is to make sure that no threats reach the hard drive in the first place. With this in mind, choose an antivirus that comes with a smart firewall capable of blocking incoming threats before they make contact with your hard disk.
Email Protection and Spam Removal
Viruses often spread from one device to another via email. This comes in the form of spam mail or can happen if a friend, family member, or colleague isn’t aware that their device has a virus. While spam mail is annoying, it can also cause serious damage to your device if you open it without adequate protection.
With email protection, your antivirus will scan both inbound and outbound emails to check for attachments and URLs to websites with infections. For added security, we suggest you opt for antivirus software with blocking features to minimize the chances of you opening malicious emails in the first place. The best antivirus software will also protect you from phishing schemes that spread via email.
While not a necessity, opting for a multi-user antivirus pack will give you the opportunity to protect more than just your devices. For example, if your family members use different computers, a multi-user pack will help keep all of you safe. This is also applicable to businesses. It’s important that you choose a subscription that allows you to protect your entire household or office.
Compatibility on Multiple Devices
While multi-user accounts will protect various types of devices, it’s important to keep in mind that threats exist across all devices, networks, services, and of course, applications. These can include applications that you rely on for everyday tasks. They can also store your personal information such as your address or banking details.
With this in mind, your antivirus software should protect all of your devices and applications to ensure that your hardware isn’t exposed. Before paying for a subscription, check that the software is compatible with your preferred devices and that it scans applications.
Protection for Different Web Browsers
One of the most common ways malware can make its way onto your computer is via the internet. Malware programmers distribute viruses and other threats by launching websites with keywords linked to newsworthy events, celebrities, and other popular topics to ensure that more people fall into their trap.
Your antivirus software should come with safe browsing technology that filters out suspicious search engine results. It should also warn you if you click on a link that could contain malicious content as well as block pop-up windows that could lead you to a less secure website.
If you have kids, make sure to choose an antivirus that comes with parental controls. This will allow you to set restrictions on the content that they access. With this feature, you can also create exclusion lists which allow your children to access specific websites even if they belong to a category that the antivirus is blocking.
How to Install Antivirus Software on Your Device
Today, buying, downloading, and installing antivirus software is more or less straightforward. Whether you run on Windows, Mac, Linux, or any other operating system, the installation process is more or less the same. That said, this may vary depending on your device and the software that you choose so make sure to check whether or not the vendor has a step-by-step guide you can follow on their website.
If they don’t, we suggest you follow these steps to get started:
Step 1- Download the Software
Before you can install the antivirus on your computer, you need to download the software. It is crucial that you only download software from the official vendor. If not, you may download malware onto your device. Most antivirus websites will have an installer you need to double-click on to begin the installation process.
Step 2- Remove Any Existing Antivirus Software
Once you’ve downloaded the software, check that you have deleted your old antivirus program. You should avoid running two antivirus programs at once as this will not only slow down your computer but may also cause confusion, leading to further complications and opening you up to threats.
Step 3- Install the New Software Onto Your Computer
Now that you have deleted your old software, you can install the new antivirus onto your computer. When you open the file, the installation will automatically start. The program will ask you to accept the terms and conditions before proceeding.
You will also be given the opportunity to change your antivirus settings although the default ones are designed to offer your computer the most protection. Once the installation is complete, the antivirus should perform a scan to identify any threats that have already made their way onto your device.
Step 4- Create an Account With the Antivirus Company
Once the installation is complete, your antivirus will prompt you to create an account. If you are testing the software for a trial period you should be able to register for free. These free trials typically last between 7 and 30 days, however, make sure to check with the provider as they may charge you automatically once the period is over.
Step 5- Undertake a Scan in Safe Mode
When you have signed up for your account, make sure to turn on your computer in Safe Mode before scanning it. By doing so, you will be able to establish whether or not your computer already has malware installed on it. Undertaking the scan in Safe Mode will stop this malware from causing any further damage until your virus detects and removes it.
Scanning and What to Do When A Virus Is Found
If the installation scan detects a virus, you should remove it as quickly as possible. While your antivirus should detect and remove these, there are some additional steps you can take to protect your computer if a virus is found. These include:
Step 1- Put Your Computer in Safe Mode (Recommended)
If you believe that your computer has a virus, you should disconnect from the internet immediately. You should also stop using it until you are ready to clean it. This will stop the malware from spreading and capturing personal information stored on your computer.
When you are ready to clean your computer, reboot it in Safe Mode. This mode only loads the necessary services and programs to run the device. Moreover, it may be able to block malware from loading as soon as your computer starts. This will make it easier to remove the affected files as they will not be active.
Step 2- Delete Temporary Files (Recommended)
Once you restart your computer in Safe Mode, you must delete all temporary files on it. This is an essential step to speed up the virus scan you are about to perform. It will also free up disk space and potentially remove some of the malware. Most computers have a Disk Cleanup utility. You can find this by doing a search on your device.
Step 3- Run a Scan and Remove the Virus
To detect the location of the virus, you need to perform a scan. Start by running an on-demand scan. Then, perform a real-time scan. While simply running one of these should identify and remove the virus, doing both scans will increase your chances of success.
Take Extra Measures to Stay Safe
Even with the most advanced antivirus program, you must take extra precautions to keep your device and your personal information safe from malware, hackers, and other third parties. Here are some effective safety tips you can follow to reduce your chances of contracting a computer virus:
- Don’t install or run software from an unknown website
- Never install web browser extensions from non-reputable sources
- Don’t download attachments, programs, and other media from unknown sources
- Only trust your antivirus software for infection alerts
- Never open emails and email attachments from people you don’t know
- Don’t follow links unless you know where they lead
For further precautions, make sure to avoid plugging removable media into your computer if you don’t know what it contains. This includes everything from CDs to USBs and external hard disks.
Compare Antivirus Software to Choose the Right Product
The key to keeping your device and personal information safe from threats is to avoid files, attachments, and websites from sources you don’t trust. However, even if you don’t put yourself at risk, hackers are finding new ways to infiltrate peoples’ devices. With this in mind, you should download and install a sophisticated antivirus that can detect and remove malware before it causes any damage.
To find out more about the best antivirus programs currently available, be sure to check out the TOP10 comparison on the top the page. We review each antivirus based on its features, compatibility, and ratings from experienced users so that you can make the best decision for your individual security needs.