Although surfing the web or watching a video can seem harmless, there are dangers to your computer lurking all over the internet. Various types of malicious software, otherwise known as malware, can be used to monitor what you do online and perhaps steal your personal information. The specific types of malware that hackers use change frequently but can include:
- Viruses, which alter your computer’s software in harmful ways
- Adware, which causes intrusive ads to appear on your screen
- Spyware, through which someone can monitor your computing activities
- Ransomware, which can lock up your computer and render it unusable until you pay a fee, or “ransom”
- Worms, which are bits of software code that can spread from one computer to another
Hackers use other ploys as well. One common technique is called “phishing,” in which someone tries to trick you into using a fake website (such as one that looks like your bank’s website) to steal your personal data.
The good news is that antivirus software can help protect you and your computer from these and other threats. Here is the best Anti-Virus software on the market to buy and keep your personal or business information safe.
Bitdefender: Bitdefender has five different antivirus packages, each with different prices depending on the number of devices (usually three, five, or 10) and subscription length (one, two, or three years). On the downside, Bitdefender includes only limited VPN services and no identity theft protection.
What Antivirus Software Does Bitdefender Offer?
Bitdefender sells five antivirus software packages. The company’s two top security packages – Total (including the Family Pack version of Total) and Premium – are compatible with multiple operating systems. Only the Premium package offers unlimited VPN services. All other Bitdefender antivirus packages include a limited VPN service, which covers only 200 MB of data per day, per device.
None of Bitdefender’s antivirus software packages includes identity theft protection. Bitdefender sells its limited identity theft software separately.
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus (Windows-only) includes an impressive laundry list of both basic malware, spyware, adware, and ransomware protections and app- and function-specific features including a dedicated browser that is said to secure banking and shopping transactions to prevent fraud; web filtering technology to block known harmful websites and links; anti-phishing protection, anti-fraud warnings, and an anti-spam filter. This plan also comes with an anti-tracker extension, social network protection, a password manager, a file shredder to permanent delete files without leaving any traces, a vulnerability assessment that scans and suggests fixes for outdated and vulnerable software, missing Windows security patches, and potentially unsafe system settings, and more.
The pricing for Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is:
Bitdefender also sells an identically-priced Antivirus for Mac package.
Bitdefender Internet Security (Windows-only) includes all the features of Antivirus Plus, as well as parental controls, a firewall, a microphone monitor, webcam protection, and file encryption.
The pricing for Bitdefender Internet Security is:
Bitdefender Total Security offers the same protections as Bitdefender Internet Security, including the limited 200 MB daily per device VPN, but it offers protection for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices.
Bitdefender Family Pack is the family version of Bitdefender Total Security.
Bitdefender Premium Security is Bitdefender’s top internet security package. It offers the same multi-operating system and threat protections as the Total Security package, but it also includes unlimited VPN and priority support, which lets you skip the line and connects you with a dedicated support team.
Kaspersky: Kaspersky antivirus software packages are available with three-, five-, 10-, or 20-device coverage and in one-, two-, or three-year subscriptions. Introductory discounts of 50% are available for all versions except the top-tier Security Cloud antivirus package, which has a 40% introductory discount. None of Kaspersky’s packages include a full VPN or identity theft protection.
What Antivirus Software Does Kaspersky Offer?
Kaspersky Lab’s software comes in basic-better-best-premium computer antivirus subscription plans in three-, five-, or 10-device coverage in one-, two-, and three-year subscriptions with 40% or 50% introductory discounts. The company doesn’t offer a single-user/single-device option.
Kaspersky’s lowest-priced antivirus solution is available only for Windows, while all its other offerings cover multiple operating systems.
All but the company’s lowest-tier Kaspersky Anti-Virus package includes a VPN, and these are limited to 300 MB per day, 500 MB for its top-tier Cloud Security plan, per device. An unlimited Kaspersky VPN Secure, with the option to select the country of the server you connect to, is available.
Kaspersky’s packages are sold with a 50% introductory discount, while its Security Cloud edition has a 40% off the introductory price. The company also offers periodic discounts for renewals. Its plans include:
Anti-Virus (Windows only): includes basic antivirus, ransomware, and crypto mining malware protections.
Kaspersky Internet Security (PC, Mac, Android, iOS): adds multi-operating system coverage and webcam and phishing protections; includes an encrypted browser to protect financial information.
Kaspersky Total Security (PC, Mac, Android, iOS): includes all the features of Internet Security plus GPS child locator, a password manager, and backup file protection.
Security Cloud (Personal and Family) (PC, Mac, Android, iOS): available in Personal and Family versions; adds two advanced operational technologies:
- Patented Adaptive Security, which anticipates threats, advises when action is needed, and automatically updates device settings.
- Account-based control, which allows each device user to adjust protections and features for their needs, and diverts some operations to the cloud to minimize the impact on device performance.
Security Cloud also supplements the protections and features of Total Security with improved web antivirus and anti-phishing, online payments protection, data encryption, backup creation, a “Hard Drive Health Monitor,” and a VPN limited to 500 MB per day, per device.
(Note: Discounts and renewal prices can change often. Prices were accurate at the time of publication.)
Kaspersky offers 30-day free trials for all paid versions of its software.
Kaspersky also sells three separate cybersecurity protections: VPN Secure Connection with unlimited VPN coverage, Password Manager, and Safe Kids for parental controls, and a GPS tracker for your children.
Webroot: Webroot sells three antivirus software packages at prices lower than most other antivirus software vendors.
What Antivirus Software Does Webroot Offer?
Webroot sells antivirus solutions in three Webroot SecureAnywhere packages. While its introductory discounts aren’t as steep as those offered by some other antivirus software vendors, Webroot’s ongoing renewal prices are lower, especially if you subscribe to a multi-year plan.
All of Webroot’s packages include protections from malware, such as viruses, ransomware, phishing, keyloggers (who hack into your Wi-Fi connection to monitor your keyboard keystrokes), and spyware. Webroot also provides a firewall, a network protection monitor, and webcam security.
SecureAnywhere Antivirus (Windows, macOS)
SecureAnywhere Internet Security Plus (Windows, macOS, Android, iOS) adds the LastPass password manager to the basic malware protections included in its Internet Security package but isn’t available for a single device.
SecureAnywhere Internet Security Complete (Windows, macOS, Android, iOS) includes LastPass and adds 25 GB of cloud storage and a system optimizer that makes your computer run more smoothly. All Internet Security Complete subscriptions cover up to five devices.
None of Webroot’s packages includes a virtual private network (VPN), but the company sells a separate VPN package called Webroot WiFi Security for Windows, macOS, and Android.
Norton: Norton has five primary antivirus/identity theft protection packages that range in price.
What Antivirus Software Does Norton Offer?
Norton offers five primary antivirus/identity theft protection packages:
Norton 360 Standard ($39.99 for the first year and $84.99 thereafter): is a single-user/single-device license for Windows, macOS, Apple iOS, or Android. Features include typical defenses against spyware, viruses, malware, and ransomware, plus a VPN, a firewall, a password manager, SafeCam webcam protection, dark web monitoring, and 10 GB of online cloud storage.
Norton 360 Deluxe covers five devices running Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. It includes all the features in Norton 360 Standard, plus additional cloud storage up to 50 GB and parental controls.
Norton 360 with LifeLock Select covers five devices running Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. It includes everything in the Deluxe package, boosts the cloud storage to 100 GB, and adds LifeLock Identity Alert, which includes added identity theft protections like credit monitoring, and reimbursement for up to $100,000 in financial losses related to identity theft.
Norton 360 with LifeLock Advantage covers up to 10 devices running Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, boosts the cloud storage to 250 GB, and provides higher identity theft reimbursement, and adds bank and credit card activity alerts, fictitious identity monitoring, court records scanning.
Norton 360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus covers an unlimited number of devices running Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, boosts the cloud storage to 500 GB, provides even more theft reimbursement, and adds 401(k) and investment activity alerts and home title monitoring.
In addition, Norton 360 for Gamers covers three devices and runs on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. It also provides a no-login VPN, alerts if gamer tags, usernames, and email addresses appear on the dark web monitoring, password manager, 50 GB of cloud storage, and limits game-interrupting pop-ups to security alerts.
Norton also sells a separate Norton Secure VPN. Also available is the single-case Norton Computer Tune-Up. Norton Ultimate Help Desk tech support single case, and three devices with unlimited calls, a separate Norton Family, included in Norton 360 Deluxe and Norton 360 with LifeLock, that provides scheduling tools and protections for children and remote learning; Norton Utilities Premium, performance optimization tool for up to 10 PCs; and, Norton Small Business, a year cover up to five, 10 and 20 devices, respectively) providing small-business cybersecurity protections.
Trend Micro: Trend Micro antivirus offers a range of antivirus software. Trend Micro’s antivirus programs include minimal identity theft protection and lack of a VPN, although the company sells a separate VPN.
What Antivirus Software Does Trend Micro Offer?
Trend Micro sells several tiers of antivirus software, including two for Windows and one for macOS. The company offers one multi-operating system package covering single- and multi-device configurations in one- or two-year subscriptions.
All of Trend Micro’s antivirus software packages include the company’s Pay Guard feature that allows you to access your banking or shopping sites securely through your default browser. All packages also include the company’s Advanced AI Learning feature that helps identify and defeat new ransomware and other unknown threats.
Trend Micro’s antivirus packages don’t include many of the application and function features offered by other vendors such as a VPN, identity theft or dark web monitoring, firewall, webcam protection, file encryption, or added cloud storage. Password protection is offered only in Trend Micro’s top-tier package.
Antivirus+Security (Windows only): offers Advanced AI protection against viruses, ransomware, phishing emails, and suspicious or malicious websites. It also offers Pay Guard, which adds an extra layer of protection when banking or shopping online via the Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer browsers as well as Data Theft Protection to protect credit card accounts.
Antivirus for Mac: offers the same basic protections as Antivirus+ Security for Windows except for the Pay Guard feature, which isn’t compatible with Apple’s Safari browser.
Internet Security (Windows-only): provides coverage for up to three Windows computers with controls for parents, computer optimization, and social media privacy. The latter identify settings that may leave personal information publicly available and vulnerable to identity theft on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms.
Maximum Security (Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Chromebook): provides Internet Security protections to multiple desktop and mobile operating systems, coverage for either five or 10 devices, and a password manager.
Premium Security Suite (Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Chromebook): provides Maximum Security protections plus a VPN, dark web monitoring, 24/7 tech support and emergency assistance, and diagnosis and repair services for 10 devices.
In addition to these antivirus software packages, Trend Micro also sells a separate VPN solution called Trend Micro WiFi Protection (Windows, macOS, Android, iOS). This VPN offers unlimited encrypted connectivity as well as filters to block malicious websites, online fraud, and internet scams.
McAfee: McAfee antivirus software ranges from one device, Total Protection, and McAfee LiveSafe, which covers an unlimited number of devices for one year.
What Antivirus Software Does McAfee Offer?
Your first exposure to McAfee could come via a preinstalled version of its antivirus software that the company pays to be included on a wide variety of Windows 10 computers from vendors including ASUS, Dell, HP, and Lenovo.
Aside from these preinstalled versions of McAfee, the company sells four antivirus subscriptions to consumers, most of which are sold as two-year subscriptions even though prices listed or for single years:
McAfee Antivirus covers 10 Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices, and includes McAfee’s standard antivirus protection.
Total Protection Single Device: covers one device (running Windows, macOS, iOS, or Android) and one user for two years, and includes the standard array of antimalware protections, a VPN (as long as you are auto-renew), firewall, password manager, safe web browsing, and 256-bit AES sensitive file encryption. It also includes McAfee Shredder, which permanently deletes files in order to make them unrecoverable.
Total Protection Individual & Couples: covers up to five devices. In addition, it provides identity theft protection if you have your subscription set to automatically renew. This consists of dark web monitoring and Social Security Number Trace to alert you to potential identity fraud, as well as 24/7 access to dedicated identity agents.
Total Protection Family: covers 10 devices with the same protections as the Individual & Couples plan and includes parental controls.
In addition to its Total Protection plans, McAfee also sells separate protective software including:
McAfee Safe Connect VPN: comes with a seven-day free trial and covers up to five devices running Windows, Chrome OS, iOS, or Android.
McAfee Gamer Security: supplements a standard McAfee antivirus package for Windows 10 with MicroAV Engine, which helps improve a computer’s gaming performance. For example, it offloads malware threat detection to the cloud so all processing power is devoted to gameplay.
ESET: ESET sells three antivirus software configurations in one-, two- or three-year subscriptions. The cheapest option for basic malware defense for one device. The most advanced option is the Smart Security Premium package. Subscriptions cover a specific number of devices rather than a set number (such as five or 10), which is more common in antivirus plans.
What Antivirus Software Does ESET Offer?
Like most antivirus software vendors, ESET sells three antivirus software configurations in one-, two-, or three-year subscriptions. One difference from many of its competitors is that ESET packages are priced to protect a specific number of devices, which means you pay only for the protection that you need. For instance, if you need to protect six devices, that’s what you’ll pay for whereas some other companies would require you to pay to cover up to 10 devices.
All three of ESET’s antivirus packages are powered by ESET NOD32 Antivirus technology, which is thoroughly explained on its website. ESET even offers a downloadable white paper that provides details about when and how threats are detected and/or blocked by ESET’s technologies. Moreover, the software includes 150 different settings to fine-tune protections to suit specific users.
ESET’s software packages are detailed below. Where two prices are separated by a slash, the first figure represents the introductory discounted price for the first subscription term, and the second figure represents the renewal price.
ESET NOD32 Antivirus (Windows, macOS, Linux): This software includes a variety of malware protection against viruses, spyware, phishing, exploits (threats that look to evade antivirus detection), and ransomware. NOD32 Antivirus includes a gamer mode that blocks pop-ups during play as well as a UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) Scanner that guards against threats that can attack your computer even before Windows boots. The Script-Based Attack Protection will detect malicious code that infiltrates your computer via your web browser.
ESET Internet Security (Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux): includes all the protections and features of NOD32 Antivirus. In addition, it provides a special secured web browser for online shopping and payment gateways that automatically protect personal data on internet banking sites. It includes a firewall and an email spam filter as well as protection against network threats, webcams intrusions, and router attacks. There are parental controls and laptop tracking features available.
Avast: Avast offers completely free antivirus software along with two paid antivirus software packages under both the Avast and AVG brands. Avast also sells Omni, a separate combined hardware/antivirus protection subscription solution to protect smart home/Wi-Fi networks.
What Antivirus Software Does Avast Offer?
Avast offers four antivirus packages, all priced for single-year subscriptions.
Avast Free Antivirus (Windows, macOS) is a no-cost package that includes an extensive list of both standard malware protections and specialty add-on features. Avast Free includes protections against malicious files, emails, keyloggers, and other hacking tools, websites, and botnets that can be used by hackers to attack your system.
The free Avast antivirus edition also features:
- Protections against ransomware
- Hack alerts that watch for potential password breaches
- A Wi-Fi inspector that warns you about potential dangers for vulnerabilities on any device connected to your Wi-Fi network
- A Behavior Shield that watches websites you visit and warns you about potentially malicious activities
- Smart Scan to let you know how you can optimize your system performance
- My Statistics, which tells you how many files have been scanned and how many threats have been blocked
- A Do Not Disturb mode that blocks third-party apps from posting alerts or pop-ups while you’re playing a game, watching a movie, or presenting
- A rescue disk for restoring your system after a virus infection
- A manual software updater to make sure all your software is up to date
- Anti-phishing tools to keep hackers from using your email address to send fraudulent emails
Avast Premium Security (Windows, macOS, Android, iOS) includes all the features of Avast Free Antivirus and adds:
- Real Site, a feature that guards against malicious websites disguised as real ones
- A firewall that Avast says is more advanced than Windows’ built-in firewall
- Password protection
- A sensitive data shield
- A data shredder that ensures infected files are permanently deleted
- A webcam shield to keep hackers from spying on you through your PC’s camera,
- A remote-access shield that blocks unauthorized connections to your PC
- A “sandbox,” which opens suspicious files in a protected system environment to keep any infection isolated
You can try Avast Premium Security for free for 30 days without a credit card or 60 days with a credit card.
AVG Technologies: AVG sells two paid subscription antivirus software packages. AVG Internet Security runs on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. Subscriptions range from one computer to up to 10 devices. AVG’s Ultimate package includes a VPN and AVG PC TuneUp. It covers 10 devices. AVG sells a separate VPN as well.
What Antivirus Software Does AVG Offer?
AVG offers three internet security products: a free antivirus software product that provides basic protection, and two subscription packages, AVG Internet Security and AVG Ultimate, along with a number of standalone cybersecurity, privacy, and system optimization packages.
AVG AntiVirus Free (Windows, macOS): provides standard real-time anti-malware, anti-spyware, anti-phishing, anti-ransomware, and other protections; blocks unsafe links, downloads, and email attachments; and scans for computer performance problems.
AVG Internet Security (Windows, macOS, Android, iOS): includes basic real-time malware protections provided by Antivirus Free with more advanced detection algorithms to help identify malware that was previously unknown. These protections also guard against “zero-day” threats, or threats that exploit previously unknown vulnerabilities, and protect connected disk drives and webcams. There’s also a firewall; a “do not disturb” mode that blocks third-party apps while you’re playing games, watching movies, or making presentations; a file shredder that makes deleted files unrecoverable; protection against fake websites and fraudulent payment sites; a toolbar cleanup function; and other malware and privacy guards.
Sophos: Sophos sells a single antivirus software package, Sophos Home Premium, in one-, two-, and three-year subscriptions. The free version, Sophos Home Free, protects a combination of up to three computers.
What Antivirus Software Does Sophos Offer?
Sophos offers two antivirus software products: Sophos Home Free and Sophos Home Premium. Both options are compatible with Windows and Mac computers.
Sophos Home Free, which covers a combination of up to three Windows and/or Mac computers, doubles as a free trial. Sophos Home Free includes all the features of Sophos Home Premium for 30 days. After that, you only get to use five of those features:
- Real-Time Antivirus: provides anti-malware protection, and detects and blocks viruses, Trojans, worms, bots, potentially unwanted apps, ransomware, etc.
- Predictive Artificial Intelligence Threat Detection: identifies and blocks previously unknown malware
- Parental website filtering
- Web Protection: blocks compromised or dangerous websites
- Remote Management: secures multiple Windows and Mac computers in any location through Sophos’ website
In addition to these features, Sophos Home Premium provides more advanced real-time antivirus security, including guarding against “exploits” that try to avoid antivirus software. Sophos Home Premium also helps prevent banking, credit card, username, and password data from being intercepted by third parties. Lastly, it features anti-keylogger software and premium”live chat support.
Sophos Home Premium is available in one-, two-, and three-year subscriptions. Each subscription provides antivirus protection for any combination of 10 Windows or macOS computers.
Best Antivirus Software for Macs of 2021
Macs also need antivirus software, as they are just as vulnerable to malware and other online threats as Windows computers. To help you choose, here is our list of the Best Antivirus Software for Macs of 2021.