Computers have revolutionized almost every aspect of our lives including helping students learn, monitoring patients in hospitals and regulating critical manufacturing processes. This increased reliance on computer devices has also led to an increase in cyber-attacks, like malware, viruses and ransomware. Antivirus software is designed to identify these threats and prevent them from damaging your PC or stealing personal information.
When selecting an antivirus program it is important to look at its ability to scan for viruses and whether it comes with an integrated firewall and how it performs in independent laboratory tests. You should also take into consideration the customer support, how often the program updates and how many devices it can secure. Some programs, like Norton offer additional features that will help you secure your identity and protect your privacy online.
Top programs provide multiple security options. They include heuristic detection which identifies behaviors that are typical of malware or viruses and signature matching that compares files to a list of known malicious codes. Certain programs also employ sandboxing to block malicious files and then runs them in a secure virtual environment where they can’t do any harm.
A few of the top antivirus software is free. However, they may not have the same features as paid-for alternatives. For example, Bitdefender’s free version performed excellently in our tests and has a firewall. However, its premium version comes with parental controls, a file shredder and a password manager. In the same way, Malwarebytes’ free version scored top marks in AV-Test for 2023, but was not as good in our test for usability. Intego Mac Security X9 comes with an effective combination of tools which include VirusBarrier and NetBarrier. They detected and eliminated the most malware threats in our tests.