Computers have revolutionized everything in our lives that includes helping students learn and monitor patients in hospitals, and regulating crucial manufacturing processes. The increased dependence on computer gadgets has also brought an increase in cyberthreats including malware, viruses and ransomware. Antivirus software is designed to recognize these threats and prevent them from damaging your PC or stealing your personal data.
When choosing an antivirus program, it is important to consider its virus-scanning capabilities and, if it comes with a fire-wall, and how it performs in independent laboratory tests. You should also take into consideration the quality of its customer service and how often it updates and how many devices it can protect. Certain programs, like Norton include additional features that secure your online privacy and protect your identity from theft.
The top programs provide various protection options that include heuristic detection, which is a method of identifying patterns in behavior typical of malware or viruses and signature matching, which compares the files against a list of known malware. Some programs employ sandboxing technology to block suspicious files in an environment that is secure and protected from any harm.
Many of the top antivirus programs are available for free, though they may not offer as many additional features as paid versions. For instance, Bitdefender’s free version performed well in our tests. It also has a firewall, while its premium version comes with parental controls, a file shredder and a password manager. Also, Malwarebytes’ free version was praised by AV-Test for its top score for 2023, but was not as good in our test of usability. Intego Mac Internet Security X9 provides a powerful combination of tools (VirusBarrier and NetBarrier) that caught and killed the most malware-related threats in our test.