Computers have changed almost every aspect of our lives including helping students learn, monitoring patients in hospitals and regulating crucial manufacturing processes. This increased dependence on computer gadgets has also brought a rise in cyberthreats, like malware, viruses and ransomware. Antivirus software is designed to identify these threats and stop their destruction of your PC or stealing your personal data.
When deciding on an antivirus program it is crucial to look at its virus-scanning capabilities and, if it comes with a secure data room fire wall, and how it performs on independent laboratory tests. It is also advisable to look at its customer support, the frequency it updates and the number of devices it can protect. Certain programs, like Norton have additional tools that can help prevent identity theft and protect your privacy online.
Top-rated programs offer a variety of security options. These include heuristic identification which searches for 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, which separates the suspicious files and puts them in a safe virtual environment that doesn’t allow them to cause harm.
Many of the best antivirus applications are free, although they may not offer as many additional features as paid versions. For instance, Bitdefender’s Free version scored excellently in our tests and includes a firewall, whereas its premium version comes with parental controls as well as a file shredder. It also has a password manager. Malwarebytes which is free and scored top marks in AV Test for 2023, fell short of our usability test. Intego Mac Security X9 comes with powerful tools which include VirusBarrier and NetBarrier, which removed and identified the most malware-related threats during our test.