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Tried & Tested: 5 Best Anti-Malware Software for 2019

Tried & Tested: 5 Best Anti-Malware Software for 2019
Aviva Zacks
Posted: December 12, 2018

While most decent antivirus software can usually detect and remove malicious threats that have infected your computer, hackers can still find other ways to steal your data, spy on all your activity in real-time, hijack important computer resources, damage or encrypt sensitive information using crypto locker ransomware, or even install backdoors to gain access to your PC when you least expect it.

By not adding one of the latest anti-malware security suites as a crucial extra layer of defense to your existing antivirus protection, you may still be at high risk of exposing your computer to malicious infection.

Malware is created to evade detection, which is why the best anti-malware software must always be one step ahead of the hackers. But with so many brands on the market, how can you know which is truly effective?

We painstakingly tried and tested 47 different brands considered to offer the best basic malware protection on the market, and paired the list down to just the top five to save you time and help you find what works best for your specific needs.

Here’s what we found:

Quick List

What is Malware?

Malware is a type of malicious software that is built to corrupt or gain access to a device and/or your personal information.

There are all sorts of different types of malware, designed to do different things, such as phishing scams that trick you into sharing your information or downloading more malware, and ransomware that takes your data hostage and forces you to pay a ransom to release it.

What’s the Difference Between a Virus and Malware?

While viruses and malware do similar things, the terms are not interchangeable. A virus is a type of malware, but malware is not always a virus. A computer virus is a malicious string of code that’s created with the intention of replicating and infecting your computer.

Malware, on the other hand, is an umbrella term used to describe any unwanted software created to harm your system by way of virus, spyware, adware, worms, Trojans and more.

What’s the Difference Between Antivirus and Anti-Malware Software?

An antivirus is software is created to protect you against a very specific threat – computer viruses. And while many antivirus programs have expanded to offer cover for various other types of malware, such as keyloggers, they can’t always detect every single threat or protect against the most advanced types of malware in the same way the best antimalware software can.

Because they offer expert protection against different threats, you’ll see why antivirus and antimalware programs complement each other (and why you need both).

For full protection against all types of threats, you’ll need to install a reputable antivirus along with one of the best malware removal programs to defend against ransomware, spyware, spam and phishing attacks.

How to Check and Remove Infections From Your Device?

The most obvious signs of infection include your computer slowing down or crashing; a sudden onslaught of pop-up ads; your computer inexplicably displaying strange behavior, such as opening files and automatically making keystrokes without your input; and the appearance of emails in your outbox that you didn’t send.

On mobile phones infected with malware, you may also notice an inexplicable increase in data usage; apps appearing on your device that you didn’t download; battery life draining quickly, and unexplained charges on your monthly bill.

To remove an infection, you should run a full system scan using your antivirus and anti-malware software together (different programs will offer different malware scan types). Once the threats have been identified and quarantined, delete them entirely. Restart your computer and run the scan again. If it comes back clear, your system has been cleaned of threats.

What are the Consequences of Malware?

Malware can mess with your computer’s ability to function, causing pop-up ads, error messages and sudden system crashes. Depending on the type of malware, it can also collect your personal data in order to steal your identity or hack into your bank accounts to steal your money.

Some of the most sinister malware out there is ransomware, which can lock down your computer or encrypt all your files. Once this happens you have a short time to pay the hackers their ransom money before you get back all your valuable data and personal information. This is particularly concerning for people or companies working with highly sensitive or classified documents on their machines.

With that said, let’s look at our top picks for defending against such malicious attacks:

What’s the Best Malware Protection?

The best way to protect yourself against malware is to install a powerful antivirus. Here are our top picks:

1. TotalAV


TotalAV is a free antivirus that offers top-notch security for your devices. Not only that, but it also boosts performance, making your device faster and smoother to use.

What Can you Expect?

  • A user-friendly interface
  • Fast scanning
  • Low impact on performance
  • Decent phishing protection
  • Performance boost tools

TotalAV has some great tune-up tools that speed up your device as well as security features that go above and beyond malware protection. For more advanced features, you’ll have to pay to upgrade.

2. Norton Security

Norton Security


Norton Security is a name with a reputation for delivering. It offers both robust defense and great value  for effective protecting against dangerous Trojans, adware, spyware, and ransomware. Norton also includes some great security features, such as a firewall and handy system cleanup tools that keep your device running safely and smoothly.

These features all come with a 30-day free trial so you can try before you buy. Furthermore, the company even offers a limited free version as well, for those not ready to commit.

What Can you Expect?

  • Real-time protection
  • Advanced ransomware protection
  • Phishing protection
  • A firewall
  • System performance tools
  • A 30-day money back guarantee

Norton has a proven reputation as an effective and robust defender against viruses and malware infection.

3. Avira Internet Security SuiteAvira Internet Security Suite

Avira Internet Security Suite is an immensely popular free anti-malware tool that does an excellent job at detecting and removing sinister kinds of malware, including ransomware and Trojans.

While it may not be the obvious choice for tech-savvy individuals who require comprehensive features or phishing security on browsers other than Firefox and Chrome, it’s a great choice for beginners or those who don’t have the time or expertise to customize their antivirus settings themselves.

What Can you Expect?

  • Good malware detection rates
  • AntiVir Removal Tool that removes already infected files and makes sure that any malware-related files are securely deleted
  • Low impact on your device performance (so great for laptops!)
  • Outstanding identity theft protection
  • URL blocking on Chrome and Firefox for malware-infected websites, malicious pop ups and annoying ads in real time and repairs damaged files

If you’re looking for an affordable anti-malware solution, then this will work very well for you, but if you require something a little more comprehensive then perhaps Avira’s add-ons or an alternative anti-malware product would be best.

4. Comodo CyberSecurityComodo CyberSecurity

With its battle-tested enterprise-level technology, Comodo Cybersecurity has an impressive set of security features, including an antivirus, a firewall, sandboxing, a safe browser, and secure shopping portals.

What makes it truly stand out is its Default Deny approach – a defense technique unique to Comodo – that separates all incoming files and applications into three categories (known good, known bad, and unknown) and only allows unknown apps to run after they’ve been analyzed and confirmed harmless.

Another notable feature is the integration with Malware Analysis that runs another check for malicious activity before any programs are allowed to run on your device.

What Can you Expect?

  • Strong malware protection to remove Trojans, rootkits, spyware, keyloggers and adware
  • A powerful antivirus scanner
  • Zero-day threat detection thanks to Default Deny Approach
  • Integration with cloud Malware Analysis for real-time analysis of unknown processes
  • Instantly identifies and stops untrusted processes
  • Automatic updates

As Comodo Cybersecurity comes with first-in-class emergency malware removal capabilities, we highly recommend it as an extensive yet affordable security product.

5. Avast Internet Security

Avast Internet Security

Consistently rated “excellent” by industry experts and used by 400 million users worldwide, Avast Internet Security is an award-winning and extremely lightweight anti-malware suite that really lives up to its reputation.

The Web Shield protects from malicious URLs and file downloads, scanning all files and email attachments for malicious threats before they are opened.

It detects any and all malicious software, such as viruses, adware and spyware, and it has extremely effective ransomware protection – all whilst having a minimal impact on your computer’s performance.

What Can you Expect?

  • Powerful malware removal
  • Ransomware protection
  • Enhanced password security
  • Home network protection
  • Browser cleaning
  • Very low impact on performance

While Avast’s free version may be a good short term solution if you’re looking to clear up your computer fast, the paid version with its SafeZone technology is a better solution for the long run.

Other FAQs

I have an antivirus software, why do I need an anti-malware program too?

An antivirus and antimalware programs are better at different things. For example, an antivirus is better at detecting online threats (worms, virus, trojan, keyloggers), while antimalware can detect and remove new and more sophisticated types of malware.

For the best chance of protection and the option to remove any threats you might find, you’ll need to use both antivirus and antimalware programs.

Is it possible to run an antivirus and an anti-malware program at the same time?

Yes, you can. Antimalware programs are complementary to antivirus software and they are compatible with them. Depending on your provider, you should be able to run them at the same time without any issues.

Does antimalware replace antivirus?

No, antimalware does not replace your antivirus, it is meant to work alongside it towards the same goal – keeping your device safe.

Am I 100 percent protected using both antivirus and antimalware software program?

Because online threats are constantly shifting and changing and becoming more sophisticated, there are no guarantees and 100 percent detection cannot be promised. But by using both antivirus and antimalware programs, you have your very best chance of staying safe.

Don’t Make the Mistake of Only Relying on Antivirus to Fully Protect your Computer

While having a decent anti-virus installed on your computer is the absolute bare minimum you can do to protect yourself from an attack, these products alone are not robust enough to catch all of the most malicious malware threats.

For 100% protection and removal you’ll also need to install one of the best malware software removal programs recommended here.

About the Author

Aviva Zacks
Aviva Zacks

Aviva Zacks is a content manager, writer, editor, and really good baker. When she's not working, she enjoys reading on her porch swing with a cup of decaf.

Transparency and Trust – We pride ourselves on being the only site where users can freely contribute and share their reviews on any antivirus with other community members. When you visit an antivirus site we link to, we sometimes get affiliate commissions that support our work. Read more about how we operate.