Updated on July 23, 2024
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#1 2024 Editor’s Pick
Unparalleled virus protection at an unbeatable price. Secure, reliable, and feature-rich. Excellent for both beginners and tech-savvy users.
  • Quick & easy installation
  • Protects Windows, Mac and Android
  • Password manager included
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Protection from web attacks
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  • Complete protection from spyware & malware
  • Parental control included
  • 24/7 customer support
  • LifeLock™ security with select plans
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#3 Best Value for Money
  • Protects Windows, Mac, Android & iOS devices
  • Lightweight and user friendly
  • Blocks malware & phishing websites
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  • Excellent antivirus protection
  • Web protection
  • VPN (with unlimited data)
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  • Quick & easy installation
  • Scans external drives and USB
  • Real-time malware protection
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  • Antivirus protection for all devices
  • Secures online shopping & banking
  • Excellent parental controls
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  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Protects Windows, Mac and Android
  • Secures your web-browsing
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The Top 3 Antivirus Solutions

Why Do You Need an Antivirus?

Antivirus software is the best, easiest, and most reliable way to keep your device safe from all types of cybersecurity threats. Using traditional malware databases and advanced machine-learning tools, antiviruses are able to quickly detect and safely remove these threats from all of your devices. And thanks to their real-time malware protections, they can prevent malware from infecting your system in the first place.

But modern antiviruses are much more than just malware scanners. They come with a wide range of additional tools to protect your entire online experience. Top brands include security features like web protections to secure your browsing, firewalls to monitor incoming and outgoing traffic, virtual private networks (VPNs) to keep your online sessions private, parental controls to help you keep your kids safe online, and password managers to ensure your passwords are unbreakable.

In short, installing a good antivirus from a reputable, trustworthy company is essential for protecting your data and devices from known and emerging malware that is designed to make your devices unusable, gain access to your sensitive data, or both.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can an antivirus protect me against spyware, ransomware, and other malware?

Yes, but only some antiviruses offer protection against every type of malware. Built-in anti-malware tools from operating systems like Windows and Apple are usually pretty good against traditional viruses, but they can’t offer protection against newer threats like ransomware, rootkits, cryptojackers, and spyware.

The reason for this is that every piece of malware behaves differently — ransomware encrypts system files, cryptojackers run crypto-mining software on unused parts of your disk, and spyware passively shares your device usage with hackers.

However, companies like TotalAV and Norton include specialized tools in their anti-malware engines to detect every type of malware — they monitor your network traffic, disk usage, and system files to give up-to-the-minute protection against a full range of malware threats.

Is there really a difference between antivirus providers?

Absolutely. The cybersecurity market is crowded with hundreds of different apps and programs, but only a few of them provide comprehensive internet security protections.

Weaker antiviruses cross-reference user files against a built-in database of known malware. While these malware databases are occasionally updated, there are still thousands of new malware threats released every day, which is why you need an antivirus that uses advanced detection methods like machine learning, heuristic analysis, sandboxing, as well as a cloud-based malware database.

There are a number of antiviruses with good anti-malware protection, but premium antivirus suites like McAfee and Norton take internet security one step further. The very best antivirus providers include additional features like anti-phishing protection, virtual private networks (VPNs), password managers, parental controls, and even anti-theft features to provide protection beyond simple anti-malware scanning.

Can I use free antivirus software?

If you’re on Windows or macOS, you’re already using a free antivirus. Both Windows and Mac devices already come with basic antivirus protection, but these protections are not that good.

All free antiviruses limit essential features so that you’ll be forced to upgrade. That said, there are a couple of free antiviruses that include decent protections, but in general, it’s always better to opt for a low-cost premium antivirus like Norton or TotalAV than deal with the frustrating limitations of a free antivirus.

Do I need an antivirus for Windows 10?

Yes! Windows is by far the most popular operating system, which means that it’s also the biggest target for hackers. The same accessibility that makes Windows successful also makes it an easy target for malware developers.

Recently, Microsoft has made some big changes to Windows 10’s built-in protections. It now provides browser sandboxing for Microsoft Edge, an improved cloud-based malware scanner, decent parental controls, and some anti-phishing protections. Unfortunately, none of these built-in protections are as good as the security offerings from third-party antivirus developers.

If you want to protect your Windows PC from malware and keep your sensitive data and accounts safe from hackers, you should invest in premium antivirus software. Norton 360 is the best antivirus for PCs in 2024. It’s better than Microsoft’s Windows Defender in every way, offering a superior anti-malware engine and several additional protections that Windows’s built-in antivirus doesn’t have.

Do I need an antivirus for Mac?

Yes! Macs have a reputation for being unhackable, but that’s just not true. According to Apple, macOS users have been reporting more and more malware infections every year.

macOS comes with an excellent antivirus scanner that can protect you from things like viruses, worms, and trojans. However, Apple hasn’t improved its malware protection to block spyware, adware, and ransomware.

Do I need an antivirus for mobile?

Yes, you also need antivirus protection for your mobile phone! It should come as no surprise, but mobile devices are hacked just as often as computers.

Android-specific malware has been on the rise in recent years, with huge ransomware and spyware infections affecting millions of users. If you’re on Android, you need to get a malware scanner that can also protect your information online with features like a VPN, a Wi-Fi network scanner, and a password manager. Norton is my favorite Android antivirus — especially because it scans apps for malware before you download them from the Google Play Store.

For iOS users, there aren’t as many risks — iOS is built with secure sandboxing, so there’s no way for a malicious file or app to make changes to your device. However, iOS users still need to worry about unsafe Wi-Fi networks and phishing sites which can steal data, in addition to the very real problem of iPhone theft. McAfee is the best iOS security app I’ve used — in addition to phishing protection, a Wi-Fi scanner, and secure vaults for photos and videos, it also has excellent anti-theft features which include a remote burglar alarm, automatic selfie capture, and remote data wipe.

Why You Should Trust Us

When choosing which antivirus to install, it’s important to know whom you can trust. The problem is that there are so many antivirus review sites online — and most of them are run by shady marketers trying to earn a quick buck by recommending products that offer the best affiliate programs. And as you can imagine, these products often aren’t the best ones for users.

Instead of going the quicker route — which we believe is both morally and ethically wrong — we decided to do things differently. We extensively researched, tested, and compared all of the most popular antiviruses on the market to determine which ones are really good. And we regularly re-test all of our top antiviruses and update our lists and reviews to make sure that everything you read on our site is 100% true.

We have years of experience in testing and reviewing security software, and our mission is to provide trusted and transparent reviews that can genuinely help our readers find the right antivirus for their needs and budget. We would never endorse a bad product, and you can rest assured that we only recommend antiviruses that we are perfectly happy with using ourselves.Before testing, we research which antiviruses have the best reputation, potential, and advanced features. We then use the software ourselves to test its claims, including malware detection capabilities, measuring its impact on system performance, and analyzing the rate of false positives to avoid unnecessary alerts. We also conduct usability tests to ensure the software is easy to use.

Each antivirus review involves at least 50 hours of in-depth testing, and we regularly update our recommended products. We consistently re-evaluate our top picks and spend many more hours updating our rankings each month to ensure that we only recommend the best antiviruses available.

After testing, our reviews are passed to our editorial team. These experts dissect every detail, ensuring the accuracy and relevance of our data and verifying that our conclusions reflect real-world use. We put each review through a rigorous triple-check, prioritizing precision and fairness in every word we publish.

For full transparency, we do have affiliate links on our website. This means that we may make a small commission if you click on a link and purchase a product — but this doesn’t impact your cost in any way — and this allows us to keep the site running. However, these links don’t decide how positively or negatively we rate a product. We may also review and rank providers with whom we share ownership (Intego). That said, we’ll only ever recommend products that we believe in and use ourselves.

The listings featured on this site are from companies from which this site receives compensation and some are co-owned by our parent company. This influence: Rank and manner in which listings are presented. 
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