The Best Antivirus Software for 2018 [Reviews & Buyers Guide]

If you are like me, you are attached to a laptop, smartphone, or tablet the majority of the day. But how safe are you? Devices can be compromised everytime you connect to the web, so knowing that the WiFi at Starbucks is safe matters more than you may think. And if it’s not safe is the antivirus software on your device strong enough to prevent a malware or ransomware attack?

For most of us, it takes a catastrophe before we realize should have taken preemptive steps to prevent a disaster. No one wants to hear from the sixteen-year-old at the Geek Squad desk that everything on their laptop has to be deleted. Trust me, I actually had antivirus protection and still ended up losing everything. I never thought about backing up my files, I just assumed the softwre I had took care of everything .

Trust me, I actually had antivirus protection and still ended up losing everything. I never thought about backing up my files, I just assumed the softwre I had took care of everything. I lived a lawless online life just storing data without a care. But four hundred dollars later, and missing the majority of the articles that made up my portfolio, I realized how important finding the right antivirus program is.

Keeping your devices safe from malware attacks that can result in your data being shared or worse used for more malicious activities, is something that we should all be concerned about. But before you turn your laptop into Fort Knox, there are some things you should know about antivirus software.

Antivirus Protection is Not Optional

You need antivirus software, the world is full of very smart extremely awful people who spend their days trying to ruin yours. Antivirus is a software program that is designed to keep viruses and other malware from entering your device. It’s like your laptop has its own secret service detail that protects you and all of the things you store on your laptop safe.

Malware is software that is designed to do one thing, destroy. It seeks to damage or disable your devices in order to gain access to your private data. And once it gets in, it can wipe out everything on your device in a matter of seconds. Before you know it is there the damage has been done.

An efficient and silent killer, malware is impossible to stop once it has started. The goal of antivirus software is to stop an attack it before it starts. Prevention is the hallmark of a good antivirus software.

When you are looking for an antivirus option you need to first consider how you use your devices. Gamers may need different options than bloggers. Knowing what you need, and want, will help you make an informed decision. Nothing sucks more than finding out that your device and personal information has been compromised.

To help you get started on finding the best antivirus software for your devices, we have ranked our top ten providers and provided some tips to help you pick the one you need.

How to keep your devices safe

Choosing an antivirus software program is just one step in keeping your smartphone, tablet, laptop and other devices from malware, hacking and other bad actors.

Knowing how to keep all of your devices secure will give you peace of mind, and the ability to browse with ease.

Keeping your laptop and PC secure

Even people who are highly dedicated to keeping all of their devices safe can fall prey to malicious attacks. But if you put together a solid security plan you can reduce the odds that all of your bad selfies that you forgot to delete won’t end up online.

  • While adding an antivirus option is paramount, you should also add a malware scanner. Antivirus programs aren’t perfect, and having a second set of virtual eyes on your system isn’t a bad idea.
  • Build a firewall, a firewall is like a bouncer at a bar, it gets to choose who can come in and who cannot.
  • Keep your browser secure. Make sure that your browser is helping you and not showing your data to everyone that passes by. Review the settings and set them to turn away sites it determines are suspicious.
  • Encrypt things you want to keep private. You can create your own encrypted storage to keep all of your secrets secret.
  • Don’t make your password simple, and don’t use the same one for everything. Yes its a pain to manage all of your passwords, but its less of a pain than taking your laptop to a repair shop.
  • If you get a message from someone you don’t know asking you to click on a link, don’t. Don’t click on anything that is even remotely suspicious.

Keeping your smartphone and tablet secure

My smartphone is with me in the morning, when I go to the gym when I am working and when I go to sleep at night. We have a very close relationship. It knows more about me than anyone else. So in order to keep all the things it knows safe, I keep it protected. And you should too, here are a few ways you can keep your private business private.

  • Set a PIN that is not your birthday. PIN numbers and passwords should be complicated and not something your bestie can guess.
  • Do not give anyone your PIN, not your mama, your boy or girlfriend or your best friend. No one.
  • Only install trusted apps. While Apple has full control of its app store, Andriod devices allow you to visit other stores, which can open you up to compromise.
  • Stop tracking ads. It’s not a sign from God that an ad for the very purse you were just looking at popped up. It’s a sign that you are being tracked by adware. While you aren’t looking your cell company can be selling you out. If you haven’t opted out of your providers tracking program, you should contact them now.
    • If you have an iPhone you can stop tracking by going to Settings>Privacy then scroll down to Advertising. Locate the Limit ad Tracking label and slide it to green. This should vastly reduce the number of ads you are getting.
  • Don’t use unsecured WiFi hotspots. If you are working at Starbucks or some other location, make sure you check to see if you are logging into a secure network. Usually just asking an employee what the name of their secure network is will do the trick.

Understanding Industry Testing Standards

Antivirus software is certified by several institutes and labs; they test a variety of performance metrics and provide scores or ratings for each metric and then provide an overall ranking for each product. If you are just looking for a decent antivirus system, you may not know what these tests are or what the results mean.

So to help you understand the common testing terms and what the test seek to accomplish, we put together a few of the most popular tests, what they test for and what the results mean to you.


Labeled as The Independent IT-Security Institute that provides methods for testing that covers protection, performance, and usability to determine the best antivirus software.  Their testing provides details on the level of protection, performance, and usability that each antivirus software package provides to their users.

They test four categories of users that include an Android mobile device (Apple provides its own security for iPhones and tablets), Windows home users, MAC OS home users and Windows for business clients.

They test several metrics for each category these include:


  • protection against 0-day malware attacks, including web and e-mail threats using real world testing methods
  • detection of widespread and prevalent malware discovered in the last four weeks using the AV-TEST reference set


  • slowing-down when launching popular websites
  • slower download of frequently used applications
  • slower launch of standard software applications
  • slower installation of frequently used applications
  • slower copying of files (locally and on a network)


  • false warnings or blockages when visiting websites
  • false detections of legitimate software as malware during a system scan
  • false warnings concerning certain actions carried out while installing and using legitimate software
  • false blockages of certain actions carried out while installing and using legitimate software

 What these results mean to you

The AV-TEST compares several months of performance to get accurate results in the above-listed categories by comparing the software’s results with the “industry average.” Then they use those comparisons to rank the provider by category.

For example, if the industry standard for “slowing down when launching popular websites” is 17% but when the antivirus software tested on a standard PC returns a result of 37%, you can reasonably conclude that the software takes longer than usual to launch popular websites. Once each metric is calculated against the industry average a performance ranking is assigned to each category.


By conducting independent testing on the majority of consumer based Antivirus programs AV-Comparatives provide valuable feedback to help buyers make informed decisions. They test everything from how the antivirus software works in real world scenarios to how the parental control options perform.

Testing Process

With so many products on the market, it can be difficult to find the person hours to review them all thoroughly, that is why AV-Comparatives employs an automation program to assist in testing the various programs.

They run every potential test-case on a clean machine that doesn’t have an antivirus software installed. Every security software program is installed and tested on its own computer that is connected to the internet. The system is updated manually every day, and all products are updates before performing a test case.

AV-Comparatives real world testing is designed to determine the protection rate by evaluating how many attacks are blocked and how many times the software is compromised.  By providing the percentage of the times, the system blocked malicious attacks; the buyer can make an informed decision.

Also, they also test for file detection, heuristic, which means serving as an aid to learn, discover or solve a problem using experimental methods, and behavior testing, malware and anti-phishing and anti-spam test. These are just some of the test provided by AV-Comparative.

Testing is a critical component not just for testing companies buy also for software companies. By submitting their antivirus software for testing they can identify and resolve gaps in how their programs work.

Antivirus Comparisons

Bitdefender – Our #1 Choice for Best Antivirus Software

If you are looking for a comprehensive antivirus solution Bitdefender is, in our opinion, as good as it gets. It not only provides a superior level of antivirus protection it ties that to some of the best Internet security around.

Bitdefender also brings one serious multi-device protection to the table. Their Antivirus Plus provides basic protection for up to 10 PCs. It also includes a Wi-Fi scanner that can help stop ransomware attacks.

What you get for your money

Bitdefender excels when it comes to performance and functionality. It can also boast that it has more features and tools than its closest competitors. Antivirus Plus provides users with a secure browser to allow you to shop or access your online bank without fear. It also includes a virtual file shredder along with a vulnerability scanner.

Where other antivirus options may charge for additional features like shredders and secure browsers, Bitdefender makes them available at no additional charge. You can also add additional security with Bitdefender Internet Security and Bitdefender Total Security Multi-Device.

We have put together a comparison of each package to assist you with choosing which Bitdefender product you want to choose.

Package AntiVirus Plus Internet Security Total Security Multi-Device
Price $40-$80 $60-$90 $90-$100
Secure Browser
Password Manager
File Shredder
Wi-Fi Scanner
Ransomware Protection
TwoWay Firewall
File Encryption

Bitdefender Antivirus

This is the first level of security in the Bitdefender family. It provides antivirus and malware protection. It also adds features like secure browsing, file shredder, password manager and vulnerability scanner. Bitdefender does an admiral job at protecting your devices, but no software can prevent every intrusion.

But Bitdefender knows that and it automatically goes into rescue mode should something happen that they could not prevent. It will reboot your laptop or PC and place it in a rescue mode that shows you the problem and how to remove it.

Bitdefender Internet Security

If you want to add an additional layer of protection, this is the way to go. The Internet Security package includes a two-way firewall, spam blocking (one of my personal favorites), file encryption and parental control options.

Internet Security also excels at defending you from ransomware by preventing unauthorized programs from making any changes to folders that you have labeled protected. And if you forget to label a folder it will allow you to whitelist it. Whitelisting provides extra protection by creating a list of trusted programs and only allowing those trusted programs to operate.

Bitdefender Total Security Multi-Device

If you are in a home that is loaded with devices, this is the option for you. It adds a system optimizer and a way to find devices that have gone missing.  You can also protect the credit cards that you use online by creating an encrypted wallet. You can share your wallet among other Bitdefender connected devices.

The Bitdefender central activity dashboard is a simple web portal that allows you to access it from anywhere. You can review your devices, receive alerts regarding lost devices and enable parental controls on devices used by your kids. You can also use the dashboard to see what your kids are looking at online.

Test Results

Here is a look at Bitdefender’s current test results: AV-Comparative Results July-December 2016

  • Blocked: 99.9%
  • Compromised: 0
  • Protection Rate 99.9%

AV-Test Results

  • Protection score: 6.0 out of 6.0
  • Performance score: 6.0 out of 6.0
  • Usability score: 6.0 out of 6.0


There is one reason that you will see Bitdefender as the number one pick on reviews sites in 2017. No, it’s not that they pay us to make them number one. It is because they have earned it. They provide what is arguably the best and most effective antivirus software at the moment.  When you do what you do better than other providers you should be at the top of every review.

Is Bitdefender the perfect solution? No, no solution is perfect. The truth is the better we get and thwarting online attacks, the better the attackers get at creating them. But Bitdefender is one of the best when it comes to keeping your devices and privacy from the hands of malicious players who want to exploit it.

That doesn’t mean that other providers don’t provide excellent antivirus solutions, they do. And at the end of the day, you need to choose what solution provides you with everything you need. We are just here to hopefully make it easier for you.

  • Excellent malware protection, good phishing protection
  • Easy to use parental control options
  • Test well in independent testing companies
  • Effective spam control

  • You have to pay for high-level tech support
  • Password manager could be better
  • Installing it takes a while

Kaspersky-Our #2 Choice for Best Antivirus Software

Kaspersky Internet Security is a complete solution. It integrates a wide range of components into one hefty offering. This is what makes Kaspersky great, you get everything in one robust package, you don’t have to purchase or add additional software, everything you need is already added. You can just purchase the Kaspersky Anti-Virus but for the price, the Internet Security solution is the better value.

What you get for your money

So what do you get with Kaspersky? Quite a bit. The first thing, of course, is solid antivirus protection. After that, you will have options that include a firewall, spam filter, parental control, phishing protection and some additional tools that make it easy to use all of the features.

Not only are you getting a lot for $79.99 a year (three-license package), you are getting features that considered some of the best in the industry. If you need more than three licenses you can pay an additional fee of $10 to bring the number of licenses up to five. If you really need a lot of licenses, you can pay $139.99 per year which includes all of the features plus ten licenses.

Licenses can be used on Windows, Mac or Andriod, but you get the most out of the Windows version. Kaspersky’s Windows scanning abilities are impressive. Scans catch nearly all of the malware with minimal false positives.

Kaspersky’s core protections have a lot to offer when it comes to protecting your data. These are the basic features that are included in all packages:

  • Real-Time Protection: identifies and defends new spyware, viruses and more the minute they are detected
  • Proactive Malware Detection: targets unknown malware and lets you roll back any harmful activity should your device become infected
  • Hybrid Protection: provides protection using the power of the cloud
  • Instant Safety Checks: reviews websites and files as you access them in real-time
  • Automatic Exploit Prevention: protects your PC from vulnerabilities that could compromise your security
  • Gamer Mode: allows users to have an uninterrupted gaming experience
  • Software Update: keeps tracks of software updates that keep your PC running securely
  • Installation Assistant: helps users while they install programs to ensure only secure program are installed
  • Software Cleaner: helps users easily remove programs that they consider inappropriate or don’t want on your PC

In addition to the basic feature that included in all three security options, there are also advanced features that are software specific. This chart will show you the advanced features are available.

Advanced Protection Anti-Virus Internet Security Total Security
Annual Cost $59.99 $39.99 $49.99
Two-Way Firewall
Security Notifications on Public Wi-Fi
Application Control
Safe Surf
URL Advisor
Trusted Applications Mode
System Watcher
Network Attack Blocker
Advanced Parental Control
Kaspersky Safe Kids

Kaspersky also provides additional protection for Android tablets, smartphones and MAC devices. These are some of the features that will keep your smart devices secure:

Android Tablet Protection

  • Automatic Scanning of Apps: scans apps that are downloaded from the marketplace
  • Real-Time Protection: protects devices from dangerous links and websites
  • Remote Management: lets you communicate with a lost/stolen tablet
  • Anti-Theft Protection: lets you locate your lost/stolen tablet and wipe it clean
  • Kaspersky Safe Kids: adds protections that keep your kids safe from inappropriate content on Android tablets


  • Real-Time Protection: keeps your smartphone safe from viruses, spam, spyware and more
  • Web Protections: blocks dangerous and malicious sites
  • Privacy Protection: allows you to control what others can see and access on your smartphone
  • Anti-Theft Protection: lets you locate your lost/stolen smartphone and wipe it clean
  • Kaspersky Safe Kids: adds protections that keep your kids safe from inappropriate content on Android smartphones


  • Real-Time Protection: protects your MAC & PC from malware
  • Safe Money: keeps data secure during financial transactions
  • Anti-Phishing: protects your digital identity
  • Parental Controls: Kaspersky’s award-winning parental controls allows you to monitor, limit and block your kid’s online activities
  • Kaspersky Safe Kids: adds protections that keep your kids safe from inappropriate content when on a MAC or PC

Test Results

Here is a look at Kaspersky’s current test results:

AV-Comparative Results July-December 2016

  • Blocked: 99.8%
  • Compromised: 1
  • Protection Rate 99.8%

AV-Test Results

  • Protection score: 6.0 out of 6.0
  • Performance score: 6.0 out of 6.0
  • Usability score: 6.0 out of 6.0


Kaspersky thinks about every device you own and they provide services to keep them all safe. Their antivirus software provides the highest level of security to your PC, tablet, smartphone and MAC. Which means that you can always depend on them to protect you from the threats that everyone faces when we are online.

When it comes to being feature rich, Kaspersky excels. From their robust security and protection options designed to keep your devices secure to the privacy and digital asset protections tools that are found in their Total Security package, they pack in more features than any other provider.

That is why they are a strong number two. Even their basic antivirus option has more features than you would expect for the price. Kaspersky takes your security and privacy seriously and that is evident in all of their software programs.

If you are wondering why no iPhone option, the answer is easy. Apple built security options into the device. You don’t need antivirus or additional security to keep your iPhone safe. So if you see someone telling you that you need their antivirus for your iPhone, you don’t. Currently, their smartphone security is only available for Andriod users, which leaves out both Windows and Google devices.  While they cover MACs with a few features, the iPhone seems to be absent from their protected devices. With so many iPhone customers adding more features for Apple devices is a good idea.

Currently, their smartphone security is only available for Andriod users, which leaves out both Windows and Google devices.  While they cover MACs with a few features, you may notice that the iPhone is absent. Apple has excelled at iPhone security, so while the Android devices rely on external security solutions, iPhone can take care of itself.

  • Excellent when it comes to antiphishing
  • Offers a lot of helpful features
  • Scores high in independent testing
  • Malware and ransomware protection could be better
  • Installing it can be a slow process



Panda Our #3 Choice for Best Antivirus Software

Panda is known for the free antivirus you can download from their site. Only for PCs, this free antivirus option includes real-time updates and does a pretty decent job. But that is not the only protection that Panda provides. For home users, like most of us are, they offer four different packages, Panda Basic, Advanced, and Complete Protection options allow you to chose the level of protection you need. They also have Panda Gold Protection, which is their top tier security solution.

Panda Security started as an antivirus software provider, they are now focused on expanding the brand to add more robust protections and enhanced cyber-security options for home users and businesses.  These new goals are evident in each of the security packages they have put together.

What you get for your money

Package Features Basic Protection Advanced Protection Complete Protection Panda Gold Protection
Price $27.99 $34.99 $40.99 $64.49
Wi-Fi Protection
Parental Controls
Data Shield
Password Manager
File Encryption
File Shredder
iPhone Location Service
Antivirus for MAC
Android Antivirus
Android Anti-Theft
Android Device Optimization
Multi-Device Support Basic Tech Support
Premium Support
Premium Live Chat
Panda Cloud
Contact Backup

If you just want Antivirus Panda’s is the best free protection around. But if you are concerned about malware and ransomware, you can find them in the Advanced Protection, Complete Protection, and Gold Protection packages.

Mobile security for Andriod devices provides antivirus protection while improving the performance and battery life of our device. There is an additional cost of $5.59 per year for the mobile option. Additionally, you can also get antivirus for your MAC, it will scan files and email and detect and neutralize malware for $69.00 per year.

Panda’s prices are reasonable if you only have one device. But if you want to protect a laptop, tablet and a couple of smartphones it can start to get a little pricey. Unlike other providers that include a set number of devices in the package, Panda assesses an addition charge per device.

Protection from malware is the same for all of Panda’s Windows antivirus products. You can initiate manual scans of the system and critical scans of files and folders. In testing Panda’s free antivirus program performed well, outside of two false positives. False positives results are something that has been plaguing Panda from the beginning. While they have improved slightly in this area, they still produce more false positive results than their closest competitors

Security and Privacy

Panda does an adequate job of covering basic protections. Their malware and anti-phishing defense software does what it is intended to do but their spam management could be a little more robust. Spam, which is how a lot of hacking attempts take place and succeed, is often just treated as an intrusion and not the risky proposition it is.

The Pro antivirus solution from Panda offers a virtual keyboard, this can stop malware by eliminating the ability to engage in keylogging. Keylogging is a common tactic for hackers to try and gain your passwords.

Test Results

Here is a look at Panda’s current test results:

AV-Test Results

  • Protection score: 5.5 out of 6.0
  • Performance score: 2.5 out of 6.0
  • Usability score: 5.5 out of 6.0

There were no test results for Panda from AV-Comparatives


Panda is good in some places and underwhelming in others. It has a friendly web interface that is both easy to use and easy to customize, and ransomware protection is added to all plans. You do get a fair amount of features with the lowest tier products which allow you to do more than some of the basic packages on the market.

On the underwhelming side, you will find that running scans require a great deal of patience. I advise working on other things or taking a walk while your can is running. There is also the malware issue; it feels insufficient when compared to other competitors malware detection offerings.

But the thing that irritates me the most about Panda is the changing of your preferred browser and home page to one they think you want. It is presumptuous to assume that users want their browser and home paged changed without their permission. For what you pay, they could at least ask you before changing your browser.

  • Excellent malware protection, good phishing protection
  • Free Antivirus that is more than capable
  • Test well in independent testing companies
  • Solid behavioral analysis

  • Only Gold level gets premium and chat support
  • Snail paced scans
  • Installing it takes a while


Norton is a name that most of us associate with comprehensive antivirus software options. They are known for their consistency when it comes to keeping us safe online. And with a huge catalog of options, there is a reason they rank as our 3rd most valuable player.

One thing that Symantec, the parent company that houses the Norton brand, knows is how to research and how to prepare for the next attack. While their current products address protecting you from malware, ransomware, and hacking, they are already putting together plans to be ready for what the future may bring.

What you get for your money

Package Features Basic Standard Deluxe Premium
Current Offer Price $14.99 $39.99 $39.99 $49.99
Virus, Malware and Sypware threat protection
Safeguard for online identity and transactions
Fast Threat Detection
Smart Firewall
Expert Support
100% Guarantee
Multi-Device Support
Access to Easy to Use Web Portal
Parental Controls
Auto Backup
25GB of Cloud Storage


Norton has brought together 10 PhDs and several research engineers from top schools to make sure they are always prepared for what comes next. They rely on layered approach when it comes to how they put together their security software together. On the network level, Norton is designed to fend off and block contact with nefarious websites. Should a corrupt file make it through the antivirus scan should catch it and remove it.

Also, they have added some new layers to add new protections. One being Proactive Exploit Protection, which actively prevents Exploit techniques like heap spray and Return Oriented Programming (ROP).

Another layer is Emulation and sandboxing of potential attacks. Cybercrime is always changing, and with attempts to trick your cyber security system by “packing-up” malware to hide it between legitimate files, new solutions are needed to address not only the known problems but to identify the unknown threats as well.

Sandboxing allows Norton to run and analyze unknown or threatening files in a secure, protected virtual environment that isolates the threat. Once isolated they can see how the suspicious files act and stop unsafe files from damaging a user’s device.

Other layers that are designed to enhance the protection Norton provides include:

  • Two-Way Firewall: Blocks incoming traffic and prevents strangers, or hackers, from accessing your home network.
  • Norton AntiSpan: Protects your email by blocking unwanted, dangerous, or fraudulent emails that are designed to compromise your identity.
  • Social Network Protection: Provides a multi-level solution that blocks scams and threats on your social networks
  • Browser Compatibility: Allows you to choose a browser of your choice while still enjoying full protection.
  • Management in the Cloud: Portal that allows users to manage security subscription as well as the software on all of your devices.

 Using the Dashboard

Using the Norton dashboard has never been easier. You can now check the status of your virus protection and get up to date info on current threats.

Test Results

Here is a look at Norton’s current test results:

AV-Test Results

  • Protection score: 6.0 out of 6.0
  • Performance score: 5.5 out of 6.0
  • Usability score: 5.5 out of 6.0

There were no test results for Norton from AV-Comparatives


Norton knows what it is doing when it comes to internet security. They provide four plans from basic to premium to allow you to choose the level of protection you need. Malware, spyware and virus protection is included at every level, which allows you to feel confident that your device will be safe, even at the basic level.

They also demonstrate a dedication to not only thwarting the threats we have today but also preparing for the ones that may come tomorrow.

On the downside, their packages could be more user-friendly. By only allowing users to add additional devices to the Deluxe and Premium packages it forces them to pay more than they may be comfortable with just to add more than one device.

  • Norton aced the AV-Test a
  • It has some of the best antiphishing protection around
  • They provide a full suite of bonus features
  • Their Android support is legit, Award-winning legit

  • iOS features are lackluster
  • Snail paced scans
  • Basic packages offer few support avenues

Trend Micro

Trend Micro provides a full roster of Windows-based antivirus programs. From the free online HouseCall scanner to Premium Security packages, they have all of the traditional bases covered. Housecall is a decent online scanner, but it’s not a part of a package if you want to use it you need to reload it every time you want to scan.

What you get for your money

Trend Micro offers three different packages, each package includes their antivirus protection and a Firewall Booster.  While some providers add a firewall to their plan, Trend Micro relies on the built-in Windows firewall. They are not alone in deciding to abandon their own firewall to use the Windows option. Windows has improved their firewall, which allows providers like Trend Micro to add an enhancement to the firewall without adding it as full feature.

Package Features Antivirus+Internet Security Internet Security Maximum Security
Price $39.95 $39.95* $39.95*
Number of Devices Protected 1 PC 3 PCs 5 PCs, MACs, Smartphones or Tablets
Antivirus & Malware Protections
Ransomeware Protections
Email Scam Protection
Privacy Protection for Social Media
System Optimization
Parental Controls
Keep Internet Passwords Protected
iOS and Andriod Security
PC and MAC Security

*prices reflect current offers and  are subject to change

Antivirus with Internet Security

This plan provides complete antivirus protection along wth the Internet Security package. In this package, you have access to Folder Shield features including protection from ransomware attacks and the Firewall Booster. This package protects one PC.

Internet Security

Antivirus is included in this option, as are the features found in Folder Shield. It also adds features that fix and optimize your system and that keep your kids safe online. This package offers protection for up to 3 PCs.

Maximum Security

In addition to the features in the Antivirus and Internet security packages, Maximum Security also adds mobile security for Android and iOS, as secures both PCs and MACs. This package also offers protection for up to 5 PCs, MACs, Android or iOS devices.


Before you install your Trend Micro software for Windows there are a few things you should have in place:

Using the Interface

Trend Micro has a user-friendly interface that makes managing the system easy. The also provide video tutorials to make it easy for their customers to get started. This is a basic look at how Trend Micro works. With the Trend Micro interface you can find out how vulnerable your system is, and access scans to help you identify and resolve all security concerns. Intuitive the dashboard is not only easy to use it also allows you to perform scans, adjust settings and gain insight into your system by running PC tune-ups.

Test Results

Here is a look at Trend Micro’s current test results:


  • Blocked 99.9%
  • Compromised: .01%
  • Protection Rate: 99.9%

*During this testing period Trend Micro returned 67 false positives

AV-Test Results

  • Protection score: 6.0 out of 6.0
  • Performance score: 5.5 out of 6.0
  • Usability score: 6.0 out of 6.0


Trend Micro has serious muscle when it comes to malware protection, and with added features like files shredders and encryption options, they have built a decent amount of value into their packages. But they are also plagued with to many false positive returns.

While it scans quickly, it has a tendency to slow everything down. On the plus side, the Maximum Security packages now allow you to add five devices to bring the total of protected devices to ten. You pay a little more, but if you have a highly connected home, it can be worth the extra cost.

At the end of the day Trend Mirco is a good product. It excels when it comes to malware protection, and it has a nice amount of useful features. A few things that are missing like backup options and a cloud or online storage option, but if you want something that will keep your system safe, Trend Micro is one option to consider.

  • Provides a high level of malware protection
  • Add some valuable features like file shredders and encryption
  • You can add an additional five devices with the maximum package
  • Scans are quick

  • It has a tendency to slow your system down
  • It lacks any storage or backup options
  • More false positives than other programs


AVG is known for providing free antivirus and malware protection. But it’s not just free it’s also good. AVG Antivirus realizes that all devices deserve to be protected. One trip to repair shop to have everything on your laptop wiped out because you didn’t have adequate protection will tell you that. So because it cares about you and your devices AVG is giving you free Antivirus protection. So from now on malware and viruses won’t be a problem, unless you fail to add it, then that’s all on you.

And free does mean free, not one month free, it is always (as of today) free. And if you want to buy a comprehensive multi-device antivirus software, AVG will be happy to provide it.

What you get for your money

Given they have a free option, that option gives you a lot for no money. And what you get for no money may surprise you. Their free antivirus includes scans for malware and performance issues, it provides real-time security updates and can even catch malicious downloads before they can do any damage. For free.

But if you live in a home where everyone has a laptop, tablet, and smartphone, they have antivirus software that can give you a more feature rich solution. Their full Internet Security suite includes the following:

  • protection from spyware, malware, and viruses
  • blocking from unsafe links, downloads, and email attachments
  • performance scans
  • real-time security updates
  • enhanced firewall to keep hackers out
  • protection when you shop or bank online
  • alerts you to fake websites to protect you from giving a malicious site your payment details
  • blocks for phishing emails, scams and spam
  • AntiVirus Pro for your Android devices
  • installs on EVERY device in your home

So while free is nice, they also have one of the best multi-devices options around. And at $69.99 per year for protection for an unlimited number of devices, its still a lot for your money.

Security & Privacy

While Avast has acquired AVG, they are still separate when it comes to antivirus software. When it comes to security and keeping your data private and protected, AVG’s Internet Security software allows you create multiple encrypted “Data Safes,” these storage areas allow you to secure your personal information in an online safe.

When open it operates like any normal drive, but when closed the contents are protected by AES-256 encryption. AES refers to Advanced Encryption Standard and is a specification for the encryption of electronic data.

Originally known as Rijndael it provides a parameter when it comes to encrypting data. AES-256 is considered one of the top ciphers due to the massive combination of keys. Theoretically, it cannot be cracked. So if you want your data to be safe, AES-256 will have your back.

Using the Dashboard

The Zen Dashboard once installed will be where you can monitor your protection, performance, and privacy all on one convenient and user-friendly dashboard.  This tutorial can assist you with installation and management of your AVG Zen dashboard. The dashboard is designed for households that support multiple devices. You can also find helpful tools on the AVG site as well.

Test Results

Here is a look at AVGs current test results:

AV-Comparative Results July-November 2016

  • Blocked:99.6%
  • Compromised: 7
  • Protection Rate 99.6%

AV-Test Results

  • Protection score: 4.5 out of 6.0
  • Performance score: 5.5 out of 6.0
  • Usability score: 5.5 out of 6.0


The Zen Dashboard once installed will be where you can monitor your protection, performance, and privacy all on one convenient and user-friendly dashboard.

AVG Antivirus Free is better than it should be considering you don’t pay for it. And while the dashboard may encourage you to purchase a product, you don’t have to. If you want additional features that aren’t included in the free version, its an easy way to upgrade.

When it comes to the AVG Internet Security, it adds a lot of impressive features, from highly secure data solutions that keep your private things private to solid marks when it comes to malware blocking, Internet security is a solid product.

If you want to know how it works, you can download the free antivirus software and take it for a test drive. The Avast acquisition has been helpful for AVG, especially when it comes to the dashboard. While some users have a love/hate relationship with the Zen dashboard, it is a significant improvement over the previous dashboard.

They also allow you to connect almost every device you own when you purchase Internet Security. While there is no iOS protection, they do have a pretty decent MAC option. And it’s important to remember that Apple has built in protection for iOS devices, so add additional security isn’t the smartest decision for iOS owners and antivirus companies. You don’t need to protect something that is already protected.

  • Scores well in independent testing
  • Protects an unlimited amount of Windows, MACs and Android devices
  • Offers a bevy of bonus features
  • File encryption allows you to keep your private business private

  • It will slow your system down
  • MAC protection is only for antivirus
  • May not block all fraudulent or malicious URLS


If you just want malware and virus protection, F-Secure is your minimalist dream come true.  It focuses on doing one thing which lets is do that thing better than other antivirus software programs that add on so many features that their focus can be a bit hazy.

But F-Secure clears the haze by having a fairly singular focus. It just wants to defend your system from malware. So if you are just looking for a way to protect your system and you don’t want to add a bunch of features, the basic service from F-Secure will do that.

And with their Deep-Guard technology, which provides on-host protection from new and emerging threats they do what the do really well. They also treat ransomware the same way they treat malware by trying to stop it using behavioral monitoring.

What you get for your money

While they aren’t all that feature rich, F-Secure does have four different plans that allow you to add some additional system protections. These are the current offerings from F-Secure

Products F-Secure Internet Security F-Secure Anti-Virus F-Secure Safe F-Secure Total Security & Privacy
Price Option 1 $49.99 for 1 PC $39.99 for 1 PC $69.99 for 3 Devices $89.99 for 3 Devices
Price Option 2 $69.99 for 3 PCs $49.99 for 3 PCs $89.99 for 5 Devices $109.99 for 5 Devices
Price Option 3 $109.99 for 7 Devices $129.99 for 7 Devices
Antivirus Protection
Ransomeware Protection
Protects Multiple Devices
Public Wi-Fi Protection
Data Protection
Banking Protection
Online Management
Parental Control

If you are worried about malware, F-Secure has near perfect scores when it comes to detecting attacks. All of their packages incorporate their anti-malware technology. With your approval, F-Secure will send all suspicious items to their cloud for analysis. One thing that F-Secure doesn’t do is quarantine sites or programs that may contain harmful viruses. While their DeepGuard monitors let you quarantine suspected programs you have to add them manually.

With several scanning options, you can set up scans to run daily, weekly or monthly. F-Secure also allows you to set a Gamer mode so you can play with limited distractions. When it comes to features, F-Secure has some obvious missed opportunities.

By including some popular options that allow you to shop or bank online safely by blocking sites that can compromise your security, and adding a boost to the Windows firewall they could enhance the user experience. While malware and ransomware are critical things that must be addressed, they aren’t the only security threats that occur online.

Security and Privacy

When it comes to features F-Secure focused on what they consider to be essential needs. Which means features that are common with other providers may not make the cut. So what is missing from F-Secure’s software? More than you might be comfortable with, there are the things you can’t have with their programs:

  • online storage
  • backup software
  • file encryption
  • the anti-theft mechanism for mobile devices and laptops
  • file shredder

The Internet Security package will check the reputations of websites using browser extensions, and you can also get additional security when you are on a site that houses financial data. You can also get some decent Parental-Contol settings that can allow you to filter out adult contend from your kid’s devices.

F-Secure also has a Premium Security Suite offering; this option merges the features of the antivirus malware detection with the Internet Security package. It also builds new features like a virtual keyboard and online backup that were missing from both Internet Security and Antivirus packages.

They also offer several a la carte features like F-Secure Key and F-Secure Safe. These features add additional security and functionality, below we have outlined the a la carte options and what features they add:

  • F-Secure Total Security and Privacy
    • provides complete protection for online privacy and safety
    • protects all connected devices from viruses and online threats
    • allows anonymous online web surfing
  • F-Secure Safe
    • protects all of your devices with one service
    • keeps devices safe from online threats
  • F-Secure Freedome
    • blocks tracking to increase browsing times and protect privacy
    • allows you to access blocked content by changing your virtual location
    • connect safely to any public wireless networks using an encrypted connection
  • F-Secure Key
    • allows safe storage of credentials and passwords
    • generates unique passwords
    • auto-fill passwords on login screens

In addition to these features, F-Secure also offers additional features that are free.

  • F-Search Search
    • provides safe searching of websites
    • shows you website ratings while you are searching
    • assists in keeping personal information and data protected
  • F-Secure Online Scanner
    • scans your PC for harmful options
    • cleans up viruses and malware
    • provides immediate threat detection
  • F-Secure Ad Blocker
    • blocks online advertising that slows your web browsers
    • reduce bandwidth by restricting intrusive ads from downloading

Test Results

Here is a look at F-Secure’s current test results:


  • Blocked 99.9%
  • Compromised: .01%
  • Protection Rate: 99.9%

F-Secure returned 146 false positives during testing; this is the highest number of all providers participating

AV-Test Results

  • Protection score: 6.0 out of 6.0
  • Performance score: 5.0 out of 6.0
  • Usability score: 5.5 out of 6.0


F-Secure offers some of the best malware protection around. That being said it sticks to the basics, it provides features that it deems essential while passing over ones that are useful. By leaving things out like firewall boosters and file encryption, they are missing the opportunity to have a robust program that provides more value.

It can also get expensive if you have a lot of devices, two people live in my house, and we have over seven different devices. Families that have several children may find this to be cost prohibitive depending on how many laptops, tablets, smartphones and other devices they own.

They do offer standalone features, but often these features are included in the software their competitors offer. I am not sure I fully understand their strategy, you can be the best malware protection around and still provide some creature comforts to your customers.

  • F-Secure will scan your system and remove any malware or viruses before the installation process starts
  • Does a solid job when it comes to malware
  • User-friendly interface
  • Protects an unlimited amount of Windows, MACs and Android devices
  • Offers a bevy of bonus features
  • File encryption allows you to keep your private business private

  • It doesn’t provide Android mobile antivirus protection
  • No blocking for malicious URLs or phishing
  • May not block all fraudulent or malicious URLS



While a well-known product, McAfee often lags behind some of the newer antivirus programs. In 2016 McAfee was acquired by TPG, Intel’s alternative asset manager. TPG owns 51% of McAfee while Intel has the remaining 49% stake in the company.

So what does this need for McAfee and its future? Now known as Intel Security the McAfee name is currently involved in a lawsuit, with John McAfee suing Intel over his rights to use his name in new ventures. Intel obtained the rights to the McAfee brand when the company was acquired. So, for now, the new McAfee Antivirus Plus keeps the brand name intact.

What you get for your money

The acquisition of McAfee hasn’t seemed to have too much of an impact on their product offerings or performance. One new thing that is awesome is the unlimited installations for Windows, Mac iOS and Android devices. Which means you can protect every device you own without paying an additional fee.

Another new item that is more performance-based is the money back guarantee. If McAfee cannot remove a virus or any other malware, its tech support will (at no additional cost) work to resolve the issue. If they cannot resolve it, they will give you your money back. This hopefully indicates an improvement in what has been a rather lackluster middle of the road antivirus software.

You can buy a one device antivirus option, but when you can have unlimited devices for just twenty bucks more it seems silly. Intel has also improved the installation process where it is almost completely automated. They are also in the process of revising the web interface.

To say there is a lot changing at McAfee would be an understatement. In addition to product changes and interface improvements, they are also employing a new virus detection and remediation engine known as Real Protect. Which follows the current trend of behavior based detection to locate and catch zero-day malware.

McAfee Antivirus also has some decent added features. While this is an antivirus software, it’s not as basic as you would expect. There are a lot of features included with this version that is often only found in suites and total security packages.

The first bonus feature that surprised me was QuickClean, designed to scan your system for junk files, shortcuts, and temporary files by default; you can also add other files that you want to clean. You can add memory image files, thumbnail caches, cookies and the Registry; it will scan them all. The default also clears cookies, cache files, and browser history.

The next unexpected find was the file shredder. While you may empty your Recycle Bin, it’s never truly empty. The data from deleted files just hangs out until another file overwrites it. That is where McAfees file shredder comes in. If offers four security levels, Basic, Safe, Comprehensive and Complete. File shredder will shred your Recycle Bin, temporary files and any other files you want it to shred. Which means you can finally have an empty Recycle Bin.

Security & Privacy

The first time I used the WebAdvisor browser extension I thought it did better than  I expected, after using it for a week its better than Webroot option I have been using. It is quick to find sites that may be risky, and it provides you with the option to stop and go back to a safe site, or you can enter at your own risk and face whatever peril may come your way.

There is also an extra layer of protection should WebAdvisor miss a site that poses a risk, behind the scenes the real-time threat detector can catch and stop something that WebAdvisor overlooks. They have different methods for identifying risks, which adds a stronger layer of protection that treats risky sites and apps differently.

Windows has a solid firewall system, it manages the blocking of port scans and puts all ports in stealth mode with no additional software. So most antivirus programs just try and enhance the existing firewall, as it is easy and highly effective. McAfee is no different, it plays well with the existing Windows firewall but adds some additional options.

Test Results

Here is a look at McAfee’s current test results:


  • Blocked 97.9%
  • Compromised: 2.1%
  • Protection Rate: 97.9%

McAfee returned 57 false positives during testing.

AV-Test did not include McAfee it’s most recent testing.


With Intel as the driver, it is a given that McAfee antivirus software will only pick up speed. You can already start to see that happening with new features and improved performance.  But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a long way to go. When it comes to performance McAfee is still riding in the middle lane. Intel is the best thing that happened to McAfee, while they had name recognition they lacked focus.

Now with a bevy of new features, and some serious Intel muscle behind them improvements should come fast and furious (and I am officially out of driving comparisons). Updates to dashboard also give you a glimpse into the future of McAfee. While it may not be a top pick today, if Intel manages the brand correctly it could return to the top of the pack in a few years.

  • Protects every device you own, Android, MAC, and Windows
  • Acquired by Intel, McAfee now has a new behavioral antivirus software that has made a marked improvement in their malware protection
  • Clean user interface is easier to use
  • Scores well in malicious URL blocking tests

  • While it has improved in performance, it’s still lacking when compared to other providers
  • While Apple usually has iOS covered, it is still lacking when it comes to MAC devices
  • It needs to beef up its spyware detection and removal skills

Webroot SecureAnywhere

Before we get started, I have to admit; I use Webroot. However, I will do my best to remain impartial. Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus is one a mouthful, and two a capable antivirus program. While most software uses new technology, they still rely on some of the old-school methods to protect your devices. But not Webroot, they decided to kick the old school to the curb and try a new method of scanning.

This new approach makes scanning faster, without compromising the level of protection. I wouldn’t call Webroot a hoarder, but they do maintain one whopper of a database that is full of known programs both good and bad. Rather than maintain a space-hogging local database on your laptop, Webroot reaches out to its own database when it has an inquiry.

So if their database says the program is cool it leaves it alone, if it says it’s a threat Webroot will take care of it, and clean up any mess left behind. Which makes it both an efficient killer and a tidy house guest.

What you get for your money

Webroot is one of the first antivirus and internet security providers that leverage the power of the cloud. They offer three versions of coverage, Antivirus, Internet Security Plus and Internet Security Complete, below is a breakdown of their features.

Package Features AntiVirus Internet Security Plus Internet Security Complete
Price $29.99* $44.99* $59.99*
Number of Connected Devices 1 PC/MAC 3 Devices 5 Devices
Advanced Threat Protection for MACs and PCs
Always-on security for your data and idenity
Ransomware Portection
Firewall with network connection monitor
Fast scans with no interruptions
Smartphone and tablet protection
Login and password protection
Eliminates traces of online activity
25GB of secure online storage

*prices reflect current offers and are subject to change

By leveraging cloud technology, Webroot has been able to source data and take out everything from viruses to malware with a ninja-like focus. It excels in stopping things, like spyware, that seeks out and exploits your system’s vulnerabilities. Spyware can sometimes get a bad wrap, but some of it is really sketchy, it acts friendly and then just when you think it can trust you it steals your data.

But there are some spyware applications that can be useful. Consider adware, and tracking cookies, they can remind you that watch you looked at eight months ago is on sale. That is spyware at its best, at its worst, it can be used to let others spy on you and steal your secrets.

Webroot works to remove malware and to stop new malware from coming in. It uses an approach that takes advantage of your existing Windows features to make identifying and destroying harmful viruses or malware from corrupting your system.

Because Webroot relies on the cloud, it doesn’t have a huge database. It works with a small footprint by using the cloud to find information. This not only improves scanning times but it’s also a more up to date method to identify viruses and malware.

Security & Privacy

Because of its reliance on using the cloud to prevent malware and viruses Webroot is hard to test. The current testing relies on immediate action. Find the malware and clean it up. Success!?! Not for Webroot, they take the time to think about it and to make sure that every threat is completely eradicated. But the time it takes looks to the current testing methods as a fail. So what is a thoughtful program to do?

As I said before, I have Webroot, and while this is not an endorsement, I can vouch for its ability to block malware. It removes and destroys things quietly behind the scenes, the only time it contacts me is when I am about to access a website it doesn’t like.



Webroot’s cloud-based security is not currently subject to testing as it doesn’t conform to current testing methods.

When it can be tested, it performed well in testing from MRG Effitas a London-based testing company. It received a Level 2 certification, which is the second highest a program can receive, only Kaspersky received a Level 1.

These tests are typical for financial institutions to evaluate software and then make recommendations to their customer, in one financial malware test only four providers passed, Webroot was one of the four.


Webroot is one of the first Antivirus providers that relies mainly on cloud technology. But that’s not bad. It reduces scan times, what takes other programs 45 minutes to an hour to scan Webroot can do it in, according to my last scan 2 minutes and 32 seconds. Having used this Antivirus software for a few years, I can tell you for me it works well.

Now that being said, I am also a super neurotic, consistently suspicious individual. So I may scan more than a “normal” person. But should I forget that I obsess about almost everything, I trust Webroot to have my back. It has supported me through my WOW phase, and even through my Firefly bingeathon. So do I love it? I do.

However, it is hard to test, and if you rely on concrete data, it can be a challenge to get the information you need. As testing companies adapt to cloud-based services like Webroot, I am confident that they will pass every test with flying colors. Until that time we are going to binge watch Fringe.

  • Gets high marks in independent testing
  • Scans are quick and effective as they use primary data stored in the cloud
  • Recover files encrypted by ransomware
  • Excels and managing unknown malware

  • Traditional testing is ineffective as it doesn’t take into account newer cloud-based solutions
  • Limited number of connected devices


ZoneAlarm’s first win is in its packaging; it’s pretty badass. I mean if appearances kept your devices malware free, ZoneAlarm would be everyone’s number one. But it’s not all about looks; it’s also about substance. The first thing you notice when you test ZoneAlarm is the two-way firewall.

It is arguably the best thing about their antivirus protection offerings and its free.

Yep, free. It’s kind of their thing, free antivirus, free firewall, I mean its hard to not see the value in one of the industries best firewalls being free. Now, you can buy a more feature rich version of the free firewall and antivirus, but when we start talking about features, it gets a bit weird.

ZoneAlarm uses Kaspersky’s antivirus software. They also use Net Nanny for their parental controls, but they do choose wisely when it comes to partners. Both Kaspersky and Net Nanny are the best at what they do. So adding one of the highest rated antivirus programs and the highest rate parental control software, while a bit weird, makes sense.

What you get for your money

If you are just here for the free firewall, then you get a lot for your money. But there are several other options that ZoneAlarm offers, you can get a beefed up version of their firewall with Pro Firewall, you can also add additional features with Pro Antivirus, and last, but not least you can purchase a complete solution with Extreme Security.

All three options allow you to connect up to 5 PCS.  You can also get the following features in the table below.

Package Features Pro Antivirus + Pro Firewall Extreme Security
Price $39.95* $39.95* $59.95*
Number of Connected Devices 5 PCs 5 PCs 5
Advanced Firewall
Two-Way Firewall
Online Backup
Technical Support
AntiVirus and Anti-Spyware
Cloud Security
Identity Protection
Treat Emulation
PC Tune Up
Parental Controls
Find my Laptop

ZoneAlarm performs well when it comes to protecting you from phishing attacks, however, when it comes to malware detection, they are at best adequate. They started as a standalone personal firewall provider, and that remains their strongest product today. It requires little to no interaction from you; it is designed to control how your programs access the internet and that it does extremely well.

Security & Privacy

It doesn’t have the ability to fend off would-be attackers, but that doesn’t stop it from thwarting inbound and outbound attacks when they occur. The Pro version also keeps an eye on your PC and checks for suspicious behaviors. And if you are in full stealth mode, which already makes you feel more awesome, you will be totally invisible to hackers, which makes you super awesome.

In addition to your newfound invisibility, the firewall also has zero-hour protection, which stops silent outbreaks from accessing the system. The firewall shields you online activity from the minute you start-up your system.  You can also buy an enhanced antivirus package that prevents and removes viruses, Trojan horses, spyware bots and more.


ZoneAlarm is not currently included in AV-Test and AV-Comparatives testing.


ZoneAlarm has spent years working to educate PC owners to realize that they need a better firewall. They are so dedicated to the cause that they provide a more than adequate firewall for free. While it does a good job at stopping online attacks, its best at making you invisible. Their stealth mode is one of their strongest features; it makes you pretty much immune to attacks when you use it.

It also has an often overlooked antivirus protection, ZoneAlarm is comparable to all of the well-known players. With features like parental controls, social media protection, crediting monitoring and indemnity protection, it has a lot to offer.

By using the cloud, ZoneAlarm can keep a real-time database of antivirus signatures, which allows it to stop something before it has a chance to cause chaos. It isn’t the most feature-rich antivirus solution, but with one of the best two-way firewalls and solid antivirus protection, it can get the job done.

  • Has arguably the best free firewall around
  • Does a solid job of managing malware
  • Pro version identifies malware before it can do any damage

  • Doesn’t have as many features as some other providers
  • Uses other vendors for antivirus protection, namely Kaspersky

Final Words

You can’t be too careful online. It’s just that simple. You may think you can exist just fine without antivirus protection because you are extra cautious. But you are wrong. Malware, Ransomware, and viruses aren’t things you can detect or stop without an antivirus program. And once they are in they will destroy almost everything.

While you may be able to avoid clicking on links in emails, that is not the only way hackers, and bad actors can get in. Viruses are designed to exploit every opportunity to get into your system. That means they compromise everything, emails, browsers (that includes the ones that claim they are “hiding” your data), even Adobe products.

So do yourself a big favor, if you don’t have a current antivirus program get one. This list is here to help you make the best decision when it comes to keeping your data, files, and identity safe. Antivirus software protects you from keylogging, Trojans, rootkits and all the other methods being used to compromise your security. You can’t do it alone, but luckily you don’t have to.

So take it from someone who lost everything from my portfolio to my vacation pictures, get a good anivirus program. It is worth the money to know that you won’t lose your data or worse compromise  your identity.

Jennifer Kelley is an author and technology blogger. She feels weird writing about herself in the third person, but does so when asked. A graduate of The Ohio State University she is a dedicated football fan and a total dork who loves all things written. You can follow her on twitter @theonlyjen

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