Have you heard about ransomware? Or malware, spyware, viruses? If you’re using a computer, you certainly have at least a vague notice that these things are bad for your device. But have you taken adequate measures to protect your laptop?
Today while I was getting my laptop back after routine cleaning, I met a friend of mine, who was in distress. She had brought her laptop because she couldn’t open any files and was shocked to learn that they would have to reinstall Windows to fix things. As some of you might have guessed, her laptop got infected with ransomware.
It’s always unpleasant when something like that happens. But it’s entirely preventable if you have a reliable antivirus. So, today I’m going to present to you the five best antivirus protections in 2019.
Do you need antivirus protection?
Let’s say that you are super careful when you surf the net. You always visit trusted sites, you don’t download files from the Internet, you keep your browser and Windows updated to the latest version. Do you still need antivirus protection? Of course, you do.
Even though operating systems are well-made, hackers always find a way to exploit security defects in the system and create new malware to target the everyday internet user. They’re smart about it, because they target official websites visited by millions of people every day. They also embed the malicious code in programs you download or the advertisements you click on.
If you're connected to the Internet you’re in danger and you shouldn’t take malware as something trivial and easy to remove. Some are so resistant that you might have to reinstall your OS to get rid of them completely. I strongly recommend that you install an antivirus on all your devices – laptop, smartphone, tablet, and computer.
The antivirus job is to keep all malicious software at bay and warn you when you’re about to open dangerous programs or websites. Never ignore such warnings or you have only yourself to blame. The antivirus also can prevent hackers from hacking into your computer and remind you that your programs are out of date.
Remember, without antivirus protection you’re like a motorcyclist without a helmet driving way beyond the speed limit and hoping not to crash into anything. Your computer is vulnerable to all sources of attacks and sooner or later you’ll get infected with something.
In the best case, your computer’s performance might slow down, but in the worst one you can lose sensitive personal information like your bank account. Or the malware can install a backdoor on your computer giving unauthorized access to your system to a hacker.
Is installing antivirus enough to protect my computer?
So, let’s say that you’ve chosen the best antivirus protection for you. Is it enough to keep your computer safe? It’s a hard question because hackers are very good at exploiting software vulnerabilities still unknown to the creators. So, to protect yourself from malware:
Free vs Paid Antivirus
The best antivirus protection is not cheap of course, and you might be wondering if it’s worth spending money on antivirus program when there are free ones available. Well, it depends on what you’re using your computer for and how serious you take the threat of malware.
If you’re running a business or you have valuable information stored on the laptop, you absolutely must get a paid antivirus. But if you want to protect your home computer and you’ve made a back-up of all valuable files, you can use a free antivirus.
The main difference between paid and free antiviruses is the number of features. Free antiviruses offer basic protection, while paid ones have extras like a password manager, firewall, ransomware shield, a VPN, and so on. They also have better support, and they’re less likely to cause compatibility issues with other programs.
Free antiviruses something have ads popping out urging you to upgrade to the paid version, and they are not very good at detecting newly released malware. You can also see more false positives from a free antivirus. But a free antivirus is a better choice than no antivirus at all.
Windows 10 comes with its own Windows Defender Security Center, which is always on unless you install another antivirus program. While Windows Security Center doesn’t show great results when tested by independent labs, it will protect your system from common malware threats. It doesn’t do well with malicious URLs or low-level malware, but it might be enough for some.
TOP 5 Antivirus Protections in 2019
Malicious URL Blocking
Norton Antivirus Basic
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus
So, let’s see the five best antivirus protections:
#1 Norton Antivirus
Norton antivirus products have been around since the 90’s, and they have a solid reputation, which is rightfully earned. Currently, Norton has four antivirus protection programs available starting from Basic to Premium, and all four score exceptionally well in lab tests when it comes to detecting and removing threats.
Norton Antivirus Basic has all the features you might need to protect your computer from different malware, including ransomware and malicious URLs. However, the basic version is available only for Windows and one PC. If you want something to protect Mac or mobile, you’ll have to get Standard. For more devices, you’ll have to purchase Deluxe or Premium.
What’s great about Norton AntiVirus Basic is that the interface is user-friendly and you can find a feature easy by using the search box. As for scanning, you have the usual antivirus scanning modes :
You can also use Norton Power Eraser if you think that you’re infected but nothing comes up in regular scans. It’s is a handy tool for finding deeply embedded or difficult to detect malware, but it can damage legitimate programs.
Another great feature is Norton Insight which executes a smart scan of your files. It rates them according to their trust level, which allows the program to scan fewer files without compromising your safety.
In addition to this, Norton will warn you about phishing sites attempting to steal your information and hack into your account. Furthermore, the more expensive versions offer a money-back guarantee, expert customer support, parenting control, automatic back up, and more.
Installing Norton might be tricky for novices due to the multi-stage installation, but Norton has significantly improved the process. Also, you have four extensions available for your browser to make surfing the Net safe and secure experience.
The only downside of Norton is that it might take a while to scan your computer in comparison to other antivirus programs.
Excellent lab results
Norton Power Eraser
Available add-ons for browsers
Takes a while to scan
Kaspersky anti-virus products have been among the best ones for many years, and they have a solid reputation backed up by numerous independent tests. In fact, in 2016 Kaspersky’s products got 55 first places in 78 tests&reviews and left its opponents far behind.
What makes Kaspersky’s products popular is the supreme malware protection in combination with a user-friendly interface and easy installation process. You have three available products – Kaspersky Anti-Virus, Kaspersky Internet Security, and Kaspersky Total Security.
What’s more, Kaspersky has a free antivirus which shares many features with the basic paid version, and it will do an excellent job for those of you not ready to spend money on antivirus protection. Furthermore, all paid Kaspersky’s products have a 30-day-trial period, which is great because you can test it and see if you’re satisfied with the result.
Kaspersky Anti-Virus has all the usual antivirus features including strong phishing site protection and malware URLs blocking, so you will get a warning when you’re about to open a dangerous website. In addition to this, it boasts an on-screen keyboard to keep sensitive information safe from spyware programs, which monitor keystrokes.
Because Kaspersky knows that you value your privacy, it comes with Secure Connection VPN (free version, too), but with 200 MB bandwidth-limit per day. And it scans your system for vulnerabilities so that you can take the necessary actions quickly and configure your setting better.
But the main advantage of using Kaskpersky would be System Watcher feature, which is handy for zero-day malware. Its job is to terminate any activity which could be the result of a malicious threat even before it recognizes it as malware.
You can protect up to ten computers with Kaspersky Anti-Virus, but the price rises accordingly, and you can’t use it on Mac or smartphone. For those, you’ll have to get Internet Security or Total Security package.
Exceptional lab results
Free version available
Available only for PC
#3 Bitdefender Antivirus Plus
Our next on the list of the best antivirus protection products is Bitdefender Antivirus Plus. It will not only cover your basic protection needs but also offer you some amazing features. Bitdefender is also available in other packages –Internet Security, Total Security, and Family Pack, and you can choose how many devices you want to use it on.
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus takes its users’ security and safety seriously and protects your device from zero-day threats to common malware. It has multi-layer ransom protection so that you don’t have to worry about someone encrypting your files. Moreover, Bitdefender uses behavior detection to monitor your apps and spot suspicious activity.
But that’s not all. Bitdefender has an outstanding phishing site protection in combination with an anti-fraud system that will keep you away from fake websites or scams. Furthermore, it assesses your search results and shows you if they’re safe to access.
Bitdefender also features an Autopilot which will take care of your security without bothering you at all. It’s a great option for those who are sure how to configure their antivirus. What’s more, its innovative Photon technology saves computer resources and won’t slow down your computer’s performance.
We should mention that Bitdefender comes with a VPN, which will encrypt and protect your traffic (limited to 200 MB per day). In addition to this, you can shop online without worrying about fraud thanks to the unique dedicated browser, and you can store your passwords in the Password Manager.
If that’s not enough to convince of the merits of Bitdefender, it also has a file shredder and scans your computers for vulnerabilities. Overall, it’s an excellent balance between quality and price, and you can download a 30-day free trial.
Exceptional lab results
Parent control is available in the more expensive packets
Another worthy candidate for the best antivirus program for 2019 is AVG and its AVG Ultimate. One of the most important features of this antivirus program is that you don’t have to pay extra for more than one device so that you can protect your PC, tablet, and mobile with one subscription.
In addition to this, AVG Ultimate has top-notched safety features to guard your device against ransomware, spyware, viruses and other malware. It also comes with an enchanted firewall so that you don’t have to worry that somebody is going to take advantage of your PC.
Moreover, you have at your advantage an AI-based real-time threat detection, which is going to make sure that you’re protected from whatever dangers you might encounter online.
AVG Ultimate also comes with TuneUp – a handy feature that will scan your computer and figure out what’s slowing down the performance. It also removes junk files, improves your battery life, uninstalls unnecessary software, and speeds up your browsers. You can also use it to clean your registry automatically, and you can select 1-click maintenance to take care of everything.
What’s more, AVG Ultimate has webcam protection which makes sure that no one is spying on you through your cameras. Not to mention that you have a Sensitive Data Shield at your disposal to protect sensitive files. You can choose a password so that people who don’t know it can’t access the files.
Other great features of AVG Ultimate include Anti-Theft, which can help you locate your device in case you lose it, App Lock, Smart Photo Cleaner, and email protection.
However, you should know that your Android device should be 2.2 or above and your Mac 10.10 Yosemite or above. Also, multiple languages are not available for Mac users, only English.
But the important thing is that the free version will offer you the basic protection you need to keep your files and documents safe.
- Sensitive Data Shield
- Ransomware protection
- Al-based real-time threat detection
- App Lock
- One subscription covers multiple devices
- Only English is available for Mac users
- TuneUp might take a while
My last suggestion for you if you’re looking for the best antivirus program is Avira and its products. Avira has a free version for those of you that want some basic security features plus a VPN with a limit of 1 GB a month, password manager, and manual software updates.
Of course, the paid versions have more features, for example, blocking annoying ads or banners containing malicious software. Avira Pro also have safety shop, surf, and bank feature to make sure that you can shop online without worrying about someone stealing your private information.
In addition to this, Avira Pro blocks access to fake or suspicious websites so that you won’t compromise your real account. Moreover, it scans your home network to ensure that you’re not vulnerable to hacker attacks.
And if you run into problems, you can always turn to support, which is available via a toll-free number. The subscription encompasses three devices for one year.
If you’re looking for more security features, you’ll have to choose Avira Internet Security Suite or Avira Prime which offer automatic updates, software flaws fixes, performance evaluation, files encryption, and junk file removal.
If you go for Prime, you also have to option to scan the Dark Net for your personal information so that you can take preventive measures and you can install premium mobile apps.
- 3 devices per subscription (5 for Prime)
- Blocks ads, banners, fake websites
- Safely shop
- Available customer support via a toll-free number
- Scans for vulnerabilities in the home network
Pro version doesn’t have as much security features as other similar programs
It’s hard choosing one of these five best antivirus protection, because they’ll all do an excellent job and keep your computer malware-free. But if I have to pick one, I’ll choose Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, because:
Kaspersky Antivirus is also a good choice, but the basic version doesn’t offer as many features as Bitdefender.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will My Antivirus Program Affect the performance of my computer?
Since antivirus programs run in the background, they can affect the performance of your device because they are using the computer’s resources. That could lead to slowdowns when you’re running other programs.
How much your device will be affected by a running antivirus system depends on your chosen antivirus program and your computer’s model and parameters. An old computer with low CPU power probably will be affected more than a modern one.
Furthermore, some antivirus programs hog more CPU than others. As a result, your system might slow down significantly when you’re running a full scan. A full scan checks all the files and folders thoroughly, so it uses more computing power than a quick scan.
What Happens when My Antivirus Detects a Virus?
When your antivirus program detects an infected file or a web page, it will display a warning notice. What happens after that depends on your antivirus of choice.
However, most antivirus programs will put the infected file into quarantine where it can’t harm your device. Then it might give you the option to delete the file or attempt to repair it.
How Often Should I Update My Antivirus Program?
Most antivirus programs download automatically new virus definitions and update automatically. They let you know when they have installed an update and prompt you to restart your computer. As such, antivirus programs don’t need a lot of maintenance on your part.
That being said, you should check from time to time to make sure that your antivirus program is running up-to-date and install the updates manually if you have to.
How Often Should I Run a Scan?
By default, you should run a full scan at least once a week. However, if you browse the Internet daily and you are worried about potential threats, you might full scan your system twice or thrice per week.
On the other hand, if you don’t browse the Net, you might scan your system once a month.
The good thing about antivirus programs these days is that they have a scheduled scan feature, which allows you to set how often it should scan your system. So, once you schedule your scans, you don’t have to worry about forgetting them.
Can I Install Two Antivirus Programs on One Computer?
As a rule of thumb, different antivirus programs don’t play well with one another. If you have two installed on the same device, you might experience slowdowns because both will be using your computer’s resources.
In addition to this, two antivirus programs might identify each other as a virus threat and block each other during scans. Sometimes, an antivirus program might not allow you to install it because it detects the presence of the other.
So, you have to uninstall your old antivirus completely and restart your device before you install the new one.
Why does My New Antivirus Program Detect Viruses My Old One Doesn’t?
Virus signatures and definitions are specific for each antivirus. As such, one antivirus might have more recent virus definition and detect a virus where the old one couldn’t.
However, most vendors update their virus definitions often. So, it’s unlikely that they will not add a recent malware to their database as soon as possible. Just make sure that your antivirus program is up-to-date.
Do Free Antivirus Programs Offer Enough Protection?
Free antivirus programs offer basic protection which could be enough for some people. If you don’t browse high-risk sites, download files, or keep sensitive information on your device, a free antivirus will do you fine.
That being said, keep in mind that free antivirus programs might not protect you from recent threats such as ransomware. In addition to this, they score lower in independent testing than paid ones, so you might not be as protected as you believe if you’re running free antivirus.
Of course, you also might stumble upon a fake free antivirus program and install a virus on your computer. So, always do research on free products when you’re installing them on your device.
Do I Need an Anti-Spyware Program?
Most antivirus programs have an anti-spyware feature. So, you don’t have to install an additional one. Nevertheless, if you still have problems with spyware, you might add an anti-spyware scanner. However, keep in mind that some spyware scanners are spyware in disguise and they will infect your system and steal your information.
Antivirus protection is essential for keeping your computer and your personal information safe. Malware is not going to disappear. It’s going to get smarter in time to fool you into downloading it to your computer. So, take your time to choose your antivirus carefully and use common sense while you’re surfing the Net.
What do you think about these five best antivirus protection products? What antivirus do you use? Share your experience with it in the comments.