Best Antivirus Software of 2024

  • Home
  • Best Antivirus Software of 2024

Best Antivirus Software of 2024

Regardless of the platform you use, safeguarding your computer and mobile devices from malware and viruses is crucial. After spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a new computer, the last thing you need is for it to be compromised. Unfortunately, this risk is a reality. Even the best computers are susceptible to the impact of viruses and malicious software, regardless of their price. Regularly checking the performance of your computer can save you from future troubles, whether they come from scammers or technical malfunctions. One effective method to protect your devices and personal information is to invest in the best antivirus software you can afford.

According to the latest data from Statcounter, Windows devices occupy almost 70% of the laptop and desktop operating system market. Malicious software targeting Windows has a greater potential for infecting devices due to its widespread usage, making it a prime target for cybercriminals. Therefore, all recommended antivirus software can run on Windows.

In general, the best antivirus software currently selected by SIN is Microsoft Defender. This is a free antivirus solution integrated by the tech giant into Windows 10 and Windows 11 machines. At SIN, we have spent years testing and researching dozens of online security and privacy tools, including VPNs, password managers, and antivirus software, to help readers find the best solutions that meet their needs. Check below for our recommended antivirus services to find the one that suits you best.

Note: Antivirus service pricing can be complex, as providers often offer lower introductory prices to attract registrations. After the initial billing period (usually one or two years, depending on the plan you choose), the amount you pay for the service may significantly increase (sometimes twice the introductory rate). Be sure to review the terms of the subscription plan before purchasing, so you won’t be surprised when renewing the subscription.

Best Antivirus Software of 2024

Best Free Antivirus Software for Windows

Microsoft Defender If you practice secure computing—keeping software up to date, using strong passwords (with the help of a password manager), avoiding unsolicited emails, and refraining from clicking on suspicious links—you may avoid zero-day attacks and ransomware threats. By running the free Microsoft Defender antivirus software on your Windows PC, you can establish a safety net even when you let your guard down. In fact, it is one of the best antivirus software choices.

Pros:

  • Built-in and enabled by default in Windows 10 and 11
  • Regular updates
  • Real-time protection

Cons:

  • Resource-intensive
  • Lack of UI-scheduled scan options
  • Basic feature set

When you install third-party antivirus software, Windows 10 and 11 will automatically disable their built-in Windows Defender antivirus software. If you uninstall third-party protection, Windows will re-enable its antivirus software.

Best Antivirus Subscription

Norton 360 with LifeLock Select

NortonLifeLock consistently scores high in virus and malware detection tests conducted by AV-Test, AV Comparisons, and SE Labs. Norton antivirus software provides excellent security for PC, Mac, and mobile devices. The subscription price for Norton 360 with LifeLock Select is usually $180 per year for up to 10 devices, with an initial $80 discount for the first year. In addition to malware and virus protection for your computer and mobile devices, this security suite includes 100GB of cloud backup, secure browsing tools, a secure VPN, a password manager, parental controls, and LifeLock identity theft protection with fraud alerts. While not all these services are necessarily the best in their respective categories, bundling them into one package is an attractive option. Most importantly, according to Norton’s website, they offer a 7-day free trial for this suite and a full refund within 60 days after annual subscription purchase and 14 days after monthly subscription purchase.

Pros:

  • Full suite of online security tools
  • Subscription for up to 10 users
  • Parental control features

Cons:

  • Limited functionality on MacOS and iOS
  • Significant price increase after the first year
  • No free version available

Good Choices for Subscription Antivirus Software

McAfee Total Protection

McAfee Antivirus is a highly praised modern antivirus software that provides reliable protection for your PC. McAfee Total Protection safeguards your devices from viruses, offers ransomware protection, defends against malicious websites, and includes a password manager. The first-year price is $30. If you agree to auto-renew the antivirus suite subscription, you also get access to McAfee ID Theft Protection Essentials, which monitors ID fraud activities.

Best Enterprise Antivirus Subscription

Trend Micro Maximum Security

While this antivirus provider may not be as well-known among regular consumers, Trend Micro Maximum Security quietly brings its business expertise into households. Trend Micro’s software consistently scores high in AV-Test, excelling in detecting zero-day attacks and a wide range of viruses and malware. Trend Micro performs well without consuming significant system resources.

By choosing antivirus software that suits your needs, you can stay secure in the digital world, keeping potential online threats at bay.

Testing Antivirus Software

We are dedicated to assisting you in finding the antivirus software that best suits your needs. The selection of these top antivirus programs combines recommendations from independent third-party labs such as AV-Test, AV-Comparatives, and SE Labs, along with practical testing conducted by CNET.

It’s essential to note that antivirus software is just a small part of the cybersecurity puzzle. As cybercriminals become increasingly sophisticated, the more security measures you implement, the safer you’ll be. A secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) can safeguard your internet privacy, while a Password Manager helps you create and manage more secure login credentials. These tools are indispensable for protecting your personal information.

Why We Don’t Recommend Avast

Despite Avast Antivirus for Windows consistently performing well in malware detection and offering various options from Avast Free Antivirus to Avast Premium Security, the company came under scrutiny for its non-antivirus business practices. Reports in late 2019 alleged that Avast was collecting user data through its browser extensions and antivirus software, subsequently selling this data through its subsidiary Jumpshot.

In response to concerns about trust, Avast terminated Jumpshot’s data collection in January 2020, emphasizing a commitment to privacy. While Avast has taken steps to address these issues, we recommend exercising caution. We suggest considering other reliable options listed above.

Why We Don’t Recommend Kaspersky

Kaspersky Lab has long been known for producing some of the best antivirus software for enterprise and home users. However, due to its Moscow headquarters and alleged ties with the Russian government, the U.S. government banned the use of Kaspersky security cloud software on federal government computers in 2017.

Although this ban doesn’t apply to consumer products like Kaspersky Total Security and Kaspersky Antivirus, the question remains: if the federal government deems these products unsafe for its devices, should consumers also avoid using them?

While Kaspersky continues to excel in independent tests and offers reasonable pricing, potential concerns persist. We recommend considering other options for a potentially safer choice.

Antivirus Fundamentals: What to Look For

Selecting the best antivirus software for Windows involves finding software that guarantees the security of your PC, doesn’t consume excessive system resources, is user-friendly, and operates without issues when needed. Here’s what to look for:

Effectiveness: Antivirus software should scan for known viruses and malware, provide real-time protection, monitor suspicious websites and links, and offer ransomware protection. Look for software that successfully identifies unknown online threats without triggering too many false positives.

Minimal System Resource Usage: You don’t want antivirus software that slows down your PC. If your system experiences slowness after installation, consider trying other services. Most options provide free trials or refunds, allowing you to test antivirus programs and find the best fit.

Cost and Discounts: Don’t settle for the sticker price. Check for discounts on the company’s website before purchasing. Some antivirus packages cover up to 10 devices, so consider these bundles to reduce costs. Amazon may also offer discounts on the application’s page.

Privacy: Antivirus software needs to monitor your PC’s operations, check for unusual behavior on company servers, and provide robust banking protection. While these companies claim to anonymize technical data as much as possible to protect your privacy, read their privacy policies to understand how they handle shared information.

Protection for Other Platforms: While Microsoft is the primary target for viruses and malware, Android follows closely. MacOS, especially iOS, faces lower threats due to Apple’s strict control over its app store. If you download apps only from official sources and remain vigilant while clicking links and downloading files, you may not need antivirus software for Apple devices.

Remember, cybersecurity is an evolving field, and staying informed about the latest threats and protection measures is crucial for maintaining a secure digital environment.