Best Antivirus Software for 2021
Every day, over 1,000,000 new threats appear – threats that can compromise your identity or trash your devices. One way or another, if you end up with a nasty virus or malware, it could end up costing you money, whether in compromised financial accounts or money to clean your computer – or buy a new one.
Other risks include losing sensitive information and important files, and losing control of your devices. Most antivirus programs are not enough, but you can choose one that does a lot, such as catching viruses and malware, and providing extra protection. Adding a firewall and accessing the internet via a VPN also decreases the risk of someone accessing your devices.
When people first started using computers to access the internet, the risk of getting a virus was much lower. According to Pew Research, only 52 percent of adult Americans accessed the internet. In 2020, that percentage increased to 90 percent adult Americans. That’s a lot of targets for hackers who are looking for identifying information they need to steal your identity or login information for your financial accounts.
Antivirus software and other methods of protection help keep your information safe. Deciding which antivirus software is best for your situation is often a tough call since there are so many to choose from.
#1 VIPRE Antivirus
VIPRE Antivirus offers antivirus programs for individuals and businesses. The acronym name stands for Virus Intrusion Protection and Remediation Engine. It protects you from viruses, then cleans the virus. Both suites offer unmatched protection against online threats. When you choose VIPRE Antivirus, you get email and endpoint security, and threat intelligence for malware.
The software is user-friendly for the individual and businesses and features quick and quality threat response. VIPRE is a global platform across North American and Europe, and is a j2 Global, Inc., brand.
- Adds prevention to protection and remediation
- Home protection for PCs and Macs
- Business protection
- Over 20 years of experience in protecting users from malware
- Installs quickly and doesn’t use a lot of memory
#2 Total AV
Total AV won several awards, including for real-world protection, performance, and malware protection. This antivirus program got a new look for 2021, but it provides the same protection that fans expect from the program. The full security package includes the antivirus scanner, scheduled scans, safe browsing via VPN, and a remote firewall. Total AV also blocks phishing URLs and enhances performance. Total AV’s advanced anti-malware protection is available for multiple devices, so you can protect all of your devices.
- Total security and protection
- Real-time antivirus protection
- Extensive virus definitions
- Data breach monitoring
- Improved features for 2021
Whether you need virus protection for yourself, your family, or a business, Kaspersky has solutions for all. Instead of buying a package built for a large business, this company offers packages for small, medium, and large businesses. It blocks crypto blockers and ransomware as well as viruses – in real-time. And, it doesn’t slow your PC down while it’s doing its job. Kaspersky also offers discounts for new users.
- Blocks crypto blockers and ransomware, in addition to viruses
- Doesn’t slow you down
- Hides browsing
- Prevents webcam hijacking
- “Bad content” blocker for safer kids
McAfee offers a suite of protection for viruses, ransomware, spyware, and malware, all while keeping your identity private. It has platforms for PCs, Macs, tablets, and smartphones. The antivirus software includes ID Theft Protection Essentials, which monitors the dark web for any personal information about you, then notifies you of a breach in your security. It comes in three sizes: Individual (covers one device), the multi-device package, which covers up to five devices, and the household package, which covers up to 10 devices.
- Multi-layered identity protection
- Color-coded links to notify you of fraudulent sites on social media and search engine searches
- Plans for individuals, multi-devices, and family plans
- Auto-renewal – if you want it
- Advanced+ award eight times in a row since 2015
Over the years, the types of threats have evolved. Now, you no longer have to worry about viruses, but also have to worry about malware, spyware, identity theft and more. Norton provides a suite of products, including antivirus and VPN to help protect all of your devices from prying eyes and hacking thieves. From online privacy to catching the newest virus threat before it worms its way into your system, Norton keeps you safe.
- Decades of experience and a proven track record of fighting against viruses and malware
- Protect all of your devices
- Several add-ons so you can customize your security needs
- Several packages at different price points, including a package for gamers and packages including Life Lock
Why is Antivirus Software a Necessity?
Every day, hackers are looking for ways to obtain your personal information or to maliciously destroy your data or even your computer. A good antivirus software program catches these threats as you encounter them, then stops them from invading your devices.
When looking for a good antivirus program, choose a package that covers all of your devices. If your computer is protected, but your smart TV is not protected, malicious hackers can get into your WiFi network through an unprotected device, which then gives that person access to the rest of your devices.
If a hacker inserts a virus in your smartphone, then you connect your smartphone to your vehicle, the hacker now has access to your vehicle. If you use your smartphone or tablet to access your relative’s for friend’s WiFi network, the virus can transfer to that person’s network, thus infecting someone other than you.
You’ll need a good antivirus program, along with a good firewall to keep hackers from getting into your system, destroying your computer, and stealing your identity. Using a good antivirus program with other security features, such as a VPN minimizes the risk of your information getting into the wrong hands.
How Does Antivirus Software Work?
Viruses make changes to the registry and / or sections of memory. The antivirus program monitors these changes for known patterns that are stored in the virus dictionary. The antivirus program warns you about any changes before they happen. Depending on the company, the antivirus software works in different ways.
Heuristic-based detection uses an algorithm that compares the signature of a virus to a program – the virus – that is attempting to make changes to your computer. This is the best way to detect a virus, but it can generate false positives.
Signature-based detection uses a virus dictionary to find known virus signatures. This allows the antivirus software to compare viruses that are in the dictionary. It does not create false positives. However, unlike heuristic-based detection, it cannot find new viruses unless the dictionary has been updated.
Behavior-based detection catches viruses that make it past the previous detections. If the program that is running starts acting strange, the antivirus program could trigger a warning. It looks for code that changes the settings of programs, code that monitors keystrokes, code that modifies or deletes files, and code that remotely connects you to other computers.
Sandbox detection creates a “sandbox,” or an environment that is similar to your computer. It allows the “new” code to run while it analyzes its behavior. If the code looks as though it is being destructive or the behavior is not normal, the antivirus program alerts you before it allows it to run outside the sandbox.
You can run some antivirus programs on the cloud. This antivirus collects information and processes it on a server in the cloud. You must have an internet connection, but this helps keep antivirus programs from slowing down your computer.
Free or Paid Antivirus?
You can download free antivirus programs, but most are “crippleware.” In other words, you won’t get the full benefits of a robust antivirus protection package with the free software. If you want to be truly protected, you should have the paid version, which offers much more than simply scanning for viruses.
Some free versions might not check email; others might check email only. In some cases, free versions won’t catch new viruses. In today’s day and age, because there are so many viruses out there, and many more being created every day, it’s better to have the best antivirus software program, especially one that catches new viruses.
Most antivirus programs have “tiers” that allow you to purchase additional features or to purchase antivirus for multiple devices. When reviewing antivirus protection software, you should know how many devices you need support for, in addition to the type of protection you want, whether you need basic antivirus protection or you want to add more privacy features.
Additionally, with paid versions, you have access to updates as they become available. While some free antivirus programs will update their dictionaries for free, you won’t get the benefit of having the “extras” and the upgrades for the extras.
Additional Features to Consider
Additional features you might want to consider when looking for the best antivirus package include:
Additional internet activity security so that you are protected on public Wi-Fi networks by hiding your IP address.
A VPN internet shield to keep your browsing private. VIPRE’s Internet Shield VPN works on iOS, macOS, Windows, Android, and other platforms. The VPN keeps others from tracking you. The VPN also encrypts your data so that no one – not even your internet service provider – can have access to sensitive data.
A feature that helps you maintain your online speed by helping you avoid ISP throttling.
A privacy shield that offers real-time protection, blocks access to your webcam and microphone, and scans the dark web for your email address.
Firewall and email security.
When you buy a full security package, you can rest assured that you will thwart most malicious hackers and their viruses as long as you keep everything updated.Read More