Are you afraid of getting a computer virus that can steal your personal information, access your bank account or hold you ransom? Tired of endless pop-ups, computer slow downs, and crashes? Confused because you have no idea how to protect yourself? You're not alone.
Tens of thousands of viruses operate over the internet and new ones are found every day, infecting tens of millions of computers - literally. Even if you're careful you can get infected by downloading files, opening attachments or visiting infected websites.
Aside from avoiding questionable emails, pop-ups and websites, the next best thing you can do is protect yourself with strong antivirus software. The best antivirus software will prevent, detect and remove online threats.
The challenge is, with so many antivirus programs out there, how can you tell the good from the bad? We’ve reviewed them all and relied on some of the most robust and up to date antivirus testing from independent third parties such as av-test.org to help us identify the best antivirus software available today!
Best Antivirus Software Protection 2024
Best (now free) Antivirus Software Protection
The number one function of an antivirus program is to identify and remove malicious threats. 18 programs were tested against over 34,000 known viruses and over 570 new threats, and only a handful were able to detect 100% of the threats perfectly.
Kaspersky Labs is our winner. Kaspersky was one of 4 programs to block a phenomenal 100% of the threats in the test. However, the reason it gets our highest ranking is because of the 4 antivirus programs blocking 100% of threats, it did the best job maintaining computer speed and performance. We also thought it was very easy to use and liked the simple installation and instructions to run the program.
*With a currently free download for 1-3 users, it’s definitely worth a try – there’s absolutely zero risk or cost to see if it suits your needs. Our recommendation is to get it while you can.
We do want to note that BitDefender, Norton and TrendMicro also received stellar scores in detecting and removing threats, however none were able to match Kaspersky’s ability to maintain your computer and web browsing speed, hence our decision to rank Kaspersky as the best antivirus software program to keep you safe online.
Best (always) Free Antivirus Protection
Some people prefer to only go the free route for their antivirus software. Just understand what you’re leaving on the table. While many free versions do a great job detecting viruses, they tend to slow down your computer more than paid versions. Second, depending on the antivirus program, paid versions come with additional bells and whistles like email protection, password protection and banking protection.
Our clear winner in the free antivirus software category is Avast. It performs a stellar job in detecting and blocking viruses, ranking with an almost perfect score – even against paid versions. It blocked 100% of zero-day threats and 99.9% of the most common malware. However, Avast is much slower compared to its paid peers. It caused significantly slowdowns when launching and using programs and apps.
While it's the best antivirus software in the "free" category, the trade-off is a slower computer performance. If you're looking for
Best Free Malware Protection (A Must-Have)
MalwareBytes Free Malware Protection (scroll down landing page for free trial)
Antivirus software and Malware aren’t quite the same things. We’d recommend downloading a free malware protection program with a paid antivirus program. Anti-malware focuses on malicious programs and files that many antivirus programs do not detect or cannot fully remove.
The best anti-malware program we recommend, which is also recommended by Google, is MalwareBytes Anti-Malware. It’s free, easy to download, easy to use, does not slow down your computer and works wonders. Its been around forever and is the gold standard. Just download it and click scan and it will clear your computer from a lot of the pesky viruses you might be dealing with.
As MalwareBytes itself states: “Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is not meant to be a replacement for antivirus software. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is a complementary but essential program which detects and removes zero-day malware and "Malware in the Wild". It is important to note that Malwarebytes Anti-Malware works well and should run alongside antivirus software without conflicts.”