We should all know the rules for protecting our privacy and protecting Windows: Do not tap on questionable links or download apps from shady sites, do not open unexpected messages and emails, do not share personal information ,and keep your Windows software up to date.
You can also run a few extra steps to make sure you're online with a PC Secure: Use ato track credentials and a VPN Protect your Internet traffic and a to prevent people from spying on your communications.
However, if you're looking for a way to keep your Windows device safe first, you should first run the best antivirus software. The best antivirus solution monitors your app downloads and looks for malicious software and suspicious software behavior.
And here's the first thing you need to know about the best antivirus software: Microsoft Defender ̵
However, you can make the case that the Windows security ecosystem is healthier when users are not just dependent on a company for protection against viruses or malware. If you prefer a robust variety of platforms, you can easily find solid antivirus or malware protection from third-party security companies that can protect your PC for free. With most, you can also protect all your devices with a one-year subscription. Note, however, that this is largely unnecessary outside the Windows realm.
To this end, we've compiled a list of the best antivirus solutions for Windows, including both free antivirus and subscription options. This selection of the best antivirus programs is a combination of recommendations from independent third-party laboratories (AV-Test and AV-Comparatives) and our practical tests.
Please note that the free and paid services discussed here are independently selected by our editors. CNET will receive part of the revenue if you subscribe to one of the paid services through the links on this page.
Are you looking for free antivirus or virus detection, are you ready to pay for full virus coverage on all your devices, or do you want to immediately remove viruses or malware from your PC? Here is where to start.
Free version? Yes, integrated with Windows 10
Paid version: Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection Available to Corporate Users for a Fee
Honestly, if you consistently practice secure computing – you hold your software For example, using strong passwords (using the password manager) and avoiding unexpected emails and links – you can probably face problems such as zero-day attacks and ransomware attacks. With Microsoft's free Microsoft Defender antivirus software running on Windows 10, you have a safety net when you give up your vigilance. (Note that Microsoft recently changed the name of Windows Defender to Microsoft Defender and extended the service to other platforms.) This antivirus program is literally built into Windows stuff and this will cover the basics. Microsoft publishes new updates daily.
Platforms: Windows 10 Plus MacOS, Android, iOS
Cost: $ 100 a year for five devices, traded for $ 60
] The prestigious Symantec's Norton Security security firm has long received high scores for AV-Test virus and malware detection. A subscription for five devices through Norton Security usually costs $ 99.99. However, you can sign up for $ 59.99 to get coverage for PCs, Macs, Android devices, iPhones, and iPads. (Keep in mind, however, that antivirus protection outside the Windows realm is not particularly useful in our opinion.) In addition to malware and virus protection, you get 100GB of automatic backup to the cloud, secure browsing tools, VPN, and more Easy device management through a web browser console and LifeLock identity theft protection.
Platforms: Windows 10 Plus MacOS, Android
Free Version? Yes, after 14 trial expires
Paid version: $ 40 a year for one device, $ 60 a year for three devices
Malwarebytes protects your PC against viruses or malware malware infections. But Malwarebytes is not known for that. If you get into trouble, Malwarebytes is the most common disinfectant. You can get protection and disinfection for a device for $ 40 a year. For 10 devices – any combination of Windows, MacOS and Android – it is 130 US dollars. To get the free antivirus version, download this trial version, which is "downgraded" to a free, on-demand cleaner with fewer features that detects and removes viruses and malware when you run an on-demand scan.
Also Worth Considering
In addition to the three antivirus apps we recommend above, a handful of other antivirus tools should be considered among the best antivirus tools if you can find them at a cheaper price or for some reason prefer to use one of our tips above.
Free Version? Yes
Paid version: $ 80 a year for three PCs; 120 USD Family Pack per Year for 15 Devices
If you want to improve the security of your PC without straining your wallet, you can not beat the free Bitdefender for Windows 10 antivirus software. The Windows security software has real benefits of monitoring for virus, malware, spyware and ransomware protection. Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition is easy to set up and keeps you in the way until you need it. And the protection it offers is solid. Bitdefender consistently receives top scores for its antivirus protection and ease-of-use from the respected independent testing lab of AV-Test. The free antivirus version includes a Windows PC. For more comprehensive protection, Bitdefender Internet Security costs $ 80 and is currently available for $ 45. You can protect three computers, set parental controls on a child's computer, and run a VPN. To protect every device you own, the Bitdefender Family Pack 15 can secure devices (Windows, Android, iOS and MacOS) in your home for $ 120 (MSRP) and is currently priced at $ 60.
Platforms: Windows, MacOS, Android
Free Version? Yes
Paid version: $ 80 per year for three PCs
Avast's free anti-virus tool receives top marks from AV-Test for detecting viruses and malware. It can also remove viruses and malware to bring your system back under control after an attack. The free antivirus program monitors a PC and can also warn you about an unsecured Wi-Fi network and has a password manager. If you want to protect more than one device, you can protect three PCs from $ 80, block spam and phishing emails, and use the Avast Internet Security software to identify shady websites. Avast also offers free antivirus tools for Android and MacOS, as well as an iOS security app that includes a VPN and can look out for unprotected Wi-Fi networks.
If you need to cover more than three PCs, AVG was acquired by Avast in 2016 – offering similar coverage against online threats starting at $ 80 for 10 PCs through its AVG Internet Security software.
Platforms: Windows 10 Plus MacOS, Android, iOS
Cost: $ 110 a year for 10 devices, for sale for $ 45
It seems that the company has been on its own since the 80s, then from 2010 as part of Intel and then again on its own When Intel spun it out in 2017. And it's there forever, because it creates solid security software quarter by quarter that protects your PC. (Recent evaluations of AV-Test have yielded perfect results in detecting 0-day attacks and blocking common viruses and malware.) McAfee Total Protection protects against viruses, provides ransomware protection, protects against shady websites, and contains a password Manager and allows you to manage all your protected devices through the web console. A 10-device subscription typically costs $ 110 (RRP), but currently $ 45 for any combination of Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS devices.
Platforms: Windows 10 Plus MacOS, Android, iOS
Cost: $ 90 a year for 10 devices, on sale for $ 50
Due to its focus On enterprise security, Trend Micro may not be as well known to consumers. Trend Micro brings its expertise home quietly with its Trend Micro Maximum Security tools. Trend Micro software scores high marks with AV-Test – 100 percent detection of 0-day attacks and widespread viruses and malware. And Trend Micro is doing a good job not to burden system resources. Trend Micro's 10-device subscription for computers and mobile devices is priced at $ 90, currently $ 50.
Cost: $ 59 per year for three PCs
If you're looking for something that's easy to set up and use, ESET NOD Antivirus may be Your requirements. It is rated top-notch for its ease-of-use and offers solid antivirus protection. And its Android antivirus is rated top in third-party testing.
What about Kaspersky?
Since the company was on the news in recent years, let's talk about Kaspersky Lab – in particular, aboutthat prevents US government agencies from using Kaspersky's products.
Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab has been providing some of the best antivirus software for business and residential customers for years. In 2017, the US government banned Kaspersky software on federal government computers for alleged ties between Kaspersky and the Russian government.
In particular, the ban does not apply to consumer goods. But as withthe question remains: if the federal government believes that the products are not secure enough for their own devices, should consumers avoid this as well?
In a statement sent to CNET, the company said, "Kaspersky Lab has no relations with a government and the company has and will never conduct any cyber offensive activity." Kaspersky Lab claims that there was no public evidence of misconduct The US government's actions were unconstitutional and the US government's crackdown on Kaspersky Lab was unconstitutional. "
Kaspersky continues to award top scores and awards for virus and malware detection and endpoint protection from independent testing labs. The base price for antivirus protection for three devices costing $ 30 a year and full protection for ten devices – with Kaspersky Total Security – is $ 75 per year. In comparison, the Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus program for three devices costs $ 37.50 per year – and a single device for SecureAnywhere AntiVirus costs $ 30 per year.
Ultimately, we think one of the options listed above is safer, even though no one has publicly produced a "smoking gun" that links the company to Russian intrigues. And if you are an employee of the US government or are working with the federal government, you should stay away from Kaspersky.
Understanding Antivirus Programs: What to Look Out for
If you choose the best antivirus program for Windows, you need to find one that protects your PC, does not take up a lot of system resources, is easy to use, and remains in use until you use it Way stands. Here is something to look for.
Efficacy. Antivirus, of course, looks for known viruses and malware and provides real-time protection. And it looks for shady websites and suspicious links to keep you safe from problems. It can also provide ransomware protection and monitor unexpected behavior that can be a sign of new and unidentified viruses and malware. You want an antivirus program that can successfully detect these unknown threats without reporting too many false positives.
Light on system resources. You do not want an anti-virus program that puts a strain on your PC's resources. If after installing antivirus you are slowly opening websites, downloading apps, opening them slowly, or making file copies take longer than expected, you may want to try another service. The good news is that all of our picks offer a free trial to test the anti-virus program. So, if your system feels sluggish after installing antivirus solutions, you should keep looking.
Costs and discounts. Do not just pay the sticker price for antivirus. Before you buy, check the discounts on a company website. Another way to save: The prices listed above are for 10 devices – if the company offers this package – but you can reduce your costs with anti-virus packages if you only need to cover three or five devices. You may also find discounts on the Amazon page of an app.
Protection for other platforms. Microsoft is by far the biggest target for viruses and malware. However, Android is the second most common problem, as the biggest threat is from page-loaded apps-the ones you install outside the Google Play Store. According to Google, 0.99 percent of apps installed outside the Play Store were a potentially harmful app (PHA) in the last quarter of 2018. For those who are installed in the Play Store, the number drops to 0.042 percent. To be on the safe side, we do not recommend loading apps from the page, but sometimes, as withyou may want to. In that case, running virus and malware protection from a trusted security company is not a bad idea.
The threat to MacOS, and iOS in particular, is low, in part due to the tight control Apple has over its app stores. While the Mac is rarely attacked by page-loaded apps, you should be able to get by on Apple devices without an antivirus app by downloading apps from the Mac and iOS app stores only, and clicking on links and downloading files to stay updated.  Originally published on April 23rd. Updated to clarify Norton price details and LifeLock service options.