How to Pick the Antivirus Software That’s Best for You

Which Antivirus Software Is Best for You?

Let’s look into it.

Choosing the antivirus program that’s best suited to your needs can be a tricky proposition. Free and paid services abound on the Internet, and being spoiled for choice isn’t always a good thing. When you make a decision about which piece of software you’re going to trust with your computer’s security, it should be an informed one.

Antivirus software typically adheres to one of three payment models: Annual subscription, Free, and Trial Period followed by Annual Subscription. This article will examine in brief the best antivirus software options available for Mac, PC, and mobile platforms.

Best Antivirus for Your PC

Norton Antivirus, the Symantec Corporation’s flagship pay for subscription antivirus software, is a full-service program. Norton is equipped with malware prevention and removal tools, a complex set of heuristics and signatures with which to identify viruses, and an e-mail spam filter complete with an advanced anti-phishing program. Norton is widely available as a download, as OEM software, and by box purchase at retailers. It and its sister program, Norton Internet Security, comprise more than half of the US retail market in e-security packages.

AVG is another recognizable name in e-security. The Czech-manufactured securities solutions software is fully compatible with all recent Windows operating systems, and is also available for shareware OS’s like Linux. AVG recently became available for Mac OS X, a previously untapped field. Available both in a stripped-down freeware version and commercially as a brawnier securities suite, AVG 9.0 is equipped with identity behavioral protection, theft protection, white listing, cloud operations, and signature-based virus blocking. Between its Resident Shield, firewall, Linkscanner anti-phishing suite, and ID shielding modules it provides a high degree of internet security.  AVG does not allow the installation of rival security suites.

Kaspersky Antivirus is the newest competitor in PC antivirus software. While it suffers from some minor interface issues and looks a little less polished than big names like AVG and Norton, its capabilities are very much in line with those of its competitors. If you’re a bit more adventurous, this product from Russian developer Kaspersky Labs features an aggressive suite of detection and removal tools for dealing with adware, auto-dialers, keylogging programs, spyware, malware, worms, Trojans, and viruses in general. Instant updates are something of a feature via the Kaspersky Security Network, and the home lab is quick to identify new threats “in the wild.” Kaspersky is a fairly economical option at around $70.00 for a yearly subscription.


Best Antivirus Software for Your MAC

When most people think of Macs, they think of the common belief that viruses just aren’t written for Apple’s operating systems. Wrong. They’re much rarer than viruses targeting Windows, but that doesn’t make them any less of a threat to your security.  Cross-platform viruses also pose a significant security risk, but luckily Mac’s security offerings are excellent. Let’s look at some of the industry leaders.

Sophos Antivirus is based on the Sophos Endpoint Security program, a service employed by major investing firms and businesses in the mid-2000’s. While the interface feels a bit dated and labyrinthine, the degree of protection Sophos offers is really quite considerable. All forms of detrimental viruses, malware, etc. are accounted for by its signature-based engine, and its anti-spam modules are quite comprehensive. Another point in Sophos’ favor is that its free version is almost as thorough as the pay-for-service module!

BitDefender Antivirus is another great antivirus program available to Mac users. For a $39.95 yearly subscription fee, it provides real-time antivirus protection, regular system scans, and a quarantine feature that isolates suspicious files for inspection by BitDefender staff. Given the growing threat of Mac-targeted malware, BitDefender’s strong anti-malware suite can look pretty attractive. It’s also capable of interacting with Windows without any hiccups.

McAfee VirusScan was designed with keyloggers and backdoor viruses like trojans in mind.  These programs can endanger delicate network assets, and while network visibility is a key concern for dealing with issues like these, Macs are notoriously difficult to achieve transparency with due to their battened-down user interface. McAfee VirusScan provides an easy suite of controls for achieving just that. McAfee’s interface options are nice to have, and the protection they provide against malware and viruses is considerable. A definite option for Mac users.


Best Antivirus for Mobile Platforms

Mobile Platform antivirus protection is an emerging field, and as such there’s a lot of competition. A little independent footwork for Indie antivirus programs can be rewarding, but reliability should always be your chief concern and as such there are a few standouts in the market.

Norton Mobile Security is a big name in PC antivirus protection. Its mobile device security suites offer antivirus and malware protection, as well as a convenient lockout option to screen unwanted calls or messages, and a very handy Find and Lock program executable from a home computer should the phone become lost or stolen. Similarly, a phone can be wiped remotely in related circumstances. Compatible with Android 2 and more recent platforms, Norton Mobile Security is compact and available in a free Norton-LITE version.

AVG Mobile Antivirus is a free Android app built to scan for and destroy viruses.  Its auto-scan feature and use of GPS means you can program it to automatically wipe itself clean of data in the event of theft, and the interface is so similar to AVG’s home office products that if you’ve used AVG on your laptop or desktop computer it won’t even feel like a transition.  A ten-dollar fee upgrades your service to include anti-phishing and anti-spam programs, also.

Bullguard Mobile Security 10 is a relatively new competitor.  Compatible with Blackberry, Motorola Nokia, HTC, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, and other platforms, Bullguard is equipped with antivirus and anti-spyware protection. It also includes a clever program that keeps an eye on your calendar and contact list to map suspicious activity, as well as the industry-standard firewall and spam filters (available to Symbian and Windows Mobile platform users). Bullguard runs at a $30 dollar yearly subscription fee, but it’s definitely worth checking out.

At the end of the day, for most users, BitDefender is our favorite option. It’s among the cheapest at $39 per year, and it’s got all the features most users need. It’s simple, clean to look at, and easy to operate. No annoying constant warnings.

To make your own decision, we recommend reading our Anti-Virus Software Reviews page.


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