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Antivirus Compare (Windows and Android)

CyberSecurity

Comparing Windows’s Antivirus

  • Antivirus

  • Product

  • Protection
  • Performance
  • Usability
  • Ease of Scanning
  • Resource Use
  • First Quick Scan (Min)
  • Average Full Scan
  • Bitdefender

  • Internet Security

  • 98
  • 100
  • 100
  • 100
  • 91
  • 1.75
  • 60
  • Kaspersky

  • Total Security

  • 96
  • 97
  • 100
  • 75
  • 95
  • 2
  • 61
  • BullGuard

  • Antivirus

  • 96
  • 90
  • 90
  • 92
  • 98
  • 1
  • 56
  • McAfee

  • LiveSafe

  • 95
  • 90
  • 100
  • 67
  • 100
  • 6
  • 56
  • F-Secure

  • Anti-Virus

  • 96
  • 92
  • 92
  • 83
  • 85
  • 1
  • 23
  • Avira

  • Internet Security Suite

  • 98
  • 80
  • 100
  • 67
  • 90
  • 0.5
  • 63
  • Trend Micro

  • Internet Security

  • 96
  • 80
  • 95
  • 92
  • 85
  • 1
  • 45
  • Avast

  • Free Antivirus

  • 96
  • 85
  • 100
  • 58
  • 85
  • 18
  • 58
  • AhnLab

  • Security

  • 90
  • 85
  • 90
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • AVG

  • Free Antivirus

  • 96
  • 75
  • 100
  • 75
  • 89
  • 0
  • 30
  • Panda

  • Free Antivirus

  • 94
  • 75
  • 95
  • 75
  • 93
  • 8
  • 57
  • Symantec

  • Norton Security

  • 95
  • 80
  • 95
  • 58
  • 88
  • 3.75
  • 41
  • Qihoo 360

  • Total Security

  • 94
  • 65
  • 100
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • eScan

  • Anti-Virus

  • 87
  • 75
  • 95
  • 67
  • 85
  • 1.5
  • 35
  • ESET

  • NOD32 Antivirus

  • 87
  • 58
  • 100
  • 67
  • 99
  • 0
  • 53
  • G Data

  • Internet Security

  • 92
  • 50
  • 100
  • 83
  • 95
  • 5
  • 43
  • Emsisoft

  • Anti-Malware

  • 89
  • 60
  • 90
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • Windows

  • Windows Defender

  • 65
  • 85
  • 90
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0

 

The term “antivirus software” stems from the early days of computer viruses, in which programs were created to remove viruses and prevent them from spreading. However, over the years, different types of malicious software, often called malware, emerged as threats to personal and work computers worldwide. “Malware” is an umbrella term to describe several different kinds of malicious programs, including computer viruses.

Although antivirus software evolved to combat new malware, the term “antivirus” stuck, even though the term anti malware is truer to the software’s capabilities. To give you an idea of the different types of malware out there, we’ve identified malware types that are potential threats to computer systems today.

antivirus-for-computers

 

Worms

These malicious programs are designed to replicate themselves quickly with the intent to spread to other computers, often through a computer network. Although they may not be designed to intentionally impair computer systems, worms generally do some sort of damage or harm to the network itself by consuming bandwidth, at the very least. Most worms are designed only to spread as quickly as possible, so they may not try to change the computer systems they pass through. However, worms have been and are capable of creating backdoor security vulnerabilities, deleting files or even sending files via email. This is a common method for spam senders to spread junk email quickly, as the more computers the worms infect, the faster the spam mail spreads.

Trojan Horses

Trojan horses, or Trojans for short, are different from worms in that they are not designed to replicate themselves. Rather, Trojans are designed to trick you into downloading and executing them to cause data loss, theft and sometimes total-system harm. Just as in the ancient Greek story of the wooden horse designed to deceive the soldiers of Troy, Trojans present themselves as useful, interesting or routine programs to trick you into installing them on your computer.

Spyware

This software is designed to gather information about you without your knowledge. This information can be sent to another party without your consent, and in some rather malicious cases, it can even be used to take control over a computer. Spyware is capable of collecting any type of data, including your internet history and banking information. Some forms of spyware can install additional software or change your internet or browser settings, which can be a mere annoyance or a problem that can take days to fix.

Ransom ware

This incarnation of malware infects your computer with the intention of restricting access to your computer system, perhaps preventing you from surfing the internet or accessing the hard drive, and then demanding a payment to the malware creators. The trouble with this software is that it tries to imitate the look of genuine, trusted software to trick you into buying a solution. For example, some forms of ransom ware tell you that your user license for a particular application has expired and you need to repurchase the license. Some of the trickiest ransom ware creators have acquired millions of dollars from unsuspecting users.

Rootkits

Rootkits are stealthy types of malware that attempt to hide from typical methods of detection and allow continued privileged access to a computer. This essentially means that the rootkit attempts to gain administrator access on your computer and then hides itself so you don’t know it is on your system. This type of malware is generally difficult to detect and remove because it tries to embed itself thoroughly and deeply into your computer’s system.

Malware is not limited to these five examples, but this gives you a sense of how malicious and vicious malware can be. Fortunately, antivirus software is designed to combat these threats by preventing the programs from entering your system and quarantining and removing any malware that does get through. The best way to protect yourself from malware is to update your computer system when prompted and to purchase third-party antivirus software that protects your computer 24/7.

apple-desk-laptop-working

 

Is Antivirus Software Necessary?

You may ask yourself why you need antivirus software when your computer comes with, or makes readily available, free antivirus software found in Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials. Windows Defender has been available since the Windows Vista days as an antispyware program, designed to monitor and detect programs that try to gather information about you without your knowledge. With the release of Windows 8, Windows Defender was upgraded to offer additional antivirus protection features. Windows 10 comes with Windows Defender built in to the operating system itself. Microsoft Security Essentials offers antivirus protection against viruses, spyware, Trojans and rootkits, and it is available on Windows XP, Vista and 7 but not on Windows 8.

With these protections in place, why would you ever need to download a third-party antivirus program? The answer is performance.

Although Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials offer built-in support and Microsoft continues to improve upon these systems, they don’t generate high scores in the tests conducted by AV-Test, the respected independent antivirus software test lab. This is expected to a point, as these programs were designed as a baseline of protection for users who don’t plan on purchasing commercial antivirus protection. However, AV-Test regularly publishes its test results comparing both Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials to the top third-party antivirus programs. The third-party systems score higher every single time.

So, is antivirus software necessary when Windows already has built-in protections against viruses? Although baseline virus protections can give you some sense of security, you want the top-performing antivirus programs to make sure you are always protected. AV-Test tests two separate categories of malware or virus interception: the detection of widespread and prevalent viruses and the detection of zero-day, or brand-new, malware attacks. In both categories of tests, Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials performed poorer than the industry standard, regardless of which Windows operating system was used during the tests. This means that third-party antivirus programs are more capable of protecting your computer, and you, against malicious virus attacks.

Free vs. Paid Antivirus Software

As you search for the best antivirus software, you’re going to run into free software that claims it is as capable as paid programs. If you were to rank antivirus software categories into three different tiers, you’d find free software in the bottom tier, with the least functionality and protection. Although free software can be enticing, free antivirus protection is not as capable as paid software. All free programs can scan for viruses, but only some of them scan for malware automatically and offer real-time protection or browser add-ons to help you avoid bad links. Most advanced features are limited to paid antivirus programs.

One annoyance of free antivirus software is that each program displays ads for the full, paid version of the product. This doesn’t detract from the free version’s performance or capability, but it can be distracting and annoying. Some programs even immediately launch your web browser and link to their company’s website if you click on a feature that isn’t available in the free version, which may be minor but annoying nonetheless.

Perhaps the biggest frustration with even the best free antivirus programs is the general lack of support offered by the developers. Paid programs generally offer extensive technical support, allowing you to contact the manufacturer via email, phone and live chat. Free programs generally leave you fending for yourself with user manuals or a knowledgebase in which you have to comb through information before you find helpful material specific to you.

Choosing the Best Antivirus for Your PC

Perhaps the most confusing part of shopping for antivirus software is finding the best program for your needs. Besides free programs, there are generally three recognized tiers of virus protection: antivirus software, internet security suites and premium security suites. Antivirus software is the lowest tier and is regarded as entry-level viral protection. Internet security suites, the next tier of protection, offer more functionality with further protections, such as firewalls and antispam tools. The top tier of virus protection is premium security suites, which are comprehensive tools to help you protect your system from the most aggressive malware with a variety of measures and protections.

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