Computers have changed almost every aspect of life that includes helping students learn, to monitoring patients in hospitals, to regulating crucial manufacturing processes. The increasing dependence on computers and gadgets has also brought a rise in cyberthreats, like malware, viruses and ransomware. Antivirus software detects these threats to stop the computer from being damaged or stealing personal data.
When deciding on an antivirus program, it is important to look at its virus-scanning capabilities, if it has a fire wall, and how it performs on independent laboratory tests. It is also important to consider its customer service and how often it updates itself and the number of devices it can protect. Certain programs, like Norton come with additional features that protect your online privacy and prevent identity theft.
The best programs provide a variety of protection options. They offer heuristic detection which looks for signs that are typical of malware or viruses and signature matching that matches files against a database of known malicious code. Some programs also utilize sandboxing to block the suspicious files and puts them in a sealed virtual environment, where they are unable to do any harm.
Some of the most effective antivirus software is available for free. However, they might not offer as many features as paid alternatives. For instance, Bitdefender’s free version performed very well in our tests and has a firewall. However, its premium version includes parental controls as well as a file shredder, and a password manager. Also, Malwarebytes’ free version scored top marks in AV-Test for 2023 but fell short in our test for usability. Intego Mac Security X9 provides a powerful combination of tools, including VirusBarrier and NetBarrier, which removed and identified the most malware threats we tested.