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Free antivirus programs do not cost anything to install or maintain, though you may have to re-register yearly. Fee-based antivirus suites offer additional features, some of which may improve protection. If you buy an antivirus suite, know that they require yearly renewal.

These various added layers serve to enhance your protection against malware. Spyware comes in many forms, from hidden programs that log your every keystroke to Trojans that masquerade as valid programs while mining your personal data. Any antivirus should handle spyware, along with all other types of malware, but some include specialized components devoted to spyware protection.

When you connect to the wild and wooly internet, you risk the possibility that your data could be compromised in transit. Sticking to HTTPS websites when possible can help, but for full protection of your data in transit you should install a Virtual Private Network, or VPN. This component is important enough that we’re starting to see it as a bonus feature in some antivirus tools. We’re seeing more and more antivirus products adding modules specifically designed for ransomware protection. Given the growth of this scourge, any added protection is beneficial.

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  • The password managers are often quite good, but the online storage can be paltry and the VPN services often don’t give you unlimited data.
  • List prices start at $80-$100 per year, but make sure you really need those extra tools you’re paying for.
  • The program is also very customizable, letting you tweak its appearance and functions to suit your style.
  • AVG shares a decent, if unspectacular, malware-detection engine with its corporate sibling Avast while having a much lighter system-performance impact.

Firewalls and Netgear Genie spam filtering aren’t common antivirus features, but some of our top products include them as bonus features. In fact, some of these antivirus products are more feature-packed than certain products sold as security suites. Whitelisting is another approach to the problem of unknown programs. A whitelist-based security system only allows known good programs to run. Sandboxing lets unknown programs run, but it isolates them from full access to your system, so they can’t do permanent harm.

We’ve named these four Editors’ Choice for commercial antivirus, but they’re not the only products worth consideration. Read the reviews of our top-rated products, and then make your own decision. Your antivirus utility works in the background to keep out any faint possibility of infestation by malware, but its abilities don’t extend beyond the bounds of your computer.

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Kaspersky Anti-Virus and Bitdefender Antivirus Plus routinely take perfect or near-perfect scores from the independent antivirus testing labs. A single subscription for McAfee AntiVirus Plus lets you install protection on all your Windows, Android, Mac OS, and iOS devices. And its unusual behavior-based detection technology means Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus is the tiniest antivirus around.

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