We compare and review anti-virus software. It's what we do.


Anti-virus software

Computer viruses can cause serious damage to your computer. They may delete important files, steal sensitive information or even stop your computer from working altogether. Because new viruses appear every day, it’s vital that you have effective anti-virus software.

Anti-virus software comparison chart for 2017

Displaying 1 to 10 of 17        Previous | Next

Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Norton Security Standard
G Data AntiVirus
AVG AntiVirus
McAfee AntiVirus Plus
ESET NOD32 Antivirus
Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security
Excellent
Five stars means excellent
Very good
Four stars means very good
Good
Three stars means good
Average
Two stars means average /
Poor
One star means poor
BitDefender AntiVirus Plus 2017 has been awarded best buy Product image of bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 Product image of vipre antivirus Product image of kaspersky anti-virus Product image of webroot secure anywhere antivirus Product image of norton security standard Product image of g data antivirus Product image of avg antivirus Product image of mcafee antivirus plus Product image of eset nod32 antivirus Product image of trend micro antivirus+ security
 
 
 
Percentage of people who bought this item
85.1% 1.0% 1.3% 6.4% 2.0% 1.2% 0.0% 0.0% 1.0% 0.0%

*$59.99
$21 off

*$39.95
$9.96 off

*$59.99
$25 off

*$39.99
$20 off
Ratings
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Protection
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Lab results
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Independent lab results
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Detection & removal
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ActiveX
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 detects activex vipre antivirus detects activex kaspersky anti-virus detects activex webroot secure anywhere antivirus detects activex norton security standard detects activex g data antivirus detects activex avg antivirus detects activex mcafee antivirus plus detects activex eset nod32 antivirus detects activex trend micro antivirus+ security detects activex
Adware
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 detects adware vipre antivirus detects adware kaspersky anti-virus detects adware webroot secure anywhere antivirus detects adware norton security standard detects adware g data antivirus detects adware avg antivirus detects adware mcafee antivirus plus detects adware eset nod32 antivirus detects adware trend micro antivirus+ security detects adware
Browser exploits
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 detects browser exploits vipre antivirus detects browser exploits kaspersky anti-virus detects browser exploits webroot secure anywhere antivirus detects browser exploits norton security standard detects browser exploits g data antivirus detects browser exploits avg antivirus detects browser exploits mcafee antivirus plus detects browser exploits eset nod32 antivirus detects browser exploits trend micro antivirus+ security detects browser exploits
Dialers
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 detects dialers vipre antivirus detects dialers kaspersky anti-virus detects dialers webroot secure anywhere antivirus detects dialers norton security standard detects dialers g data antivirus detects dialers avg antivirus detects dialers mcafee antivirus plus detects dialers eset nod32 antivirus detects dialers trend micro antivirus+ security detects dialers
Keyloggers
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 detects keyloggers vipre antivirus detects keyloggers kaspersky anti-virus detects keyloggers webroot secure anywhere antivirus detects keyloggers norton security standard detects keyloggers g data antivirus detects keyloggers avg antivirus detects keyloggers mcafee antivirus plus detects keyloggers eset nod32 antivirus detects keyloggers trend micro antivirus+ security detects keyloggers
Phishing
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 detects phishing vipre antivirus detects phishing kaspersky anti-virus detects phishing webroot secure anywhere antivirus detects phishing norton security standard detects phishing g data antivirus detects phishing avg antivirus detects phishing mcafee antivirus plus detects phishing eset nod32 antivirus detects phishing trend micro antivirus+ security detects phishing
Rootkits
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 detects rootkits vipre antivirus detects rootkits kaspersky anti-virus detects rootkits webroot secure anywhere antivirus detects rootkits norton security standard detects rootkits g data antivirus detects rootkits avg antivirus detects rootkits mcafee antivirus plus detects rootkits eset nod32 antivirus detects rootkits trend micro antivirus+ security detects rootkits
Script blocking
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 detects script blocking vipre antivirus detects script blocking kaspersky anti-virus detects script blocking webroot secure anywhere antivirus detects script blocking norton security standard detects script blocking g data antivirus detects script blocking avg antivirus detects script blocking mcafee antivirus plus detects script blocking eset nod32 antivirus detects script blocking trend micro antivirus+ security detects script blocking
Spam
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 detects spam vipre antivirus detects spam kaspersky anti-virus detects spam webroot secure anywhere antivirus detects spam norton security standard detects spam g data antivirus detects spam avg antivirus detects spam mcafee antivirus plus detects spam eset nod32 antivirus detects spam trend micro antivirus+ security detects spam
Spyware
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 detects spyware vipre antivirus detects spyware kaspersky anti-virus detects spyware webroot secure anywhere antivirus detects spyware norton security standard detects spyware g data antivirus detects spyware avg antivirus detects spyware mcafee antivirus plus detects spyware eset nod32 antivirus detects spyware trend micro antivirus+ security detects spyware
Trojans
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 detects trojans vipre antivirus detects trojans kaspersky anti-virus detects trojans webroot secure anywhere antivirus detects trojans norton security standard detects trojans g data antivirus detects trojans avg antivirus detects trojans mcafee antivirus plus detects trojans eset nod32 antivirus detects trojans trend micro antivirus+ security detects trojans
Viruses
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 detects viruses vipre antivirus detects viruses kaspersky anti-virus detects viruses webroot secure anywhere antivirus detects viruses norton security standard detects viruses g data antivirus detects viruses avg antivirus detects viruses mcafee antivirus plus detects viruses eset nod32 antivirus detects viruses trend micro antivirus+ security detects viruses
Detection technology
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Scans
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On-access scans
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 offers on-access scans vipre antivirus offers on-access scans kaspersky anti-virus offers on-access scans webroot secure anywhere antivirus offers on-access scans norton security standard offers on-access scans g data antivirus offers on-access scans avg antivirus offers on-access scans mcafee antivirus plus offers on-access scans eset nod32 antivirus offers on-access scans trend micro antivirus+ security offers on-access scans
On-demand scans
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 offers on-demand scans vipre antivirus offers on-demand scans kaspersky anti-virus offers on-demand scans webroot secure anywhere antivirus offers on-demand scans norton security standard offers on-demand scans g data antivirus does not offer on-demand scans avg antivirus offers on-demand scans mcafee antivirus plus offers on-demand scans eset nod32 antivirus offers on-demand scans trend micro antivirus+ security offers on-demand scans
Quick scans
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 includes quick scans vipre antivirus includes quick scans kaspersky anti-virus includes quick scans webroot secure anywhere antivirus includes quick scans norton security standard includes quick scans g data antivirus includes quick scans avg antivirus includes quick scans mcafee antivirus plus includes quick scans eset nod32 antivirus includes quick scans trend micro antivirus+ security includes quick scans
Deep scans
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 includes deep scans vipre antivirus includes deep scans kaspersky anti-virus includes deep scans webroot secure anywhere antivirus includes deep scans norton security standard includes deep scans g data antivirus includes deep scans avg antivirus includes deep scans mcafee antivirus plus includes deep scans eset nod32 antivirus includes deep scans trend micro antivirus+ security includes deep scans
Selective scans
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 includes selective scans vipre antivirus includes selective scans kaspersky anti-virus includes selective scans webroot secure anywhere antivirus includes selective scans norton security standard includes selective scans g data antivirus includes selective scans avg antivirus includes selective scans mcafee antivirus plus includes selective scans eset nod32 antivirus includes selective scans trend micro antivirus+ security includes selective scans
Scheduled scans
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 includes scheduled scans vipre antivirus includes scheduled scans kaspersky anti-virus includes scheduled scans webroot secure anywhere antivirus includes scheduled scans norton security standard includes scheduled scans g data antivirus includes scheduled scans avg antivirus includes scheduled scans mcafee antivirus plus includes scheduled scans eset nod32 antivirus includes scheduled scans trend micro antivirus+ security includes scheduled scans
Compressed files
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 includes compressed files vipre antivirus includes compressed files kaspersky anti-virus includes compressed files webroot secure anywhere antivirus includes compressed files norton security standard includes compressed files g data antivirus includes compressed files avg antivirus includes compressed files mcafee antivirus plus includes compressed files eset nod32 antivirus includes compressed files trend micro antivirus+ security includes compressed files
File exclusion
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 includes file exclusion vipre antivirus includes file exclusion kaspersky anti-virus includes file exclusion webroot secure anywhere antivirus includes file exclusion norton security standard includes file exclusion g data antivirus includes file exclusion avg antivirus includes file exclusion mcafee antivirus plus does not include file exclusion eset nod32 antivirus includes file exclusion trend micro antivirus+ security includes file exclusion
Updates
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Features
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Devices
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Extra protection
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Help & support
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Telephone support
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 offers telephone support vipre antivirus offers telephone support kaspersky anti-virus offers telephone support webroot secure anywhere antivirus offers telephone support norton security standard offers telephone support g data antivirus offers telephone support avg antivirus does not offer telephone support mcafee antivirus plus offers telephone support eset nod32 antivirus offers telephone support trend micro antivirus+ security offers telephone support
Email support
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 offers email support vipre antivirus offers email support kaspersky anti-virus offers email support webroot secure anywhere antivirus offers email support norton security standard offers email support g data antivirus offers email support avg antivirus offers email support mcafee antivirus plus does not offer email support eset nod32 antivirus offers email support trend micro antivirus+ security offers email support
Live chat
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 offers live chat vipre antivirus offers live chat kaspersky anti-virus offers live chat webroot secure anywhere antivirus offers live chat norton security standard does not offer live chat g data antivirus does not offer live chat avg antivirus offers live chat mcafee antivirus plus offers live chat eset nod32 antivirus offers live chat trend micro antivirus+ security offers live chat
Manual
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 offers manual vipre antivirus offers manual kaspersky anti-virus offers manual webroot secure anywhere antivirus offers manual norton security standard offers manual g data antivirus offers manual avg antivirus offers manual mcafee antivirus plus offers manual eset nod32 antivirus offers manual trend micro antivirus+ security offers manual
Knowledge base
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 offers knowledge base vipre antivirus offers knowledge base kaspersky anti-virus offers knowledge base webroot secure anywhere antivirus offers knowledge base norton security standard offers knowledge base g data antivirus offers knowledge base avg antivirus offers knowledge base mcafee antivirus plus offers knowledge base eset nod32 antivirus offers knowledge base trend micro antivirus+ security offers knowledge base
Forums
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 offers forums vipre antivirus offers forums kaspersky anti-virus offers forums webroot secure anywhere antivirus does not offer forums norton security standard offers forums g data antivirus does not offer forums avg antivirus offers forums mcafee antivirus plus offers forums eset nod32 antivirus offers forums trend micro antivirus+ security does not offer forums
FAQs
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 offers faqs vipre antivirus offers faqs kaspersky anti-virus offers faqs webroot secure anywhere antivirus offers faqs norton security standard offers faqs g data antivirus offers faqs avg antivirus offers faqs mcafee antivirus plus offers faqs eset nod32 antivirus offers faqs trend micro antivirus+ security offers faqs
Operating systems
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Windows 10
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017  windows 10 vipre antivirus  windows 10 kaspersky anti-virus  windows 10 webroot secure anywhere antivirus  windows 10 norton security standard  windows 10 g data antivirus  windows 10 avg antivirus  windows 10 mcafee antivirus plus  windows 10 eset nod32 antivirus  windows 10 trend micro antivirus+ security  windows 10
Windows 8
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017  windows 8 vipre antivirus  windows 8 kaspersky anti-virus  windows 8 webroot secure anywhere antivirus  windows 8 norton security standard  windows 8 g data antivirus  windows 8 avg antivirus  windows 8 mcafee antivirus plus  windows 8 eset nod32 antivirus  windows 8 trend micro antivirus+ security  windows 8
Windows 7
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 is compatible with windows 7 vipre antivirus is compatible with windows 7 kaspersky anti-virus is compatible with windows 7 webroot secure anywhere antivirus is compatible with windows 7 norton security standard is compatible with windows 7 g data antivirus is compatible with windows 7 avg antivirus is compatible with windows 7 mcafee antivirus plus is compatible with windows 7 eset nod32 antivirus is compatible with windows 7 trend micro antivirus+ security is compatible with windows 7
Windows Vista
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 is compatible with windows vista vipre antivirus is compatible with windows vista kaspersky anti-virus is compatible with windows vista webroot secure anywhere antivirus is compatible with windows vista norton security standard is compatible with windows vista g data antivirus is compatible with windows vista avg antivirus is compatible with windows vista mcafee antivirus plus is compatible with windows vista eset nod32 antivirus is compatible with windows vista trend micro antivirus+ security is compatible with windows vista
Windows XP
bitdefender antivirus plus 2017 is compatible with windows xp vipre antivirus is compatible with windows xp kaspersky anti-virus is compatible with windows xp webroot secure anywhere antivirus is compatible with windows xp norton security standard is compatible with windows xp g data antivirus is compatible with windows xp avg antivirus is compatible with windows xp mcafee antivirus plus is compatible with windows xp eset nod32 antivirus is compatible with windows xp trend micro antivirus+ security is compatible with windows xp

Anti-virus software explained

Computer viruses can be picked up from many sources, including emails, websites and files from friends. Good anti-virus software will monitor all these areas and more, to prevent infection at the source.

Most viruses target computers running Microsoft Windows, but you should choose anti-virus software carefully no matter what kind of computer you have. It could save your files and help you avoid having to reload your computer from scratch.

The best anti-virus software will actually keep you protected from all threats which fall into the category of ‘computer viruses’.

They include:

  • Viruses. Installed onto your computer without you realizing, some may just display strange messages – but others will be much more harmful.
  • Spyware. You won’t know these malicious programs are present on your computer, but they send your private data to hackers online.
  • Spam. This junk email can cause havoc with your inbox, clogging it up with rubbish and preventing legitimate messages from getting through.

Many anti-virus packages integrate closely with other software on your computer. This helps them identify viruses earlier – for instance, by analyzing websites you visit to check they aren’t trying to place a virus on your computer.

Dealing with viruses

Anti-virus software monitors your computer for suspicious files and programs. Most packages compare what’s on your computer to a regularly-updated list of viruses. The best will also watch for unusual activity that could be a virus.

If it discovers a problem, anti-virus software will put affected files into quarantine, where they can’t cause harm. You may then be able to remove the virus without destroying the files it is attached to.

Because new viruses are discovered every day, it’s important you choose anti-virus software that downloads updated information about viruses (also called ‘virus definitions’) regularly over the internet.

What to look for in anti-virus software

Effectiveness

The single most important feature of any anti-virus program is that it must detect and stop virus attacks before they occur. If an infection has already occurred it must be able to contain, remove and possibly repair infected files. Plus, all of this should be accomplished without slowing your system to a crawl.

A good scanner should be able to detect zero day viruses as easily as it detects classics such as the 1999 'Melissa virus' and although this may seem obvious, it should effectively remove all traces of a virus from your computer.

Anti-virus software shouldn't be paranoid, flagging legitimate software as malware and otherwise interfering with your day to day use. A well designed program will keep your information safe without having a detrimental effect on system performance or interfering with day-to-day use.

Bear in mind that effectiveness can also be directly related to the frequency of virus definition updates. Software vendors that do multiple updates daily are more likely to catch the newest threats.

Performance

The biggest complaint that computer users have about anti-virus software is its potential to degrade overall system performance. However, an efficiently designed scanner shouldn't have any noticeable impact on your computer and should be able to scan files and folders quickly.

Protection levels

Effective anti-virus will use a number of different strategies to prevent and detect malware. Signature based detection is the most common, but heuristic-based detection is also used by the top anti-virus developers. The bottom line is that anti-virus software should protect you against viruses, worms and Trojans and if it can also protect you against spyware and rootkits even better.

Updates

In terms of updates, your anti-virus should give you the ability to set a scheduled automatic update as well as allow manual updates to ensure you always have the latest virus definitions installed. Some of the better security software vendors will also push updates to their anti-virus programs as new threats are identified.

Certifications

The most reliable way to gauge the effectiveness of any anti-virus program is to look for its certifications. These are awarded through independent testing and research organizations. These research companies regularly compare different software titles for speed, system impact and on-demand/on-access scanning performance.

Since certification testing is paid for by the vendor, it is important to remember that a lack of certification doesn't necessarily mean that the software has failed testing. It may mean that the developers never submitted the program for assessment. For example, in the case of a small new company, they may not have the budget to accommodate testing costs. Despite this caveat, certification remains one of the few ways to accurately measure how well anti-virus software works.

There are four established and respected anti-virus testing organizations. They are:

Anti-virus software carrying a seal of approval from these test organizations will undoubtedly do the job efficiently.

Ease of use

Since your anti-virus software will be used on a daily basis, it should be both easy to understand and operate whether you are a complete novice or seasoned expert. Walkthroughs, alerts and warnings should be straight forward and clear in their direction.

Help & support

Help and support are critical components in choosing an anti-virus program or full security system. Most companies will offer standard support such as FAQs or online manuals and some will have active user forums. However, these may not always answer the questions you have. Tougher problems may require telephone and/or email support which could incur additional fees. Apart from the limitations in features, one of the main differences between paid and free anti-virus tools is often the inclusion of technical support.

Q. What is a computer virus?

A. Computer virus is a tiny software program that is capable of replicating itself and spreading from one infected computer to other computers either via a network connection, website download or through email attachments.

Q. What harm can a virus do?

A. Once installed, a virus can do many things such as erase your entire hard drive, infect your email program and send itself to everyone in your address book or disable your computer security thereby opening your computer to even more opportunistic threats online.

Q. Who creates viruses?

A. Virus writers are often referred to as 'cyber-vandals'. These programmers are split into groups, each of which has different motivations for writing viruses. The most active group today use viruses to capture and steal personal data as well as financial information and passwords for identity theft and fraud purposes. However, there are still a number of cyber-vandals whose intent remains fixed on disruption and/or destruction of hard drive contents and internet service. One example of this would be a 'denial of service' attack that can cripple corporate websites.

Q. How did my computer become infected?

A. Though many infections occur from visiting compromised or hacked websites, the most common method of infection is through email attachments, often sent from people you know who are unaware that their computer is infected. Something as benign as a funny image, audio/video file and even a greeting card could actually be carrying a computer virus waiting to infect your system.

Q. How can I prevent a virus attack?

A. Despite their potential to do harm, there are several steps you can take to help protect yourself from infection such as:

  1. Avoid opening emails or attachments from people you don't know - and unless you are aware that someone is sending you an attachment, don't open one from a friend until you've confirmed that it is legitimate.
  2. Keep your computer up to date with all the latest security patches for your software and operating system.
  3. Install and use an anti-virus program or security suite. Scan all email attachments and downloads before opening.
  4. Stay informed about new security threats and try not to run your computer as administrator unless absolutely necessary.

The old adage that 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure' certainly applies to dealing with viruses.

Q. Are the established anti-virus companies the best ones to use?

A. Programs such as BitDefender and Kaspersky have been around for a long time and with good reason. Their developers are experts in security threats and their knowledge translates into solid anti-virus scanners.

Q. What are updates?

In order to maintain the highest level of virus protection, regular signature updates must be installed.

Q. What are certifications?

You can also easily check which programs are effective by looking for certifications. Most of the major players will be certified by Checkmark, ICSALabs and VB100% after having met the expectations of AV-Test.org through rigorous testing.

Q. Do we need to have use both an anti-virus and anti-spyware scanner?

A. The answer to this really depends on your internet surfing habits as well as what programs you use. Some spyware is bundled with legitimate software titles, iTunes and Bonjour spring to mind. Plus some websites are more prone to malware infection, such as gaming and music sites. So, your risk of infection is highly individual. However, if you've had a problem with slow performance, pop-ups and other nuisance computer issues, it may be worth checking your system for spyware and protecting it from future infection. Running both an anti-virus solution and antispyware certainly couldn't hurt.

Q. Do I have to uninstall the existing anti-virus program before installing a new one?

A. The short answer is yes - uninstall the old anti-virus program and reboot your computer before you begin installing the new program.

Q. Why don't you review all anti-virus software on the market?

A. Though there are many anti-virus titles available on the market, we've focused on the top performers that we feel offer not only the best available scanning systems but also good value for money.

Jargon explained

On demand scan

Also known as a manual scan. This when a scan is initiated by the user and not the software. It is the opposite of a scheduled or automatic scan.

On access scan

On access scanning checks files and programs as they are 'accessed' or opened to identify potential security threats.

Heuristic scanning

Heuristic scanning performs piece-by-piece examinations of suspected malware files and identifies sequences that differentiate viruses from normal programs.

False positives

Sometime legitimate software is erroneously identified as a malware threat generating a 'false positive' result from your anti-virus. Since anti-virus programs rely heavily on signatures to identify malware, the method isn't completely foolproof. Some identified virus signatures can also exist in legitimate software titles.

False negatives

When a malware scanner fails to detect a virus, it is referred to as a 'false negative'. This can occur if the virus is either too new, has a faulty signature or a defective configuration setting.

Quarantine

Anti-virus quarantine works in much the same way as hospitals quarantine patients with infectious diseases, the program will isolate a potential threat and place it into a secure folder that is not easily accessible to other parts of the system.

Within the quarantine dialog of most anti-virus software, users can examine a log that identifies what file was initially infected and are given the option to either permanently delete the suspicious file or to reinstate it in the event of a false positive.

Virus signature

A virus signature is an algorithm, made up of digits, that uniquely identifies a specific malware threat or group of viruses known as a 'family'. Signatures can be either a calculated snippet of code or an identified behaviour, such as trying to access certain programs or parts of the operating system without user initiation or awareness.

Zero day virus

A newly created virus that doesn't have a previously identified signature.

Rank
BitDefender AntiVirus Plus 2017
VIPRE Antivirus
Kaspersky Anti-Virus
Webroot Secure Anywhere AntiVirus
Norton Security Standard
G Data AntiVirus
AVG AntiVirus
McAfee AntiVirus Plus
ESET NOD32 Antivirus
Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security