The Best Antivirus Software of 2018

Computer viruses are rampant these days. Whether you feel you are safe from harm or not, cyberthieves have many insidious ways of gaining access to your system. The truly unfortunate reality of it is that you probably won’t even know you’ve been affected until it’s too late

  • Supports all platforms
  • Includes firewall
  • Real-time protection
  • Blocks malicious URLs automatically
9.8

Outstanding

  • Includes a guarantee: you remain virus free or it is 100% refundable
  • Data breach notifications
  • Stolen funds reimbursement
  • Does not slow down your device performance
9.8

Outstanding

  • Includes password manager
  • Continuous scanning for malicious code
  • Reliable real-time protection
  • Cross-platform
9.8

Outstanding

Viruses, at the very least can be very annoying. At their worst, they can completely shut down your systems so that your devices don’t respond at all and your files and applications won’t even open. If your computer does become infected with a virus, depending on how bad it is, you could risk losing valuable files and information or even lose the functionality of your computer completely.

 

With new threats coming online every single day, you need to be protected. Luckily, there are plenty of reputable companies that specialize in antivirus software and most of them are very good. The problem with having so much choice is that it’s not so much whether the software will do what you need it to do; it’s more about narrowing the playing field. With all the various brands to consider, which one do you choose?

 

We’ve hand-picked some of the top-rated antivirus software brands on the market today to profile in this post. Hopefully, one will stand out as being right for you.

 

What is antivirus software and what does it do?

Antivirus software is an application that runs on your computer or device. It checks for malicious software, viruses, adware, and other forms of malicious code that could harm you or your device. For antivirus software to work properly, it should be installed and running on your computer at all times.

 

Antivirus software works with your firewall to stop incoming cyber-attacks. It will also prevent you from opening or downloading malicious code or running applications that contain malicious code. While some downloads can look perfectly safe, they may be a wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing – in other words, much “bad code” is designed to look harmless to the untrained eye. These days, it’s getting harder and harder to spot. That’s why it’s good to have a little extra help.

 

Which antivirus software is right for me?

There are literally hundreds of antivirus software providers, but the most reputable ones are the players who are already established in the market.

 

1.    McAfee Antivirus Plus Total Protection

McAfee offers several plans, depending on features and how many devices you need to protect. They also offer business and enterprise versions for companies who need to protect their fleet and device-specific apps if you only need to protect your phone or iPad, for instance. Plan pricing ranges from $54.99 to $99.99 per year. Currently they have a special deal that offers protection for 10 devices for $44.99, which is $55 off their top tiered consumer plan.

 

McAfee Pros:

  • Supports all platforms
  • Includes firewall
  • Real-time protection
  • Behavior-based detection
  • Blocks malicious URLs automatically
  • Phishing protection
  • Free support for the duration of your subscription
  • Does not slow down your device performance
  • Easy to install and use
  • 30-day free trial

 

McAfee Cons:

  • Does not detect as many malicious threats as some other solutions

 

2.    Symantec Norton Antivirus

Norton Antivirus is a best-selling antivirus solution that ranges from $19.99 per year for one device to $54.99 for up to 10 devices. They also include a product called LifeLock, which protects one device and gives you identity theft protection also. Monthly subscriptions for Security Standard with LifeLock can be purchased for $9.99 per month. Wi-Fi protection is also available as a standalone for $4.99 per month.

 

Symantec Norton Antivirus Pros:

  • Protects you from malware, spyware, adware, viruses, and most other known threats
  • Includes a guarantee: you remain virus free or it is 100% refundable
  • Data breach notifications
  • Stolen funds reimbursement
  • Does not slow down your device performance
  • Easy to install and use
  • Password protection
  • 24/7 live support
  • Includes firewall
  • Family safety/parental controls
  • Includes cloud storage and backup on premium plans
  • Multi-platform support
  • Gaming mode
  • Free trial available

 

Symantec Norton Antivirus Cons:

  • Sometimes tags legit sites as malicious

 

3.    Bitdefender

Bitdefender offers three plans that range from $59.99 per year for one device to $89.99 per year for five devices. Currently, they have a special that gives you protection for five devices for $49.99, which seems a bit odd – especially if you only need to protect one device.

 

Bitdefender Pros:

  • Includes password manager
  • Continuous scanning for malicious code
  • Reliable real-time protection
  • Includes ransomware protection
  • Cross-platform
  • Clean, user-friendly interface
  • Gaming mode
  • Customized scanning modes
  • 24/7 live support and great user community

 

Bitdefender Cons:

  • May slow down your device or computer
  • A bit pricey for a single device
  • No Apple protection unless you purchase a premium plan
  • Many of the advanced features (including parental controls) are only available on a premium plan
  • A little more complex and advanced to install and run
  • VIP tech support is an extra charge
  • No free trial

 

4.    Kaspersky Antivirus 2018

Kaspersky Antivirus offers plans that run $29.99/year for three devices to $39.99/year for five devices. They also offer bigger discounts if you choose a longer term, such as three years or five years.

 

Kaspersky Pros:

  • Real-time and on-demand scanning
  • Phishing protection
  • Easy to install and set up
  • Password manager
  • Lost/stolen phone protection (premium plans only)
  • Web filtering
  • Free version available

 

Kaspersky Cons:

  • For Mac and device protection you must purchase the Internet Security or Total Security package
  • Parental controls are only offered on premium plans
  • Basic plans don’t offer the same value as premium plans
  • Free version does not protect against all threats
  • Reported compatibility issues with some apps (like Dropbox)
  • Better for advanced users
  • Slow scanning time
  • Expensive compared to other providers

 

Antivirus software roundup

While it was difficult to choose which antivirus software to focus on, these are among the most popular and highly rated solutions available in 2018.

 

Summing up, we found McAfee to be one of the best all-around values with a generous free trial period although if you are concerned about specific types of threats, you might want to read the fine print as there are a few things it does not protect against.

 

Symantec Norton Antivirus has a ton of features but the plans themselves are a little confusing to navigate. Too many choices! That said, LifeLock is pretty cool, the Wi-Fi protection is great for travelers, and it’s agile for the most part – and they guarantee their solution or your money back.

 

Bitdefender has a lot of good points and rates high among users, but to get some of the cooler features you have to purchase a premium plan. The basic plan just doesn’t hold the same value and there is no free trial.

 

Kaspersky Antivirus 2018 is a solid and reliable offering, but it is expensive and geared towards advanced users. You have to pay for multi-platform coverage and some premium features are unavailable on the basic plan.

 

To learn more about antivirus software and other cybersecurity topics, check this space often.