What is the best antivirus software?

We look at how you can protect your PC

People regularly ask me, "What do you consider to be the best antivirus software currently available?"

If only they understood the brain melting complexity of such a question. There are a large number of very good antivirus products currently on the market, but the unfortunate (and untrue) perception is that a good antivirus program is an impenetrable shield of steel, providing guaranteed protection against any form of nasty stuff likely to ever be encountered. A common reaction from many of our customers goes something like this — "What do you mean my PC is virus infected? I use Gumblestump Antivirus!"

In a lot of circumstances the most important aspect in keeping your PC Virus and Malware free is the amount of risk it is exposed to. I know of people who have gotten away with not using any kind of security software on their PC and have miraculously remained virus- and malware-free. They use their computers very occasionally, only ever visit low risk Web sites like the ABC or The Bureau of Meteorology, and only ever open emails from people they know. This is certainly not recommended, and I advised them to obtain some antivirus or internet security software ASAP.

There are people who, despite having the latest, greatest, up to date antivirus software, continue to get regularly infected

Conversely, there are people who, despite having the latest, greatest, up to date antivirus software, continue to get regularly infected. Why? It’s the way they use their PC. There are areas of great security risk that average users can expose their PC to. One of the worst is peer to peer file sharing software. Many people around the world install this type of software, which is often available for free, and then proceed to share files amongst other users on the network.

This exposes your PC to great risk, as you don’t know where the files are coming from, or indeed, if they are actually what they claim to be. Many of our customers have been subjected to a common form of attack, when they try to play a media file they have shared, such as a song, or a video clip. Instead of playing the file, windows media player tells them that it needs to download a certain plug-in or codec. The unsuspecting user clicks the "Yes" button, impatiently waiting for their file to play. Malicious code is installed and suddenly the PC is infected.

This is probably the #1 most common form of virus attack we see in the DCA repair centre.

Web surfing habits also play a large part in exposure to risk. A commonly used tactic by virus writers is called the "drive by" infection. Most PC users don’t realise that merely viewing a web page can send malicious code straight to their HDD. This is why PC users who frequent "less orthodox" websites such as "warez" download sites, cracks and serial number sites, and our good old favourite "adult" websites are exposing their PC to much greater risk of infection. It’s a bit like hanging around with a crowd of people who are all really sick with the flu, and thinking you will be OK, because you have had a flu vaccination this year.

So, to reiterate — try to minimise your PC's risk exposure. Make sure that if others, such as your children, friends, Uncle Ken or your next door neighbour uses your PC, you know what they have been doing with it. Hey — what’s this new "FrostLime" icon on my desktop?

Now to answer the question presented in the title asked in the headline of this article. There are many good antivirus and internet security programs available on the market today. They each have strengths and weaknesses. I like to divide their capabilities into three major categories.

Tags securityantivirus

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Glenn Howlett

PC World

44 Comments

Emily

1

Thank you Glenn. I was lost in a brain-melting consideration of whether to renew my current software or try harder. Now at least I know the priorities!

Bruno M.M

2

Thanks for ur advise but can I ever detec virus with out an antivirus software

Yasir

3

Sir which antivirus you are useing personally?

Mike

4

I wish I cold get a clear answer

Samil

5

Try panda security,if you looking for cheap antivirus,I got it pretty cheap at this site,www.expandia.com.au

Shail

6

Can some one please let me know about eScan AntiVirus please

STEALTH

7

SERIOUSLY GO FREE OR GO HOME, BEST REAL COMPUTER GEEK SETUP IS MOST IMPORTANTLY AVG FREE, WITH COMODO FIREWALL AND OUR 2 BEST ANTISPYWARE AND ANTI MALWARE SOFTWARES #1SPYBOT SEARCH AND DESTROY, #2 AD-AWARE. NO REAL COMPUTER GEEK CAN HONESTLY NOT SAY THAT THIS IS NOT THE BEST SET UP, AS LONG AS YOU NO HOW TO SET THEM UP JUST RIGHT!UM BY FOOTPRINT I THINK YOU MEAN YOUR COMPUTERS RESOURCES, NO COMPETTION BEST SET UP HANDS DOWN

Sonya

8

Good day Glenn. My pc was just infected via an e-mail (12/16/11) I picked up from someone I knew. I took it to office depot to have the virus taken off. Was this a smart thing to do? I was desperate and didn't want to wait another day to have it removed. By the way it cost me $120.00. :((((. Also thanks for this informative article. Good day. :)

heehhe

9

of course BIT DEFENDER TOTAL SECURITY is the one

Morgan

10

InfBlocker 3.0

tatamall

11

I JUST ONLY WANT TO KNOW THE ANSWER.

Andrew R

12

Try Avast. I did years ago and never looked back. They have a free version for non comerical uses. It is the same as there paid versions. No anti virus package is perfect, but I found avast has constantly picked up stuff that other paid software has not detected, even stuff Kaspersky has missed.

Trend Micro HouseCall is a great free online virus scanner. I have used it many times on computers that have been infected and the anti virus software did not pick up the virus or the virus blocks the anti virus software.

Robert P

13

I just got shot in the a-- with an anti virus.Guess that's the wrong kind////

Joshowk

14

I have not tried the five above, nor am I anywhere near computer geek-status, but I have had great success with a combo of the free version of Avast! along with free Malwarebytes anti-malware. Prior to that I went without for a couple months when my ZoneAlarm expired and I became 'infected'. Avast, Malwarebytes and some help from ComboFix got rid of it and have had no problems for three years.

saigoner

15

"It’s a bit like hanging around with a crowd of people who are all really sick with the flu"

I'd say it's a bit like hanging out at a Thai brothel!

walter

16

kaspersky is the best

albert poledri

17

What is the best antivirus software?

Glenn, I could not have say what you just have written any better or more succint (did I spell that last word correctly?). You are so correct in your assertion. Protection and quality of protection is criteria (I use Vipre and recommend to my customers) and how you Surf the Wave meaning the public domain. Your article should be published in PC World dude.

Great Stuff and keep up the good work.

albert p
Miami Beach Florida

Quentin

18

Was with you from the differences between W7 HP and Pro, on to other articles - also fine. All clear, concise, and written in a journalistic deadline manner: from start to finish, hitting all the salient points.
Then I got to your AV article and the IS recommendations.
I am a PC builder and volunteer at local Senior Center where I help them learn how to handle their kid's 'gifts' of everything from a Kindle to a Power PC.
Biggest problem is not understanding you 'flu' scenario, which I liked, even if it is a bit naive in today's world, it remains a clear and accessible image.

Still, sad to see you place NIS at the end of the line.
For most people who do not 'get it' and will not learn about prevention being the simplest cure, I am a firm believer - from experience - that Norton One is the best family package on the market. Norton 360 auto AV/malware detection and removal. Up to 5 devices including ANDROID / iPad, etc. This product will do most of the work for anyone, without tech tweaks.
With them it is NIS 2012 in a different package - which adds interesting auto clean and tune - similar to CCleaner and Glary Utilities. All it takes is to add Malwarebytes set on Auto and you will not see a senior returning with the oft repeated with other software moan: "I got zapped again."

brother

19

better you try this one:

a fast and lightweight RCTEC ANTI VIRUS 3.0

brother man

21

You can explore it by search enginee...ok

Patrick Carter

22

This information here is really detailed and helpful.

Patrick Carter

23

This information here is really detailed and helpful. http://www.computergeek247.com

First Fans

24

RCTEC ANTI VIRUS 3.0 and EXPERT RCTEC ANTI VIRUS 3.5
do not need update virus database, but always detect and trap many kind of threats and viruses. Amazing antivirus!

True Logic

25

Now you have to realize that the concept of virus detection using virus pattern or virus behavior is useless and has failed. Because for over two years proven flame malware virus was not detected and not realized.

So throw away the concept of virus detection pattern of the virus by collecting as much as possible and try to determine the behavior of the virus. Doing these things is a waste of time, effort, and cost. Because if you use the concept of thinking like that, you will always be three steps behind the virus creator.

Better to prevent than cure. When you study the flu virus, then at the same time the bird flu virus taking a new position as the new virus was not detected. The virus is already damaged and that have not gotten to know and have not been studied.

True Logic

26

haha ... some analysts give reactions.

Your analysis may not be enough. You just know the virus, worm and trojan, and etc. you are not aware of the opponents of the electron glow effect. computers can live because of the electronic motion of zero to three volts dc, although in theory be between three to five volts dc.

Like the human body, when you are in a normal state on average you are in the power of three volts, otherwise when you are unwell, you are under three volts or it could be more than five volts. As an analogy see your modem signal wave statistic, similar to the waves that exist in your body it is.

So, start learning to learn what happened to your computer's body, not only a virus, worm, or trojan that we know so far.

Hellstromm

27

Wow, some horrible recommendations in the mix there. Seriously, where did you get your education and did you even bother to test these AVs before posting this grossly uninformative article?

I suggest the readers instead review PC Magazine's suggestions. They bothered to do their homework, unlike this tool.

True Logic

28

Hey ... you are an admirer of the virus database updates to be traded? Is this the knowledge that you're proud of it!
Do not have much to say, you have failed to deal with malware flame. What you are promoting again!

Eric Mavins

29

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Rich

30

I was told that Microsoft security essentials is one of the best, can anyone confirm that for me, and AVG anti virus can, and will attach a virus to your puter, anyone?

hichem hichem

31

hello
to download best security software and antivirus please visit
www.securityfreedownload.com

katina

32

Hi
I use Trend Micro Titanium Maximum. Don't know if it is the best but it works. So which one is the Best??

Anonymous

33

best is hit man pro

alejandro

34

I look at www.secawards.com they give good info and test independently

RISH

35

Kaspersky Internet Security is best.. i'm using almost 5 years without having and any issue..

RISH

36

Kaspersky Internet Security is best.. i'm using almost 5 years without having an any issue..

Wayne

37

In my opinion, Microsoft Security Essentials is the best and trusted to go with. I've been using it since I had Windows XP. And still now that I've been running Windows 7, It still works the best.

:)

38

annoying advertisers who try to post their own software...

not pleased

39

This article SUCKED! It didnt say ANYTHING about what the best virus software was, two thumbs down on this article! A waste of time reading it!

Ryan

40

Where is Microsoft Security Essentials? If I am remembering correctly, it has a better detection rate than Kaspersky and Norton all while having a smaller footprint... and it is completely free!

bill

41

I'm not a computer geek if that's the phase for computer literacy....But if this will help someone I used pcloud and it cleaned up my computer that I was told is shot........and that was by a geek. You can hear my harddrive kick in, which i thought was the cooling fan. Anyways after taking all my pics off and having half of my memory recovered (51%)......I going to keep this one for a while longer. I will do a backup just in case......hopes this helps pcloud worked for me and it was free.....I used a few of the other free ones to no avail.....not bad mouthing them, but they didn't work in my situation.

geekadodo

42

I just posted and it didn't come through, but anyway, websites like av-comparatives take the guesswork out of which AV to spend your money on. I used eset for years then got a few bugs, then found the graph on the best or top detection rates antivirus at wiredoffice.com.au in australia (not allowed to show the actual url..derr). I was surprised how many bugs I didn't know I had after installing bitdefender which is at the top of the list there.

SAMEERA

43

eset is the best

mehrdad

44

comodo is the best

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