Best Antivirus

Installing an antivirus program for Windows and Mac is almost essential these days. But with dozens of antivirus tools available, choosing the right one can feel like guesswork. To make the decision process easier for you, we’ve developed a data-backed approach to determine which providers you can rely on to provide the best possible protection against malware, phishing, potentially unwanted programs, and more.

16 best antivirus for 2024

Based on our research, we think these are the best antivirus solutions in 2024:

  1. Surfshark Antivirus Best antivirus for individual PC and Mac users. Real-time protection, malicious website blocking, and data breach alerts combine with an iron-clad security offering.
  2. Norton 360Comprehensive security with VPN included. Delivers well-regarded internet security that can include ID theft protection with LifeLock.
  3. TotalAVBest antivirus for web browsing protection. Actively scans for suspicious websites and monitors for criminal use of your private information.
  4. Intego AntivirusBest web protection for Mac users. The company is a rarity, focusing its services and builds primarily on OSX and iOS devices.
  5. McAfee Total ProtectionOffers well-respected protection for individuals or families.
  6. VIPRE AntivirusConsistently scores above more well-known brands in independent testing lab analyses.
  7. Bitdefender Internet SecurityMaintains consistently reliable performance and includes a webcam protection tool.
  8. Panda Antivirus – Among the only providers with an “unlimited devices” option for extensive device protection.
  9. ESET Internet Security Provides a highly-awarded internet security tool for every major operating system.
  10. Avira AntivirusBlocks phishing attacks on social media and email.
  11. Avast – Analyzes app behavior for potential malicious activity
  12. AVG Internet SecurityActively used by over 200 million people worldwide.
  13. Trend Micro – Well-respected brand with a significant focus on business endpoint protection.
  14. Sophos – Multi-device coverage with free option
  15. Webroot – Incredibly feature-rich for the offered price.
  16. Comodo Internet SecurityNo frills antivirus scanning and real-time protection

The antivirus market is fairly dense. You could spend hours trying to find a reputable antivirus tool that fits your needs. This page should help get you on the right path.

Our list of trusted antivirus tools is based on hours of research into the most important criteria for AV tools. We evaluated over 45 free and subscription-based AV tools against the following benchmarks:

  • Protection. This is an analysis of how well the AV tool effectively scans and removes malware or viruses.
  • False positives. Some AV tools can misfire and incorrectly identify and even block safe programs as viruses.
  • System impact. A calculated measure of the “drag” on your system’s resources (including memory and RAM). A good antivirus won’t noticeably slow your system down.
  • Transparency. We believe AV tools need to be transparent in their billing practices from the moment you sign up. We look at whether pricing is clearly identified on its product pages, whether auto-renewal is turned on or off automatically at checkout, and how easy (or difficult) it is to cancel your subscription on demand.

You’ll find that many antivirus tools may fit your needs. Most have a very similar set of tools and functions and may include only one or two distinguishing features. The biggest aspect that we’ve found that separates various AV tools is the price, effectiveness of their malware scanning and removal engine, and their level of transparency. Some also include VPNs and other bundled solutions. If you’re looking for a standalone VPN solution, check out Best VPN of 2024 list

16 best antivirus tools for 2024 (Windows and Mac)

Our data-backed analysis of the 45+ antivirus tools filters down to these top 16 as the most trustworthy and reliable programs offered at the best prices.

1. Norton


Our research into critical areas important in verifying the quality of antivirus tools leads us to give Norton the following scores:

  • Protection score: 99.75
  • Performance score: 92.5
  • False positives score: 86.9
  • Transparency score: 80

Norton has made its mark as a standout choice, getting our vote as the best overall antivirus. Known for its powerful anti-malware engine, Norton 360 emerges as a top pick, combining an intuitive interface with a wide range of internet security tools at a competitive price point.

Starting with the Norton 360 Standard package, users get the essentials of antivirus protection, smart firewall, and online safety while browsing. It also includes extra features like 10GB of cloud backup, a password manager, and a secure VPN. An interesting addition is the SafeCam feature, which ensures your webcam’s security, and the dark web monitoring service that alerts you if your personal information is found on illicit online markets.

The Norton 360 Deluxe package is an upgrade worth considering for those seeking more comprehensive coverage. It extends protection to up to five devices and increases cloud backup to 50GB. It’s particularly family-friendly, thanks to its parental control features, including a ‘school time’ feature for monitoring children’s online activities. Norton’s Privacy Monitor aids in removing your personal data from public databases, bolstering your online privacy.

Then there’s the premium offering: Norton 360 with LifeLock Select. This package adds the LifeLock Identity Alert™ system, which monitors the use of your personal information online and includes credit monitoring and legal assistance in identity theft cases. Flexible payment options, including a monthly plan, make this package particularly accessible.

Performance-wise, Norton strikes a balance between thorough protection and system performance. Quick scans are efficient with minimal impact on system resources, while full scans are more comprehensive but understandably more taxing on the CPU. The user interface contributes to Norton’s appeal, offering straightforward navigation and clear indicators of protection status and scanning schedules.

Customer support is another strong suit for Norton, with 24/7 availability through various channels, including live chat and social media. The user communities are a boon, offering quick solutions to common problems.

For 2023, Norton rolled out the Phone Takeover Monitoring feature to guard against SIM-swapping and port-out scams. However, it’s worth noting that despite its VPN service’s global server access, it struggles to bypass geo-restrictions on platforms like Netflix.


  • One of the most comprehensive security packages on the market
  • Multiple package options for all type of computer users
  • Protection for every major operating system (Windows, macOS, Android and iOS)
  • Major identity protection features, including access to LifeLock


  • Turning off auto-renewal can be a hassle
  • May attempt to block some legitimate programs

BEST ANTIVIRUS:Norton is our #1 choice antivirus for Windows, Mac, Android and iPhone users. It’s easy to set-up, fast, offers great protection and lots of extra features. Includes a 60 day money-back guarantee so you can try it risk free.

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2. TotalAV

TotalAV Antivirus Pro

Our research into critical areas important in verifying the quality of antivirus tools leads us to give TotalAV the following scores:

  • Protection score: 91.6
  • Performance score: 83.3
  • False positives score: 100
  • Transparency score: 90

Over the past few years, we’ve witnessed an almost night-and-day transformation of TotalAV’s product. While other services may best it in areas like Performance (the impact on the user’s system resources), few can claim to have worked harder to respond to customer demands for improvements. Over the years, TotalAV’s customers have pushed for the company to overhaul the app’s functionality and design and a new approach to billing transparency. TotalAV listened and responded in the way you’d hope a company would.

This antivirus application offers a high-grade real-time scanning tool and a healthy list of “antis”:anti-phishing, anti-ransomware, anti-adware, and anti-spyware. The service also bundles in a Safe Browser VPN, system optimization tools to help improve the speed and functionality of your computer, a password manager, and a dark web monitoring service.


  • Heavily improved billing transparency
  • Well-regarded antivirus protection
  • Dark web monitoring
  • Apps for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS


  • Auto-renew can only be turned off after purchase
  • No cheaper option for single device coverage

BEST BUDGET ANTIVIRUS:Great protection at a low cost. Works well on all systems and is hard to beat for the money.

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3. Intego Antivirus

Intego – Mac Premium Bundle

Our research into critical areas important in verifying the quality of antivirus tools leads us to give Intego Antivirus the following scores:

  • Protection score: 91
  • Performance score: 91
  • False positives score: 100
  • Transparency score: 75

Intego owners have a little something to boast about here. Of the many antivirus apps on the market, Intego is one of the (very) few that puts makes Mac computers its primary focus. That approach pays off with an AV app that’s among the most effective in the market for Mac users and in general.

The company provides several packages, including its well-rated VirusBarrier X9 software and NetBarrier X9 software. VirusBarrier X9 is a full-coverage antivirus tool that includes real-time scanning and other threat protection tools. Meanwhile, NetBarrier X9 is constructed around preventing unauthorized access to Mac devices.


  • Mac-focused AV provider
  • Multiple packages for multi-device coverage
  • High ratings from independent testing labs
  • Can also protect Windows computers


  • Poor transparency regarding auto-renewal

INTEGO:Best for Mac users Offers various packages and threat protection tools.

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4. Surfshark Antivirus

Surfshark One Antivirus

Surfshark Antivirus isn’t just an antivirus; it’s a comprehensive security suite that packs a punch. With a 99% zero-day malware prevention rate, it’s a top-tier choice for anyone serious about digital security.

  • Protection Score: 99
  • Performance Score: 94.5
  • False Positives Score: 96
  • Transparency Score: 93

The software is part of the Surfshark One package, offering antivirus, identity monitoring, and a secure browser. It’s competitively priced and backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Performance-wise, Surfshark is a lightweight app that doesn’t skimp on features. Quick scans are fast but may miss some malware, while full scans are thorough and efficient. The user interface is clean and integrates seamlessly with Surfshark’s VPN service. And if you ever run into issues, their 24/7 customer support is on standby to assist.


  • Lightweight apps
  • Integrates with Broader Security Suite
  • Excellent protection Score
  • Apps for All major Platforms


  • Antivirus is not available as a standalone product
  • Limited features for expert users

COMPREHENSIVE SECURITY WITH VPN INCLUDED:Surfshark Antivirus has an outstanding protection rating, 24/7 support, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Check out the full Surfshark Antivirus review.

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5. McAfee Total Protection

McAfee Total Protection Basic

Our research into critical areas important in verifying the quality of antivirus tools leads us to give McAfee Total Protection the following scores:

  • Protection score: 91.73
  • Performance score: 92.5
  • False positives score: 97
  • Transparency score: 95

McAfee is unequivocally one of the best internet security apps on the market. Its security software consistently scores well in independent testing lab results and on consumer review websites. With single device and family options that can protect up to 10 devices at once, McAfee should be on everyone’s shortlist for internet security.

Depending on the exact package you get from McAfee, you’ll find real-time virus scanning, added firewall protection, protection against phishing sites and other suspicious links, and encrypted storage for protection against threats like ransomware. All Total Protection software packages include McAfee Shredder, which will entirely delete files from your system. McAfee also adds identity theft protection if you go all-out with Total Protection.


  • Consistently-awarded antivirus protection
  • Offers an easy-to-use family plan
  • Provides identity theft protection under Total Security
  • Apps available for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS


  • Auto-renew can only be turned off after purchase

MCAFEE:Award-winning antivirus. One of the most popular brands and for a good reason. A simple-to-use antivirus that gets the job done.

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6. VIPRE Antivirus

VIPRE Antivirus Plus

Our research into critical areas important in verifying the quality of antivirus tools leads us to give VIPRE Antivirus the following scores:

  • Protection score: 99.83
  • Performance score: 94
  • False positives score: 100
  • Transparency score: 100

VIPRE’s biggest problem is that you may never have heard of it. But based on its excellent scores and complete pricing and billing transparency, it should be one of the options you consider as you search for a trustworthy security tool. VIPRE has an advanced and well-regarded virus engine for subscribers. But it also maintains a number of other security tools that will protect your computer and your identity as you browse the web.

Available on both Windows and Mac computers, the VIPRE Home Protection software includes its top-rated real-time antivirus engine and other must-have security features. At a minimum, you’ll also get ransomware protection and added cloud-based security against malware and spyware.

In its more advanced security packages, VIPRE also offers application patching (automatically updates your apps to the latest version), email spam filtering, anti-tracking, sensitive document auditing, a dark web scanner (warns you if your private information appears on the dark web), and much more.


  • Transparent and consumer-friendly billing practices
  • Offers apps for Mac and Windows computers
  • Monitors the dark web for stolen data
  • Protects against all forms of viruses and malware


  • No free trial for the Ultimate Security Bundle

VIPRE:Reliable performance. Lesser-known contender that scores high marks on transparency and false-positive detection. Offers more than just anti-virus protection.

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7. Bitdefender Internet Security

Bitdefender Total Security

Our research into critical areas important in verifying the quality of antivirus tools leads us to give Bitdefender Internet Security the following scores:

  • Protection score: 99.3
  • Performance score: 91.5
  • False positives score: 100
  • Transparency score: 100

Bitdefender is one of the fastest-growing internet security tools on our list, especially regarding name recognition and usage. It’s currently trusted by over 500 million computer users worldwide. The software is almost as highly utilized as tools offered by McAfee.

Bitdefender has among the most extensive security packages of any option on our list. The primary coverage includes its high-functioning real-time antivirus software. Its newest package option, Bitdefender Premium Security, offers multi-layer ransomware protection, a secure VPN, parental controls, a device optimizer, and minimal system impact. There are also over a dozen privacy protection features, including anti-tracking, microphone and webcam protection, social network protection, safe online banking, and more.

Moreover, Bitdefender’s software is included when you the company’s smart home security hub device, the Bitdefender Box.


  • Newly-offered anti-tracking and microphone monitor
  • Protects every major operating system, including Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android
  • A large number of software packages for different user needs
  • Works with Bitdefender Box for added protection


  • No free trial for the Ultimate Security Bundle

BITDEFENDER:Set-and-forget. Multi-platform protection to suit most needs. Covers a microphone, webcam, social media, internet banking, and more.

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8. Panda Antivirus

Panda Dome Essential

Our research into critical areas important in verifying the quality of antivirus tools leads us to give Panda Antivirus the following scores:

  • Protection score: 99.75
  • Performance score: 90
  • False positives score: 60
  • Transparency score: 80

Panda has a few unique features that make may help make the case for those shopping around for antivirus protection. Alongside its high protection score, with near-perfect results from independent testing labs, Panda is one of a select few AV providers that has an “unlimited devices” option for buyers. As with all tools, the price is a bit higher for more device coverage, but if you’re planning to protect more than 10 devices, most providers would require you to purchase another subscription.

The software focuses on machine learning to protect against malware, ransomware, and other threats. Still, its approach can be a bit heavy-handed, leading to an excessive amount of false positives. If you can put aside the fact that it’s a bit aggressive in labelling perceived threats, you’ll find its ultra-high-tech approach means it offers far better protection than many competing tools.


  • Uses machine learning (artificial intelligence) to identify threats
  • Offers a growing list of tools and packages
  • Rare “unlimited devices” offer


  • Has a higher-than-average rate of false positives

PANDA:Unique features High protection score and unlimited devices option for buyers.

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9. ESET Internet Security

ESET NOD32 Antivirus

Our research into critical areas important in verifying the quality of antivirus tools leads us to give ESET Internet Security the following scores:

  • Protection score: 99.5
  • Performance score: 90.5
  • False positives score: 99.7
  • Transparency score: 90

ESET’s suite of tools is among our preferred options thanks to the company’s dedication to its craft. We’ve found ESET offers notably reliable protection, with a near-perfect protection score averaged across several independent testing labs. The company also follows a highly ethical and transparent billing process that makes it clear what you’re getting, when and how the service auto-renews, and how to turn off auto-renewal before the subscription period turns over.

As a security solution, ESET delivers a wide range of features and tools that cover the breadth of your security and antivirus/antimalware needs. At the Essential level, ESET offers high-grade protection against viruses, malware, and ransomware. The Premium-grade application includes added firewall protection, secure password management, encrypted online shopping and banking, anti-phishing, and physical tracking in case your computer is lost or stolen.


  • Transparent billing policy
  • Numerous additional tools for internet protection
  • Apps for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS
  • 30-day money-back guarantee


  • Auto-renew can only be turned off after purchase
  • Essential Protection offers minimal features beyond virus scanning and removal

ESET:High-grade reliable protection.  A one-stop-shop solution with a wide range of features to cover most needs.

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10. Avira Antivirus

Avira Antivirus Pro

Our research into critical areas important in verifying the quality of antivirus tools leads us to give Avira Antivirus the following scores:

  • Protection score: 99.75
  • Performance score: 90
  • False positives score: 95
  • Transparency score: 75

Germany-based Avira performs well among independent lab tests. Its protection, performance, and usability (false positives) scores are all above the 90% range, making it one of the top products to explore. Particularly of interest to consumers may be the monthly billing option. While most other internet security tools only allow for 1-3 year protection plans, Avira lets you sign up for a month-to-month option, making it easier to cancel your subscription and avoid 2nd-year renewal price shocks.

There are just 3 package options available for Avira subscribers, including a free tool. All offers its expertly-crafted real-time antivirus engine, privacy tools that eliminate online tracking, a free (limited) VPN, and performance optimization features, and a password manager. If you upgrade to its paid packages, Avira throws in a software updater, a more advanced password manager, and in the Prime package, unlimited VPN among other desirable features.


  • Offers month-to-month billing option
  • Free version includes a limited VPN
  • Includes a password manager
  • VIP customer support with Avira Prime
  • Protection for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android


  • The check-out process does not allow shut-off of automatic renewal or offer instructions for shut-off

AVIRA:Flexible monthly billing plans.  A great performer with a low level of commitment. Easily switch between packages as your needs change.

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11. Avast Antivirus

Avast One

Our research into critical areas important in verifying the quality of antivirus tools leads us to give Avast Antivirus the following scores:

  • Protection score: 100
  • Performance score: 100
  • False positives score: 100
  • Transparency score: 75

Avast is well-known for its free antivirus option, but it also has a well-regarded subscription-based AV tool with an exceptional number of features. Its independent testing lab scores are as high as could be, with AV-Test giving it a perfect score on all three testing categories. Given this company also owns a few other privacy-related properties (such as AVG and the VPN service HideMyAss) it’s not too much of a surprise that they understand what it takes to make a winning product in this market.

The company’s real-time antivirus scanner is backed by a cloud-based machine learning algorithm that dynamically assesses and determines when threats occur. And because it’s a learning algorithm, it’s also capable of pinpointing zero-day viruses. Surprisingly, these excellent features are available at the free level. With Premium or Ultimate, the service adds some extensive security extras, such as anti-tracking and anti-ransomware tools.

This service scores well, but it adds far too many hoops and layers for subscription cancellation, leading to a lower score on that end.


  • Low cost
  • Monthly subscription option for Ultimate plan
  • Machine learning software
  • Robust free version available


  • Intentionally-difficult cancellation process

AVAST:LOW-COST PROVIDER With Avast’s free and paid option, they offer an Antivirus solution for any type of user.

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12. AVG Internet Security

AVG Internet Security

Our research into critical areas important in verifying the quality of antivirus tools leads us to give AVG Internet Security the following scores:

  • Protection score: 100
  • Performance score: 91.6
  • False positives score: 100
  • Transparency score: 75

Although AVG is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Avast (another AV product company), nothing has changed about what it offers. Its long and respected history in the antivirus and software security market spans nearly 30 years. During that time, the company made a name for itself by offering one of the best-functioning free antivirus tools. That free tool is still a major feature of its catalog, but it also delivers more extensive subscription-based security packages.

All of AVG’s software packages deliver speedy real-time antivirus protection as well as a digital blockade against phishing attempts. The company’s Internet Security package also provides features for safe browsing and online banking, enhanced firewall, webcam protection, and secure file encryption (helps stop the impact of ransomware). With the Ultimate package, AVG tosses in an anti-theft feature to help track stolen devices, app and device locking, and its Secure VPN.


  • Experienced AV protection
  • Trusted, lightweight free tool
  • Extended security protections, including blocks against webcam hacks
  • Protection for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.


  • Pricier than many competitors with a similar product
  • Only allows subscription cancellation; does not  provide a turn-off function for auto-renewal

AVG:Decades of experience.  A leading company that pioneered many of the industry’s threat protection technology. Packages offer a wide choice of features to suit your needs.

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13. Trend Micro Antivirus

Trend Micro Antivirus Plus Security

Our research into critical areas important in verifying the quality of antivirus tools leads us to give Trend Micro Antivirus the following scores:

  • Protection score: 97
  • Performance score: 88
  • False positives score: 88
  • Transparency score: 95

Trend Micro has an exceptionally large suite of tools for business users and home users, making it a great option for both. In fact, it has among the largest number of package options of any provider on our list, including Home Network Security for smart homes devices, ID Security that sweeps the web for leaked data, and mobile device security for both iOS and Android.

The company’s 2nd-year prices trend on the higher side due to forcing specific device coverage amounts. As a nod to that fact, Trend Micro offers exceptionally favorable first-year pricing discounts that give you ample time to try out the software before deciding if it’s worth the full price.


  • Impressive first-year discounts
  • Carries a large number of package options and features
  • Extended warning system for leaked data


  • On the pricier end after the first year

TREND MICRO:LARGE SUITE OF TOOLS Significant focus on business endpoint protection.

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14. Sophos

Sophos Antivirus Free

Our research into critical areas important in verifying the quality of antivirus tools leads us to give Sophos the following scores:

  • Protection score: 70
  • Performance score: 80
  • False positives score: 83
  • Transparency score: 50

Sophos is the very definition of a “mixed bag”. While it has some positives, many of these are outweighed by very notable and hard-to-ignore negatives. For example, Sophos offer a wide range of features with its free version (which is free forever, by the way). Many of the premium features, like Identity Protection, Advanced Malware Scan and Clean, Banking Protection, Ransomware Protection and others are included on a 30-day trial basis. That’s far more than most of its competitors.

However, Sophos is not widely accepted or adopted for home users. So much so that it consistently gets ignored by major independent testing labs, like AV-Test, which hasn’t bothered testing the tool in nearly a decade. Our own tests indicate that Sophos does work to identify and remove malware from systems, but it doesn’t give users much information about scan results.

What’s more, Sophos does everything it can to prevent you from canceling your account. Like most other antivirus tools, Sophos is subscription-based with a yearly plan. But it doesn’t give you this information on the sign-up page, offers no information on how to cancel the subscription before auto-renewal, and in fact, gives no information on auto-renewal at all when you go to pay. And if you do want to cancel, Sophos makes you jump through a lot of hoops to get there, with no way to manually turn auto-renewal on or off independently as a customer.

You might find value in Sophos as a tool, especially if you use the free version. But if you plan to pay, make sure you dig deep into the knowledge base to figure out how to cancel if you don’t like the service.


  • Heavily-featured free option
  • Up to 10 devices with introductory paid version
  • Unique security features available with premium subscription


  • Hides auto-renewal information
  • Regressive customer retention policies

SOPHOS:UNIQUE SECURITY FEATURES Wide range of features available with its free version.

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15. Webroot

Webroot AntiVirus

Our research into critical areas important in verifying the quality of antivirus tools leads us to give Webroot the following scores:

  • Protection score: 73
  • Performance score: 73
  • False positives score: 73
  • Transparency score: 70

While it’s more of a “C” student in its scoring, we don’t want to count out Webroot thanks to a few unique selling points. Most obviously, Webroot provides its tool at bargain pricing. First-year discounts are available, but even its second-year prices are roughly half of what competitors like Trend Micro offer for a similar product.

A big draw for potential Webroot users is its system impact. Its antivirus scanner is designed to search only critical system areas where malware tends to hide out, leading to faster scan times and less resource-heavy scans. This is a bit of a double-edged sword approach, however, as it’s the primary reason Webroot’s independent testing lab results tend to be middling.

Nevertheless, those who need the comfort of reasonable protection and who don’t engage in excessively risky web surfing will find Webroot is cheap and effective for what it does.


  • Low prices for the first year and beyond
  • Fast scan times and limited impact to system resources while scanning
  • Takes up minimal hard drive space, making it a good option for Windows netbook users


  • Mediocre independent testing lab results
  • Inconvenient auto-renewal information location
  • Difficult cancellation process

WEBROOT:LOW-SYSTEM IMPACT Bargain pricing and low system impact make this provider a good choice for netbook users

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16. Comodo Internet Security

commodo logo

Our research into critical areas important in verifying the quality of antivirus tools leads us to give Comodo Internet Security the following scores:

  • Protection score: 100
  • Performance score: 91.6
  • False positives score: 91.6
  • Transparency score: 80

Comodo is not what first comes to people’s minds when they think of consumer internet security, but it’s not one we could leave out. The company specializes in a large range of internet security concerns, more notably for websites. But its home-based security product is not only rated well but is also one of the least expensive products on the market. Granted, the lower price comes with significantly fewer features, but if you’re on a tighter budget this is a trustworthy option to consider.

There are several antivirus options available through Comodo. Its free version carries the full version of its real-time antivirus protection tool. A wider range of internet security protection is available through its Complete and Pro packages, which add an additional firewall, automatic sandboxing of unknown viruses, secure shopping, Wi-Fi hotspot protection, online file storage and backup, and unlimited live access to experts for troubleshooting and virus removal.


  • Free option available for simple AV protection
  • Extremely low cost compared to competing AV tools
  • Wide protection against major internet security threats


  • Mentions recurring payments, but does not offer easily visible information on turning off auto-renewal or subscription cancellation

COMODO:Budget-priced minimum protection. Fewer features than others on this list. Good coverage for most situations.

How to Choose a Trustworthy Antivirus Program

Selecting the ideal antivirus can be a daunting task, given the plethora of options like Norton, McAfee, and Bitdefender that dominate the market. To cut through the noise, we’ve employed a multi-faceted, unbiased approach.

We’ve consolidated data from independent labs and factored in our own rating criteria for billing transparency. This eliminates subjectivity and provides a comprehensive view of each antivirus solution.

Navigating through lab tests and consumer reviews can be overwhelming and time-consuming. That’s why we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. Our tools aggregate the latest data, including pricing and consumer reviews, to facilitate easy comparison of over 50 antivirus options.

By using our tools, you can confidently select an antivirus solution that offers robust protection without breaking the bank or slowing down your system.

Consumer-friendly table of antivirus software

If you’re looking for a quick and easy reference guide, use this table to look up the software you may be interested in purchasing, or to compare different software based on certain, important criteria, such as price.

Aggregated antivirus scores and data

Use the following tool to compare antivirus tools based on protection (how effectively they identify malware), performance (how efficiently they run on your computer), and false positives (how often they incorrectly identify safe programs as viruses). You can also filter for price, and by how many device installations you’ll get for the lowest price possible.

How to use this tool

There are multiple ways you can use this tool.

First, you can filter by aggregated protection, performance, or false positive scores. Simply click the box for that name.

Each tool is organized based on how many independent labs have a recent test for that software.

All software available in the data is colored by the aggregated scores they received (0-100, with 100 being a perfect score). Each point in the chart is sized by how many device installs you get for the minimum purchase price.

Use the filters on the right side look up specific tools by name, or to filter based on the minimum number of devices with 1-year purchase, annual subscription price (if any), the number of independent labs testing each program, and by the average score for that category.

All operating systems are vulnerable to virus infections

All computer users should consider installing at least a free, third-party antivirus tool. At present, most operating systems come with a free tool pre-installed, but you should also consider purchasing or downloading a separate application. Our data suggest that the programs included in most operating systems are not nearly as effective.

The single best solution to stopping a malware infection is to use an antivirus program. These tools continuously scan your computer or mobile device and your web browser, looking for known viruses and anything that looks and acts like a virus. When a suspected virus is detected, the tool will automatically quarantine it, preventing it from infecting your device. You will then get a message that gives you the option to either delete the file if it’s a virus or release it if it was a false positive.

If you’re installing an antivirus tool on a device that’s already infected, you can also use the tool to scan the device and remove any pre-existing malware or other infections.

Windows antivirus

Although Mac users should also consider getting an antivirus tool, Windows users, in particular, have the greatest need. Over 99 percent of malware that exists were specifically designed to infect Windows computers.

This does not mean that Windows computers are inherently more vulnerable than Mac computers. However, the prevalence of viruses impacting Windows computers means that as a Windows user, you are simply more likely to run into a virus at some point while browsing the web or using your email.

Mac antivirus

One of the biggest threats for Mac users is complacency. Although most viruses that exist were designed for Windows computers, Mac computers are still susceptible to getting virus infections.

Notably, there are far fewer antivirus programs that exist for Mac computers, mostly because of the far lower number of Mac computers and fewer number of viruses impacting Mac computers. As a result, our research only focuses on Windows computers. Still, you can find a review of top Mac antivirus programs here.

Linux antivirus

There’s an on-going debate in the Linux community about whether or not antivirus is necessary for this operating system. The argument is essentially the same as with Mac users. Because there are fewer Linux users, there are also far fewer viruses attacking Linux operating systems.

However, we’ve found that Linux computers can and do get viruses. You can find out more here in our study on Linux viruses.

Android and iOS antivirus

Viruses on mobile devices are far less common, but they do exist. Among the mobile device world, the situation is similar to Windows vs. Mac. If you have an Android device, you are extremely susceptible to getting a virus infection, especially from malicious app downloads.

According to mobile cybersecurity company Lookout, phishing is among the biggest threats facing mobile users. Importantly, many mobile users are not prepared to stop phishing attempts, which increasingly come in the form of spam text messages.

Many of the antivirus tools we cover in our data provide mobile tools. However, there are also many tools available specifically for Android and iOS devices.

Our Antivirus Review Methodology

We’ve rigorously analyzed over 30 antivirus solutions, leveraging data from five independent testing labs: AV-Test, AV-Comparatives, SE Labs, Virus Bulletin, and MRG Effitas. Our evaluation tool focuses on three key metrics:

  1. Protection: The tool’s efficacy in detecting and neutralizing malware.
  2. False Positives: The frequency with which the tool misidentifies benign programs as threats.
  3. Performance: The tool’s impact on system resources, including memory and CPU usage.

Each lab employs unique rating standards. For instance, AV-Test scores each category out of 6, while AV-Comparatives uses a 100-point scale for Protection and raw counts for False Positives. We’ve averaged scores and made necessary adjustments to harmonize these disparate methods.

Our charts also indicate the number of labs that tested each antivirus solution. Additionally, we’ve incorporated filters for price, device coverage, and average consumer review scores to help you pinpoint the best value for your needs.

A Note on Avast and AVG

While Avast performed extremely well in our review, this service now comes with a warning. A Motherboard and PCMag investigation published in January 2020 found that Avast was not only secretly recording and collecting user web browsing data, but was then selling that data for profit. According to the report, Avast was recording “Every search. Every click. Every buy. On every site”. The company was then selling that data to major companies, including Google and Microsoft.

The data was sent to and processed by Avast-owned company Jumpstart, which marketed and sold the data. Since the report published, Avast killed its Jumpstart subsidiary company, but the damage had already been done.

Note that Avast also owns AVG, making this well-rated antivirus program suspect as well.

Outside of these issues, both Avast and AVG are well-performing antivirus tools. However, consumers who have extra concerns may want to avoid these tools in favor of other equivalently-rated programs.

Results overview

There are a few interesting takeaways from the data that may interest consumers.

First, it should be noted that almost every AV tool on the market that was tested by the 5 testing labs performed similarly with regard to Protection. That means that almost any tool you purchase is likely going to identify, quarantine, and clean malware from your system with a high degree of success. Of the tools tested by the labs, only 4 received sub-par scores:

  1. ViriT eXplorer PRO: 40.83/100
  2. Webroot Antivirus: 72.75/100
  3. Rising Security Cloud Client: 77.86/100
  4. Quick Heal Total Security: 79.40

All others received aggregated scores of 90/100 or better. This means consumers’ best option is to consider more carefully the other areas of value: Performance, False Positives, Price, and the number of devices allowed per purchase.


The protection score is a measurement of how effectively the tool was able to identify and remove malware, including zero-day viruses. Many tools score well on this front, with some of the best scores going to the following consumer-focused apps:

  1. AVG Internet Security (100%)
  2. Avira Internet Security (100%)
  3. Comodo Internet Security (100%)
  4. Faronics Anti-Virus (100%)
  5. Panda Free Antivirus (100%)
  6. Total AV (99.9%)
  7. VIPRE Advanced Security (99.83%)
  8. Avira Antivirus Pro (99.75%)
  9. Bullguard Internet Security (99.75%)
  10. Norton 360(99.75%)
  11. NANO Antivirus (99.7%)
  12. Arcabit AntiVirus (99.52%)
  13. Total Defense Premium (99.52%)
  14. ESET Internet Security (99.5%)
  15. Microsoft Windows Defender (99.3%)
  16. Bitdefender Internet Security (99.3%)
  17. Cyren Command Anti-Malware (99.17%)
  18. K7 Total Security (99.15%)

That’s a long list of AV tools that scores 99% or above in their ability to detect and remove malware! But you’ll note that not all of these made our top 10, and some that made our top 10 scored slightly less than 99%. That’s because the ability to detect and remove malware is only one important factor when deciding on which AV tool to go with.

Additionally, small variations in the protection scores are usually acceptable. Most users will experience few, if any, differences when using tools that have protection rates within a few percentage points of each other.


  • eScan Internet Security Suite
  • Ahnlab V3 Internet Security
  • Panda Free Antivirus

Ahnlab is not available to consumers, however, and while Panda Free Antivirus scored well in performance, its false positives score was extremely subpar. That makes eScan Internet Security Suite the best in this category.

False Positives

Four testing labs used False Positives as a measure for testing. Not every tool showed up in every lab test, however, and we had to make some adjustments particularly for AV-Comparatives, which did not create an average score for that category but instead offered only gave a raw number (e.g., the total number of false positives each tool sent back).

25 tools in this category scored a perfect 100, meaning they did not send back any false positives. However, when you consider the Performance and Protection scores, the top tools in this category are:

  • eScan Internet Security
  • Vipre Advanced Security

eScan comes out on top in this category as well, although Vipre performed noticeably better in the Protection category, whereas eScan scored a perfect 100 Performance and False Positives.

Price (free)

Quite obviously, most consumers prefer a free tool versus a paid one. And indeed, many of the free tools on the market are high-quality options worth considering.

The best free antivirus tools on the market, based on score averages across all three categories, include:

  • Tencent PC Manager
  • Avira Free Security Suite

Consumers may also want to consider using Microsoft Windows Defender, which comes loaded with any new installation of Windows, or Panda Antivirus Free. Those two tools score well in the Protection and Performance categories but poorly in False Positives.

Price (paid)

As far as low-cost options, however, there are a few stand-out AV tools that may offer great value and quality, while there are some notable exceptions that are far too pricey for what they deliver.

Among the paid tools, the best include:

  • Comodo Internet Security: $19.69/year
  • NANO Antivirus: $12.03 for 500 days (may not be available to US or UK consumers)
  • Arcabit Antivirus: $23.64/year
  • Avira Antivirus Pro: $35.99/year
  • G-Data Internet Security: $39.95/year
  • eScan Internet Security: $49.95/year

Beyond these, most services cost $50/year or more, and indeed, the services with the best test results are also ultimately among the most expensive. eScan is the only exception, making it one of the best-paid options based on its positive test results.

A few tools are simply not worth the price, however, as they are both expensive and poor performing. These include:

  • Quick Heal Total Security: $74/year
  • PC Pitstop: $50/year

Other available tools may still be worth the price when consumers take into consideration other features. Individual investigation of those features may be prudent before making a final decision based on price.

Minimum devices per purchase

Most AV companies charge more money per month for more device installations. However, each offers several device installations for the base price. You can normallinstall the software on multiple devices with one subscription. If you need to cover multiple devices while saving money, this AV tool is a good option:

Those looking to cover multiple devices may be better served with one of these options, all of which also have good test results.

Antivirus FAQs

Which is the best antivirus?

There are dozens of AV tools on the market and multiple ways to rank them based on quality. We believe the best available include:

  • Surfshark Antivirus
  • Norton Internet Security
  • TotalAV
  • McAfee Total Protection
  • VIPRE Antivirus
  • Bitdefender Internet Security
  • Avira Antivirus
  • ESET Internet Security
  • AVG Internet Security
  • Comodo Internet Security

Is antivirus necessary?


There were over 400,000 new malware variants in 2019. Phishing websites, emails, and links are also growing rapidly. Phishing sites have even replaced malware sites, according to Google’s Transparency Report. It’s not always easy to determine when you’re dealing with a phishing attempt, but AV software can warn you and block phishing attempts.

What does antivirus software do?

At the most fundamental level, your antivirus software is designed to run thorough scans of all your computer’s files and folders – usually on a regular basis – to check it for any malicious software or programs. This is done mainly through its built-in real-time antivirus engine, which actively monitors and blocks any attempts at installing malware onto your computer while it’s running.

However, antivirus tools don’t stop there. Most providers also offer additional features that can help users strengthen their overall internet security measures. This includes additional firewalls that block untrusted connections from accessing your device, data encryption that helps protect important files from falling into the wrong hands, secure cloud storage for reliable backups (in case something goes wrong), password managers so you can easily remember complex passwords to secure accounts safely, as well as VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) to mask your online activity from prying eyes.

These features all provide an extra layer of protection for your device against any potential threats you may encounter while browsing or using the internet. However, it’s important to remember these are just basic tools – they cannot replace good common sense when browsing online and using various digital services.

Can I just use Windows Defender?

Windows Defender is a good tool for essential antivirus protection, but it does not measure up to the more advanced options that appear on our Top Antivirus list, including the free tools. Unfortunately, Windows Defender is limited and does not provide the same level of protection against more complex threats like phishing attempts or ransomware infections.

It’s important to understand just how vulnerable your device can be if left unprotected from malicious software since such viruses can easily access and steal your personal information without you even knowing it. With Windows Defender, while you do have an initial layer of defense, its abilities strongly pale compared to what other security programs offer – including those that are free.

While some powerful home-grown features are included with Windows Defender, they pale compared to what other companies offer their users – especially when it comes to protecting against phishing attacks and ransomware infections. Therefore, if you want to have full peace of mind that your data and device are always fully secured, then using a third-party antivirus program may be your best bet.

I have a Mac computer. Do Macs get viruses?

Yes, Mac computers are just as vulnerable to getting viruses and malware as Windows users. It’s all about volume.

Less than 10% of internet users are operating on a Mac device. Hackers tend to focus on the bigger target, which is Windows. However, Mac viruses still exist and are a threat. Additionally, phishing websites and emails can impact anyone, regardless of the operating system.

How much does antivirus cost?

You’ll find there are free AV tools and paid AV tools. Most AV tools that you pay for are offered on an annual subscription basis. Paid tools can cost anywhere from around $20 per year to over $100 per year. What you pay typically increases based on how many computers you’re covering, and how many features the package offers.

Does the subscription cost stay the same?

Many antivirus providers offer steep first-year discounts. After that, prices tend to increase. We highly recommend looking for information regarding renewal pricing, and if you don’t like the renewal price, turn off auto-renewal. As part of our review and rating system, we’ve included a transparency score that reflects whether an AV provider offers information prior to the final checkout on renewal pricing, auto-renewal policies, and information on how to turn off auto-renewal.

Can I use two antiviruses at the same time?

No, we wouldn’t recommend using two antiviruses simultaneously, as this could damage your device due to a software conflict. Generally, one antivirus is enough, and often if one provider misses a virus on your system, there’s a strong possibility the other provider will have a similar result. For Windows users, you benefit from Windows Defender, so if a third-party AV doesn’t detect an infection, Windows Defender might pick it up.

Can I use a free antivirus?

You could use a free antivirus, but they often lack the features of premium antivirus software. Many free antiviruses include on-demand scanning to find existing threats on your device but don’t have real-time protection to detect infections as they reach your device. Free antiviruses also miss the required tools to protect you from more sophisticated threats like ransomware and phishing attacks.

How regularly should I scan my computer for viruses?

It’s a wise choice to scan your computer for viruses at least once weekly to ensure that any malicious software or programs have not infiltrated your system. If you suspect something is wrong and fear that you are dealing with a specific type of virus or malware, then running scans more frequently before the problem gets out of hand would be prudent. Additionally, many antivirus programs come equipped with real-time protection – meaning they will automatically scan your system while you use it.

This makes real-time protection an invaluable tool against frequent attacks – in most cases, it will prevent damage even before the user knows there was ever any threat in the first place. Furthermore, such proactivity can catch potential threats before they have time to spread across your entire system and cause serious damage. However, this does not mean users should become complacent about their security measures; regular scans are still necessary to stay safe from all types of malicious software.

How do antivirus applications work?

When you install antivirus software, it scans your computer for any files or programs that match a database of known viruses and malware. If it finds anything suspicious, it will either delete the file or quarantine it so it can’t do any damage. It also prevents new programs or files from being downloaded or executed if they match a known malware signature.

Can VPNs stop viruses?

VPNs are an excellent way to ensure your data remains secure from malicious sources, such as viruses, spyware, and other potential harms. By connecting to a VPN, all of the traffic that passes through your computer is encrypted – meaning that even if there was a virus present on your machine when you connected to the VPN, it would not be able to access your data.

Nevertheless, it is important to note that while VPNs can offer substantial protection against certain types of viruses, they are still not guaranteed to be completely foolproof. Some variants of viruses or malware may be able to exploit vulnerabilities in the encryption system used by specific VPNs and access personal information. To maximize security levels and remain protected against any type of threat, users should combine their use of a VPN with additional security measures like anti-malware programs and regular scans.

A reliable combination like this ensures that you are safeguarded not just against certain kinds of threats but fully protected against any type of attack, including attempts at hacking into private accounts or accessing sensitive files without permission. The bottom line is that while using a VPN can provide you with additional peace of mind when browsing online, understanding its limits and how else one can stay safe will make for an even more secure experience.

Can viruses steal my credit card details?

Viruses pose a significant threat to security when it comes to any online transactions, given their tremendously powerful capabilities. Hackers commonly use malicious viruses to steal sensitive information such as credit card details – or even worse, gain access to entire accounts and systems. Therefore, if you use an infected device or connect to a network that is already compromised, there is always the risk of hackers intercepting the data being sent between your device and the payment processing server.

This means that any confidential information you enter will be vulnerable at all times and can be easily stolen; consequently, it is essential to take proactive steps towards protecting yourself from potential viruses like running regular scans on your device or installing an antivirus program that offers real-time protection so that threats can be identified and eliminated before they do any damage. In addition, connecting through a virtual private network (VPN) provides an additional layer of security against attacks since all communications are routed through multiple layers of encryption. This helps prevent data from being detected by malicious actors and also obscures your location so that attackers cannot trace your internet activities.

In conclusion, taking the right precautions is key when dealing with viruses – particularly when making online payments. Regular scans and antivirus protection are only part of the equation; using a VPN while browsing or shopping online can keep you hidden from prying eyes while keeping your data safe.

Can an antivirus detect malicious torrents?

Antiviruses can detect malicious torrents thanks to the built-in features these programs possess and which scan for known malware and other nasty software. For those wishing to take extra precautions and provide their computer with an added layer of protection, enabling real-time scanning is recommended. This way, users can ensure their machine is constantly monitored for any potential security risks or suspicious activity.

Furthermore, reputable antivirus providers typically also include a dedicated torrent scanner as part of their services – one that will alert you if any download links or files within a torrent turn out to be malicious. At the same time, many free versions of popular antivirus suites do not contain such specialized scans; if users desire more robust coverage when dealing with the risk of malicious torrents, they should upgrade to a paid version of the program.

In summary, using an antivirus with torrent scanning capabilities will help keep your machine safe from malicious downloads – but remember, no security measure can guarantee you complete safety in this regard; staying vigilant and being aware of potential risks is always in your best interest when downloading files from the web.

Does an antivirus block ads?

Antivirus programs are designed to protect your computer from various malicious threats, but they also provide other useful features as well. One of these is the browser extension, which scans the web while you surf – thus ensuring that any banner ads, pop-ups, and YouTube video ads are stopped before appearing on your screen. This provides the added advantage of potentially blocking malicious advertisements since some hackers use such methods to deliver malicious code or files into users’ systems.

Aside from simply stopping malvertising, browser extensions can also scan websites for known vulnerabilities and exploits, alerting users if a website displays suspicious behavior or contains potentially dangerous elements. This can be especially helpful when dealing with websites that ask for personal information or financial details; such scans will help alert you if the website is untrustworthy before it’s too late. Additionally, many antivirus programs also offer functionality that allows you to block certain types of content according to user preferences; this makes it easier for users to customize what gets displayed on their devices and prevent unwanted distractions from appearing during browsing sessions.

In short, installing a browser extension in conjunction with an antivirus program is a great way to stay safe online: it provides added protection against malicious advertisements and websites and can also help you exercise greater control over what gets displayed on your screen. By taking the necessary precautions and being aware of potential risks online, users can enjoy greater security and peace of mind when browsing the web!

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