It’s hard to believe, but around 15 to 20 years ago computer viruses could make global headlines. Melissa in 1999, the ILOVEYOU email virus of 2000, MyDOOM and Netsky in 2004. Back then, viruses could cause mass hysteria as news anchors instructed everyone to unplug their computers and burn their hard drives (we’re exaggerating, but it was pretty close). Funnily enough, BonziBuddy went under everyone’s radar for years.
Nowadays, computer viruses barely get any mention – there’s just too many of them. And while computer users have become a lot smarter (nobody clicks the kind of emails today they would’ve in 2001), virus developers have become a lot more sophisticated. Today’s most dangerous viruses aren’t little email attachments that overwrite some of your system files (to be fair, ILOVEYOU caused over $10b in damages to computer systems worldwide). Today the massive threats are ransomware, Trojans that turn your device into part of a botnet, and certain exploits that target Linux vulnerabilities (Linux powers a huge majority of the world’s web servers).
Thus, it’s not enough to be “aware” of the obvious virus traps. Some people are so bold to say they don’t need antivirus because they don’t visit shady websites. That’s like saying you don’t need to wear a seatbelt because you drive the speed limit. Accidents can and will happen, and having a good antivirus is your seatbelt on the internet. In this article, we’re going to look at the 6 most praised antivirus tools by security experts.
It’s been said that malware from Russia is some of the most complicated – thus, it stands to reason that Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab knows how to prevent some of the most complicated viruses. Kaspersky Anti-Virus is one of the leading AV tools available, being consistently highly rated by many tech websites. The virus definitions are constantly updated, which means users are always protected against most of the latest threats. Kaspersky Anti-Virus offers a 30 day trial, after which a license must be purchased.
Total AV is a fully featured antivirus tool that is well worth consideration. This review from Antivirus Rankings goes into depth on all its features and functions. The most basic Total AV package is just $20, but their Ultimate Antivirus package is $60 for the first year, which is actually a very competitive price in the AV market.
MalwareBytes (or MBAM) has become a bit of a household name, being one of the most popular anti-malware tools out there. While MBAM is not technically a pure anti-virus tool – in fact, the company says you should not use MBAM as a replacement for your primary AV software. However, MBAM catches many things that traditional AV software does not, such as zero-day malware, spyware, and PUMs (potentially unwanted modifications, such as browser hijacks). So while MBAM is not technically a traditional antivirus tool, it is an amazing complementary tool for your primary AV, as most AV software plays nicely alongside MBAM.
Avira is another top name in the antivirus market, for a good reason. The reputable website AV-Test found that Avira blocked 99.5% of threats with only one false positive, which is a pretty astounding detection rate. For enterprise users, Avira Prime membership costs $130 and covers up to 25 users, while a single-use license costs a mere $36. It’s really hard to argue with those prices and virus detection rates, so Avira is definitely an AV tool worth checking out.
Bitdefender currently ranks fifth overall in the AV market, which isn’t a bad position to hold. When one reviewer put Bitdefender to the test, they found it blocked 99% of online threats. The only drawback was that Bitdefender failed to automatically block some phishing websites, but even on those websites it still stopped malware from infecting the computer. So if you don’t mind being a little hands-on with a highly efficient piece of AV software, Bitdefender could be a good choice.
If you need a lightweight AV tool that doesn’t hog a lot of system resources during scanning, Webroot could be right up your alley. Despite being lightweight and extremely performance-friendly, it still packs a punch. PCMag gave it a “perfect score” in the malware detection test, but noted a few minor drawbacks. While Webroot may not be as powerful as the likes of Kaspersky, its light footprint on your machine coupled with its high detection rate makes Webroot an attractive offering.