Computers have changed the way we live our lives in every aspect, from helping students learn and monitor patients in hospitals, and regulating crucial manufacturing processes. Cyberthreats, such as ransomware malware, and viruses have also increased because of the growing dependence on computers. Antivirus software can detect these threats to stop the computer from being damaged or stealing your personal information.
When deciding on an antivirus program it is essential to take into account its ability to scan for viruses as well as whether it has an internal fire barrier, and how it performs in independent laboratory tests. You might also want consider its customer support, the frequency it updates and the number of devices it will protect. Some programs, such as Norton, include additional page features that can help you prevent identity theft and protect your privacy online.
The best programs provide a variety of protection options. They offer heuristic detection which identifies behaviors that are typical of viruses or malware and signature matching that compares files against a list of known malicious codes. Certain programs employ sandboxing to block suspicious files in a virtual environment that is sealed and where they cannot do any harm.
Some of the best antivirus software is available for free. However, they might not offer as many features as paid alternatives. For example, Bitdefender’s free version scored excellently in our tests and has a firewall. However, its premium version comes with parental controls as well as a file shredder, and a password manager. Malwarebytes which is free and scored top marks in AV Test for 2023, fell short of our test of usability. Intego Mac Internet Security X9, however, provides a powerful combination of tools (VirusBarrier and NetBarrier) which killed and caught the most malware-related threats in our test.
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