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In the last decades or so, anti-virus programs have evolved rapidly, reflecting the fact that today’s homes are not where people are waiting to even take the “computer”.
There are often dozens of different digital devices in the home, used by everyone, from children to grandparents – so today’s antivirus packages are built to protect multiple devices, such as laptops, smartphones and tablets, and more commonly use disaster software. find and neutralize. .
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You can still download ‘simple’ (and mostly free) antivirus packages for PCs and smartphones that offer basic protection, but today’s flagship products offer protection through smartphones and laptops, and offer additional features as you protect against identity theft.
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As a tech writer and PC user, I know that one of the most important features of antivirus software is to get rid of PC malware (there are more viruses and PC-targeted malware than there are for other platforms). But protecting yourself from dubious websites, phishing attacks and spyware makes sense, especially if you have less experienced computer users in your home.
The downside to this is that you have to pay a subscription of around £ 20- £ 30 a year for software that protects multiple devices. These sometimes include extras, such as a Virtual Private Network, or makeover, that prevent you from spying on online activities. (Read my guide on the best makeovers for more details.)
At the other end of the scale is completely free antivirus software, and vendors like AVG offer free packages that check your laptop or desktop for malicious software, and Microsoft Defender is integrated into every PC operating system from Windows 8 onwards. If you are worried that your car will slow down and suspect that something annoying might be going on somewhere, then these are a great first stop.
In this review, I tried to reflect the modern antivirus market, with three free PC packages, and three all-in-one software suites that offer many features for five or more devices. I intended to adapt these reviews to families who may include some inexperienced computer users, and provided antivirus software for simplicity and value and performance.
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If you are looking for the best antivirus for PC as another platform, you should check statistics from independent laboratories for virus testing on how it detects malware such as ransomware, spyware and Trojans, says British computer security expert Graham Cluley.
Cluley says: ‘First you want to know if it actually does a decent job at detecting malware. The best way to do this is to check the assessments by the independent testing bodies. AV-Test.org and AV-Comparatives have a long history of testing.
In the review below, we highlighted similar test lab results from AV-Comparatives when comparing best antivirus for Mac and other technology platforms such as laptops and smartphones.
If you’re looking for the best antivirus for Android or other platforms, virus scanning is just the beginning, Cluley says – and customer service is very important.
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Cluley says: ‘This has become increasingly important. Because if you find yourself in a pickle, you want someone you can contact for help – and to respond in a timely, helpful manner. Getting rid of malware on your computer is another matter than knowing how to change the wallpaper on your desktop. ‘
Ultimately, says Cluley, you want to choose software that works slowly and efficiently in the background, and does not disrupt your computer life.
Cluley says, ‘How many system resources does it use? Is it compatible and works well on your setup? Fortunately, many of the security vendors offer free trials that you can check to see how they work on your computer. A good antivirus should be invisible most of the time – and not in your face. You only need to know that it’s there when it stops something bad happening. But when it does appear, you want to find it easy to use and (hopefully) clear up any infection. ‘
I have downloaded and tested each feature in different packages (some free, some paid) on various platforms including PC, Android and iOS. I used information from independent AV-Comparatives malware testing labs to evaluate the performance of various ‘real’ software against threats (labs like AV-Comparatives perform long-term tests where cars are exposed to real viruses, Trojans and ransomware). ) and in terms of the software’s impact on speed. I have ranked the software based on how easy it is to use, how valuable the ‘extras’ they offer, and how persistent (or not) the software is. Good antivirus software should be almost invisible in operation, appearing only when there is a problem.
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Founded in 1987, McAfee is an idiosyncratic veteran in the battle of the antivirus market, and most PC users will be familiar with the name, as a free trial is tied to many laptops. As you would expect, it offers high levels of protection, detecting 99.8% of threats in testing by independent AV Comparatives testing laboratories (second only to Norton).
McAfee Total Protection is designed for homes and families with multiple devices, with an annual subscription of £ 22.49 offering protection on five devices, with downloadable versions for Android and iOS. There is a single device subscription, but it’s hard to see why you should choose it with four more devices available for just £ 2.49 more (confusing pricing plans are unfortunately a reality in life with modern AV software ).
The interface is simple and the technical languages are kept to a minimum, so it is very easy to access the features, even if you are not good with computers. Customer support is available via chat and phone if things go wrong.
There is also a built-in (Virtual Private Network) makeover here: it’s a case of ‘sliding’ on and choosing a location (optional) that not only protects your data online, but it does (for example) easy. to access UK TV broadcasts abroad. You will need to automatically renew your subscription to use this feature.
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The software runs slowly and for the most part invisibly (although McAfee is actually responsible for influencing system performance in the software when tested here, in tests by independent AV-comparative test laboratories).
Some of the ‘extra’ features here require you to sign in to a McAfee account through your browser, such as ID protection, which alerts you to passwords leaked from previous data leaks (this can be a bit alarming if you’ve never done it before., because it almost guarantees that some of your passwords will leak if you’ve been using the internet for a decade or more). You can also configure the software to look for other private details such as phone numbers as they leak on future cybercrime websites. RansomGuard helps protect your files if you are infected with ransomware (malicious software in which criminals encrypt files and ask for cryptocurrencies to unlock them), and QuickClean helps speed up computers if it finds unnecessary files.
However, the mobile versions of the app are pointless, offering a security note (like a credit note) and highlighting potential issues on the device, including malware, Wi-Fi insecurity and more. Overall, McAfee is easy to get along with and offers peace of mind.
BitDefender offers many features such as firewall, antivirus, camera protection, parental protection and a local spam filter (which most users do not need because spam protection is already built into many email services), and five protected devices for £ 27, 99. per year, across PC, MacOS, iOS and Android platforms. There is customer support via online chat, phone and email.
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There’s also a makeover here, similar to competitors Norton and McAfee (although it’s limited to 200MB per day, that burns you very quickly, even if you just surf the web, let alone watch videos). There is also a password manager with SafePay, which is a secure browser for gaming and online shopping.
There are other fun features like video and audio alarms (which provide a warning that an attacker might try to take on the webcam) and a ransomware cleanup feature, which allows you to recover your data without the ransom to pay if an attacker has encrypted files you are. .
Of the full security ‘suites’ offered here, it has less impact on PC speed, according to tests by independent AV-Comparatives test labs, but we found the layout and language a bit intimidating for less experienced computer users, and information pages and pages .
In our tests, we also find that BitDefender offers a large number of security notifications, which can feel a little overwhelming and not really do much to keep you safe. In our tests, it constantly appears a warning that a Wi-Fi network was ‘insecure’ (lost because the password was all lowercase), which is a kind of thing that can unnecessarily alert users.
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There are many tools here to play with, but the makeover is not new compared to rivals, and the software sometimes fails to stay in the background as good AV software should.
Norton’s Deluxe Package offers a huge amount of value – at least for the first year. It’s £ 29.99 for a year,
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