Personal information is at risk from cyber attacks. One of the best ways to protect yourself is with an internet safety program that protects your data and keeps it out of the wrong hands. I did a lot of testing to make sure the top programs are still up to date.

These recommendations will keep your computers, mobile devices, and networks as safe as possible. A real-time protection that stops and scrubs threats from your system before they have a chance to start download is what makes the best antivirus program. Some of the solutions that work with mobile devices are included on this list. To see a complete list of my picks, check out my picks.

Best Antivirus Overall: Bitdefender Antivirus Plus

Bitdefender promo

(Image credit: Bitdefender)

My own tests show that Bitdefender earns high or perfect scores. It's the best software for security. With the safe browser extension enabled, it will stop the threats from entering your computer. Phishing schemes will be warned by Bitdefender. Search results will be tagged as safe to click through or not if safe browsing is enabled. The websites that it recognized as harbors malicious files and links were the ones it blocked from being accessed.

The password manager and secure file shredder are included in the basic solution. It has social network protections that keep an eye on activity on social media pages and let you know if there is a malicious link that has been shared. Your entire system can be scanned for weak points, which can be used to protect against hackers and ransomware. There are some vulnerabilities, including corrupted drives and outdated software programs. You don't need to guess if the links you find online are legit or not because Bitdefender gives you safe links where you can download patches and new software.


A personal firewall is not included in the package. I have seen during testing that having a second layer of protection is important. There are too many threats that make their way through the standard firewalls and that's why they're included in the software. A device optimizer, parental controls, and a firewalls are included in the higher-tiered program.

How long it takes to complete scans is one of the setbacks of the company. When other programs take a few minutes, it's not uncommon for Bitdefender to take up to 40 minutes for some scans.

Best Basic Antivirus: VIPRE Advanced Security

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If you're looking for a program that doesn't use a lot of resources or have too much extra features, I recommend the program. The program stops malicious files during the download process and prevents the threat from getting to your computer. Emails will be monitored and will be flagged for malicious links or attachments. This allows you to decide if you want to keep the message or toss it.

It's one of the reasons that I'm impressed withVIPRE. As part of your overall system security, this is the most important tool after Malware protection. Your internet connection and all the communications that come in and go out are watched by theVIPRE's firewalls. This is a great way to keep snoops away from public wi-fi networks that are not as secure as home or work networks.

It is so basic that it doesn't use much of your resources. I was able to keep surfing the web, watch online videos, play games, download files, and send emails without any noticeable slow down while I was testing it.

Learning to navigate the dashboard is something that requires a little bit of practice. It isn't the same as other solutions and some tools are hard to find. Safe browser extensions can be enabled from the dashboard.

Best Free Antivirus: Avast Free Antivirus

Avast Antivirus interface

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Avast is the best in this area because it offers free solutions. A password manager and home network security are just a few of the extra features included in the free version of the software. It is possible to hide your online identity with the help of a virtual private network. It doesn't take long to figure out where each tool is and how to set them to your own preferences, thanks to the easy to navigate dashboard.

My children's devices are installed on some of my favorites, including the automatic gaming mode. When you visit an online gaming site, this tool will automatically redirecting some resources away from non-critical functions so you can play without being interrupted by popup notifications. If you try to download a game or visit a dangerous website, you'll get a notification from Avast, which will keep an eye on your computer.

I observed that the program waited until the files were almost downloaded before snatching the threat. It is very efficient at blocking threats from attacking because it does not allow the download process to begin. Both my book and other third-party labs give a score of above average for the protection of their computers from malicious software.

Each time you start your computer, open the dashboard, or a few times in between, there will be a pop-up ad that will get in the way. The only way to avoid these ads is to purchase a paid program or enable the gaming mode. Avast's Premium Security is just as good at stopping malicious software from infecting your computer as it is at stopping it from spreading to other devices in your home network. webcam monitoring is also included in premium security.

Best with a VPN: McAfee Total Security

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Over the last several years, McAfee has been working hard to overcome setbacks. It wasn't a good program for a long time. It used a lot of resources that made it hard to sleep. It is often found in the top spot as one of the best, most efficient security solutions. Over the last couple of years, I've seen McAfee earn perfect or near-perfect scores for their anti-malicious software. It isn't enough to affect most functions. When installed on a mobile device, there is a noticeable increase in the amount of time it takes.

Securing your family's devices is included with the program, as well as online storage and protection for cryptocurrencies. It is more difficult for your online activities to be traced or for your digital identity to be stolen if you have a secured virtual private network that blocks your online identity. It has a system scanner that looks for vulnerabilities and ways to make your system work better.

There are a lot of tools that are useful for families. No person or program can get into your computer without your consent. It has good parental controls and is easy to block inappropriate content. It is possible to set time controls that will keep your child off the internet after their screen time is up or during critical times of the day.

Best with ID Protection: Norton 360 with LifeLock

Norton Antivirus with LifeLock promo

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It isn't a surprise thatNorton has been around for a long time. It's one of the best security solutions. The partnership with LifeLock is what makesNorton 360 so valuable. If your email address, birthdate, social security number, or even online account credentials are illegally sold, Lifelock will alert you. Medical and criminal records are not usually associated with identity theft. LifeLock can help you recover your identity if it's been stolen.

Safe browsing tools fromNorton are used to tag malicious websites that have links hidden in them. A malicious file can be downloaded even after a site is taken down. One of the programs that caught these threats wasNorton.

Your online identity, including your device's location, can be hidden with the help of a virtual private network. This reduces the amount of targeted ads because it protects you. Special banking tools are available fromNorton to make sure your personal and financial information is kept safe. Passwords and credit card information are protected.

I don't useNorton because it causes a noticeable slowdown on all the personal devices I download it to. The drag on home computers and cell phones wasn't as fast as it was during lab tests, but it was still slow.

Best for Banking: Trend Micro Antivirus + Security

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(Image credit: Trend Micro)

I found Trend Micro to be difficult to use and feel like a heavy program from the start. Trend Micro was a perfect solution after installation. This program has scored 100% each time I have tested it. It doesn't mean that I can't add it to my list of the best software.

The software instantly picks up on a fake or legitimate website. If you click on a link that looks like it's legit, Trend Micro will block it and warn you. Phishing schemes and dangerous websites can be spotted by Trend Micro.

The pay guard is one of the best tools here. The purpose of this is to protect your personal, financial, and account information while you shop online. Pay Guard stores your credit card and bank account numbers in a secure vault, so you don't have to enter them during check out. Extra protections are put around your browser by Pay Guard.

Best Network Protections: ESET Internet Security

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There are several computer protection programs, but the Internet Security software from ESET is a good balance of protection found in basic programs and advanced tools. It did a great job of blocking threats from entering my computers through internet downloads, network communication, and stopping websites from loading.

The Host Intrusion Protection System (HIPS) is used to detect new threats that haven't been named or included in the database. The general behavior and typical code patterns of threats are understood by the company. This tool is used to keep an eye on your network connection and all the devices that are connected to it. If a suspicious communication or file attempts to break into the network, the Connected Home will alert you. Safe banking, webcam monitoring, and a gaming mode are some of the security tools included with ESET internet security.

The program is easy to install and use. The files were checked for anything that wasn't right. It took some people over 10 hours to complete it. I was able to work and use the internet during these scans. I noticed that it took a little longer for an application to deploy, but I didn't experience any interference after that. The only other complaint I have is that ESET didn't give me the option to ignore the block. It was necessary to uninstall the program because some of the websites were online tools for work.

Best for Current Infections: Malwarebytes

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(Image credit: Malwarebytes)

It can feel like installing an antivirus program is too much work if you're not willing to spend a lot of money. Viruses and other threats can sneak in to attack your system if you don't have the right security in place for your mobile device. If your computer is running slower, closes browsers and programs without warning, or is redirecting you to websites you aren't trying to reach, you're most likely a victim of a computer virus. If you want to avoid getting a lot of the programs, try to avoid them. It is possible to download the program easily.

The minute you install Malwarebytes, it starts looking for threats on your system. Malwarebytes doesn't just find threats, it also leaves the removal up to you. You don't have to do any of the dirty work with Malwarebytes because they round up the threats and remove them.

This program can't stop future threats because it doesn't have real time protection. You will need to buy an anti-theft program. Most ransomware infections are not stopped by Malwarebytes. It is the best way to get rid of threats that have already been downloaded.

Best Computer Backup: Acronis True Image

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Source: Nicole Johnston/ Android Central (Image credit: Acronis)

Acronis has been used for a long time to store critical files and information in the cloud. It's more difficult for ransomware to lock down your files because of this. Your computer will run as if nothing had happened to it if you scrub or reset it. If your computer crashes, you can install your information to a new one without missing a beat.

There are additional features included in Acronis True Image 2021. True image will block threats from hiding on your computer It will warn you about dangerous websites. There isn't a good history to depend on since third-party testing labs don't test how accurate Acronis is. I was able to see that Acronis stopped most threats without a problem in my own tests. It did a good job of blocking malicious websites now that they exist.

If you decide to use Acronis, there are some drawbacks to be aware of. Some of your computer's resources will be used to deploy some local tools. While I was still able to do my job, it did cause me some lag when I was browsing the web and waiting for videos to load. This wouldn't be a good solution for people who play video games. A full system Scan will take a long time. I didn't experience any more slow down during the scans because I appreciated how thorough Acronis is. It's a pity that it took so long to finish.

Here's why Bitdefender is the best

The best antivirus program is the one from Bitdefender. There are malicious files that can be stopped from even beginning the download process. It marks dangerous websites, blocks swastikas, and comes with a number of extra security tools, like a virtual private network and social media protections.

You can get a lot of user licenses for the same price of one from other programs. You can use a single program to secure computers and cell phones. All of the program's scans take a long time and it doesn't come with a firewalls. This program doesn't use as much resources as other programs, so you can still work on your device.

Antivirus and data sharing

The company admitted that it captured and shared user information with its partners and other companies. This program was discontinued but it still uses information gathering. Every antivirus program, whether it's on PC, Mac, or a mobile device, asks as part of its initial installation and setup process for permission to collect your data and participate in some type of data sharing program Most people don't like this from a company that is supposed to protect your information.

Information on new and emerging Viruses is one of the reasons for data collection. This information is used to stop new threats that haven't been identified and cataloged in malware databases from being stopped before they can cause more damage. It's important to keep malicious threats from getting out of hand. It helps the programs to learn common behaviors so they can stop new threats before they get to a computer. It wouldn't take long for data sharing to be stopped.

Research is one of the reasons for data collecting. Several excellent solutions are available in the industry. Better versions of the software can be created as it gathers information about its users. This information will always be sold for profit. You can choose not to participate in the program.