What is an antivirus?
As per the webster dictionary, antivirus software refers to programs “used to protect the computer from viruses.” A software suite is used to avert the device from threats by regularly scanning, detecting, and deleting the viruses present in an active or inactive form. After the installation process is successfully completed, most antivirus programs run in the background to ensure that they don’t disturb the customers’ work. These software suites are designed specifically to block the entry of harmful and malicious threats such as worms, Trojan horses, spyware, etc., by adding a layer of additional protection with the help of customized firewalls and website blocking.
Read the article below to understand the essence of antiviruses and the top antivirus choices available in the global market.
Why do we need an antivirus?
The Washington Post in 2020 reported that the weekly screen time of people has gone to the roof. In the lockdown situation, the average screentime of an adult rose to 3.5 hours a day. While surfing and streaming seem non-toxic, staying put in the digital space for such a vast timespan can impose innumerable threats. The web’s anonymity allows people with fraudulent minds to gain unauthorized access to anyone’s personal and confidential information. Internet secures and conceals the identity of these wrongdoers who can do whatever they will to do.
Threat prediction analysis of McAfee 2021 forecasts six different malicious threats that can create havoc. The threats are: supply chain backdoor techniques to proliferate, hacking the home to hack the office setup, attacks on cloud platforms that will become highly mechanized and handcrafted, new mobile payment scams, Qshing or QR Code Abuse, and social networks as workplace attack vectors.
The top malicious threats that hamper the performance of the device and can steal your confidential information are:
Malicious software or Malwares covers all the malicious threats such as viruses, worms, adware, rootkits, and Trojan horses under its blanket. Malware refers to a wide range of software programs designed specifically to damage the device and allow access to unwanted actions that can adversely impact the device, server, and computer network. The ultimate goal of these malware threats is to slow down and crash the device by sending spam.
Spyware is another form of malware that stays put on the system and conceals their identity. These threats enter your device’s operating system without any access permission with the sole motive to manufacture undesirable changes to degrade the user experience. These malicious threats are commonly used as spy on the online activity of the customers. They create unwanted pop-ups for advertisements or divert your browser to display blocked website sites on every search result.
Phishing attacks don’t manufacture any computer threats; instead, with the help of fraudulent emails and websites try to mislead you into sharing your private and financial details. They do so to either steal money or compromise an account on your name by imposter as a trustworthy entity. In the usual process, they claim that there is unusual activity on your account or a debit/credit of money has taken place. To rectify the error, they ask you to follow the link or attachment and provide them your personal information.
Apart from these, there are countless more malware threats such as ransomware and Qshing designed to impact your device adversely.
How does Antivirus work?
For permanently removing malicious threats from the customer’s device, all antivirus programming software starts their operations by checking the programs and files against the company’s inbuilt database. As new malwares are created and distributed by hackers every day, the security software companies are also on a voyage to design suites that scan devices against all possibilities of known and unknown types of malware threats.
Most programs usually use three detection devices: first Generic detection, which searches for possible parts and types of malware patterns that are reflected on a shared database; Specific detection, which identifies every familiar malware; and Heuristic detection, which examines the device for any unknown virus by scanning known unsecure file structure. As soon as the program recognizes any file infected by a virus, they quarantine it and mark it up to permanently delete to ensure that it is inaccessible for customers and devices.
Top 5 Antivirus Software
Norton is a unit of Symantec that came into existence in the year 1982. The company has its headquarter in Tempe, Arizona, where it employs over 12,000 employees and serves a customer base consisting of an estimated 50 million global devices. Norton is one of the most well-known security companies worldwide that offer consumer products such as antivirus and internet security software. Norton’s security software packages are available at a yearly subscription cost ranging from $79.99 to $349.99 (after first-year discounts).
Norton’s product list includes: Norton 360 Premium that secures the computer by providing extensive malware and VPN security for a maximum of ten devices. Norton 360 Deluxe connects five devices and allows cloud backup of up to 75GB. Norton 360 Standard and deluxe three devices include all Norton’s classic features and store up to 10 GB and 50 GB of cloud backup, respectively.
Norton recently designed two unique products available for android and iOS, i.e., Norton 360 for Gamers, which patronizes a unique notification optimization, full-screen mode detection, and provides a backup of 50GB. Lastly, Norton Mobile Security delivers Wi-Fi surveillance and scans all suspicious applications.
Pros and Cons
- VPN included in all packages
- LifeLock identity theft protection is included in all multidevice antivirus packages.
- The SafeCam feature protects computer webcams from hacking.
- All tiers support Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.
- All levels include cloud storage.
- Deep initial discounts mean relatively higher renewal prices.
- Only the $350 per year Ultimate Plus package covers ten devices.
McAfee came into existence due to John David McAfee’s efforts, an English-American computer programmer and businessman who founded McAfee’s first antivirus software in 1987. Today, the company holds its headquarter in Santa Clara, California, with a workforce base of more than 7,000 people. McAfee antivirus renders its services to eighty percent of the Fortune one hundred companies, fifty-four percent of top retailers, and an average of eighty-seven percent of the world’s biggest banks. According to McAfee’s report, on average, at least one version of McAfee’s antivirus software comes preinstalled on Windows 10 computers worldwide. This software security company, through its products, provides ultimate security to its customer base worldwide.
McAfee worldwide offers six different products that provide the device from malicious threats. The products are: Total Protection Single Device, the subscription this software protects the maximum of one device and provides protection against every standard array of malware, a virtual private network, two-way firewall, and password management. Total Protection Individual & Couples, the subscription is in place to protect a maximum of five devices. It comes with a unique feature of dark web monitoring and social security number trace. McAfee Total covers up to ten devices and offers all classic elements of total protection.
McAfee LiveSafe is designed to secure unlimited and covers all McAfee’s classic features and acts as a web advisor and device optimizer. The company also offers different protective software such as VPN protection and Gamer security.
Pros and cons
- VPN included in all pricing tiers.
- All versions support Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.
- McAfee Shredder eliminates all traces of erased files.
- Virus Protection Pledge money-back malware removal guarantee.
- VPN and identity theft protection included only with auto-renewal.
Bitdefender was founded in 2001 by Florin Talpeș, the current CEO of the organization. The company has its headquarter in Romania, Europe, and they employ over 1,700 professionals in its official branches in North America, Europe, and Australia. After years of its successful operations, the company in 2021 is designated the Best Antivirus security software. Bitdefender’s products offer security software subscriptions in five tiers with varied packages for one, two, and three-year.
Bitdefender offers three products that protect the devices from getting infected by malicious threats such as ransomware, viruses, Trojan horses, and phishing. The products are as follows: Bitdefender Antivirus Plus that is operational only on Windows PC and offers features such as web filter, anti-tracker, and social network protector. Bitdefender Internet Security incorporates all the Antivirus features plus and comes with a two-way firewall and webcam protection. All the two products listed above work solely on Windows. Bitdefender Premium Security allows the customers to avail all the Antivirus and Internet security features along with multi-operating systems and threat protections.
Pros and cons
- Discounted multi-year, multidevice subscriptions.
- The software offers numerous functions, features, and app-specific protections.
- Bitdefender can operate on fifteen devices.
- MacOS separate solutions are available.
- Limited VPN services.
- No identity/ anti-theft protection.
Kaspersky is one of the preeminent antivirus software organizations operating in Moscow, Russia. It was founded in the year 1997, and since then, it owns a vast customer base of over 400 million. The company has 35 workplaces in thirty-one countries where they employ more than four thousand employees.
Kaspersky Antivirus software is accessible only on windows and protects the device against basic Antivirus, crypto mining malwares, and many more such malicious software.
Internet Security is available on PC, Mac, Android, iOS and provides all basic features and webcam protection. Total Security secures the device against all threats and offers a unique backup file protection and safe kid parental control feature.
Pros and cons
- The family plan option includes over 20 devices.
- Affordable multi-year/multidevice subscriptions.
- Offers distinct macOS-specific solutions.
- Limited VPN included only in the premium subscription.
- Doesn’t offer any identity theft protection.
- Limited descriptions of certain features and packages.
Webroot is a cybersecurity company that sold its first consumer-oriented antivirus software in 2006 in Colorado, United States. The company offers advantageous features such as identity theft protection, secured real-time antiphishing, fast scans, and webcam protection. The company guarantees satisfaction to its customer; otherwise, they return the entire subscription pieces. It offers only three different “Secure Anywhere” antivirus software packages that provide holistic protection to the customers at a price less than every competitor in the market.
Webroot Secure Anywhere Antivirus functions on Windows and macOS and secures up to three devices. The product offers all programs classic features mentioned above. Secure Anywhere Internet Security Plus is available for all devices such as Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and a password manager’s unique feature. Webroot Secure Anywhere Internet Security Complete provides protection against malicious threats in the digital space and includes cloud storage of up to 25 GB. the product includes all the features of the Internet plus and Antivirus alongside a unique feature of LastPass.
The company doesn’t include any inbuilt VPN protection, but they offer a unique VPN protection product called Webroot WiFi security for Windows, macOs, and Android.
Pros and cons
- The most significant advantage of Webroot is its low-priced subscriptions, through which you can use the best of benefits without spending a fortune.
- No adverse impacts on system performance.
- Webcam and firewall protection at all pricing levels.
- No VPN or identity theft monitoring is included. VPN security is not available in Webroot products, but you can buy a subscription for Webroot’s VPN protection.
- No parental controls.
The antivirus software products available at Norton, McAfee, Bitdefender, Kaspersky, and Webroot are supported on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. Certain exceptional products operate on either of these; for instance, Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus can be accessible on Windows and macOS, and Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is operational only on Windows. Hence thoroughly examine the products to buy the most desirable choice.