With So Many Antivirus Programs On The Market How Do You Choose The Right One?

If you are reading this then that is a good sign that you are aware of the importance of protecting your computer with security software. That is a good first step. Choosing an antivirus program to install on your PC is not an easy step though. There are a great many products available to you and the security market is a highly competitive one.

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I’ve conducted many antivirus reviews over the last few years and, whilst some products are better than others, there are no truly awful ones out there. At least not from legitimate vendors anyway (see “scareware” though). The reputable vendors behind antivirus products are all pushing for sales through a combination of enhanced features and innovative and/or aggressive marketing strategies. How do you sort through all of that to find the best product for you?

Not easily is probably the answer to that, especially as we all have different needs when it comes to security software. The following information may be of some use in helping you come to a decision however.

Software without passion

Have you watched the latest blockbuster movie yet? Are you playing the latest online game on your console? If so, you and your friends are probably talking about these things constantly because they are fun and exciting. Which antivirus programs have those friends got installed on their computer right now? You don’t know because computer security is a boring topic (unless you are like me in which case you probably need professional help!).

When you go online you want to surf the web, check your bank account, play games, talk to your friends, watch movies or whatever else excites you. You don’t want to be worrying about viruses, identity theft or any other types of computer threat. Thats why security products don’t capture your imagination. You know they are essential but thats it, you don’t really want to know any more than that. You need an antivirus program that just does it’s job and keeps you safe.

With that in mind you may have read how a protected computer has been infected anyway but don’t let that put you off buying an antivirus program. The bad guys are always the innovators, looking to be one step ahead of the security companies so there will be the odd such incident. But think how much worse things could be if you had no protection at all.

The war without ending

Whilst the internet has a great many positives about it, it has also brought with it a large amount of risk.

Cyber criminals have learned that there are large amounts of money to be made, either through peoples’ gullibility or through weaknesses in the computer systems that they use. Every day they are creating new ways of earning money illegally, through spam, credit card fraud, identity theft and many, many other ways. One of the easiest ways for criminals to make money (or for hackers to make a name for themselves) is through creating new malware. Both camps are looking for the ideal threat – a virus or other nasty piece of code that will perform a particular task without being detected by an antivirus program.

The security vendors on the other hand are on the lookout for new threats and they are working 24/7 to find ways to counteract them as quickly as possible after they are discovered. With this in mind, you will want to be looking for an antivirus program that offers frequent updates. Nowadays that could mean an antivirus program that updates hourly or that uses cloud technology to provide the protection you need as soon as possible. Some antivirus vendors are better at reacting to new threats than others and chances are, none of them are perfect – remember, every time a threat is neutralised the bad guys will be looking to release a new one that  will slip past the protection software, at least for a while.

Choosing the right antivirus program

Hopefully I’ve given you the idea now that, whilst I think antivirus protection is essential, it is not 100% certain to keep you protected all of the time. The level of protection you do get is still dependent upon the program you choose though so you need to ensure that you make an informed decision.

There are many ways of assessing which will be the best antivirus program to use and some are more subjective than others.

One way is to determine the size of the companies as surely biggest is best right?

Based on a bit of research, mixed with a sprinkling of intuition with a dash of opinion, I believe the biggest security vendors offering paid antivirus solutions are (in no particular order) as follows –

  • BitDefender
  • F-Secure
  • Symantec
  • McAfee
  • Kaspersky

There are big players in the free antivirus market as well and they are –

  • AVG
  • Avira
  • Avast!

Another way to assess an antivirus program is to read independent research from one of the testing sites. I won’t go into who they rate here as they tend to run tests on a regular basis and the results do vary from month to month or from quarter to quarter.

Instead I would recommend visiting the following sites and reading the current results for yourself –

Lastly, you can read antivirus reviews on a number of sites across the web. I’ve written some antivirus reviews myself. By using a combination of all the resources above I’m sure you’ll be able to find the best antivirus program for your needs. Good luck in your search.

 

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

Comments

  1. I usually have more than 2 antivirus programs on my pc this way to ensure that nothing gets through.

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