Newer and more dangerous threats are evolving every other day and top-tier antiviruses are equipped to keep up with changing threats. Plus built-in solutions don’t come with useful features like parental controls, VPNs, and password managers. Thankfully, there are many reliable premium antiviruses you can use to protect your devices. I personally recommend Norton because it’s feature-rich and detects 100% of malware. Plus, it offers a 60-day money-back guarantee, so you can test Norton risk-free. Try Norton risk-free for 60 days!

Why You Need to Have an Antivirus

Having a premium antivirus is critical if you want to secure all your devices properly. Even though Windows, Android, iOS, and macOS devices usually come with some form of built-in protection nowadays, this just isn’t enough to fully protect you. In-built protection won’t safeguard you from advanced threats like the latest malware, phishing attacks, and identity theft. Of course, many also recommend simply staying cautious on the internet instead of using an antivirus to stay safe. This also helps, but only to an extent. In reality, even seemingly legitimate downloads can have hidden malware, so not having a premium antivirus safeguarding your system simply isn’t worth it. Diligence can only go so far in safeguarding your system, and it may not always be apparent that a virus or malware has infected your system. Malicious programs can lurk in hidden files while they harvest your data without drawing attention to themselves. Only the best antivirus suites on the market can prevent this from happening. Most also come bundled with extra features like VPNs, parental controls, customizable firewalls, and password managers. These features help add additional layers of security and are excellent at safeguarding you and your sensitive data from threats.

How Do Antivirus Programs Work?

Antivirus scanners use various methods to identify and eliminate threats. Sophisticated malware can easily hide on your system disguised as normal files, which is why it’s usually impossible to distinguish safe files from malware. Thankfully, high-end antiviruses like Norton use various techniques to detect and remove malware in real-time and via scans. The following are some of the key methods antiviruses use to detect threats and malware on your system:

Signature-based detection — This is the most common detection method used by many antiviruses. It checks file signatures against enormous databases of known malware. If a file’s signature matches one in the database, it’s flagged as malicious and prevented from running. Heuristics-based detection — Heuristics-based detection uses various rules or algorithms to determine if a file is behaving suspiciously. It’s often used together with signature-based detection to help security apps detect altered versions of malware. Behavioral/AI-based detection — Behavioral and AI-based detection analyzes the actions of files during their execution to determine whether or not they’re malicious. If a file behaves like the various kinds of malware used to train the AI-based scanner, it’ll be flagged immediately. Sandbox — A sandbox is an enclosed virtual environment where an antivirus can safely run a suspicious file and monitor its actions to identify if it’s malicious.

Which Extra Features Are Important?

Several important extra features make up any high-end antivirus. These features help your system run better and work alongside the security app’s malware and threat protection to provide additional layers of security. Some of the most crucial extra features include the following:

Customizable built-in firewall — Although Windows comes with a firewall, most worthwhile antiviruses come with built-in firewalls. These firewalls are usually a lot more intuitive than the basic Windows firewall and can be customized to a much greater extent as well. I found it easy to customize Norton’s firewall according to my liking For example, Norton 360 has a highly-customizable firewall that allows for greater protection than a basic option like Windows Defender. Password manager — Password managers are helpful tools that help you safely store your credentials and securely enter them when signing into websites. Much like the best VPNs, high-end password managers also use AES 256-bit encryption to safeguard your sensitive data and credentials. Secure VPN — Having a secure built-in VPN in an antivirus lets you safely surf the web while remaining anonymous. VPNs work by masking your location and encrypting your online activity, so no one else can view it. The best antiviruses come with built-in VPNs, and the best VPNs use AES 256-bit encryption, which is impenetrable to hackers. McAfee’s Safe Connect VPN is great for staying safe online Top antivirus suites like McAfee use stellar VPNs with loads of extra features in their own right that will ensure your data stays protected. Optimization tools — Optimization tools are a useful part of any antivirus and help your system perform at its fastest. These tools remove unnecessary files and junk from your system and allocate resources according to which apps need them most. TotalAV’s smart scan helps you optimize your system in a variety of ways With access to an intuitive optimization suite like TotalAV’s, it’s easy to clean out your PC of junk files and even improve your performance in gaming! Parental controls — Parental controls have become a crucial part of any premium antivirus. These controls help you monitor what your kids watch online and let you block any unsafe websites or apps that they might use. Plus, some antiviruses even have parental controls that let you know where your kid is at all times.

Quick Guide: 3 Best Antivirus Software in 2023

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The Best Antiviruses in 2023 — Full Test Results in January 2023

1. Norton — Protects Your Online Presence With Industry-Leading 100% Malware Detection and Various Additional Features

Key Features: Norton is easily the best antivirus you can use to safeguard all your devices. It offers industry-leading protection by detecting 100% of malware and comes with many useful features, including a VPN, parental controls, and secure cloud storage. When I tested Norton’s malware and threat protection, I was impressed at its perfect results. Norton’s full scan detected 100% malware on my system and successfully removed all of it to keep me secure. Also, Norton is just as effective at keeping you safe from real-time threats. Its real-time protection kept me safe from 0-day malware and kept me from downloading malicious files online by blocking malicious websites. Norton’s parental controls are among the best I’ve seen in any antivirus. It offers feature-rich controls that give you several ways to track and manage your children’s online activity. You can set time limits, block apps, and websites, track how long your kids are on their devices, and even get their location. Plus, they’re really easy to set up, so it’s safe to say that Norton is a solid choice if parental controls are your top priority. You’ll also get a built-in VPN with Norton that lets you safely browse the web and remain anonymous online. Norton’s VPN currently offers servers in 29 countries, which is a lot for a bundled VPN but less than what you’d get in a high-end standalone VPN like ExpressVPN. However, I was still pleased with its performance because most of its servers offer fast connection speeds, and the VPN is also effective at accessing the most popular streaming platforms. Alongside everything else, you’ll also get up to 100GB of secure cloud storage with Norton that you can use to protect sensitive files. Also, there’s a helpful password manager to safely store all your credentials and a customizable firewall that you can adjust to your liking. Norton’s customer support is highly responsive and helpful. It took me no more than 2 minutes to connect with an agent whenever I needed help, and they always provided useful answers to my questions. Norton offers 24/7 phone support and live chat, so you can get help through whichever method you prefer. Norton offers several different plans depending on your needs. Its main plans include the following:

Antivirus Plus — The most basic plan includes Norton’s core antivirus features and protection for 1 device, 2GB of secure cloud storage, a password manager, and Norton’s secure firewall. Norton 360 Standard — Includes all the features in Norton Antivirus Plus and adds Norton’s SafeCam feature, Dark Web Monitoring, and increases the cloud storage to 10GB. Norton 360 Deluxe — Comes with everything in 360 Standard while also increasing the cloud storage to 50GB and the number of devices to 5. Also, 360 Deluxe includes Norton’s parental controls. Norton 360 with LifeLock Select — Increases the cloud storage to 100GB and adds Norton’s various ID theft protection features.

I consider Norton’s plans very well-priced considering the various features they have to offer. Plus, Norton offers a 60-day-long money-back guarantee so you can try out your preferred plan completely risk-free. It’s really easy to claim this money-back guarantee as well. All I had to do was request a refund via Norton’s live chat, and they processed it, no questions asked. Afterward, I had the money back in my account within 5 business days. Try Norton risk-free for 60 days!

2. McAfee — Secure and Reliable Antivirus With a Wide Variety of Features

Key Features: McAfee is a superb antivirus that’s excellent at keeping your devices safe. It detects 100% of malware via its scans, offers an easy-to-use interface, and offers several affordable plans. I put McAfee’s malware detection capabilities to the test and it surpassed my expectations. McAfee offers 3 different kinds of scans, and they successfully detected 100% of malware in my system. Plus, McAfee detects 100% of zero-day malware attacks with its real-time protection, so I fully trust it to safeguard my devices. Other McAfee features include its Safe Connect VPN that lets you safely and anonymously surf the web. You also get McAfee’s True Key password manager, which provides secure storage for all your credentials and sensitive information. McAfee also comes with parental controls that offer various useful tools to help keep your kids safe online. McAfee’s parental controls impressed me a lot because they let you set rules for which apps your kids can use and set screen time limits. Plus, you can see which websites your kids visit and track their location via the built-in map. McAfee’s customer support is very impressive and will help out whenever you need assistance. Any time I wanted help using McAfee, I could easily get in touch with a support agent via its live chat and get all the answers I needed. The agents are responsive and knowledgeable so they should be able to help no matter what issues you’re facing. There’s also phone support and a community forum if live chat isn’t what you prefer. Alongside providing effective security for your devices, McAfee is very affordable as well. It offers several different plans, each providing solid value for money. McAfee’s plans include the following:

Antivirus Plus — Offers McAfee’s core antivirus features and web protection for 1 device. Total Protection Basic — Includes the features in Antivirus Plus and also adds McAfee’s Secure VPN and ID monitoring. Total Protection Plus — Comes with all the features in Total Protection Basic but can protect up to 5 devices simultaneously. Total Protection Premium — Offers all the in Total Protection Plus for unlimited devices and also includes McAfee’s Personal Data Cleanup feature. Total Protection Advanced — Has all the features in Total Protection Premium and adds McAfee’s security freeze, ID theft coverage, and lost wallet protection.

All of McAfee’s plans are highly affordable, but I want to mention that they get a little expensive after the first year discount expires. Nonetheless, this antivirus comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try McAfee completely risk-free. It’s easy to claim this money-back guarantee via the live chat support, and I had my money back 7 business days after requesting a refund. Try McAfee risk-free for 30 days!

3. TotalAV — Protects Your System From Malware While Optimizing It for the Best Possible Performance

Key Features: I consider TotalAV a solid choice if you want an affordable antivirus to protect you online. It offers solid protection against threats and comes with a variety of different features that offer additional security. Plus, it offers useful optimization tools that can help enhance your system’s performance. I put TotalAV’s virus scanning capabilities through several tests and it delivered solid results in each one. TotalAV’s scans detected 100% of threats on my system including viruses, spyware, adware, and every other type of malware. However, its real-time protection isn’t as effective considering it only protected me against 99% of real-time threats. What I like a lot about TotalAV is that it’s a very feature-rich antivirus that offers many tools to further secure and optimize your system. I especially liked its Data Breach Test, which is similar to Norton’s Dark Web Monitoring and McAfee’s ID monitoring. TotalAV’s Data Breach Test lets you know if any of your information has been leaked online through data breaches. To protect you while you browse the web, TotalAV has a WebShield browser extension that protects you from ransomware and phishing attacks. Plus, the WebShield extension even blocks ads, which helps make the browsing experience feel smoother. TotalAV also comes with a built-in VPN that provides fast connection speeds. I ran speed tests when connected to its servers and the results I got were similar to my base connection speeds. Plus, there’s a helpful Smart Scan tool that helps optimize your system by removing unnecessary files from your system. TotalAV offers 3 different plans and each is quite affordable. It’s worth highlighting that their price jumps significantly in the second year, but the first year subscription is very well-priced. TotalAV’s plans are as follows:

Antivirus Pro — Offers protection for 3 devices and includes TotalAV’s malware and threat protection, web protection, and optimization tools. Internet Security — Comes with all the features in Antivirus Pro, but also includes TotalAV’s Safe Browsing VPN. Plus, this plan lets you protect up to 5 different devices simultaneously. Total Security — Has all the features in Internet Security and also adds TotalAV’s password manager and Total Adblock. This plan lets you protect up to 6 different devices at once.

No matter what plan you choose, you can try TotalAV completely risk-free. It offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can easily get a refund if you’re unsatisfied with TotalAV’s performance during this time. I found it easy to claim this money-back guarantee because all it took was a simple 1-minute conversation with their support agent over the phone. I had the money refunded in 2 working days, which is very fast. Try TotalAV risk-free for 30 days!

Warning! Avoid These 2 Antivirus Brands

1. Avast/AVG

AVG and its parent company Avast provide decent quality antivirus software. Unfortunately, they’ve been caught collecting and selling personal user data for profit. After this event, I simply cannot trust either of these choices and recommend avoiding AVG and Avast.

2. Microsoft Defender

Microsoft Defender offers decent basic protection against basic threats, but it isn’t enough to keep your system fully secure on its own. It doesn’t offer any advanced protection features, and its updates aren’t regular enough to defend against the latest 0-day malware attacks.

Quick Comparison Table: 2023’s Best Antivirus Software

5 Easy Steps: How to Use Norton’s Antivirus to Secure Your Digital Presence

That’s all you have to do. Following these steps will let you secure your digital presence using Norton’s industry-standard malware detection.

How I Tested and Ranked the Best Antiviruses in 2023

I used the following criteria to figure out which antiviruses are worth getting:

Malware and threat detection rates —  I made sure to pick antiviruses that can successfully locate and eliminate over 99% of threats on your system while giving few, if any, false positives. Responsive customer support — I made sure only to suggest antiviruses that have reliable customer support. This makes sure that you can easily reach out to their support and get some much-needed assistance whenever you run into any trouble. Extra features — Alongside providing effective protection from malware, the best antiviruses come with various additional features that provide extra layers of protection. This list only has antiviruses that offer multiple extra features to help keep your devices safe from threats. Device compatibility — Nowadays, we all have multiple devices to protect from malware, so it’s important to pick an antivirus that works on a wide range of platforms like iOS and Android. The security apps I’ve selected work on various platforms, so you can use them to safeguard all your devices, no matter what they run on. Value for money — Of course, an antivirus needs to be worth its price. I only listed antiviruses that not only perform well but also offer affordably priced plans that make them a worthwhile investment.

Do you need an antivirus for Windows 10?

Yes! While the built-in Microsoft Defender provides decent protection against threats, it isn’t enough to secure your Windows 10 system on its own. I recommend getting a high-end premium antivirus instead because you can use it to fully protect your system. The best antivirus suites on the market deliver better performance than Windows Defender while also supplying tons of extra features that make sure your device is impenetrable to hackers and malicious software.

Do you need an antivirus for macOS?

Yes, you need an antivirus to guarantee complete protection on macOS. Macs and other iOS devices have reliable built-in security, but new malware is always being developed that specifically targets these devices. So, now more than ever, it’s important to have an antivirus that can safeguard your system from these threats in real time.

What’s the best antivirus for Android?

There are several great antiviruses that you can get to secure your Android device. You’ll want an antivirus that can deliver the same great performance across all of its apps, regardless of device. For that reason, I recommend Norton above every other option. Norton’s Android app offers real-time protection for Android devices through its advanced malware detection and various other security features that will keep your Android device secure. Try Norton risk-free for 60 days!

Secure Your Digital Presence With a Quality Antivirus

All things considered, having a quality antivirus is critical to protect your devices and digital presence nowadays. Although built-in security measures like Google Play Protect and Microsoft Defender are getting better, they simply aren’t enough to safeguard your devices on their own. Even iOS and macOS devices, which many consider quite safe, are vulnerable to phishing attacks. A premium antivirus like Norton is the best way to protect yourself and your devices. High-end antiviruses not only remove malware from your system but also provide other helpful features. These include parental controls to keep your kids safe, VPNs to secure your browsing activity, and password managers to safeguard your credentials. While there are several worthwhile options to choose from, my top choice is Norton. It’s an excellent antivirus with perfect 100% malware detection rates through its real-time protection and scans. Plus, it offers a 60-day-long money-back guarantee, so you can try Norton completely risk-free.

Summary — Best Antiviruses in 2023