Security software is something you can’t do without. The question is, out of the dozens of security packages on the market, which one should you best antivirus in apple to safeguard your computer and your precious data? How to choose the best antivirus software for you in 2018Is it worth paying for a premium suite? A few companies offer free antivirus software, but most packages you’ll have to pay for.
The headline price you see on the publisher’s website isn’t the whole story, though. Often you can save money by investing in a two-year licence, or by buying a subscription for multiple computers. Amazon than on the publisher’s own website. The same applies when the time comes to renew your subscription: the program will present a friendly link to easily renew at full-price, but you’re normally better off ignoring this and buying a whole new copy online. Most security publishers offer a range of products at different prices. The basic antivirus program will do the all-important job of scanning for malware, but probably not much else. In many cases there’s also a top tier that adds features such as online backup or companion apps.
It’s also worth noting that most publishers like to brand their products with a year, and they can be quite aggressive about the timing: in some cases the 2017 packages have been out for months. But this doesn’t normally affect your licence: a 2016 subscription will often entitle you to step up to the latest version of the software whenever it becomes available. Do I need a standalone firewall? Nowadays, Windows comes with a very capable firewall of its own, and it’s quite common for the developers of security suites to leave this in place, rather than providing their own. Windows firewall is likely to provide all the protection you need.
Do I need protection while I’m browsing the web? One of the easiest ways to get infected by malware is to inadvertently visit a dodgy website. Your security suite might well include a browser plugin that automatically blacklists such sites, so you can’t end up downloading something nasty by accident. Web security is especially important on banking and shopping sites: if someone managed to hijack your transactions here, they could steal your financial details and cause very serious trouble. Some suites include an entire separate browser for use on such sites, that’s specifically engineered to shut out potential hackers. Normally, a safe browser won’t support extensions at all, and will insist on encrypted connections.
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It may run in a sandbox or elevated environment to prevent other running processes from spying on what it’s doing. You can normally configure your security software to automatically switch from your regular browser to the safe one when you visit specific sites, for an effortless security boost when it’s needed. However, your security software can only examine messages that are stored on your PC, through a client like Outlook or Windows Mail. If you use Gmail or Hotmail, your security software has no way of looking inside attachments to see that they’re safe. Don’t worry too much about this, though: the very fact that attachments are stored in the cloud, rather than on your PC, makes it hard for malware to spread this way. Just don’t click on any unfamiliar links. And what about protection for my phone and tablet?
Android is by far the bigger market, as its much more open architecture makes it easier for malware to spread. Offerings for iOS tend to be more limited, because the much stricter security model makes it very hard for both malware and security software to operate. If you like the cross-platform approach, it’s worth considering a suite that comes with a suitable companion app. When it comes to malware protection, Bitdefender’s pedigree is impeccable.
Bitdefender won’t get in your way, either. When this is switched on, the software silently decides what to block and what to allow without involving you at all. Only the most major incidents trigger a user notification. There’s loads of other secondary features too: a custom firewall, a safe browser, a password manager, a file-encryption module and even a built-in rescue environment for recovering your PC from serious infections. Even if you end up paying the full whack, it’s well worth it for a security suite that simply can’t be beaten for effectiveness and performance.
The Kaspersky brand has come in for a bit of unfortunate controversy lately, with some government agencies opting to blacklist Russian security software. For us non-spies, however, it remains an excellent defence against viruses: it achieved a very strong 99. AV-Comparatives’ protection tests, and wasn’t tripped up by a single false positive. Alongside antivirus and web-protection modules, it packs in all the expected goodies like Safe Money, which lets you automatically divert specific websites into Kaspersky’s own hardened browser, webcam protection and a smart ransomware-protection module. Then there are distinctive features such as Kaspersky’s Trusted Applications mode, which neutralises drive-by downloads by automatically blocking any application that isn’t expressly whitelisted. There’s also an automatic software updater, a vulnerability scanner and an impressively flexible set of parental controls.
20 for an annual subscription, your usage is capped at just 200MB per day, and you don’t get to choose your exit mode. A final point in Kaspersky’s favour is the very reasonable price, which is easy to swallow for three PCs. Our only caveat is that with all its features and options, Kaspersky Internet Security isn’t ideal for people who want set-and-forget security. But for power users and tinkerers it’s an excellent, extensive and highly configurable security suite.