We tested a wide range of high-quality virus scanners to determine the best antivirus software available today. Our cybersecurity analysts have put each program to the test by comparing various features, as well as assessing software performance in day-to-day use. Below, you can find our top 3 antivirus software for 2023, as well as some tips for finding the right software for you.
In addition to the security of data on your device, do not forget about the security of your personal phone number! Do not use your personal phone number when registering on suspicious sites that require SMS verification. In such cases, it is better to use the online SMS service with which you can receive SMS to a virtual number and confirm any account.
1. Norton 360: The best antivirus for gaming
Norton Antivirus is a well-known name in the cybersecurity world. The provider offers different packages at different rates. The software is available for all major operating systems including Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. While all of these programs provide excellent security, we recommend Norton 360 Deluxe as our first choice. For $49.99 you can use Norton 360 Deluxe for a whole year.
What we like about Norton 360
In March and April 2022, Norton won the Advanced+ Malware Protection and Advanced+ Performance awards from AV-Comparatives. Norton 360 offers a wide range of top-notch security features, including real-time threat protection, secure browser extensions, and identity theft monitoring. In January and February, it was the only virus scanner to achieve 100% virus detection in tests from SeaLabs and AV-TEST.
The Norton 360 Smart Firewall monitors your network traffic and has many features in place to block intrusive attacks. For optimal security, Norton 360 uses heuristics and machine learning techniques to bust even zero-day threats. What’s worth pointing out, is Norton’s vulnerability assessment feature. This function scans and identifies any potential weaknesses in your device and operating system that criminals could take advantage of, including weak passwords. Additionally, Norton 360 offers its own password manager and SafeCam feature.
The installation process is very straightforward. For your mobile devices, all you have to do is go to the Play Store/App Store and download the Norton Antivirus app. Make sure you check whether your operating system supports all features. If you run into issues, there’s a direct link to customer support on the dashboard. A 24/7 live chat is available to help you out. You can also contact staff by phone or via social media.
Does Norton 360 have any shortcomings?
Norton 360 offers three different options for virus scanning:
- quick scan
- full scan
- file scan
When it comes to the speed of these scans, there is some room for improvement. A full scan takes well over 40 minutes, taking up about 15-20% of the CPU (Central Processing Unit).
However, these numbers are pretty average when compared to others. On top of that, the amount of special features that Norton 360 offers makes up for this: a subscription does not only give you access to the Norton Secure VPN, but also 50GB of cloud storage, parental controls, and dark web monitoring.
Verdict on Norton 360
Norton clearly puts its money where its mouth is and offers excellent levels of protection. Its many options, excellent usability, and high performance convinced us to put Norton at the very top of our list of best antivirus software.
2. Bitdefender: many options and optimal protection
Bitdefender is a giant among antivirus protection programs and is used by hundreds of millions of people. It has pretty much all the functions you may want or expect from an antivirus scanner. It goes without saying that Bitdefender Antivirus protects you against all sorts of malicious software, including spyware, adware, and even ransomware.
What we like about Bitdefender
Bitdefender has two comprehensive packages: Bitdefender Internet Security and Bitdefender Total Security. They also have a Family Pack, which allows you to cover more devices. For most users, we recommend Bitdefender Total Security. For $39.97, you’re protected for a full year. This package offers a strong firewall and options for parental controls. On top of all that, Bitdefender Total Security offers a device optimizer and even has its own premium VPN service.
When it comes to AV-Comparatives’ test results, Bitdefender hit a 97.8% detection rate and a 99.99% protection rate. It uses real-time threat protection with the Bitdefender Shield and offers excellent protection against common viruses. Moreover, scans are fast: a quick scan took just over 3 minutes with 2% of the CPU taken up, and a full scan took 25 minutes at about 50% of the CPU, which is admittedly on the high side.
From a privacy point of view, this provider also has you covered. They offer a password manager, anti-tracker, and VPN. The software is easy to use and there are many support options at your exposal.
Does Bitdefender have any shortcomings?
Bitdefender Total Security works on every major operating system, including Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. Unfortunately, the cheaper package (Internet Security) only works on Windows. This is a possible drawback for Apple and smartphone users who prefer a basic antivirus package and are reluctant to pay extra for options they may not need or want.
Verdict on Bitdefender
Bitdefender is an excellent virus scanner with an excellent price-to-quality ratio. They even offer a 30-day free trial so you can test it before you fully commit.
3. Intego: great protection for macOS
Intego is an excellent antivirus provider, especially for macOS. Though it also has a version compatible with Windows, it was designed specifically with Apple’s operating system in mind.
What we like about Intego
Security is guaranteed with this provider that’s been around since 1997. In 2021, Intego Antivirus was awarded a perfect score by AV-TEST for “Protection”, “Performance” and “Usability.” Intego’s special VirusBarrier will run virus scans on any devices, including USB drives and external hard drives.
Intego offers browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Additionally, it has a built-in firewall that keeps your network traffic secure. This can be helpful if you use public Wi-Fi a lot. Finally, the software offers parental controls and a cleanup tool that organizes and optimizes your files.
When it comes to privacy, you can be sure that your data is safe with Intego: there have been no privacy scandals, despite the fact that the provider has been around for more than 20 years.
The installation process for this antivirus scanner is straightforward and the software runs smoothly. If you run into any issues, there’s a live chat available on the Intego website. We received a very fast response to our questions. It’s also good to point out that support is available in English, French, and Japanese.
Does Intego have any shortcomings?
Intego Antivirus offers several different plans against different rates. We personally recommend the Mac Premium Bundle X9. The only drawback of this is that, at $69.99 a year, it’s more expensive than Norton 360 and Bitdefender Total Security, but it offers a wide range of features and performs well.
Moreover, Intego’s VPN is not built-in, contrary to VPNs offered by many other antivirus programs. Instead, you have to purchase Intego Privacy Protection separately. The VPN does use the same server network as Private Internet Access, which is one of the best VPNs on the market.
A final downside in terms of usability is that each application has to be accessed separately from a single folder in the Mac Applications menu.
Verdict on Intego
It can be challenging for macOS users to find a good virus scanner, but we believe Intego is the solution here. It offers high levels of protection, relative usability, and various options to keep you safe while you surf the web