Those New Year resolutions to exercise more and eat less are already fading for most of us. But here's a resolution that's much easier to keep—ensure that all your devices have up-to-date antivirus protection. Your 2017 will be a lot happier if you can avoid the woes of identity theft, ransomware, or other malware attack. If you don't already have an antivirus installed, get one now! We've evaluated dozens to come up with our top ten choices.
I did say antivirus, but in truth it's unlikely you'll get hit with an actual computer virus. Malware these days is about making money, and there's no easy way to cash in on spreading a virus. Ransomware and data-stealing Trojans are much more common, as are bots that let the bot-herder rent out your computer for nefarious purposes. Modern antivirus utilities handle Trojans, rootkits, spyware, adware, ransomware, and more. PCMag has reviewed 46 different commercial antivirus utilities, and that's not even counting the many free antivirus tools. Out of that extensive field we've named four Editors' Choice products.
Ten more commercial antivirus utilities proved effective enough to earn an excellent four-star rating. I eliminated three special-purpose products that aren't really like the rest: Daily Safety Check Home Edition, Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit Premium, and VoodooSoft VoodooShield. I also culled Panda Antivirus Pro 2016, as it costs slightly more than the rest, and its free edition gets plenty of attention as an Editors' Choice for free antivirus. And Check Point's ZoneAlarm PRO uses antivirus licensed from Kaspersky, with almost no lab test results for ZoneAlarm itself. That leaves the ten excellent products you see above.
All of these products are traditional, full-scale, antivirus tools, with the ability to scan files for malware on access, on demand, or on schedule. As for just relying on the antivirus built into Windows 8.x or Windows 10, that may not be the best idea. In the past, Windows Defender has performed poorly both in our tests and independent lab tests It did score several wins last year, and it earned decent scores in several more recent tests. Even so, our latest evaluation indicates that you'd still be better off with a third-party solution.Read More...
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