The Top Antivirus Software of 2018
Once upon a time Yahoo - a major online tycoon - had its own security system compromised. As a result, almost 500 million people's data got leaked, and Yahoo had to pay $35 million for hiding the truth. And there are hundreds of similar examples: from Boston college to Georgia Department of Community Health losing private, valuable info.
Even monster-corporations and big organization need proper protection. And so do you. Having an antivirus on your device and keeping it continuously updated, greatly mitigates the risk of you losing some precious data. For example, in 2017 the notorious virus WannaCry attacked Windows-powered computer in more than 150 countries, demanding a handsome ransom of $600 for unencrypting the users' data.
Having an anti-virus is crucial. But which one to choose?
Always Use Protection
These days you won't often encounter a virus that wrecks your device for good. Mostly they have been designed with one purpose: to squeeze some money out of you. To name a few of them, that your computer may get infected with are: crypto-mining malware, spyware, adware, data-stealing trojans and even that malicious soft that "rents" your PC's computing power to some bad people.
To have your hardware soundly protected from such threats you can utilize the following antivirus brands:
- Daily Safety Сheck (Mobile/Home/Business editions).
- Voodoo Shield.
- Zone Alarm by CheckPoint.
- Sophos Home Security.
Each one of the afore-mentioned utilities can handle the job of "escorting" malware out of your computer perfectly. Moreover, they have a "full-scan" option that searches for infected/useless/doubled files in your system.
Windows Defender, integrated into Windows 10 by default, also deserves some attention since its performance has significantly improved. In case you're tight on the budget at the moment - WinDefender could be a proper remedy.
An antivirus of Russian origin Kaspersky has also been known for doing a good job with the malware for years. But as you might've heard it's been in the center of a scandal recently, involving FBI and the national security concerns (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/13/us/politics/kaspersky-lab-antivirus-federal-government.html).
What Do the Labs Say?
If you're really confused about finding a reliable guardian for your computer - there's no need to be despondent. Software specialists from the testing laboratories have kindly done the job of finding the best antivirus software for you. Just take a look at their reports.
Some of the most reputable and prominent antivirus-testing laboratories are:
- SE Labs.
- AV-Test Institute.
- Virus Bulletin.
- MRG Effitas.
- NSS Labs.
- West Coast labs.
- ICSA labs.
If the anti-malware product has been put on trial and certified by one of these labs - it is worth your trust and money.
How is an anti-virus tested?
Either it's a specialized laboratory or a PC/software magazine, an AV-program gets thoroughly tested.
They utilize both "classic" viruses that have been in existence for months and freshly baked malware that is hiding behind suspicious URLs.
Before earning a certificate, an AV-software should fend off hundreds of attacks both when a computer "visits" a fishy online resource or downloads infected files. And only then, depending on the percentage of attacks prevented, an AV can deserve an appropriate certification and ranking.
Lines of Defense
These days an AV that can only do system-scanning or fending off viruses would be seen as generic. Extra-protection features include:
- URL-rating - poorly trusted websites will be marked as yellow, red etc., depending on how dangerous they are.
- Connection to a distrusted/infected URL gets cut off immediately.
- Vulnerability scanning - if an AV detects unpatched software, it offers to have that issue fixed.
- Spyware protection - spyware can sometimes mimic a reliable program or even a cute and harmless flash-game, meanwhile fishing for your precious data. Any valid antivirus must be capable of eliminating these little "spies".
You should keep in mind though that every once in a while an anti-virus can raise an alarm when detecting a quite inoffensive process initiated by a highly trusted, legit computer software. It's because most of the anti-viruses have a special algorithm that analyzes the behavior of the soft. As a result, it causes certain inconvenience and commotion.
To solve that issue simply put the "troublemaking" program on the whitelist. But only if you completely trust it.
Speaking of the whitelist. In case you need to test a program but your AV sees it as "suspicious" try the sandbox mode. This mode allows the software in question to do its business, however blocking its attempts to get to the full functionality of your OS. It greatly decreases the chances of unfixable damage.
The above-mentioned lines of defense boost your PC's security, guarantying you won't fall victim to the villainous techniques.
AntiSpam, Extortion Malware and Firewalls
Strangely enough, a lot of AV-companies see the AntiSpam and Firewall as unnecessary options.
The anti-viruses that do have them on the list are the following:
- BitDefender Antivirus Plus.
- Eset NOD 32.
- Norton Antivirus.
- WebRoot SecureAnywhere.
- Trend Micro AntiVirus+.
Furthermore, they offer such handy additional functions as:
- Safe-to-use browsers for money transactions.
- Auto-deletion of potentially compromised files.
- Browsing history elimination.
- Virtual keyboard (in order to avoid key-logging).
- Crypto-malware detection.
And so on, and so forth.
As for the money-extorting malware that is known as ransomware there are extra security features: suspicious behavior monitoring, damage-reversal, prevention of the system files getting altered without permission, etc.
Which Anti-virus software to pick?
Well, you have plenty of AV's to choose from the list (see above). The final choice mainly depends on your budget, Operating System and the goals you need to achieve: protecting your Home PC, a small business network, a school computer class, etc.
Before making up your mind read some professional reviews in the topic-related magazines, study the reports of the AV-testing labs, maybe even visit forums, blogs or message boards dedicated to the computer security.
And remember the best anti-virus is your own common sense - avoid visiting shady websites or downloading suspicious, "funky-looking" files from the Internet and in most cases it's guaranteed that you'll be good.