Best antivirus software 2021: keep your computer or laptop protected

It is important to have a great antivirus software package that can protect your PC from threats while you surf online. Viruses, malware, ransomware and phishing threats are all potential dangers when you’re online, even if you think you’re being careful. With new threats emerging every day, many antivirus software manufacturers take a holistic approach, protecting your system from a variety of potential threats, not just the obvious ones.

There’s no shortage of options to protect your system from viral threats, but it’s important to have the right solution for you. Free apps are available, of course, but they tend to offer far fewer features and can sometimes be updated less frequently and more reliably than paid antivirus software. Overall, you get what you pay for, and when it comes to protecting your PC from security threats, who wants to cut corners on protection?

A dangerous virus or piece of ransomware can bar you from accessing your system, which means that if you don’t have a reliable backup, you could lose banking information, private documents, and personal photos that can never be recovered. Fortunately, if you install the right paid antivirus software, you don’t have to worry about that.


Unblock Netflix with a VPN

It’s worth remembering that while installing multiple antivirus apps may seem like the best solution, it often causes problems. A much better idea is to pick one and stick to it so they don’t collide. Today, many threats stem from phishing attempts, such as scam emails or websites disguised as something trustworthy. The highest paid antivirus software appreciates that, so keep an eye out for anything suspicious, as well as more obvious virus files.

It’s also important that your antivirus software has an on-demand malware scan and checks for vulnerabilities along the way. That way it can keep an eye out for problems before they develop. Some paid antivirus software also detects suspiciously behaving files, notifying you so you can decide whether to trust it or not. Viruses and security vulnerabilities move quickly, so this is a great method to ensure potential problems are spotted even before a new virus is officially identified.

I have a Mac. Do I need antivirus software?

Many people tout Macs as impenetrable fortresses when it comes to viruses and the like, but they’ve been misled. While Macs Are generally more secure than PCs – Apple software and hardware are all in-house where Windows often has security issues as they work with multiple manufacturers – that doesn’t mean they’re invincible(Opens in a new tab). Although they are smaller than PCs, there are still holes in the system that can be infiltrated.

So yes, if you have a Mac, that doesn’t mean you should write off buying a high-quality antivirus software package right away. Many Mac users who feel they can’t be affected by malware tend to skip antivirus software because they feel they don’t need it, and malicious hackers have discovered this. As a result, Mac users are more targeted than ever(Opens in a new tab) when it comes to cyber attacks. (We also have a list of antivirus software *only* for Mac users.)

Don’t be part of that statistic. Protect your computer, be it a PC or a Mac.

Viruses, malware and ransomware

There are minor differences between the two, but they’re worth knowing to make it easier to spot problems when they arise. Just like all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares, all viruses and ransomware are malware, but not all malware is a virus or ransomware. Understood? No? Well, let’s go a little deeper.

Malware, a term used for malicious software, includes any software intended to harm a computer, server, network or the user himself. This ranges from the seemingly innocuous nuisances, such as pop-up ads, to the truly dangerous situations, such as webcam hacking (maybe pick up a webcam cover just to be on the safe side).

Now that we’ve set up the malware umbrella, we can understand what a virus is. Viruses are a form of malware that replicates itself and effectively causes an “infection” on your computer (hence “virus”). Viruses can be picked up through things like email attachments, links with dangerous code in them, disguised pop-ups, and downloads that have not been properly vetted.

Ransomware is another form of malware that has a different purpose than a virus. A ransomware attack blocks access to a specific system until a “ransom” is paid, effectively creating a hostage situation. Average computer users shouldn’t worry too much about ransomware, as these types of attacks tend to target larger institutions and companies with a lot of capital.

A good antivirus software suite will work to combat all these things, and while it still won’t make your device 100% immune to attacks, it will still give you enough protection and peace of mind to avoid letting your fears run wild about getting hacked all the time .

Also get a VPN

If you use a public network in any capacity, a VPN is great to have by your side, and many antivirus software packages include it. Unsecured public networks are every hacker’s dream, found in places like coffee shops, airports, hotels and more. Since no authentication is required to connect to public networks, hackers can easily get in and do all sorts of damage.

Fortunately, VPNs add a level of encryption that most public networks don’t: they connect you to a secure server and give you an extra layer of protection around your data. The next time you’re on a public network, a secure VPN can protect you from people eavesdropping on your emails, stealing personal information, or sending you malware. Plus, they’re great for watching exclusive Netflix offers specific to other countries, as a little bonus.

Password managers — are they necessary?

Many of us do it: we repeat the same password for every account we create, or at least some variation of that password. While it’s the most convenient option since you don’t have to remember a billion passwords all the time, it can also be potentially very dangerous. Think about it: if a hacker can get access to that master password of yours (which isn’t too hard, FYI), they can get access to everything you’ve used that password with, whether it’s your Amazon account or your online banking information. Bad news.

That’s where a password manager(Opens in a new tab) comes in, and most antivirus software packages thankfully include them. A password manager has the ability to store all your passwords in one place so you don’t have to remember them, meaning you can create a completely new and unique password every time without worrying about losing it . This will make it way harder for anyone trying to access one of your multiple accounts over the internet, which is better for you by all accounts.

So, what is the best antivirus software?

There are a lot of options, but we were able to narrow it down to eight packages that we think are worth checking out. Here are our top picks for the best antivirus solutions, no matter your network situation:

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