How to choose the best antivirus software?

Acronis
Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office
formerly Acronis True Image

Have you ever wondered how to choose the best antivirus software for your PC? Don't worry, we are here to help! It is obvious that antivirus protection is essential for every PC because it is the barrier that keeps us protected from the countless threats that stalk us and wait for the right moment to strike in case of a vulnerability in our security systems.

To protect yourself and your PC from these cyber threats, an antivirus program is the most effective solution. All users around the world using computers have experienced the unpleasant feeling of seeing their computers infected with viruses.

In this scenario, the computer's performance is affected and becomes slower than usual. Some worms and viruses have the ability to corrupt files and programs. And one of the worst scenarios is that the hardware of your computer can be affected, causing a major failure of the PC.

Once a virus infiltrates your system, it becomes almost impossible to remove the virus and restore your PC's performance to its previous normal condition, without the help of an antivirus software. Luckily, today's antivirus programs are more advanced than before and are equipped with different features and tools that keep you protected against malware, viruses, worms, trojans, and other harmful threats from penetrating your system. In this article, we will discuss in detail all the benefits that an antivirus program provides, so let's get started.

Probably you are wondering what is the best antivirus solution? We can help you by mentioning the most important aspects to consider. If you are interested in making the best choice and ensuring robust security software, keep reading, and you will find the answer.

What is computer antivirus software?

computer antivirus is a program specifically designed to identify and eliminate viruses, as well as other types of harmful software, from your computer or laptop.

Malicious software, commonly referred to as malware, consists of code that can cause damage to your devices and the data stored on them. Your devices can be infected by downloading malware through email attachments, hidden USB drives, or even by visiting questionable websites.

Once malware infiltrates your computer or laptop, it can potentially steal your data, encrypt it to restrict access, or even erase it entirely. That's why it is crucial to employ antivirus software and regularly update it in order to protect your data and devices.

What steps should you take when choosing antivirus software for 2024?

Finding the best antivirus tools and software for your computer is not an easy task, for sure, but we will help you with this task with some advice to follow in order to provide yourself with the right antivirus software.

What are your needs when it comes to antivirus software?

Acknowledging your needs is the first thing you have to consider when searching for and implementing antivirus services on your PC. For what purposes are you mainly using your computer? Is it for gaming, browsing, or streaming online? Knowing what your main online activities are, you will be able to acknowledge the type of security you will need.

Nowadays, we all use the internet for almost all of our daily activities, so robust internet security tools are necessary. As we mentioned, the main thing to consider is the type of online activities you use for your computer, because it is related to the amount you will spend on a subscription plan every month. For example, for gaming purposes, you will need antivirus software with a lot more security tools, which would mean a higher bill at the end of every month.

On the other hand, if you mainly use your PC for browsing and streaming, you will not need all these tools, and the expenses at the end of the month will not be that much. It is really important to know for what purposes you will need the antivirus program. So before taking any decision, you have to be clear with yourself about that fact.

Make sure the antivirus software is compatible with your operating systems and devices

Another critical aspect to consider is the operating system of your PC and to select antivirus app that is compatible for it, there are mainly three different operating systems, Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Also you have to keep in mind the system requirements of the antivirus software, just to be sure that it won't affect your computer performance too much. Because every antivirus program will use your computer resources, it is fundamental to choose one which will not make your computer struggle and become slower, when doing your daily activities.

What features do individual antiviruses offer?

This is the most important part of choosing the best antivirus software for you. The features that the software provides you with. Let's explore them together in detail.

Malware detection rates

When considering antivirus software options, one important aspect to keep in mind is the software's ability to detect malware samples. A detection rate of 95% is above average. Additionally, it's crucial for users to regularly update their antivirus protect software in order to effectively combat emerging threats that may exploit vulnerabilities that are unknown yet.

Cybercriminals are designing new and more sophisticated malware approaches every day, with the main purpose of becoming as unrecognizable as possible for antivirus software and other cybersecurity tools.

In addition to the protection offered by antivirus software, premium packages often include features like automatic updates and scheduled scans that are more efficient in their mission to provide comprehensive protection against malware threats.

When trying to find the best antivirus deals, it's also worth looking out for on-demand scanning options, which allow users to manually perform full system scans or targeted scans based on file names or extension types in case of need. As a layer of precaution against cyber attacks, consider products that offer cloud services or automated virus reporting capabilities.

These features enhance computer security by providing defense against programs such as viruses, Trojans, worms, rootkits, spyware, adware, ransomware, and other security threats.

Real-time protection

One of the advantages of having an antivirus program is its ability to act as a barrier, constantly inspecting all files and programs on your system and providing active protection. Depending on how the antivirus program's set up, it will delete any infected files or programs automatically or move them to a separate folder for further investigation. By quarantining files, they are kept isolated from the rest of the system and its other programs, reducing the potential for damage.

Boot-scan command

Sophisticated viruses possess the capability to self-replicate while the system is running. However, robust antivirus software can halt the spread of a virus by executing a boot command. This command initiates a shutdown of the operating system (OS).

Then it restarts the computer, allowing for a thorough examination of the hard drive to detect any presence of viruses or malware. During this scanning process, the virus is unable to replicate since the OS remains inactive.

Anti-spam and pop-ups protection

Viruses can infect a system by utilizing pop-up advertisements and malicious websites that are filled with spam. To ensure system security, antivirus software takes action by blocking pop-ups and spam that come from these websites.

Web Protection

Antivirus software is extremely important as it helps protect individuals from websites that aim to collect credentials, credit card information, and banking information without the user's consent. One of the features of an antivirus program is its ability to block access to these malicious sites, ensuring that users are not connected to unauthorized networks. This provides protection against these harmful attacks.

Dark web protection

The dark web is really an awful place for every casual user, but it is a heaven for cybercriminals. Because there, they can sell the collected data from their victims. Numerous antivirus solutions exist to assist organizations in identifying whether their confidential information has been leaked on the dark web.

For instance, if they come across an email address or account number associated with their data on the dark web, they can inform the user and update their password with a more robust one.

Webcam protection

This security tool informs you about processes and applications that access and use your web camera. When an application tries to access your camera, you get a notification about whether to allow or block access.

Anti-Phishing protection

We can definitely say that these toolbars provide another layer of defense against phishing fraud, especially if you are not using secure browsers. They are an essential part of complete antivirus phishing protection because phishing schemes can be very trustworthy. But providing yourself with anti-phishing toolbars is another critical cyber security tool for keeping you protected 24/7.

Firewall

A firewall serves as a barrier, stopping programs from infiltrating your computer and gaining access to your data. A trustworthy firewall and secure web browser not only protect against threats but also notify you if they detect any possible security breaches.

This all-inclusive solution safeguards both your network and data by countering programs and online threats. Additionally, it provides a browsing experience that allows you to work and make transactions with the assurance of being protected.

Customer Support

If you face any problems with the antivirus, having skilled and prompt customer support is essential for dealing with any problems quickly and efficiently.

In case you find all these security features in a single antivirus provider, don't hesitate a second and select him as your main antivirus protection.

Types of antivirus programs

Antivirus software is distributed in different forms, including antivirus scanners, machine learning and cloud-based programs, malware signatures, and internet security software suites that offer antivirus protection, along with firewalls, privacy controls, and other security protections.

Some antivirus software vendors offer basic versions of their products at no charge. These free versions generally offer basic antivirus and spyware protection, but more advanced features and protections are usually available only to subscribed customers.

While some OS are targeted more frequently by virus developers, antivirus software is available for most OS.

Windows antivirus software

Most antivirus software vendors offer several levels of Windows products at different prices, starting with free versions offering only basic protection and, of course, providing basic features. Users must perform scans and updates manually, and furthermore, free versions of antivirus software won't protect against malicious websites, malicious code, or attachments in emails. On the other hand, premium versions of antivirus software often include suites of endpoint security tools that provide secure online storage, ad blockers, malware and ransomware protection and file encryption.

MacOS antivirus software

Despite the fact that Apple macOS viruses exist, they're less common than Windows viruses, so antivirus software for Mac devices is less standardized than that for Windows. There are also free and paid products available, providing on-demand tools to protect against potential malware threats through full-system malware scans and the ability to sift through specific email threads, attachments, and various web activities.

Android antivirus software

It is a well-known fact that Android is the world's most popular mobile OS and is installed on more mobile devices than any other OS. Because most mobile malware targets Android, experts recommend all Android device users install antivirus software on their devices. So the antivirus software providers offer a variety of basic free and paid premium versions of their Android antivirus software, including antitheft and remote-locating features. Some run automatic scans and actively stop malicious webpages and files from being opened or downloaded.

Virus detection techniques

Antivirus software uses a variety of virus detection techniques, approaches, and tools in the battle against the evolving threats to which we are exposed on a daily basis. Let's explore these detection techniques in detail to better understand how they work:

Signature-based detection

Antivirus software often relies on stored virus signatures, which are sets of data that identify known malware, in order to detect and flag malicious software. The antivirus software uses these signatures to identify viruses it encounters that security experts have already identified and analyzed.

Heuristic-based detection

This form of detection utilizes an algorithm to compare the signatures of identified viruses with those of threats. With heuristic-based detection, antivirus software can detect viruses that are unknown yet, as well as existing viruses that have been disguised, updated, and released as new viruses. However, this method can also generate false-positive alarms when antivirus software detects a program behaving similarly to a malicious program and incorrectly identifies it as a virus.

Behavior-based detection

Antivirus programs can also employ behavior-based detection to examine how an item behaves or could potentially behave, looking for any activities and inferring whether there is intent based on those observations. For example, code that attempts to perform unauthorized or suspicious actions would indicate the object is malicious or, at least, suspicious. Some examples of behaviors that potentially signal danger include modifying or deleting large numbers of files, monitoring keystrokes, changing the settings of other programs, and remotely connecting to computers.

Cloud analysis detection

According to Cisco VPN, on average, hackers produced more than 400,000 malware threats daily in 2023. Given the volume of malware variations emerging at a rapid pace, it has become virtually impossible for any antivirus program to effectively combat them all. As a solution, antivirus companies now offer cloud analysis as a component of their antivirus packages.

Cloud analysis is a modern way of performing malware analysis, as it's done on the cloud using the antivirus vendor's servers. This way, if a malicious file or program is detected by the antivirus program, it's sent to the vendor's labs, where it's tested. If it's confirmed to be malicious, a signature is created for it, which blocks it from all the other devices where it's detected.

Sandbox analysis technique

This detection method involves running a program or file in a virtual sandbox environment to examine its behavior prior to allowing it into the system. By employing this technique, antivirus software only allows a file to execute in the environment if the sandbox analysis verifies that it is secure. This feature is also used for running files that the antivirus program is unable to allow or deny. Since the files are isolated and quarantined, even if they end up being malicious, no harm is done to the system, as they're only executed in a virtual sandbox container.

Host intrusion prevention system (HIPS)

Security and antivirus software commonly uses this technology to detect potentially malicious activities in a program using signature-based detection. A HIPS continuously monitors each activity and instantly notifies users by presenting them with authorization options, such as Allow and Block.

Community Reputation and Product Reviews

We all want antivirus protection for our PCs, and in order to accomplish this, it is mandatory not only to explore the features that the antivirus software companies provide us but also to dig in and do research about the service provider. Because of other customers' reviews, we can definitely get a picture of the service provider. Also, it is a good idea to do research on the vendor itself, like when the company was founded, what prizes have been won in security competitions, etc.

Reputation speaks for itself in the realm of cybersecurity. A reputable and trustworthy antivirus software provider is one that has demonstrated consistent efficacy in combating a wide array of cyber threats through the years. It is essential to opt for a provider with a proven reputation for offering comprehensive cyber protection.

When evaluating the reputation of antivirus software, it is prudent to consult independent antivirus testing labs. These organizations rigorously assess various antivirus products based on their ability to detect and neutralize both known and emerging threats.

Trusted labs such as AV-Test, AV-Comparatives, and SE Labs conduct comprehensive evaluations, providing valuable insights into the effectiveness of different antivirus solutions. By consulting these independent testing labs, users can make informed decisions regarding the reliability and performance of top antivirus software.

Product reviews play a pivotal role in the decision-making process. Experiences shared by users and cybersecurity experts offer invaluable information about the strengths and weaknesses of antivirus software. Paying attention to user reviews on reputable platforms and cybersecurity forums will give you an overview of factors such as ease of use, customer support, and overall satisfaction with the product.

Moreover, product reviews often educate on the user experience, highlighting any potential problems or limitations of the antivirus software. For instance, some users may prioritize system performance and resource usage, while others may place greater emphasis on the comprehensiveness of threat detection and mitigation. By considering a diverse range of product reviews, users can align their preferences with the features offered by different antivirus solutions.

Cost of an antivirus protection software

Since antivirus software can be quite pricey, you have to choose the one that meets your needs and fits your budget. You have to plan the things that are important for you, such as rapid virus security, automatic gaming mode, and a high virus scan success rate. When you consider the things you need, you can select the antivirus software that covers your needs, ensuring you won't pay more than you can afford.

Free vs. Paid antivirus software

As we all know, there is no free lunch. If you are provided with something for free, it is commonly because it only provides the basics related to the paid version of every product. The situation here with the free version of antivirus software is the same: when you choose to use free antivirus software, it provides you with basic protection for your PC or mobile devices. The free version will protect you from common viruses, block dangerous files and apps, and warn you about suspicious websites, but of course with limited functions and features.

On the other hand, choosing paid antivirus software grants you a layer of protection that incorporates the latest technologies and updates. This means the software remains up-to-date with real-time data on emerging threats.

In contrast, other antivirus software, like paid antivirus programs, will provide full-hearted ransomware protection for your computer. They effectively shield against ransomware attacks the perilous types of assaults in today's digital landscape. Such attacks can result in identity theft, device damage, or complete lockdown until a ransom is paid to regain access to information.

Paid antivirus options offer heightened control over your data. Ensure increased security for online activities such as banking. Furthermore, these paid solutions often boast features like spam capabilities, personalized firewalls, and parental controls to safeguard both you and your children. Moreover, they typically provide password storage. Help protect important files, like photos and music.

Naturally, the benefits and features of paid antivirus software may differ depending on the brand. The better choice here is to go for a paid version in order to receive the best possible malware protection for your devices.

How often does the antivirus solution get updates and improvements?

One of the key aspects to consider when choosing an antivirus solution is its update frequency. Anti-virus vendors find new and updated malware daily, so it is important that you have the latest updates installed on your computer.

Regular updates ensure that the antivirus program remains equipped with the latest threat intelligence and detection tools. By receiving frequent updates, users can feel protected from the new and advanced threats that cybercriminals design every day.

Moreover, updates often provide improvements and enhancements to various aspects of the antivirus solution software. This may include enhancing ransomware protection mechanisms, phishing protection algorithms, or refining the overall performance and efficiency of the software. By prioritizing regular updates and improvements, antivirus providers demonstrate their commitment to delivering comprehensive internet security protection to their users.

It is a well-known fact that cybercriminals are constantly designing new techniques and approaches to bypass our security measures, making it imperative for antivirus solutions to remain vigilant and proactive. Regular updates help ensure that any known vulnerabilities are promptly addressed, thereby minimizing the risk of exploitation by cyberattackers.

Nowadays, identity theft monitoring and protection has become an increasingly important aspect of internet security because it can affect every one of us, and this could lead to serious consequences for every user. Antivirus apps that receive regular updates can offer enhanced identity theft protection measures, such as real-time monitoring of personal data and proactive alerts regarding suspicious activities, like login attempts from unauthorized users.

The frequency of updates and improvements is a critical factor to consider when selecting an antivirus solution. By choosing a software provider that prioritizes regular updates, users can ensure that their systems are protected against a wide range of cyber threats, including ransomware, phishing attacks, and identity theft.

Do You need Additional Features from High-Performing Software?

Sometimes, it’s better to have additional features than to miss them. In terms of cybersecurity software, new features are regularly developed around advanced and emerging threats to help keep users protected. While detecting the latest cyber attacks is difficult due to the fast-changing nature of cybersecurity, new features can be a critical aspect of your decision-making process because they can help to keep you safe in a variety of ways that you may not have considered.

In modern cybersecurity, it is often said that a multilayered security protection approach is necessary to keep users protected 24/7. In other words, the antivirus software itself is not the only thing protecting your sensitive information.

Additional features, like a password manager, VPS, and payment protection facilities, are equally important for preventing cyberattacks on your computer. Let's explore these additional features in detail.

Password managers

They store your unique passwords in an encrypted “vault.” These are high-security solutions that only require you to remember one primary password, but all of the passwords you are currently using.

System performance cleanup and optimization

This feature helps to improve the speed and power of your device. Some antivirus programs even remind you that your programs, drivers, and operating system need to be updated.

Wi-Fi monitoring

This is a feature that can let you know exactly what devices are on your personal Wi-Fi network. Alerts for new pending connections can help you find any potential invaders in your private internet space and prevent accessing them.

Online account data leak monitoring

Another very helpful feature is that it can take all your accounts and check them against possible known data breaches. If your credentials have been stolen, you’ll be notified to help you take action in order to minimize the potential consequences.

Hard drive condition monitoring

Hard drive monitoring can check the performance, current status, and temperature of your internal and external drives, so you will be notified whether your system is properly working and optimized.

VPN services

This feature can give you a secure, encrypted internet channel. This allows you to browse the internet safely and anonymously, even on a public Wi-Fi, hiding your exact location and protecting the device you are currently using.

Other Essential Questions to Ask Before Choosing an Antivirus Software

After you have already chosen the right antivirus service provider, there are a few more things that you have to consider. Let's have a closer look at them:

What devices and OS does this software work with and protect?

Nowadays, many people own a smartphone and a computer, but they work with different operating systems, so you have to note that fact. The antivirus software you have chosen to use may not be available on all the devices you’d like to protect. Some products can cover multiple devices, whether they are Mac, iOS, or Android.

Can this software protect all my family members?

Each member of your household can provide unintentional access for criminals to breach your digital security. With both adults and young children using all types of devices, you’ll likely want a plan that guards all of the devices in your house against any malicious activity.

Does this software have more features than I’ll use?

Be sure you’re getting protection software that meets not only your needs but also your budget. You should be able to choose between multiple options to get the protection you require.

Unfortunately, it's common for people to avoid purchasing antivirus software until they suspect an attack. Whether it's a slow computer or suspicious behavior of our systems, we often wait until our computers' systems stop working properly before taking further actions.

If you think this is the case you are dealing with, make it a priority to implement effective antivirus software today. Don't wait even a second anymore. The right program can find the threat and block it without impacting your computer usage in the slightest. If you are proactive, you’ll be able to navigate your digital life with peace of mind.

Assess Privacy Policy

When choosing an antivirus software provider, it is mandatory to review the privacy policy of the service they provide. It is very important to understand data handling practices related to the product you are going to use.

It is fundamental to know that your privacy information is respected and secured. Because when you select an antivirus service provider, you will need to give personal information about yourself, it is mandatory to review all the privacy policies, knowing that your confidential information will be protected in the best possible way.

Is the antivirus solution scalable in terms of business growth?

As we know, growth is a natural process, and for every business, it is critical to be provided with options in case of expanding your business to be able to answer the growth and secure all the new PC's and systems. In such an event, it is mandatory to know the exact terms when this will be needed to expand the provided service and, if needed, add additional features to your current subscription plan.

Every business is constantly evolving and going through periods of expanding the services it provides, and of course it would need new PCs and networks to be deployed in order to answer the expansion. All of the antivirus software service providers have the option to change your plan in case of need, so you have to check these terms before making the decision to choose the right service provider.

What Are Mistakes to Avoid in Buying Antivirus Software?

One common mistake people make when purchasing antivirus software is opting for a level of protection they do not actually need. It's worth considering that top-tier antivirus software doesn't cost more than a basic version, but it offers enhanced security features and greater protection.

Another error to avoid is solely focusing on the price tag. It's essential to prioritize finding software that aligns with your security needs and performance requirements. Utilizing reviews such as the Best Antivirus Software of 2024 can help you choose the option, allowing price to serve as an additional factor in your decision-making process.

Additionally, it's crucial to remember that installing antivirus software alone is not sufficient for security. As one expert, Edwards, points out, "Antimalware software can be compared to wearing a bulletproof vest; it's sensible. Might save you in certain situations. However, it cannot guarantee protection if you engage in behavior."

To bolster your cybersecurity efforts, consider installing a VPN and utilizing a password manager. A VPN masks your IP address and device location, significantly increasing the difficulty of tracking your activities.Using a virtual private network (VPN) is highly recommended for your own security, especially when connecting to a Wi-Fi network like those found in hotels, coffee shops, or airports.

If you don't utilize a VPN while connected to a Wi-Fi network, there's a risk that even hackers with expertise and inexpensive software can monitor your internet activity or intercept your sensitive data, potentially resulting in identity theft.

Some antivirus software providers offer VPN services, either bundled or as an add-on. Additionally, password managers play a role in ensuring that you can use difficult-to-guess passwords for all the websites you access online without the burden of memorizing them.

It's important to note that many reputable antivirus software vendors may collect data from users for the purpose of enhancing their software. These vendors typically seek user permission before doing so. However, there are some others who collect data without consent and sell it to parties.

To avoid this concern, we recommend selecting an antivirus software company from our curated list of the Best Antivirus Software of 2024 and carefully reviewing its privacy policy to understand how your data will be handled.

Taking the final decision Final Decision

In the final stage of making a final decision on choosing the best antivirus protection for you as an individual or as a business organization, you have to weigh the pros and cons of the provider you have chosen. We have already mentioned the critical functions and features that you will need in order to receive the best antivirus protection. So you have to be clear with yourself when making this choice.

Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office is able to provide everything that you will need to meet the requirements of a premium security suite, ensuring that you have complete cyber security protection.

You will be provided with the most reliable cyber protection software on the market, which is easy-to-use and is the best solution against data loss, viruses, cyberattacks, and even identity theft. You will benefit from the best antivirus and ransomware protection, which are reliable with time-proven technology and innovative approaches to responding to the threats that you may face on a daily basis. This antivirus software will give you peace of mind even when facing unexpected cyberattacks.

Our real-time cyber protection will amaze you with its capabilities to detect and block every single malicious process. Also, you will be provided with the most advanced ransomware detection and response, which is based on behavior analysis to prevent zero-day threats. Furthermore, automatic recovery of all files will be one click away to save your most valuable assets, your data. In case of emergency our active protection runs constantly in the background to protect your machines in real-time while you work as usual.

Constant antivirus scans are running on-demand to perform in-depth searches for malicious software throughout the whole system. On the other hand, you will be protected from any vulnerabilities in your machines with vulnerability assessment, which is a daily scan that runs in the background that detects vulnerabilities in your system and apps and then assesses their severity. Could it be better? Yes, in fact, because you will also be provided with solutions for managing detection issues, managing files in quarantine, and all that will be performed automatically.

We can definitely say that Acronis Cyber Protection Home Office is the best solution for you with its comprehensive cyber security protection. By choosing our product, you will feel confident that you can browse online securely without any concerns about becoming a victim of any type of cyber attack. If you want to choose the best cyber security for your PC, mobile devices, and business machines, you should definitely start using Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office. Believe me, you won't regret it for a second, because in a case of emergency, you will be fully protected from every single threat, we will cover you.

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About Acronis

Acronis is a Swiss company, founded in Singapore. Celebrating two decades of innovation, Acronis has more than 1,800 employees in 45 locations. The Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud solution is available in 26 languages in over 150 countries and is used by 20,000 service providers to protect over 750,000 businesses.

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