It’s hard to go a month without hearing about a new security vulnerability to look out for. You likely don’t have the time to keep worrying about it. Maybe you wonder what anti-malware programs will keep you the safest. In this guide, we’ll cover the best security software for windows.
Let’s go over the way we rated things before we begin. We take the detection rates from independent labs the most seriously. These are based on industry-standard AV-Test lab’s reviews. You can see them for yourself right here.
We looked for programs that don’t slow down your computer’s performance. Then, we go by extra features. Some even offer perks like VPNs that encrypt your traffic on unsecured networks.
Bitdefender Internet Security
Here’s the best combination of protection and performance. Almost every threat a common user has to worry about will be covered. You won’t notice your computer lagging either. Bitdefender’s scans are the least likely to cause lag. This one also secures your browser against common attacks from unsafe sites and pop-ups.
Another bonus is it comes with a rescue disk in case your computer is being ransomed. It protects your web cam too. That way there’s no creeps watching you. It also comes with a VPN service to scramble your traffic to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks on unsafe networks. You can also use the virtual keyboard to avoid your banking passwords getting “keylogged.”
It offers great value for the price.
Surfshark VPN with CleanWeb™
If we talk about VPNs, it’s worth to mention Surfshark. While, of course, it isn’t meant to work as an antivirus software, it has a CleanWeb™ feature that can filter out malware, adware, and other nasty things you don’t want catching.
It’s also fast and won’t cause any lagging. Plus, as it is a VPN with security features, it works the best if you’re worried about your privacy online. Also, using a VPN is a good way to prevent phishing that is not a threat an antivirus can catch. You can think of it as a two-factor authentication for your security.
This is a good choice for those who are privacy-oriented and want more useful features, and you can download the Windows client here.
Kaspersky Total Security
This is a solid pick, too. Kaspersky will likely detect every threat for anyone who isn’t being targeted by a three letter agency’s elite team of hackers. It passed AV-test’s lab with a perfect score. Most people wouldn’t notice the software is running.
Your browser will be hardened against the most likely attacks such as cross-site scripting(XSS). It can also be set-up to block sites from tracking your browser with cookies.
You even get ransomware protection to stop your computer from being held, hostage. Kaspersky even prevents someone from being able to hijack your webcam and spy on you.
This is another good choice that balances power and price.
Avira AntiVirus Pro
AV-Test also gave this product a top-notch score. It has near perfect detection. Labs give it a 99 to 100 percent detection rate. Also, it doesn’t weight down the system. If a task normally takes about an hour, the computer will only take one minute longer to finish the task.
Users will have an easy time using its dashboard. This one doesn’t force anyone to scroll through multiple confusing windows at once. The most you’ll see is a second window to show you the scan’s progress.
A neat feature is that all USB sticks are blocked until you allow them by clicking “ok.” This helps prevent any accidental infections. Another useful feature is that you get phishing protection for your email too. Your browser will also get an increase in protection.
This is one of the most affordable and powerful choices for your laptop. It comes with a great free version that you can try first.
Here’s a great second option to compliment an anti-virus program. It will detect most of the adware a and cookies a browser will pick up from surfing the internet. The database is constantly updated and the service offers real-time protection. Many people have had it save a computer that was running very slowly. This software can even detect and remove a rootkit.
Some use the premium version as well. That gives them real-time protection and allows them to do automated scans. It also protects their browser in real time as well. If you have the extra funds, it isn’t a bad idea.
Avast Internet Security
This is another popular option. Many people end up upgrading it after their free trial. It has very good detection scores. The software also scans for unneeded programs and helps you delete them. That helps to prevent a lot of the ransomware attacks that are happening.
Avast also comes with many cool features like sandboxed downloads. Sandboxing means the download will be kept in its own little virtual corner until you mean to run or view it. You get secured browsing and phishing protection too. It reroutes you to the legitimate sites too. Fake look-a-like sites steal a lot of login information. Plus, your router gets extra protection too.
This one retails at a pretty low price compared to some of the others. It comes with solid protection and has a good track record.
It is a shock to be able to say good things about Windows Defender. It used to be one of the most mediocre at detection according to AV-Test. It once got a 0.5 out of 6 in 2015. Now, it gets a 6/6 in 2018. That’s a huge difference in only three years. You shouldn’t notice a big drop in performance either.
This comes free with your laptop. You don’t have to do anything since it comes right out of the box. There won’t be any notifications or annoying things like that. When you install your own anti-virus software, Windows Defender is disabled automatically.
The security software mainly lacks the extra benefits. It doesn’t really do anything about your webcam. Nor does it help protect your traffic by encrypting it through a VPN.
Verdict: If you are smart about what you browse and download. You can be pretty confident that you are protected with Windows Defender.
McAfee Total Protection
Here’s another program with top performance and very strong detection ratings. You also get real-time browsing protection. McAfee has recovered to reclaim its glory.
The main drawback is it has an interface that is somewhat complex. You end up having to click through many tabs and screens to find certain options. It makes up for it by offering many useful features. For example, you can “shred” all those unwanted files on your computer. This will help you fight identity theft and delete embarrassing things for good.
Many laptops come with a free trial. It’s one of the best values in the anti-virus field.
Final Thoughts On Securing Your Windows Laptop
There are many options in the computer security field for your device. Windows is pretty secure-able these days.
Double-check the source of anything you do on the internet. Make sure it is from the official source. Don’t give out any extra trust or permission if an internet download doesn’t need it. Keep your computer updated too.
Combine two layers of an anti-virus and an anti-malware software to protect your computer. Be careful to only have one of each. Having more than one of each just slows down your laptop. This will make sure you’re safer than 99% of people on the internet.