Choosing personal antivirus software can be a daunting proposition. Yes, you need antivirus software to protect your network and devices from malicious software and hackers. But there are so many options on the market to choose from, and while free programs might save you a little money in the short term, paid antivirus suites typically offer much more robust protection and more features. When you’re shopping for antivirus software, here’s what you need to look for.
Security for Multiple Devices
Sixty-six percent of Americans own at least two computing devices consisting of a smartphone, tablet, or computer. That means you likely need an antivirus program that will protect multiple devices. While a free program will only protect the device it’s installed upon, you can buy premium suites that provide protection for all of the devices in your household, at a cheaper rate than buying antivirus software for each one individually.
An antivirus program won’t do you much good if you don’t know how to use it – and sometimes it’s nice to get under the hood a little bit and tinker with the settings. Check reviews to find out which paid programs are the user-friendliest. Most antivirus programs are available for free on a trial basis, so you can get a feeling for how easy one is to use before you commit.
Manageable System Load
Many antivirus programs will suck up all your system’s computing power, slowing down your system both while it’s running in the background and while it’s performing scans. Look for a solution with a light system loan so you don’t compromise the performance of your system.
The reputation of the developer can mean a lot when it comes to the quality of an antivirus product. It’s always better to buy antivirus software from a reputable developer like Trend Micro than to get it from some fly-by-night company.
Price is always a consideration when you’re buying anything. Keep in mind that buying more sophisticated protection for a larger number of devices can be a better deal than buying it for just one or two devices. You should also consider how long the subscription lasts and whether the free version of the software will meet your needs.
The whole point of having antivirus software is that it should protect you from the majority of threats, be they malware, viruses, phishing scams, or ransomware. Choose an antivirus program with a high rate of malware detection as evaluated by independent testing labs like AV-Comparatives or AV-TEST.
Web Protection and Email Filters
You can absolutely pick up malware just by going to the wrong website these days. And you’re probably targeted at least a few times a day by suspicious emails.
You need an antivirus with web protection to shield you from malicious websites, as well as a strong spam filter to protect you from email scams. While you may be able to learn to recognize suspicious emails, it’s better if you can block them from landing in your inbox at all. That way, you won’t have to worry about slipping up and accidentally giving your info away to a scammer.
Just because you’re using antivirus protection doesn’t mean you don’t also need to practice good online security. For example, you still need to use a unique and complex, strong password for each of your online accounts. Using the same password for each account is a terrible idea because it means that if hackers get ahold of one set of login credentials, they have your password for everything and they can take over your social media, clean out your bank account, use your credit cards and more.
You should look for an antivirus program that comes with a password manager. You’ll be able to generate strong passwords for each of your accounts, and store them in a database that you can copy and paste from, and best of all, you’ll only need to remember one password!
Of course, you might not need parental controls if you don’t have kids, but if you do, there’s a lot of online content they shouldn’t be engaging with. Choose an antivirus program that offers easy-to-use parental controls to protect your kids from adult content and malicious actors.
Are you in the market for a new antivirus program? Make sure you choose a software suite that offers you all the features and protection you need. It’s worth paying for antivirus software if it means you get a high level of protection for all of the devices in your home.