Do you still need antivirus software in this day and age? Absolutely!
In fact, you probably need it more than ever. In 2022 alone, there were 5.5 billion malware attacks around the world. The most common types of thwarted malware attacks included ransomware, trojans, worms, viruses, and backdoor attacks.
If you’re using a smartphone, computer, or tablet to go on the internet in 2023, you need antivirus software – and you probably need to pay for it. Free versions of popular programs can offer some very basic protection against viruses and malware, but the paid suites offer more robust protection, more features, and perhaps even a higher degree of user-friendliness. But which paid suite to choose? Follow this guide to buy the best internet security software for you.
Remember, Reputation Matters
When it comes to buying antivirus software, you always want to go with a known developer like Trend Micro, MalwareBytes, or Bitdefender. That doesn’t mean you should just use the antivirus program that came preloaded onto your device. These programs typically do come with a one- to three-month trial period, but eventually, you have to pay for a subscription. If you shop around a little bit, you might find something that offers more features and functionality without using up so much of your processing power, and all for a better price.
Choose a Program That’s Easy to Use
Usability is one of the most important factors you should consider when you’re looking at antivirus software. How easy a program is to use will determine how effectively you can use it. And you definitely shouldn’t be planning to just let your program run in the background and perform automated scans without any sort of intervention on your part.
No, you should be prepared to get into the settings of your antivirus programs and adjust things like email spam filters and parental controls, or how often a scan is done and what happens to malware when it’s discovered. You need to read reviews to learn more about the usability of the various popular programs available. You can also sign up for a free trial of any program you’re interested in to see how easily you take to it. Remember that free versions of a program might not be as user-friendly as paid versions, so signing up for the free trial of a paid program is the better strategy.
Buy Protection That Covers All Your Devices
If your household is like most American households these days, you have several devices. Each person in your home probably has a smartphone if they’re old enough to use one. Some of you may have tablets and laptops, too. All those devices quickly add up and if you’re buying antivirus software individually for each one, that can add up fast, too.
Shop for antivirus programs that can cover multiple devices in your home. Products like Trend Micro’s Premium Security Suite can provide protection for up to 10 devices, for example. Protecting all of your devices under one umbrella can be easier, especially when it comes to enacting parental controls. Plus, it’s a lot cheaper than buying software for 10 devices individually.
Dig Into the Effectiveness of Any Program You’re Considering Buying
Of course, performance should be one of the primary considerations when you’re shopping for antivirus software. The best internet security software for your needs will be one that has a high malware detection rate. Don’t consider buying any antivirus software that doesn’t have at least a 95 percent detection rate. It should be stopping at least 95 percent of malware, if not more, including zero-day threats as well as known threats.
You should also look out for high rates of false positives or instances of the software flagging beneficial or benign software as malicious. These markers of effectiveness are tested by independent evaluators like AV-TEST and AV Comparatives. These labs have concluded that the best antivirus products include those offered by Bitdefender, Trend Micro, Norton, and Kaspersky.
Grab Something That Won’t Bog Down Your System
There’s such a thing as having too much antivirus protection in the sense that some programs require a lot of system resources. Avoid programs that have a heavy system load, especially if you’re running an older machine that doesn’t have as many resources to go around. Antivirus programs are notorious for slowing down systems while they’re running in the background as well as while they’re doing a scan, and it kind of defeats the purpose of having antivirus if the antivirus itself affects your system functionality to the extent that you can’t use it the way you need to.
Get Those Extra Features
Paid antivirus programs offer a lot of extra features that their free versions typically don’t, like parental controls, password managers, email filters, and web protection. You can even get virtual private networks (VPNs) with some antivirus software suites, as well as features like identity protection.
You might not need all of these features – for example, parental controls aren’t useful if you’re child-free – but a lot of them can be very useful for protecting yourself against malware attacks. For example, email filters can protect you from falling victim to a phishing scam by keeping those dubious missives out of your inbox. A password manager can help you practice impeccable password security by storing unique, strong passwords for each of your online accounts in a single secure database. A VPN can help you surf the web more securely by encrypting your activity so no one can spy on you. Identity protection can protect you from identity theft and provide some financial and practical assistance to help you recover from this increasingly common crime. Consider carefully before you decide that you don’t need any features like these.
If you’re looking into buying antivirus software, you have a lot to think about. Make sure you’re getting a software suite with all the features you need to protect yourself and your family from malware attacks, identity theft, questionable content, and more.