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Why you NEED Phishing Protection

Cyber criminals make it their job to stay one step ahead of the antivirus vendors.

It’s a constant “cat and mouse” game: the hackers create a new virus, and the vendors have to quickly respond by updating their virus definitions to recognise the threat.

Modern antivirus programs do much to close the gap, and make “day zero” threats a concern for as little time as possible. Most of the best antivirus programs now update their definitions throughout the day, and many work in heuristic ways to identify virus-like conduct in the hope of catching new viruses based on their behaviour.

Phishing

However, traditional viruses are just one of the things you should worry about as an Internet user. Right now, the thing that should probably concern you most is phishing.

What IS Phishing? 

Phishing is a term used to describe hackers attempting to trick computer users into giving away passwords and other personal details.

Here’s an example:

You receive an email from your bank saying you need to update your details. You click the link in the email and it takes you to (what looks like) your usual Internet banking logon screen. You enter your details, and then get asked to confirm some other information – perhaps your date of birth, home address or account number.

What’s actually happened is that the hackers have created an almost exact replica of your bank’s website. By clicking through to it and entering your details, you’ve provided all of the information to the criminals. They now have your email address, your password, and whatever other details you were fooled into giving away.

Spear Phishing

The scary scenario above is not always the end of the matter. Cyber criminals know that despite plenty of advice to the contrary, many individuals continue to use the same passwords for all of their online activities. Once they’ve got your logon and password, they’ll try lots of other commonly used sites. Before you know it, they’ve gained access to your whole online presence.

What follows next is frightening yet predictable: unauthorised bank transfers, identity theft, and all kinds of other criminal activities.

What can you do?

Many modern Web browser programs do their best to alert you to phishing websites, but as stated above, cyber criminals make it their business to stay one step ahead.

The best advice is to use a well-respected antivirus package that includes phishing protection. Usually these will install a browser toolbar or plug-in that alerts you to “fake” sites, or those that may have been compromised.

Even better is to choose a package that includes anti-spam protection too. A good spam filter will separate out malicious emails that try to lead you to the malicious sites.

Social networking sites aren’t immune either. Hackers often try to post links to malicious sites on Facebook walls and groups and on Twitter feeds. That’s why many antivirus vendors now incorporate the ability to check your social networking accounts and alert you to links that you really shouldn’t click on.

A good starting point for finding a suitable product to protect you is to browse through our list of the five best antivirus products for Windows, or our top five for Mac.

Common sense always plays a part: you should never give out any information on the Web if you have any doubt about the provenance of the site you are on – but it does no harm to also have a reliable product to give you an early warning.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

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The 5 Best Antivirus for Dummies

Ease-of-use in an antivirus product is of paramount importance for technophobes and novice computer users.

Here at Best Antivirus, we’ve tested all the current antivirus products aimed at consumers, and we’ve noticed huge variations in how easy it is to get to grips with each piece of software.

All good IT consultants know that many users are a little timid around technology, and don’t want to be intimidated by difficult questions and options they don’t understand. This makes this particular roundup of the five best antivirus products for dummies a little different to some of our other league tables.

Some products get the balance just right: Webroot SecureAnywhere, which tops this table, is a product we would also recommend to expert users who like to “get their hands dirty.” This is because the design of the software is perfectly balanced between simplicity and functionality. Novice users will find the installation easy, and the initial configuration is sufficiently well thought out that no one need explore the advanced options at all unless they wish to.

However, other products which have done very well in our overall league table and in several of our other roundups haven’t quite made the grade here. An example is Norton Antivirus. While this is a great product, we felt that some of the options would confuse the “technically challenged,” and, as such, we omitted it from this particular list.

We aimed for the following criteria when selecting products for this list:

1. Simple installation.

2. Good performance in our real life tests, that we are confident will protect novices from accidentally infecting their PCs.

3. Options that aren’t intimidating for beginners.

4. Good quality technical support.

As you get towards the bottom of the table, you will notice that we’ve included a couple of products that make a couple of sacrifices in return for ease-of-use, but they are still good novice choices. However, you’ll probably want to choose one of our top three suggestions.


Summary

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Logo 95% Read Review Visit Site

2

Logo 93% Read Review Visit Site

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Logo 91% Read Review Visit Site

4

Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 14.47.13 85% Read Review Visit Site

5

Screen Shot 2013-09-22 at 14.47.16 77% Read Review Visit Site

 

Winner – Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus

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Positives: Our current favourite product for several good reasons

Negatives: A little expensive if you only need a single PC licence

As we discussed in the introduction, Webroot SecureAnywhere is a really well-balanced product. There are tons of advanced options there for those who want them, but the vendor makes a point of providing a default configuration that “just works.”

The installation is really quick and simple too, and our real life tests show that users of all skill levels can use this product and be really confident of their online safety.

Webroot also score full marks for customer support. As soon as you start to explore the Webroot website you receive the offer of live chat support and, for those who prefer to hear the voice of a real person, there are support phone numbers within easy reach.

SecureAnywhere has found its way to the top of almost all of our roundups, and it’s just as good “for dummies” too.

Visit Webroot


2. VIPRE Antivirus 2014

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Positives: Great value, especially for a family with several PCs

Negatives: Those who wish to learn about captured viruses need to delve into the options

VIPRE Antivirus 2014 has one of the cleanest interfaces around, and it’s easy for novices to understand. It also installs without asking any taxing questions, so you can be up and running within minutes of downloading the software.

There have been some new features added to VIPRE for the 2014 version, but the vendor has resisted the temptation of cluttering the software with unnecessary options.

If you do find yourself needing extra help, it’s easy to find. There are even toll-free support numbers for several countries. However, this is software that’s so well put together, it’s unlikely you’ll get confused by anything. Highly recommended.

Visit Vipre


3. Trend Titanium Antivirus Plus 2013

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Positives: Well-designed interface

Negatives: Scans slightly slowly

Titanium Antivirus Plus from Trend is another product we’re as comfortable recommending to “dummies” as we are to technical geniuses. Like our winning Webroot product, it actually offers stacks of functionality, but contains it within a well-designed and easy to use interface.

Trend made easy work of all of our test viruses, and took the decision of what to do with them out of our hands. This is perfect for technophobes who would rather avoid making decisions they don’t necessarily understand.

Trend’s performance isn’t quite up there with our roundup winners, but this is only really noticeable during full scans, so don’t be put off the product due to this small criticism – Titanium Antivirus Plus still earns our full recommendation.

Visit Titanium


4. TrustPort Antivirus 2013 Review

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Positives: Clear interface, easy installation

Negatives: Support could be better

TrustPort are a Czech company, so unless you live in that part of the world, the brand may seem unfamiliar. Don’t let this put you off a product that gets ease-of-use just right, and that managed to make the top ten in our overall antivirus product roundup.

TrustPort Antivirus 2013 is a fairly basic product, but basic is exactly what many technophobes are looking for! The interface is really straightforward and attractive too, and there should be no need to go beyond the basic settings if all you require is basic protection.

The software works effectively too, and protected us from all the threats that we attempted to introduce via our infected USB memory stick.

Support for TrustPort isn’t as strong as it is for the other products on this list. We found it hard to ascertain whether we could speak to anyone on the phone. In all other respects, however, this is a perfectly decent antivirus product for beginners.

Visit Trustport


5. ParetoLogic XoftSpy Antivirus Pro

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Positives: Simple and easy to use

Negatives: Vendor approach seems outdated

We’ll be honest here: ParetoLogic XoftSpy Antivirus Pro makes it onto this roundup for ease-of-use alone. Unless there’s something that particularly appeals to you about the product, we’d suggest you try one of the others higher up the list.

However, we admit to being surprised with how well XoftSpy coped in our real life tests. It actually uses the same antivirus technology as the VIPRE product at second place in this lineup. This is a bare-bones product, but it’s for that exact reason that it ends up being so easy to use.

Support is OK too: Although we couldn’t find a phone number, we did get a very quick response to an email query.

All in all then, it deserves a place in this list – but only just.

Visit Paretologic


Summary

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1

Logo 95% Read Review Visit Site

2

Logo 93% Read Review Visit Site

3

Logo 91% Read Review Visit Site

4

Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 14.47.13 85% Read Review Visit Site

5

Screen Shot 2013-09-22 at 14.47.16 77% Read Review Visit Site

 

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The 5 Best Antivirus for Windows Vista

Windows Vista was not exactly Microsoft’s finest hour. The operating system is well-known for being quirky and sluggish, and when it was released, many users felt like it was a big step back from Windows XP, which by that point delivered a smooth and stable user experience.

In some ways, public opinion did Vista a disservice. The operating system is inherently more secure than Windows XP, and ultimately the popular Windows 7 uses much of the same core code. It’s just a shame that it took Microsoft two goes to get it right.

Some people still use Windows Vista, and we assume you are one of them if you’re reading this round-up. Vista users are, however, part of an increasingly small minority. A recent “usage share” study, published on Wikipedia, revealed that only 3.98% of those browsing the Web still use Vista. This compares to 46% running Windows 7, 31% still using Windows XP, and 7.5% using Mac OS X.

One thing that is for certain is that you need a good antivirus package, regardless of which Windows version you are running. The good news is that all of our favourite five packages are all compatible with Vista. This has the added benefit that it you decide to upgrade your Windows version, you can still stick with the package you choose.

Due to this level of compatibility, it’s no surprise that the programs we recommend here tally exactly with those we recommend in our generic Windows antivirus roundup.

There is one thing you must take into consideration: all of these packages require you to have a certain level of Vista service pack installed. While some, such as VIPRE, only require Service Pack 1, others, such as ZoneAlarm, require Service Pack 2.

You can check your Vista service pack level by visiting the “System” section of the Windows Control Panel. It’s always advisable to run Microsoft’s most recent service pack revision.


Summary

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1

Logo 95% Read Review Visit Site

2

Logo 93% Read Review Visit Site

3

Logo 92% Read Review Visit Site

4

Logo 91% Read Review Visit Site

5

Logo 90% Read Review Visit Site

Winner – Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus

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Positives: Low resource use – helpful when running Vista!

Negatives: Not the cheapest product on the market

Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus earns its place at the top of our Vista antivirus product roundup, even though its pricing is above average. If you have multiple computers, the pricing does become more competitive for multiple licenses.

SecureAnywhere feels very modern, and the user interface successfully manages to put a vast range of features at your fingertips without an overwhelming number of options. However, techies who do want to get to the “nuts and bolts” of the software will find advanced settings just a few clicks away.

Another thing we like about the Webroot product is easy access to technical support. The vendor offers live chat from the front page of the product website.

Most importantly of all, SecureAnywhere dealt perfectly with every one of our real-world virus threats, whilst barely making a dent in our system resource usage.

Installation on Windows Vista requires Service Pack 1 or higher.

Visit Webroot


2. VIPRE Antivirus 2014

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Positives: Very fast, very effective

Negatives: Some products have more extra features – but you may not want them

VIPRE Antivirus 2014 is a good choice for Vista users, as it’s very lean in terms of system footprint. With Vista already known for being sluggish, the last thing you need is an antivirus product that slows things down.

VIPRE is also great value, although the value shows itself best if you choose a multiple PC or lifetime subscription.

Many businesses use antivirus software based on the same technology and it works extremely well, steaming through all of our tests with no issues.

If you wish to use VIPRE Antivirus 2014 under Vista, you must be running Service Pack 1 or higher.

Visit Vipre


3. ZoneAlarm PRO Antivirus + Firewall

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Positives: Far more than just an antivirus package

Negatives: Requires Vista Service Pack 2

The clue is in the name with ZoneAlarm PRO Antivirus + Firewall! Here you get a well-known firewall package, as well as highly effective antivirus, all for a very keen price.

Admittedly, the installation of ZoneAlarm lacks panache, and was a little time-consuming, but this was balanced out by loads of features and a very pleasing user experience.

ZoneAlarm also throw in 5GB of online backup space. While this is easy to come by from other places, it’s a pleasant addition.

ZoneAlarm does require Vista Service Pack 2, so if you choose this product, make sure your Vista computer is up to date before purchasing.

Visit ZoneAlarm


4. Trend Micro Titanium Antivirus Plus

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Positives: The rare inclusion of antispam in an entry-level product

Negatives: Scans are sluggish

Trend Micro Titanium Antivirus Plus is a product we strongly recommend, and the inclusion of an antispam component is a nice touch.

The product also made easy work of our test viruses, and we liked the user-friendly interface.

The only real downside is that the pricing is above average, and (despite the antispam), you don’t get quite as much for your money as you do with other products higher up our league table.

Even so, this is a great choice for Vista – just make sure you’re running Service Pack 2, which is required for successful installation.

Visit TrendMicro


5. Norton AntiVirus 2014

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Positives: Feature-packed and fast

Negatives: Ease of use could be improved

Don’t let anyone tell you that Norton doesn’t deserve consideration. Yes, the product went through some dark times when it became slow and bloated, but those times are long gone.

Norton Antivirus 2014 is a great enthusiasts choice; there are loads of features here and it’s possible to configure the software to the finest detail. The trade-off for this is that it can seem a touch overwhelming for novices, not helped by Symantec’s love of using impressive buzzwords for plenty of the features.

Still, this is a fast and effective product, and one that deserves your attention. It works fine on Vista too, and unlike some products only requires Service Pack 1 or later.

Visit Norton


Summary

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1

Logo 95% Read Review Visit Site

2

Logo 93% Read Review Visit Site

3

Logo 92% Read Review Visit Site

4

Logo 91% Read Review Visit Site

5

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Do I Need Antivirus on my Mac?

If you want to provoke an animated discussion amongst Apple users, one of the easiest ways is to bring up the subject of whether antivirus is a necessity for a Mac computer.

Kaspersky Mac

For many years now, a good proportion of the Mac community has argued that Mac antivirus is unnecessary. The individuals that support this argument do have some valid reasons for their view:

Firstly, the UNIX-based environment that runs the Mac operating system, OS X, IS fundamentally more secure than Windows (although it’s fair to say that Microsoft have implemented measures in recent versions of Windows that now make it work in a similar way).

Secondly, there’s a common argument that as there are far fewer computers running OS X, hackers find it much more worth their while to target Windows users when producing viruses and malware.

This is undoubtedly true, in that there are thousands more potential Windows victims out there due to Microsoft’s enviable market share. However, things aren’t quite that simple, as many complacent Mac users found out in early 2012.

The Flashback Trojan

The Flashback Trojan was first discovered in September 2011, and was one of the first major virus attacks specifically aimed at Mac users.

The malware gained traction (and hit the news) in 2012, when reports began to emerge that over half a million Macs were infected with the virus, which entered the machines thanks to a vulnerability in the Mac implementation of Java.

Apple released an update to “patch” the problem in April 2012. Unsurprisingly, it was around that time that many Mac users started to wonder if their Macs were as inherently “virus free” as they once thought.

Sophos

Apple Changes Tack

It wasn’t just Apple users who became more skeptical about the security of Mac OS X around this time. In mid-2012, The Huffington Post noticed that Apple’s marketing materials had subtly changed. Rather than saying that Macs “don’t get PC viruses,” the message changed to say that Macs are “built to be safe.”

While Apple didn’t exactly put out a press release telling all of their users to rush out and buy antivirus software, their differing stance was rather symbolic.

So do I need Antivirus on my Mac?

It’s still fair to say that the virus risk on Windows PCs is far higher than on Macs, but episodes such as that of the Flashback Trojan prove that Mac users should be on their guard.

There are three more reasons why Mac antivirus has now become something worthy of consideration:

1. “Malware” is about far more than simple viruses. Modern cyber criminals are constantly updating their ways of exploiting computer users, and one of their favourite current methods is to use phishing techniques to access users personal details.

This can take the form of fake (yet convincing) emails and websites that replicate the Web presence of a genuine company, in an attempt to convince you to give up your usernames, passwords and other details. Many Mac antivirus products offer protection against these types of attack, so are well worth considering if you are worried about identify theft.

2. Macs are becoming steadily more popular, so it’s only reasonable to assume that hackers will target them more and more over the coming years.

3. Many people now use mixed computing environments. For example, some people run Windows alongside OS X on their Macs, and many share files with Windows users. If an unprotected Mac lets malware in, it could go on to infect a Windows environment. Most good Mac antivirus software can detect Windows viruses too.

About_This_Mac

The ultimate decision as to whether you install antivirus on your Mac lies with you. Many Mac users still believe that common sense is enough to protect them. However, it’s fair to say times are changing, and that those who continue to avoid a small investment in Mac antivirus are throwing caution to the wind to a foolhardy degree.

If you prefer a “risk averse” approach to things, it’s worth getting some good antivirus for your Mac. You can find our top five choices in this article.

 

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The 5 Best Antivirus for Linux

If you research antivirus for Linux online, you’ll find plenty of articles telling you that you don’t really need it. However, you’ll probably find just as many articles telling you that you do.

If you run Linux at home, its probably fair to assume that you’re something of a technical enthusiast. Despite some significant leaps in ease-of-use over the years, configuring Linux effectively still involves occasional work at the command line that’s not for the fainthearted. As such, as a Linux user, you probably already have an idea as to whether you consider Linux antivirus to be essential or not.

While it’s true and fair to say that there aren’t a vast number of Linux viruses “in the wild,” there are still several valid arguments for the need for a Linux antivirus product:

1. If you run Linux on a network shared with Windows PCs, the Linux workstations can still act as  “carriers” and pass threats on to the Windows machines.

2. If you run Linux to host files or mail, you’ll want to ensure these are kept virus free.

3. Many modern Internet threats are not traditional viruses at all. It’s worth considering how a Linux machine will deal with Spyware, phishing attempts and Trojans.

Many of the mainstream Internet security vendors offer something for Linux users, but how much effort they put into it varies considerably. For example, avast! offer a Linux antivirus product, but it’s hidden away deep within their website and appears to lack much support. As such, it hasn’t made it into this roundup.

The five products that have mad this top five vary considerably. One relies entirely on command-line use unless you install an optional front-end. Another is focussed on business use, but may still prove useful if you host home servers or use Linux for other computer enthusiast pursuits.

In forming this list, we’ve chosen products that are well thought of online and offer well-conceived features. However, the products vary considerably in operation, and deserve a detailed look to ensure you choose the one that fits best with the way you use your Linux systems.


Summary

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Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.24.34 87% Visit Site

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Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.48.07 82% Visit Site

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Clam AV Logo 79% Visit Site

Winner – eSet NOD32 Antivirus 4 for Linux

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Positives: Fully featured antivirus and antispyware

Negatives: Annual cost may bother Linux users who are used to free open-source software

eSet NOD32 for Linux makes it to the top of our roundup because it’s a proper, fully featured antivirus product for consumer Linux users.

The product includes antivirus, antispyware and identity protection, and detects Windows and Mac viruses, thus preventing your Linux box(es) becoming carriers of these viruses.

Best of all, it had a user-friendly GUI, and is the least intimidating product to work with thanks to decent installation and configuration guides.

The Linux version of NOD32 also uses the same “ThreatSense” database as eSet’s Windows product, which performed well in our real life tests and caught all the threats we threw at it. Highly recommended.

Visit Eset


2. Bitdefender Antivirus Scanner for Unices

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Positives: Email scanning

Negatives: Available for a minimum of five users

Bitdefender state online that the “myth that (Linux) is immune to virus attack is completely false.” Their product is compatible with a wide range of Linux distributions, as well as FreeBSD.

As with the eSet product described above, Bitdefender also detects Windows viruses, and has the ability to directly access Windows-format partitions.

Bitdefender Antivirus Scanner has a friendly graphical user interface, so is good for those users after something that keeps them from the command line. Furthermore, it includes mailbox scanning and support for archive files.

There’s not much to choose between eSet and Bitdefender, but the former claims top position due to Bitdefender’s decision to make this product only available in packs containing five of more licences – not ideal for someone with a single Linux machine.

Visit BitDefender


3. Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Linux

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Positives: Compatible with a large variety of Linux “flavours”

Negatives: Perhaps too business-focussed for some

Kaspersky’s Linux product range is very much business focussed. Alongside the “endpoint” product we discuss here, Kaspersky also have dedicated products for Linux fileservers and Linux mailservers.

Endpoint Security for Linux is designed much like a corporate Windows antivirus product, with things like centralised deployment features for multiple machines. Much of this may be superfluous to the user of a simple Linux desktop, but the features could attract enthusiasts with multiple machines.

Compatibility is good: Kaspersky supports various Linux flavours, including Ubuntu, Suse and Redhat, although it’s important to note that Mandriva is the only 32-bit Linux OS supported.

Above all, it’s clear from Kaspersky’s website that they have a current and active Linux range that is more than just an afterthought. This may be the perfect choice for those who take their Linux computing seriously – but is perhaps overkill for more casual users.

Visit Kapersky


4. AVG Antivirus Free for Linux

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Positives: Costs nothing

Negatives: Installation gets rather technical

AVG are well-known for providing free antivirus for Windows PCs, but they also offer a Linux product.

The product claims to offer protection for “surfing, emailing and social networking” but information as to what it actually does is a little thin on the ground.

Installation is hardcore command-line stuff too. It probably won’t phase the average Linux user, but does still mean choosing the correct download from a list of five, and then following some rather daunting-sounding instructions.

Still, it’s free, which the previous products on our round-up are not. And for many Linux users used to open-source software, that will be enough to make AVG the product of choice.

Visit AVG


5. ClamAV

Clam AV Logo

Positives: Completely open-source

Negatives: Command line only without adding a third-party front-end

ClamAV is the stalwart antivirus product for Linux, and the “de facto standard” for Linux mail servers.

For real Linux enthusiasts this is a natural choice, and it is a completely open-source program. However, it’s not for the faint-hearted. It’s entirely command-line based, and the documentation alone would have a technophobe running a mile.

There are, however, front-end graphical user interfaces users can download to make the software rather more friendly, including AVScan and ClamTk. Technical skill is still required to get these up and running, but the average Linux user would probably cope just fine.

Visit clamav


Summary

Rank Provider Score Link

1

Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 11.49.47 90% Visit Site

2

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.24.34 87% Visit Site

3

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.48.07 82% Visit Site

4

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.03.00 79% Visit Site

5

Clam AV Logo 79% Visit Site

By

VIPRE Antivirus 2014 Review

Summary

VIPRE Antivirus was a surprise hit with us here at Best Antivirus when we reviewed the 2013 version. The consumer VIPRE product has only been on the market since 2008, yet it performed superbly in our tests.

As such, we had high hopes for VIPRE Antivirus 2014 when we started our review. We weren’t disappointed. This is very similar to last year’s version, but that’s no bad thing, and there are a couple of new features that make it an even better choice. Highly recommended.

Purchase Options

VIPRE’s consumer range of Internet security products is minimalist and simple, just like the software itself. As well as VIPRE Antivirus 2014, which is reviewed here, there is also a more comprehensive Internet Security product and a Mobile Security product, specifically for Android devices.

VIPRE options

VIPRE’s subscription options have broadened slightly since the previous version, but we were pleased to see that the same generous offers remain, and that the vendor has refrained from increasing prices.

You can buy a single PC, one year subscription for $39.99 (€29.99 in Europe and £29.99 in the UK), which is standard stuff, but you can also get a subscription that covers anything from two to ten PCs for only a little more: $59.99 in the US, €49.99 in Euro countries, and £39.99 in the UK.

Subscriptions

There’s also the unusual option of a lifetime subscription option. This costs $79.99 (£59.99 / €69.99) for a single computer and $249.99 (£149.99 / €199.99) for up to ten.

Based on currency conversions at the time of writing, there is a little unfairness in price depending on where you happen to live, but currencies do fluctuate, and VIPRE isn’t subject to the strange regional discrepancies we’ve seen with some other products.

A free 30-day trial is available.

Free trial

Key Features

VIPRE’s features list has been enhanced a little since the 2013 version, and the vendor highlights a couple of new functions on their website.

Features

The most significant features of VIPRE Antivirus 2014 are as follows:

Social Watch: This is a newly added feature that scans your Facebook wall for any links that may expose you to malware.

Search Guard: This is the other main new feature for the 2014 version of VIPRE, and it promises to “help you browse the Web safely” by identifying malicious links. We often point out that modern browsers include similar functionality, so while it’s nice to see this added, its addition wouldn’t be enough to influence our view of the software overall.

Easy Install: VIPRE “eliminates potential software conflicts” by removing other antivirus products during installation.

Anti Malware: VIPRE claims to deal well with all kinds of malware, as well as traditional virus threats. Based on last year’s tests it does this very well.

Removable Device Scanning: This automatically scans USB storage devices on insertion.

History Cleaner: This feature is intended to “remove browsing and search histories,” something users can do manually anyway.

Secure File Eraser: Something of a supplementary utility, VIPRE includes the ability to securely erase files from the right-click menu, so they cannot be restored by specialist software.

VIPRE’s features list still isn’t the largest in the industry, but there have been a few enhancements since we reviewed the previous version. In truth, we were glad these were minimal, as the “lean and mean” nature of VIPRE is part of the attraction. VIPRE doesn’t seem to be moving in a “bloatware” direction, which is pleasing to see.

The process

Installation and Configuration

We fired up a standard test machine to test VIPRE Antivirus 2014. This was running a clean but updated install of Windows 7 Professional (32 bit).

As with last year’s version, we had to supply an email address to access a trial download. The install link then arrives by email.

Download link

The download file was just over 6MB in size, slightly smaller than last year’s. The first thing we had to do after running it was accept the license agreement.

VIPRE Install

After clicking “Agree and Continue,” the install progressed, part of which was the download of further program data. Even so, the process was reasonably quick, and pleasingly included the download and installation of the latest virus definitions.

Installation

The installation then concluded and asked us to confirm we were happy to participate in the VIPRE’s “ThreatNet” program. As with the previous version, we were also told that “we rock,” which we found equally flattering this time around!

Install complete

Next, we hit the “Continue to VIPRE” button to check out the user interface.

The user interface was practically indistinguishable from that of the previous year’s version, other than the small addition of a button to activate the Facebook “Social Watch” feature.

VIPRE GUI

The “Settings” screens were almost the same as well, and once again we liked the balance between deep configurability and ease-of-use. VIPRE Antivirus 2014 may not have the most shiny or high-tech interface, but it is clear and effective. We were also pleased to notice that the email protection settings include the ability to block phishing emails.

Settings menus

Having completed our tour of the GUI, we decided to move onto our real-life tests. As the previous version had sailed through these with no problems, we had high hopes.

Real-Life Testing

VIPRE Antivirus 2014 includes pre-scanning of USB keys, which is a default feature we always like to see. Novice computer users may not think to scan these devices, so it is a sensible configuration.

We inserted our usual infected USB key, and waited for the drivers to install.

As expected, a window appeared offering to scan the device.

Scan external

We weren’t alerted to the progress of the scan, so we went into the program interface. As expected, we were told that three threats had been found.

Threats found

We took a look at the logs, and confirmed that VIPRE had correctly identified and cleaned all of our three test threats with no problems whatsoever. A quick check of our USB key revealed that it was now completely empty.

Logs

Even though we’d seen VIPRE do this before, we were impressed all over again. VIPRE Antivirus 2014 dealt with everything with no hassle at all.

Finally, we moved onto our final test, and started a full system scan to look at VIPRE’s CPU and RAM use.

Full Scan

RAM use stayed around the 60MB mark, CPU use levelled out to an average of about 20% with only occasional peaks. This was broadly in line with what we saw last year, and perfectly satisfactory.

Customer Support

Customer support for VIPRE is superb. There’s really no other word for it. We like what we see when we notice that toll free numbers for phone support in a host of countries are just two clicks away from a vendor’s home page.

Support

There are plenty of other support options too, including live chat, ticket support and a knowledge base. All of this support is also available to trial users.

Conclusion

We liked

  • Superb real life test results
  • Straightforward install
  • Great support options
  • Great value long-term and multiple PC subscriptions
  • Sensible new features for 2014 version

We weren’t so sure about

  • The need to access historical logs to view details of threats

We hated

  • Nothing

We were not at all surprised to find ourselves so happy with VIPRE Antivirus 2014, as the previous version was one of our favourite products.

We won’t try to pretend that much has changed in this new version. The couple of new features are sensible enough additions, but nothing that would cause us to give the product higher marks than before. That’s hardly a problem, however, when the product already sits right near the top of our league table.

VIPRE is a particular bargain for enthusiasts with a number of computers, as the subscriptions covering up to ten PCs are extremely good value. Once again, we recommend VIPRE very highly indeed.

 

By

The 5 Best Antivirus for iOS

Over the years, Apple have taken a fairly firm stance on antivirus packages for iPhones and other iDevices: Essentially, they’ve said that such programs are not required due to the way that iOS works.

As all applications come via Apple’s app store, and have to be checked by Apple beforehand, many people argue that there’s not really any way to introduce malware to an iOS device (or, at least, not to a legitimate device that hasn’t been “jail-broken.”)

However, in recent times, high profile studies have revealed that are are some cracks in Apple’s security, and that iOS isn’t inherently “virus proof.” Given the millions of iDevices out there, it would be highly naive to think that cyber criminals aren’t working on ways to exploit the platform.

Unsurprisingly, most Internet security vendors are keen to get some kind of iOS antivirus product out there, but pickings in Apple’s app store are surprisingly thin. The same operating system security that makes it hard to create malware for the iOS platform makes it equally hard to produce a fully-fledged antivirus product.

As such, many of the “antivirus” products for iOS are more like generic “security” apps, which don’t really work in the same way as a traditional antivirus package (by monitoring the underlying filesystem).

This causes some confusion amongst iOS users who expect an antivirus app to scan in the same way the PC equivalent would. This usually leads to lots of undeserved negative app store reviews, caused by a lack of understanding as to exactly how iOS works, and how much Apple lock it down.

iOS security apps are not devoid of value. The “antivirus” apps often work to keep you safe on the Web in other ways, and some have functionality to prevent your device becoming a “carrier” of viruses that could end up on your desktop PC when you synchronise.

We’ve done plenty of research to create this particular top 5, and focussed on products that have at least some genuine value. Even though antivirus for iOS isn’t as important as it is on a Windows platform (or even on Android), security-conscious users will probably still wish to consider one of these products.


Summary

Rank Provider Score Link

1

Intego 82% Visit Site

2

Screen Shot 2013-09-02 at 11.12.52 81% Visit Site

3

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.19.00 79% Visit Site

4

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.58.20 75% Visit Site

5

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.52.06 69% Visit Site

Winner – Intego VirusBarrier

Intego

Positives: The closest to “traditional” antivirus protection

Negatives: Nothing much extra to keep you safe online

Intego’s chargeable VirusBarrier product (99p in the UK) makes it to the top of this table, because it’s the closest thing to a regular antivirus product available for iOS.

Even so, plenty of App Store reviewers mark it down when they discover that it’s essentially just an on-demand scanner for email attachments, “loose” files, and files accessed remotely using file sync services. What these reviewers fail to realise is that Apple don’t make it possible to even create a product that scans the whole filesystem.

Putting aside some users’ lack of understanding, this is a simple and clear app that is easy to use. Most significantly, it prevents you from unwittingly hosting an infected file on your device and then transferring it to a Windows computer when you sync.

VirusBarrier’s not loaded with features, and it’s not even particularly exciting, but it’s the closest thing that iOS users have to a true antivirus product at the time of writing.

Visit Intego


2. avast! SecureLine VPN

Screen Shot 2013-09-02 at 11.12.52

Positives: Lots of Web safety features

Negatives: Requires annual subscription

No, we haven’t made a mistake. This IS a VPN app, but it is also an effective security package for iOS.

SecureLine takes a completely different approach to VirusBarrier, and concentrates on what an iOS app can usefully do, given Apple’s operating system restrictions.

So, what we have here is protection from phishing sites, ad blocking, basic virus protection, and the ability to use a virtual private network (VPN) tunnel whilst on public WiFi to increase your security.

SecureLine isn’t a true antivirus package, but given that they don’t really exist for iOS, it’s a very good alternative for the security-focussed.

Visit Avast!


3. Avira Mobile Security

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.19.00

Positives: A good selection of features

Negatives: Some duplication of functionality already in iOS

On the face of it, Avira Mobile Security looks full of features. It is, to a point, but several of them are pretty superficial. Detecting whether a device is “jailbroken” is hardly a feature – one would expect the device’s owner to know!

Still, Avira’s approach to an iOS security package is a solid one. Obviously aware that full filesystem scanning is off the table, Avira have instead integrated anti-theft features and linked the software with their own cloud-based backup solution. The software also “scans apps for malicious processes,” but just how useful that is in a closed environment is a matter for debate.

We won’t heavily criticise a free app with plenty of functions, but would suggest you consider whether you really need cloud storage and anti-theft when iCloud and “Find my iPhone” both exist already.

Visit Avira


4. Trend Micro Smart Surfing

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.58.20

Positives: Completely free

Negatives: The app only really fulfils one function

If you want to know what Trend Micro Smart Surfing does, the clue is in the name.

This isn’t an antivirus product in the traditional sense, but is instead intended to keep you protected whilst browsing the Web on your iDevice.

The product uses Trend’s cloud-based “Smart Protection” database to alert you to sites that host malware or may be out to get your personal details.

That’s essentially it! You can control how sensitive the software is, but there’s not a lot else in the way of options. Still, it provides some extra security and costs nothing.

Visit TrendMicro


5. Norton Mobile Security

Positives: A fair few features

Negatives: Expensive, Android users get much more

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.52.06

Norton Mobile Security differs substantially from the other products in this roundup. For a start, it doesn’t come cheap (at around $30 per year for multiple devices).

What, at first glance, appears to be a very comprehensive package, soon becomes a bit of a disappointment when you read the small print: “most features available on Android devices only.” This isn’t really Symantec’s fault, it’s more down to Apple’s own restrictions.

You get thinks like protection for your contacts and help finding lost devices, but there is some duplication with existing iOS features.

If you’re a family with a selection of devices, including Android items, then it’s worth putting this on your iDevices too – after all it’s included in the licence. However, we’d stop short of recommending paying out the money for iDevices alone.

Visit Norton


Summary

Rank Provider Score Link

1

Intego 82% Visit Site

2

Screen Shot 2013-09-02 at 11.12.52 81% Visit Site

3

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.19.00 79% Visit Site

4

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.58.20 75% Visit Site

5

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.52.06 69% Visit Site

By

Norton Antivirus 2014 Review

Summary

Norton Antivirus has been through a series of “ups and downs” throughout its long history. Some years ago, it earned itself a poor reputation for being a slow and bloated piece of software, and removing a preinstalled copy would often be the first thing an IT expert would do to speed up a slow computer.

Symantec have since made significant improvements, and we were very happy with the 2013 version, which had a low footprint, worked quickly and efficiently, and managed with all of our test threats. Pleasingly, this latest version performs equally well, with a couple of sensible tweaks and easier access to support. Norton is definitely a product worthy of a place on your shortlist.

Purchase Options

Norton is not a company that offers free security products, but it does offer 30-day free trials, which we took advantage of for the purposes of this review.

As we are an antivirus review site, we concentrated on Norton AntiVirus 2014, however Norton does also offer an Internet Security Product, which adds spam filtering and parental controls, amongst other features.

There’s also Norton 360, which adds a number of additional utilities and, new for this year, Norton One, a monthly subscription based package for up to five devices (including Apple and Android).

NAVThe pricing for Norton Antivirus is a little inconsistent this year, and varies between countries. In the US, Norton 2014 is sold as a single PC package for a choice of one, two or three years, and ranges from $39.99 for one PC for one year to $114.99 for three years.

In Europe, subscriptions cover three PCs and cost €39.99 for one year or €64.99 for two years. Irritatingly for UK buyers, these prices are the same in Pounds sterling, which doesn’t seem very fair given the usual exchange rate.

Symantec do tend to offer various promotional prices at various points, but we would have preferred a rather more consistent pricing approach.

Key Features

When we reviewed the previous version of Norton AntiVirus we commented that the features list was large to the point of mind-boggling.

This hasn’t changed – the screenshot below shows all the features listed online:

Features

Upon examining the list, we found that not much has changed since last year’s version, although Symantec have renamed as couple of functions. We discuss the most significant features here:

“Sonar” Threat Monitoring: Essentially Norton’s real-time scanning engine, this “sonar” technology claims to identify threats based on software behaviour as well as via definition files.

Norton “Power Eraser”: This, apparently can remove “deeply embedded” infections that other programs struggle with. This feature has been renamed since the previous version.

Browser / Phishing Protection: Norton AntiVirus blocks websites that are suspected to download malicious code and alerts you to phishing sites.

Identity Safe: This is a free password management tool.

Silent Updates: This feature times downloads and installs updates when your computer is not in use.

“Norton Management”: Norton’s cloud functionality allows you to download software to additional machines and manage the product from a Web-based portal.

Insight: This is claimed to cut down scanning time by identifying “safe” files from cloud-based feedback and omitting them from scans.

Pulse Updates: The software updates every “5 to 15 minutes” in the background without interrupting workflow.

Facebook Scanning: The software can scan your Facebook wall and make sure no links containing malicious code are present.

Norton still love their buzzwords, and have even found some inventive new names for features that were, in fact, already there in the previous version. Still, this is an impressive features list, and one that made us keen to see how well the software performed.

The process

Installation and Configuration

We used our normal 32-bit Windows 7 test machine to try out the software, and downloaded a free trial from Norton’s UK site.

The download file was 189MB, which we noted was a little larger than the installer for last year’s revision.

Trial DL

The install began with a tickbox request to join Norton’s crowd-sourced “Community Watch” program. We also noticed an “Install Options” button, but as always, we continued to install with the default settings.

Install start

The install then completed quickly, with no further options to choose. We liked the simplicity of the installation, and in just a couple of minutes the program started with no need for a reboot.

Next, we were taken to a product activation screen, where we had to input an email address to continue with our trial.

Activation

We then had to provide a few further details to set up a Norton account.

Account

With this complete, we were left to begin to explore the program interface.

GUI

The GUI looked very similar to that of the previous year’s version of Norton Antivirus, albeit with a few icons moved to the bottom of the application window. Once again, CPU usage was displayed prominently – a sign that Symantec are still keen to remind people that Norton is no longer the resource-hog of old.

We had to click the “LiveUpdate” icon to trigger an update of definition files. It’s a shame the program doesn’t do this automatically when it is first run. The update proceeded smoothly, but did involve a 70MB download.

Update

While we were waiting for the updates to install, we had a look back at our review of the previous version of Norton, and were pleased to notice that the initial update process was a little less laborious this time around.

Next, we set about our exploration of the program’s settings. Although we liked the interface in general, and the settings sliders, there is (once again) a lot here to get your head round. If anything, the GUI is slightly more intimidating for novices than it was last year. This isn’t a significant criticism, and techies will love the deep level of configurability, but once again we feel inclined to say that some technophobes could feel intimidated by the number of options to choose from.

Many settings

Real-Life Testing

With our look at the GUI complete, it was time to move onto our real life tests.

As always, we used an infected USB memory stick to introduce some viruses to our test PC. When we looked at last year’s product, it dealt well with all these threats, so we had high hopes for a repeat performance.

When we plugged in the stick, we saw the usual “Open folder to view files” option. But, we also quickly saw a Norton pop up near our system tray:

Threats

 

Next, we saw a large “threats detected” window, detailing the viruses Norton AntiVirus 2014 had found:

Threats Detected

Once we had allowed Norton to “fix” all of the identified issues, the only threat remaining on our USB key was the simplest one of all, a dummy virus from the European Expert Group for IT Security.

We went back to the key’s folder listing and attempted to run the file. As you can see from the screenshot below, the software automatically detected and quarantined the file, meaning that Norton once again aced all of our real life tests.

Removal

To complete our testing, we ran a full system scan to look at system usage.

Full scan

System utilisation was really pleasing: Norton’s scan only used up to 52MB of RAM (the same as the previous version), and though CPU use was high at times, it seemed to ease right down as soon as we tried to do anything else on our test PC.

Customer Support

We noticed while browsing this year’s features list that Norton advertise free 24/7 chat and phone support with AntiVirus 2014.

Support

We were curious to see, with a company the size of Norton, just how easy this support was to access, and were pleased that the live chat option wasn’t that hard to find on the support section of the Norton website. However, you do need to provide full details of the problem before accessing an agent.

Live chat

Finally, as one would expect, there are extensive “self help” options including forums and extensive FAQs.

Conclusion

We liked

  • Modern interface
  • Lots of extra tools and features
  • Perfect results with test viruses
  • Low performance impact

We weren’t so sure about

  • Confusing options for novices

We hated

  • Inconsistent global pricing

Norton AntiVirus hasn’t changed an awful lot between the 2013 and 2014 versions, but this is no bad thing as this is a good, fully-featured product that is leagues ahead of the much-slated Norton of old.

The few noticeable changes are largely good ones: initial setup was quicker, which gets a “thumbs up from us.” On the other hand, the menus are a little confusing, but this is balanced out by the fact that real-life support is a little easier to come by than it was when we last looked at Norton’s offering.

All-in-all then, we end up with exactly the same verdict as last year: Although this wouldn’t be our top choice for serious technophobes, it’s still in amongst our favourite antivirus programs. We just wish the pricing was a little more consistent between different countries.

 

By

The 5 Best Antivirus for Android

If you have an Android smartphone or tablet, you’ve probably wondered whether or not antivirus for Android is essential. 

If you’re not yet convinced it’s a good idea, here are two things to think about:

1. Android is the leading mobile operating system in terms of market share, and this is a trend which shows no sign of changing. As such, it is obvious that cyber criminals will target it.

2. Recent reports confirm that Android threats are on the increase. An August 2013 study from Trend Micro indicated an increase in the number of threats and malicious apps, against a backdrop of a growing user base that’s rather complacent about security.

With this in mind, if you’re concerned about security, it’s fair to say that you shouldn’t ignore the need for an antivirus app on your Android device.

Luckily, there’s plenty to choose from.

The interesting thing about Android antivirus is that most of the packages out there are really rather good. Most obtain an average ranking of four or more stars in the Google App Store, and some of them are completely free. In this “top five” roundup, we’ve chosen our favourites, based largely on functionality, expert reviews and user feedback.

On the subject of functionality, it’s important to point out that a typical Android antivirus product does far more than protect against malicious files. Most programs also include some form of anti-theft element to help you to protect your data if your phone or tablet is lost or stolen. Some products even offer functionality akin to Apple’s “Find my iPhone” feature, which helps you to track where your device is currently located.

Most Android antivirus products also include some form of Web browsing protection to alert you to phishing sites or compromised pages. With many people using their devices for shopping and Internet banking, these are very valuable features.


Summary

Rank Provider Score Link

1

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.03.00 95% Visit Site

2

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.48.07 93% Visit Site

3

TrustGo Logo 92% Visit Site

4

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.24.34 91% Visit Site

5

Screen Shot 2013-09-02 at 11.12.52 90% Visit Site

Winner – AVG AntiVirus Security

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.03.00

Positives: Great user feedback, Google Maps integration

Negatives: Very best features kept back for chargeable version

AVG is a very well-known name in PC antivirus, so it’s little surprise that their Android product has enjoyed such popularity. At the time of writing, Google’s App Store stated that there had been between 100 and 500 million installs of the product.

AVG’s Android product is richly featured and well thought of, enjoying an average 4.6 star rating from nearly 700,000 store reviews.

Worthy of particular mention are the software’s anti-theft features. You can use Google Maps to track your device, and even make it ring despite being in silent mode if you’ve lost it down the back of the couch. There are also more advanced features such as “Camera Trap,” which emails you a photo of anyone who keeps trying to unlock your phone with the wrong code.

Sadly the last feature is only available as part of the commercial product, but the majority of this effective app’s functionality is available completely free. You can also trial the commercial features for 14-days before having to pay for them.

Visit AVG


2. Kaspersky Mobile Security

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.48.07

Positives: Fast scans, innovative functions not seen elsewhere

Negatives: Free version light on features

Kaspersky are another vendor who offer a free (Lite) version of their Android product alongside a more fully featured commercial option. However, it’s fair to say that Kaspersky cripple their “Lite” product rather more than AVG do. That’s not to say it’s a poor product, but it doesn’t have as much basic antivirus functionality, essentially being restricted to identifying malicious apps.

So, it’s the commercial version we recommend here, which has more advanced antivirus to protect you when browsing the Web, and enhanced anti-theft and privacy features. Kaspersky’s Anti-Theft can even block a phone after its SIM card had been removed.

Also worth a mention is the fact that many reviewers complement how quickly Kaspersky completes a virus scan, making for a fast and effective overall package.

Visit Kapersky


3. TrustGo Mobile Security

TrustGo Logo

Positives: All features completely free

Negatives: Some users complain about resource usage, anti-theft not perfect

TrustGo differ from the other vendors here as they specialise in mobile security when the others also produce products for desktop computers. Subjectively speaking, this means they should excel in this field!

In most respects they do: This is a well thought out product, and one that is well regarded, with an average 4.7 star review in Google’s store.

There are plenty of features here including protection from malicious apps, phishing detection, and an anti-theft module called “Find My Phone,” which can integrate with a device camera. However, it’s reasonable to comment that other apps handle this functionality better. TrustGo doesn’t inform you when a SIM card is removed, nor does it give you any ability to take photos “on the fly” – it just takes them automatically when the incorrect PIN is entered repeatedly.

Even so, these are minor criticisms, and the software is completely free – so you have nothing at all to lose by giving it a go.

Visit Trustgo


4. Bitdefender Mobile Security

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.24.34

Positives: Innovative “Privacy Advisor” feature

Negatives: Requires (inexpensive) annual subscription

Bitdefender also provide a free antivirus solution for Android, but we didn’t feel it worthy of a place in this top five because it’s rather too light on features. Other free products mentioned here at least provide some basic anti-theft protection, even if you don’t hand over any money.

Bitdefender Mobile Security, on the other hand, is a great product that’s full of features, and well worth the small annual subscription for those really concerned about Android security.

What really stood out for us about this program were some innovative features we hadn’t seen elsewhere, including an app privacy advisor, which tells you exactly what your apps are doing with your information.

The anti-theft here is really strong too, and has the ability to sound alarms, notify you when a SIM card is removed, and even listen in on a stolen device.

Yes, there are free solutions that do nearly everything Bitdefender does, but if you really want the full package, you’ll certainly find it here.

Visit BitDefender


5. avast! Mobile Security

Screen Shot 2013-09-02 at 11.12.52

Positives: Great user reviews

Negatives: Some users won’t like the “freemium” model

avast! Mobile Security has a great reputation in Google’s store, with an average rating of 4.6 stars from nearly half a million user reviews.

avast! Mobile Security is technically a “free” product, but the vendor has actually chosen a “freemium” model, where certain features are locked down unless you pay an automatically renewing monthly or annual subscription.

Some individuals dislike this model, but it’s important to point out that all the functionality most people will need is, in fact, covered by the free version. This includes anti-theft, browsing protection, and an antivirus engine that scans devices and memory cards.

The kind of features you can add on by paying for a premium upgrade include “geo-fencing” (the ability to sound alarms if a device is taken outside a certain area), and more advanced anti-theft functions (such as photograph functionality). Still, there’s enough for most people in the free version, and the premium price (GBP £2 per month) is hardly daylight robbery!

Visit Avast


Summary

Rank Provider Score Link

1

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.03.00 95% Visit Site

2

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.48.07 93% Visit Site

3

TrustGo Logo 92% Visit Site

4

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.24.34 91% Visit site

5

Screen Shot 2013-09-02 at 11.12.52 90% Visit Site

By

The 5 Best Antivirus with Free Trial

Providing a free trial is fairly standard practice for antivirus vendors. In fact, when we tested every antivirus product available for home use, there was only only one where the trial version was so “locked down” that we had to purchase it to complete our review.

This is great news for you, as a consumer. When you’re in the market for a new antivirus package, you can feel free to try out two or three with no obligation.

Another good bit of news is that modern antivirus packages tend to uninstall more cleanly than in the past. Some years ago, there were several products that could prove stubborn to remove, resulting in a real mess when you tried to move between products.

In addition, several products now conduct a thorough sweep of your PC to remove competitor’s antivirus products during installation.

While none of this means we suggest that you keep changing your antivirus product to take advantage of as many trials as possible, it does mean you’re unlikely to experience any issues trying out two or three. Do note, however, that you should NEVER try to install more than one antivirus package at a time – always uninstall one and reboot before trying another.

One other point that’s worthy of mention here is that some vendors offer a money-back guarantee alongside their free trial. Where this is the case, we have pointed it out, as it provides even more reassurance.

All of the products listed in this round-up can be freely downloaded and trialled with full functionality. They’re all great products that made top positions on our antivirus league table. You’re sure to find one that suits you perfectly.


Summary

Rank Provider Score Review Link

1

Logo 95% Read Review Visit Site

2

Logo 93% Read Review Visit Site

3

Logo 92% Read Review Visit Site

4

Logo 91% Read Review Visit Site

5

Logo 90% Read Review Visit Site

Winner – Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus

Screen-Shot-2013-08-23-at-13.09.20

Positives: Loads of features, modern GUI

Negatives: Trial duration is only 14 days

We loved Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus. The vendor has clearly taken a “ground up” view of how to create a good antivirus package, and it really shows.

SecureAnywhere looks good, scans VERY fast, and includes some innovative technology such as social networking protection that scans your Twitter and Facebook page.

We’ve placed SecureAnywhere at the top of this table even though it only comes with a 14-day trial instead of the 30-day trial that most vendors choose. Webroot must think that two weeks is all it will take to persuade you to purchase the product. We’d be inclined to agree.

Visit Webroot


2. VIPRE Antivirus 2014

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 17.01.42

Positives: Great value subscription options

Negatives: “Lean and mean” rather than feature-packed

VIPRE Antivirus 2014 is a fairly straightforward product. While many vendors aim to provide long features lists and cutting-edge technology, VIPRE keep things relatively simple. The vendor has, however, added a few new “bells and whistles” for the 2014 version.

This isn’t a bad thing, however. The antivirus technology is still fast and effective, and the program made quick work of all of our test threats.

If you’re one of those people who likes to keep everything on your PC fast and slick, this is the antivirus product for you.

The trial version of VIPRE works for 30 days, and you just need an email address to sign up.

Visit Vipre


3. ZoneAlarm PRO Antivirus + Firewall

Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 14.49.59

Positives: Plenty of extras including free online backup

Negatives: RAM usage rather excessive during scans

ZoneAlarm are perhaps best known in the IT industry for their free firewall software, but they have now branched out into antivirus too. The good news is that they’ve made a very good job of it!

ZoneAlarm PRO Antivirus + Firewall makes for a compelling package, especially when you consider that you’re getting a good commercial firewall product as well as AV protection. The 5GB of free online backup is tempting too.

Pricing for ZoneAlarm is very generous too, thanks to a money-off offer. This was on the vendor website when we conducted our review and remains there some time after, so it’s fair to assume the very competitive pricing is a permanent fixture.

ZoneAlarm’s free trial last 30 days, and the vendor complements it with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Visit ZoneAlarm


4. Trend Micro Titanium Antivirus Plus

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.58.20

Positives: Good support, suitable for all skill levels

Negatives: Slightly pricey

Trend is another vendor that offers a 30-day money-back guarantee as well as a 30-day free trial.

We found plenty to admire about Trend Micro Titanium Antivirus Plus: the feature set is rich, and includes antispam and social networking protection. In addition, the user interface is one of best we’ve seen – wonderfully simple for novices, but with a multitude of advanced options accessible to the techies.

Although Trend’s pricing is a little high, the product is worth the money, and you get the kind of support you should expect from a major vendor as part of the deal. It’s no surprise Trend is much loved amongst the technical community.

Visit TrendMicro


5. Norton AntiVirus 2014

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.52.06

Positives: Low resource use, extensive features

Negatives: Interface pleasant, but could be simpler

As long term-techies we are surprised to find ourselves raving about Norton. Some years ago the product had a run of bad press, and became so bloated that it become solely responsible for the slow running of many entry-level PCs.

Symantec have responded well to the criticism. Norton Antivirus is back to being a great product. We can’t help wishing the vendor would ease a little off the buzzwords when describing the product online, but the software is effective and lives up to the hype.

Norton’s free trial lasts 30-days, which should be plenty of time to convince you that this is a major advance on the “old school” Norton. If you decide to go on and purchase it, it’s worthwhile looking out for the inevitable offers and enticements, as Norton’s pricing can prove a little inconsistent.

Visit Norton


Summary

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1

Logo 95% Read Review Visit Site

2

Logo 93% Read Review Visit Site

3

Logo 92% Read Review Visit Site

4

Logo 91% Read Review Visit Site

5

Logo 90% Read Review Visit Site

By

The 5 Best Antivirus for Mac

It’s long been debated whether or not antivirus protection is truly essential for those using Apple Mac computers.

There are two main arguments that support the case that Mac users needn’t worry too much about antivirus:

1. As Macs have a much smaller share of the computer market, hackers are more inclined to target Windows PCs.

2. The Mac OS X operating system is based on a UNIX platform that is inherently more secure in operation that Windows.

Unfortunately, these points are becoming increasingly easy to argue against. Firstly, the Mac market share is increasing all the time, so it’s inevitable that cyber-criminals will begin to target Mac users.

Secondly, the inherent security of Mac OS X becomes largely irrelevant in terms of the modern methods hackers now use. Mac users are equally vulnerable to phishing attacks and identity theft.

So, if you are risk-averse and use a Mac, it’s worthwhile to consider installing an antivirus product. Antivirus vendors clearly realise this, as most have now added Mac versions to their product ranges.

In this “top five” roundup, we recommend five well-renowned antivirus products for the Mac. Please note that, at the time of writing, we have yet to review every Mac antivirus product on the market as we have been concentrating on creating extensive coverage of Windows antivirus products. However, our roundup has been created following extensive research of the Internet security marketplace. You can therefore count on any of the products in this list to provide extra peace of mind while you use your Mac online.

It is, however, important to note that personal preference plays a part in choosing any software. When vendors are selling products to thousands (or millions) of people, there will always be some who are dissatisfied.

One further point worthy of note is that many Mac antivirus packages also detect Windows viruses. This is important for two reasons: Firstly, they prevent your Mac “carrying” viruses that could infect Windows users that share files with you or operate on the same network. Secondly, as many Mac users also run Windows, either via Bootcamp or a virtual machine program, they can prevent infections from moving between the environments.


Summary

Rank Provider Score Review Link

1

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.48.07 90% Read Review Visit Site

2

Sophos 88% Visit Site

3

Logo 87% Read Review Visit Site

4

Intego 85% Visit Site

5

Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 11.49.47 82% Read Review Visit Site

 

Winner – Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac

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Positives: Plenty of features to counter various different Web-based threats

Negatives: There are cheaper (or free) options for those who don’t want so much functionality

Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac is a very comprehensive package, and one with a decent online reputation.

The vendor has clearly taken note of the fact that threats to Mac users come from various directions, and there is, if anything, more emphasis on things like anti-phishing protection and URL advisory than there is on traditional viruses.

Even so, the software doesn’t scrimp on basic virus protection either: While most of the best Mac antivirus products also scan for Windows viruses (to prevent you inadvertently infecting a Windows user by passing one on), Kaspersky’s product scans for Linux threats too.

Visit Kapersky


2. Sophos Antivirus for Mac v9

Sophos

Positives: Completely free protection

Negatives: Fewer features than some commercial products

It’s slightly strange that Sophos provide a free antivirus product for home Mac users, as the vendor effectively ignores home-based Windows users, preferring to concentrate on products aimed at businesses.

Still, it’s not for us to debate the company’s logic, and if you’re not completely convinced that you need antivirus on your Mac, the ability to choose a product from a well-renowned vendor and pay nothing for it should make the decision a little easier.

Although Sophos Antivirus for Mac isn’t the most fully-featured Mac security product, it covers all the basics, and promises to remove “viruses, Trojans and worms.” It has a good online reputation, and many users compliment its low resource usage.

Also, like all the best Mac products, it also detects Windows viruses that could be lurking on your Mac waiting to infect an unsuspecting Windows user, or indeed one of your Windows virtual machines.

Visit Sophos


3. Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus for Mac

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Positives: Includes protection for iOS devices as well as your Mac

Negatives: Slightly pricey

The Windows version of Webroot SecureAnywhere did extremely well in our tests, and the Mac version is an equally well-conceived product.

SecureAnywhere Antivirus for Mac has the same focus on fast performance and low resource usage. The vendor also promises that the product deals well with recent Mac-specific threats such as the widely-publicised “Flashback Trojan.”

Another thing we like about this product is the fact that Webroot include a free copy of SecureWeb from iTunes with each purchase, which can be used to protect iPhones and iPads from malware.

Although Webroot’s products are not the cheapest, it is worthy of note that some of the vendor’s multi-PC licenses allow use of a mixture of the Mac and Windows versions, making this an ideal product for a mixed platform household.

Visit Webroot


4. Intego Mac Internet Security 2013

Intego

Positives: Reassurance of dealing with an Apple-specific vendor

Negatives: Limited configuration options

Intego Mac Internet Security 2013 is different from the other products in this round-up for a significant reason: Intego ONLY make Internet security products for the Apple platform.

As such, you would expect them to get things right, and largely they do: The interface is perhaps the most “Mac-like” of them all, and the product provides both antivirus protection and an advanced firewall, in the form of Net Barrier 2013.

Even though this is a Mac product, it’s scanning facilities are set up to also detect Windows viruses. As an added benefit, it’s also possible to add on a low-cost licence for Panda Antivirus if you also use Windows on your Mac via Bootcamp or a virtual machine.

Intego Mac Internet Security 2013 isn’t cheap, but it’s a comprehensive package, and one that will appeal to the Mac purists out there.

Visit Intego


5. eSet Cyber Security

Positives: Lots of advanced features

Negatives: Rather a lot for novices to understand

Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 11.49.47

eSet Cyber Security for Mac is a comprehensive package, which includes parental controls and a firewall, alongside comprehensive antivirus features.

The user interface is clean and well-designed, but some online reviewers say that configuration can get tricky once you move beyond the more basic options. This is something the Mac version has in common with the Windows version!

Still, this is a good Mac solution, which is well priced when you consider the additional functionality (assuming, of course, that it is of interest).

Visit Eset


Summary

Rank Provider Score Review Link

1

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.48.07 90% Read Review Visit Site

2

Sophos 88% Visit Site

3

Logo 87% Read Review Visit Site

4

Intego 85% Visit Site

5

Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 11.49.47 82% Read Review Visit Site

 

By

The 5 Best Antivirus with Malware Protection

Going back a number of years, antivirus products wouldn’t always include a malware protection element. People would instead tend to complement the use of an antivirus product with occasional scans with an anti-spyware program. These were the days of applications such as SpyBot – Search and Destroy and Ad-Aware.

Things have changed. Nowadays, most antivirus products build in more widespread malware protection. Ultimately they have to, as modern security threats take on many forms. In fact, traditional viruses now only account for a small proportion of “in the wild” threats, so computer users also need their security software to also protect them from things like Trojans, phishing sites, key-loggers and rootkits.

The real life tests we use when we review products at Best Antivirus are designed to throw a selection of modern threats at the programs. One of out tests uses a “scareware” antivirus product. This is actually a fake product, which convinces inexperienced users their PC is infected with viruses that can only be removed if their hand over some money to purchase the product.

Another one of our tests uses an installer file for the Google Chrome browser that, on the face of it, appears genuine. However, it actually installs a host of intrusive and undesirable programs at the same time. While this file isn’t technically a virus, it is undoubtedly malware. The five products listed here in our roundup of the the best antivirus software with malware protection all dealt with the fake Chrome installer, but plenty of the other products we reviewed failed to do so.

It’s quite revealing that the product that tops our table, Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus, comes from a vendor that originally concentrated on anti-malware software (with their well-known Spy Sweeper product). The company’s expertise in dealing with constantly evolving threats has clearly paid dividends. SecureAnywhere also tops the overall table of our favoured products.


Summary

Rank Provider Score Review Link

1

Logo 95% Read Review Visit Site

2

Logo 93% Read Review Visit Site

3

Logo 92% Read Review Visit Site

4

Logo 91% Read Review Visit Site

5

Logo 90% Read Review Visit Site

 

Winner – Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus

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Positives: Great protection from all kinds of threats

Negatives: There are slightly cheaper products around

As mentioned in the introduction, Webroot have a background in anti-malware products. Spy Sweeper, which is now discontinued, rescued plenty of IT professionals over the years when they were faced with spyware-infected PCs.

It’s clear that Webroot have taken a thorough approach to modern threats. Their promotional literature talks of protection for “the latest known and unknown online threats,” and goes on to list functionality that includes social networking protection, protection from spyware attacks and browser integration to avoid identity theft.

Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus is our favourite antivirus product at the time of writing, and it has a striking new interface for the 2014 version. It manages to get everything just right, and protects you from all kinds of malware.

Visit Webroot


2. VIPRE Antivirus 2014

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 17.01.42

Positives: Truly “lean and mean,” good value

Negatives: Some products are a little more fully-featured

VIPRE Antivirus 2014 is a product that’s really easy to love. It’s very well-designed and unintrusive. Most importantly, it sailed happily through all of our real-life tests.

VIPRE market their product as an “all-in-one solution,” and make it clear from their promotional literature that they have designed the software to deal with the full range of modern threats from cybercriminals. This truly is a product that can deal with all kinds of malware types, and we particularly liked how quickly it knew that our Google Chrome installer was not to be trusted!

Another notable thing about VIPRE is the generous subscription options. If you have a number of PCs that need protecting, this is the perfect choice.

Visit Vipre


3. ZoneAlarm PRO Antivirus + Firewall

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Positives: Huge features list, social networking functionality

Negatives: Installation could perhaps be a little more straightforward

ZoneAlarm PRO Antivirus + Firewall aims to protect users from far more than just “old school” viruses. In fact, the vendor promises protection from “spyware, Trojan horses, worms, bots and rootkits.”

The software lives up to the promise as well, and performed perfectly in our real-life tests.

Also of note are a selection of supplementary features to protect against modern malware. The Privacy & Security toolbar includes various features to stop cybercriminals tracking your online activity, and there’s even a feature that scans your Facebook presence and helps you ensure your privacy settings are correctly configured.

ZoneAlarm PRO Antivirus + Firewall is a product that’s truly fit for purpose in terms of protecting against the many different threats that lurk in the online world. As such, it deserves its prominent position in this roundup, as well as on several of our other top-five lists.

Visit ZoneAlarm


4. Trend Micro Titanium Antivirus Plus

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Positives: Clear interface, rare appearance of anti-spam functionality in an entry-level product

Negatives: Not cheap, scanning a little slow

Trend Micro’s stance on modern threats is very clear. The web-based promotional literature for Titanium Antivirus Plus talks about “new Web threats” and “phishing protection,” illustrating our own earlier point that traditional viruses are just one of many things users need to protect themselves against.

Trend has some great functionality, and the inclusion of anti-spam is notable, as this in itself can protect against malware. For example, many spam emails include links to phishing sites, so keeping them away from the inbox is always a good thing! However, social networking protection is not included as it is with ZoneAlarm – Trend hold this back for their more expensive products.

Even so, this is a good product and one from a well known brand. Highly recommended.

Visit TrendMicro


5. Norton AntiVirus 2014

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Positives: Plenty of features, nice and fast

Negatives: The huge selection of options may confuse technophobes

Norton Antivirus 2014 has a huge features list, so it’s not surprising to find plenty of anti-malware functionality present and correct.

Norton includes a level of social networking protection too. Specifically, it “scans your Facebook Wall and News Feed for URLs containing security threats,” which is a nice feature. Norton also has a clear focus on identifying suspicious files and web links. It works too, as it knew straight away that our malware-infested Google Chrome installer wasn’t the genuine article.

It pleases us to see Norton Antivirus back on the right track. Some years ago, it began to gain a horrible reputation as a bloated. memory-hungry mess. People who dismissed it back then would do well to give the product a second chance.

Visit Norton


Summary

1

Logo95%Read ReviewVisit Site

Rank Provider Score Review Link

2

Logo 93% Read Review Visit Site

3

Logo 92% Read Review Visit Site

4

Logo 91% Read Review Visit Site

5

Logo 90% Read Review Visit Site

By

Microsoft Security Essentials Review

Summary

Microsoft (who obviously need no introduction) launched Security Essentials in 2009. At the time, the free package was seen as an alternative to popular free antivirus packages such as AVG and Avira.

Since then, people’s opinions of the product have been mixed, so we were keen to see how the current version measured up to other free antivirus solutions and those that come with a price tag attached.

Sadly, although we liked the simplicity and design of the program, it let in one of our test viruses. As such, we cannot really recommend it.

Purchase Options

There are no purchase options for Microsoft Security Essentials as the program is completely free!

MSE

 

The program is suitable for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. It is NOT compatible with Windows 8. In this version of the operating system, the Windows Defender component has been upgraded to include the features within Security Essentials.

The program is free for small business users with up to ten PCs, as well as for consumers. Microsoft claim that the product is “based on the same technology that Microsoft uses to protect giant businesses.”

 

Key Features

The features list for Microsoft Security Essentials is as small as any we have seen. Even other free programs such as AVG and Avira have more to offer.

MSE Features

 

The features round-up is basically what you can see above. The items mentioned are so basic that they wouldn’t usually warrant a mention in this section of one of our reviews, but as there are no others to speak of, they are:

Automatic Updates: This requires no explanation.

Multiple Language Support: The program is on offer in 33 different languages. In truth, this is probably more that most vendors offer!

Malware Protection: Although little detail is given on this, it implies that the software can cope with adware, trojans and other threats, as well as standard viruses.

Low Footprint: As with many antivirus package, Microsoft Security Essentials promises a low footprint that keeps your computer “snappy” in use.

We were far from impressed with the list of features, but Microsoft don’t claim to be offering any more that an “essentials” package. So, we refrained from judgement until after installation and testing.

The process

Installation and Configuration

With no free trials to worry about for this review, we headed straight to the Microsoft website and downloaded the small (10.7MB) installation file.

The first step was a quick click of the “next” button:

Click next

We were then required to accept the licensing agreement, and choose whether to participate in Microsoft’s “Customer Experience Improvement Program.”

CEIP

Next, the installer offered to turn on the Windows Firewall during installation, which was irrelevant to us as it was already active on our Windows 7 test machine. There was also a tick-box to control whether we were happy to send virus “sample” files to Microsoft.

Firewall

After making us confirm we had no other antivirus or Internet security software loaded, the install proceeded.

The install was complete in a matter of seconds, and as soon as we clicked “Finish” a definition update began.

Update

The update process took a few minutes. Once it was complete, a quick scan of our PC took place automatically. We were then free to explore the program’s interface.

GUI

The GUI was very basic, but clean and well designed. As should really be expected from Microsoft, it looked just like an extension to the operating system.

We were also pleased to see a fairly decent set of settings menus. However, there was absolutely nothing to surprise us in terms of functionality. This really is a basic antivirus package.

We decided the time had come to move on to our real life tests.

Real-Life Testing

We used our usual infected USB key to test out Microsoft Security Essentials with some real-life viruses.

We were a bit disappointed just to see the usual “AutoPlay” menu once we inserted our memory stick. We always prefer it when security software offers an immediate scan.

Autoplay

 

We clicked “open folder to view files” and waited for a little while. After about thirty seconds, one of our threat files disappeared (the installer for a “scareware” Trojan), but the other two files remained visible on the key.

We started with the easiest of the remaining threats, a test virus from the European Expert Group for IT Security. When we double-clicked it, it was immediately quarantined by Security Essentials.

Quarantine

Next, we moved on to our final threat, a fake Google Chrome installer containing various malware items.

Unfortunately, Security Essentials did nothing to stop us installing it.

Install virus

After clicking through the installer, we were left with a rather messy test PC, complete with a hijacked browser.

As a final step in our testing, we checked out the system footprint of Microsoft Security Essentials during a full virus scan.

Full scan

Memory usage was good, never moving higher than 60MB. CPU use was consistently around the 30% mark – all rather average.

Customer Support

It’s quite hard to ascertain exactly what kind of support you get for Microsoft Security Essentials.

Support

Although there is the offer to “get help from a support professional,” clicking it takes you to a generic Windows support portal. Sadly, we know that it’s unrealistic to expect to quickly get to talk to a “real person” when dealing with a company the size of Microsoft.

Conclusion

We liked

  • Simple and well-integrated with Windows

We weren’t so sure about

  • Features as basic as we’ve seen
  • No suggestion to scan USB devices

We hated

  • Failed to find one of our test viruses

As techies, we were aware that Microsoft Security Essentials doesn’t always do very well in antivirus software round-ups, so we didn’t expect great things when we started our review.

This feeling continued when we saw the diminutive size of the features list, but things did look up while we installed the software – we were actually quite taken with its simplicity.

With this in mind, we would have happily recommended it to beginners with basic requirements, IF it had caught all of our test viruses. Sadly, however, it didn’t.

This leaves us with a product that’s light on features and doesn’t keep your computer completely secure. Not only are there better options out there, there are better FREE options too.

 

By

The 5 Best Antivirus with Gaming Mode

In a world where many desktop and laptop sales are being lost to tablets and mobile devices, there is one breed of PC users working to keep the desktop manufacturers in business: the hardcore gamers.

A well-specified Windows-based gaming rig will blow away any of the modern consoles in terms of sound and graphics. For committed gamers, nothing else will do.

Several Internet security vendors are clearly aware that gamers form a key part of their target market and, as such, have built a gaming mode into their products. In this top-five roundup, we list the five best antivirus products with gaming mode that we’ve encountered whilst reviewing every commercial antivirus product available.

Gaming modes differ in exactly what they do. Some simply suppress notifications so that you’re not disturbed during a gaming session. Others do more, such as disabling background virus scanning and reducing the system footprint of the software to improve gaming performance.

It was surprisingly difficult to produce this top five roundup. Some vendors don’t publicise the fact that they include a gaming mode in their software when the feature is, in fact, hidden away in the settings menus somewhere.

For example, Norton Antivirus 2013, which did well in our overall tests, includes a gaming mode (which it calls “silent mode”), but despite a huge online features list, the vendor makes no mention of it within the online promotional material. We had to review Norton’s support documentation and hunt within the product to find the mode. As a result, the product nearly missed out on its third place position in this top five.

In the past, knowledgeable gamers may have chosen to disable their antivirus completely during a gaming session. By choosing one of the products on this list, gamers can keep their computers secure and still enjoy their gaming time without interruptions or degraded performance.


Summary

Rank Provider Score Review Link

1

Logo 95% Read Review Visit Site

2

Logo 92% Read Review Visit Site

3

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.52.06 90% Read Review Visit Site

4

Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 11.49.47 89% Read Review Visit Site

5

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.48.07

88% Read Review Visit Site

 

Winner – Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus

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Positives: Our current favourite product, gaming mode is automatic

Negatives: There are cheaper products on the market

Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus is a product that simply won’t be held down! It topped our overall antivirus league table, and this isn’t the only top five round-up it has featured in.

We thought it may miss out on this occasion, as a gaming mode wasn’t listed on the product’s online features list, but a hunt through the documentation revealed that there is such a mode, and that it is enabled by default.

The mode lowers resource use and “suppresses program functions” during full-screen gaming. Given that the product already has a practically unnoticeable impact on system performance, this extra feature makes us like it even more.

Webroot’s product deserves its place (once again) at the top of our round-up.

Visit Webroot

2. ZoneAlarm PRO Antivirus + Firewall

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Positives: Includes several non-standard features including a well-renowned firewall

Negatives: Installation procedure could be better

ZoneAlarm Pro Antivirus + Firewall was another product that nearly missed out on a place in this list, as the vendor keeps quiet about the presence of a gaming mode. However, it is there if you look hard enough.

ZoneAlarm’s “game mode” suppresses “most ZoneAlarm security software scans, product updates, and alerts.” Unlike some similar modes it promises “fewer” interruptions rather than none at all.

Even so, ZoneAlarm’s product is a good choice for gamers, especially given the competitive pricing for up to three PCs.

Visit ZoneAlarm


3. Norton Antivirus 2014

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Positives: Great interface, a huge improvement on the Norton of old.

Negatives: The time it took us to find gaming mode is a good example of the bewildering size of the product’s features list!

We were really pleased with Norton Antivirus 2014, especially because (as long-term techies) we still remember the days when “Norton” had become something of a swear word amongst the IT community.

This is a great, low-footprint product, but one thing we did criticise in our main review was that the number of features is perhaps a little excessive.

It ties in well with this observation that it took us a while to find Norton’s gaming mode, not helped by the fact that they call it “silent mode.” We spent some time on Norton’s forums ascertaining the details, and when they didn’t make it clear whether or not it was included in the entry-level antivirus package, we ended up booting our original test machine back up to see for ourselves.

However, the feature is indeed present and correct, and although it’s disabled by default, when activated it suspends program functions and alerts. In addition, it can be set to “auto detect” full-screen activity.

Visit Norton


4. eSet NOD32 Antivirus 7

Positives: Lightweight program, great tech support

Negatives: Perhaps not the best for novices

Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 11.49.47

eSet NOD32 Antivirus 7 is a great product, with an overall score of 89% in our review. The product has improved since the previous version, and moved up our overall league table.

The product is great for enthusiasts. It uses few system resources and is highly configurable.

Of course, it also has a gaming mode, which further reduces CPU use, postpones scanning tasks and disables notifications. Interestingly, the vendor has chosen to make gaming mode a switchable setting in this version – it was automatic in version 6.

NOD32 has always been popular amongst enthusiasts, and its popularity is well deserved.

Visit ESetNod32


4. Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2013

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Positives: Good user interface, game mode easy to find

Negatives: Product startup can be slow on reboot

Kaspersky has always enjoyed a pretty good reputation, but Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2013 fell slightly behind our leading products when we conducted our reviews. Even so, it still managed a very respectable overall score of 88% and is a product that deserves your attention.

Most importantly, for the purposes of this round-up, it features a gaming mode that is really easy to find, unlike some of the other products listed here!

Kaspersky’s gaming mode promises a completely “uninterrupted” gaming experience, and the product also has a pretty extensive list of other features too. It may be just the thing for the enthusiasts out there.

Visit Kapersky


Summary

Rank Provider Score Review Link

1

Logo 95% Read Review Visit Site

2

Logo 92% Read Review Visit Site

3

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.52.06 90% Read Review Visit Site

4

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 16.48.07 88% Read Review Visit Site

5

Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 11.49.47 85% Read Review Visit Site

By

Dr. Web Anti-virus for Windows v9

Summary

Unless you happen to live in Russia, you may not have heard of Dr.Web Internet Security products. However the vendor has in fact been in business since 1992.

Dr Web offer traditional Internet Security and antivirus packages as well as cloud-based antivirus “as a service” options.

In this review, we have concentrated on Dr. Web Anti-virus for Windows v9. The product performed well, but had some quirks that may limit its appeal to some. We recommend reading this review in full to see if they are quirks that would concern you.

Purchase Options

As stated in the summary, Dr. Web offer cloud-based antivirus as well as traditional, locally-installed products. Dr. Web Anti-virus for Windows 9 (reviewed here) is the entry-level product in the home-user range. There is also a more expensive product called Security Space 9, with additional functionality and protection for Linux and Mac OS X included alongside Microsoft Windows protection.

Purchase options

Prices for Dr.Web are provided in Euros (or at least they were from our European testing location!)

Dr. Web Anti-virus is available as a one-year license for one or two PCs. A single PC license is €26 and a twin PC license is €51. These prices are just approaching the upper end of average, and we were a little disappointed with how few purchase options were available when we can usually select more computer and duration options. The one Euro saving for a second PC seemed extraordinarily tight too!

However, while we were browsing the Dr.Web website, we discovered references to quite a few offers, including one to expand protection to multiple PCs free of charge, and another that gives 150-days of free protection to those who renew for a second year. So, although the purchase price isn’t especially generous, the company does seem keen to reward customer loyalty.

Prices

 A 30-day demo of the full product is available for download.

Key Features

Dr.Web’s features list includes all the standard stuff, but there are a few notable additions, especially the mobile device support which we haven’t seen in any other entry-level product.

Free mobile

Key functionality is as follows:

SelfPROtect: This features installs part of the software as a low-level driver to protect from viruses that try to disrupt the program from operation.

FLY-CODE: This detects viruses that have been hidden in unknown archives with “packers.”

Firewall: Not many entry-level antivirus packages come complete with a firewall, but Dr. Web includes one that claims to “scan all traffic”

Mobile Device Protection: People who purchase Dr. Web for Windows can download an antivirus client from Android, Windows Mobile or Symbian free of charge.

Active Infection Removal: Dr Web claim that the program will still install successfully on computers that are already infected with “sophisticated malware.” As an alternative, it’s possible to run the program from an external device to clean up an infected PC.

SpIDerMail: This is the email scanning component of Dr.Web, which also includes antispam functionality.

Mail Protection

All-in-all we were rather impressed with Dr. Web’s features list. Although quite a few vendors throw in a firewall with an entry-level product, not many also include antispam. The mobile device protection is the icing on the cake.

We were keen to see if our experience lived up to the vendor’s promises, so proceeded with the installation.

The process

Installation and Configuration

The demo install file for Dr. Web Anti-virus for Windows 9 was a fairly bulky 160MB and took a few minutes to download.

Download

 The install was all pretty standard. First we had to accept a license agreement.

Install

We were then asked whether or not we wished to install the Dr.Web firewall. We chose to install it.

Firewall

Next, we were asked if we were happy to connect to Dr.Web’s cloud services to access real-time threat data.

We were then asked for a license key file. As we were using the demo, this wasn’t relevant to us, but we did need to click the small question marks to ascertain which option to select.

Registration

Finally, we were warned not to install Dr.Web over the top of an existing antivirus program and able to click an “Install” button. The install then proceeded quickly.

Proceeded

Next we had to request a “demo key.” To do so, we had to provide our name, email and location.

Reg

After we had registered, the program automatically started a virus definition file update.

We then had to reboot our machine. Not many antivirus installations require this step nowadays, but as the install itself had been quick and trouble free, we were not frustrated by the time it took.

Reboot

Once our machine had rebooted, we began to explore the program interface. We noticed that the icon on our desktop was labelled “Dr. Web Scanner,” and took a look at this first. We arrived at some fairly basic scanning options, but were able to click through to some more advanced options, such as the ability to exclude certain files from scans.

Scanner

Next, we had a look at the options attached to the product’s System Tray icon.

SysTray

Here we could see various other features, but the only options available for each was statistics. To access settings, we first had to click on the “Administrative mode” option. Once we had done so, we could then access settings for each of the program components.

Settings

Although we found plenty of advanced options, we couldn’t seem to find any way to schedule scans. Perhaps we simply failed to find the options, but if they’re really not present this seems a strange omission.

We concluded our tour of the GUI feeling a little unsure about the design. It seemed a strange mixture of really modern and rather old-fashioned, with the scanning module feeling oddly detached from the rest of the software. While we didn’t have a major dislike of the interface, it’s fair to say there are others that feel a little more coherent.

We decided to press on with our real-life tests.

Real-Life Testing

We utilised our usual infected USB key to put Dr. Web Anti-virus for Windows 9 to the test.

The software didn’t automatically scan our device on insertion (or offer to do so). When we clicked “open folder to view files,” all of our threat files were visible.

Threats

However, within a minute or two, we noticed that two of the threats had disappeared from the key, including our fake Google Chrome installer that some antivirus packages struggle with.

Strangely, Dr.Web dealt with these threats silently – no notifications or pop ups appeared. We had to find our way into the “Quarantine Manager” to see what the software had found.

Quarantine

We weren’t sure about this default functionality: The vendor has obviously taken an approach of “minimal interruption,” but we couldn’t help but feel we’d rather be told when a threat has been found.

Our test virus from the European Expert Group for IT Security remained on our key. We tried to run it, and this time the software did show a pop up to say that it had removed the threat.

Detected

So, all-in-all, Dr.Web dealt successfully with all of our test infections, despite not quite handling them all in a consistent way. It’s important to note that this is just a minor functional criticism – the software worked where it mattered.

Finally, we began a full computer scan to look at system resource usage.

Full scan

RAM and CPU use was rather inconsistent, sometimes low (with RAM and CPU at 80MB and around 20% respectively), and sometimes high (250MB and 80+%). The scan also took a considerable time to complete.

Customer Support

The “Support” tab of the Dr.Web website presents a bewildering array of options, but the majority of them are “self service,” such as forums and a knowledge base.

Support

We found a support ticket system, which promises a response in 48 hours (though the vendor states that they aim to reply within three). There is also a “round-the-clock” support phone number, but this is a local number based in Russia, which could prove rather expensive to those elsewhere in the world!

Conclusion

We liked

  • Good test results
  • Very generous features list
  • Free mobile device protection

We weren’t so sure about

  • Slightly quirky interface
  • Couldn’t find scheduling settings
  • Telephone support involves a call to Russia
  • Light on notifications when viruses are found
  • Inconsistent RAM and CPU use during scans
  • Little incentive to buy for multiple PCs / years up front. Incentives come on renewal instead.

We hated

  • Nothing

It’s rare to find so many items on our “we weren’t so sure about” list, and that actually sums up our experience with Dr. Web Anti-virus for Windows v9 rather well.

On the face of it, this is an almost perfect product. Most importantly, it caught all of our test viruses, and installed easily. However, we kept finding things that perturbed us, even though they were never quite enough to warrant major criticism.

This leaves us with a product that’s hard to sum up. Quirky is probably as good a word as any, and we must emphasise the fact there’s nothing to hold us back from recommending it. We probably wouldn’t choose it ourselves, but the 30-day demo is there for anyone who fancies giving it a go.