Make sure your devices have the best antivirus protection going…
Unfortunately, cybercriminials and the viruses, Trojan Horses and phishing scams they try to con us with aren't going anywhere. In fact, protecting yourself and ensuring your laptop is virus free is possibly even more important these days, owing to how much information we now store online – that's why we've created this handy list of the best antivirus downloads in the world for 2018.
And because our lives are no longer exclusively carried out on home computers, some of the very best security software we've highlighted can also be used over a number of devices. That means your phone, tablet and multiple family laptops can all be covered by the same package. Keeping your hardware protected with the strongest security software possible is as important now as it's always been
Hackers are always coming up with new ways to gain access to your PC and other internet enabled devices. Luckily the best antivirus companies are constantly updating their software. We're already starting to see their 2019 packages come to market, with user experience tweaks and the latest protection against phishing scams, ransomware and all other types of viruses and malware. So yes, it’s incredibly important to have the best antivirus package for your PC or Mac.
You want to make sure you get a complete suite of antivirus tools that the best paid antivirus software can provide. If you’re looking for all-round protection against the latest cyber threats, then investing in the best antivirus software is the best solution you can hope for in 2018. That doesn't mean you have to start spending big money either, as our guide also gives you the best available prices for your PC's protection.
1. BitDefender Antivirus Plus 2019
Rock-solid and reliable protection
In a world packed with free security software, Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2019's annual fee may look expensive, but there's plenty of bang for your buck. Plus, we've secured a 35% discount exclusive to TechRadar readers so you can be sure that the prices you see on this page won't be lower anywhere else.
Take a look at any rankings of big independent antivirus testers and Bitdefender's premium security products always rise to the top.
It tends to be reliable and accurate in its virus vanquishing, featuring web filtering to blocks access to malicious sites, a secure browser that keeps your online banking ans shopping transactions safe, and there's a password manager which auto-completes credit card details in web forms. It also scores high for its excellent anti-phishing module, which alerts you to malicious links in your search engine results and blocks access to dangerous sites.
New for the 2019 version of Antivirus Plus are multi-layer ransomeware protection the learns the behaviour of such threats to keep you safe as well as the ability to scan all your linked devices via the Bitdefender Central mobile app.
There are one or two issues – it grabs more resources than average, and might conflict with some programs – but Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2019 is still a likeable package which offers excellent detection rates, great performance, and more than enough bonus features to justify the price.
2. Norton AntiVirus Basic 2018
Great value protection that won't slow you down
Norton AntiVirus Basic 2018 is a top quality malware hunter which can automatically protect your PC all on its own – that's a given. But one of the main reasons we've boosted it to number two in our best antivirus software rankings is because it's also one of the very best value paid-for security software solutions on the market in 2018. You can get it at a rock bottom price.
Norton offers plenty of tweaks, options and settings for those who need them, as well as features like a handy URL blocker that keeps you away from malicious websites. If that misses something, an excellent file reputation service recognises suspect downloads immediately. And if malware still finds a way through, intelligent behaviour monitoring kills it at the first sign of trouble.
If you're a more hands-on type, you can easily run scans on demand. Maybe set up and save custom scans to check just the areas you need. Even schedule them to run at a particular time, but only if your system is idle, and it's not running on battery power.
There can be problems with some of the browser extensions. The bundled Norton Identity Safe is a capable password manager when it's running properly, but we've found the Chrome version sometimes stops working for no apparent reason. We've seen plenty of reviewers reporting similar problems, so there does seem to be a real issue here.
Still, you don't have to use Identity Safe at all, and Norton AntiVirus Basic's main functions deliver on all fronts: it's easy to use, has the configuration options experts need, comes highly rated by the testing labs, and is carefully designed to have the least possible impact on your system performance.
3. Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus
The most lightweight antivirus around
Just about every antivirus tool claims to be ‘lightweight’, but Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus is the only one to really deliver on this front. Installation takes seconds, the program files barely grab 2MB of your hard drive, RAM footprint is tiny, and there are no bulky signature updates to tie up your bandwidth.
There's no compromise on features, though. Along with the core antivirus protection, there's smart behaviour monitoring, accurate real-time antiphishing, a firewall and network connection monitor, enhanced anti-ransomware, and other interesting extras.
There's a lot to like about SecureAnywhere AntiVirus, and Webroot's 70-day 100% money-back guarantee suggests it's confident in the product, too. If you're tired of overly complicated and bloated antivirus engines, Webroot must be on your shortlist.
4. ESET NOD32 Antivirus 2018 Edition
If you judge an antivirus on the length of its feature list, ESET NOD32 Antivirus 2018 Edition might be a disappointment. There’s no firewall, password manager, file shredder, vulnerability scanner or any of the bundled extras you'll often find elsewhere.
This doesn't mean the package is short on power, it's just more focused on the antivirus fundamentals. ESET NOD32 Antivirus 2018 Edition comes with real-time malware protection, an anti-ransomware layer, exploit protection, URL filtering to block malicious websites, and modules to prevent attacks using PowerShell and malicious scripts.
A Device Control module limits the risk of infection from other devices by controlling access to USB sticks, external hard drives, optical storage media, even devices connecting by Bluetooth and FireWire. It's an unusual extra, but could make a difference if others are regularly plugging devices into your PC.
ESET NOD32 Antivirus 2018 Edition isn't aimed at beginners. The interface is clumsy sometimes, some features are very advanced, and even the Help isn't always exactly helpful.
Experienced users will appreciate ESET’s power and configurability, though. Above-average protection does a good job of keeping you safe, and a lightweight design ensures the package won't slow you down.
One of the new features in the 2018 Edition is the UEFI Scanner which protects you from threats that attack your PC before Windows has even started.
ESET Internet Security builds on NOD 32 and triples the number of devices covered plus offers firewall, botnet protection, webcam protection, antispam and more.
Alternatively, you can purchase the ESET Smart Security Premium edition for not much more. It adds all of the above as well as password management and secure data.
5. F-Secure Antivirus SAFE
F-Secure Antivirus SAFE is a great collection of antivirus software tools, and while it's a bit more expensive than some of the other antivirus software on this best of list, the amount of features you get makes the cost worthwhile.
With F-Secure Antivirus SAFE, you get the brilliant antivirus software from F-Secure, along with banking protection for safe online shopping, family safety tools and a device finder that lets you track your lost Android or iOS device, and if needs be remotely lock or delete it as well.
The package typically receives maximum marks for protection from AV-Test, and generally scores highly with AV-Comparatives, too. They also say it can generate significantly more false positives than most of the competition, but how that affects you will vary depending on how you use your computer.
The interface is a major plus. It's extremely easy to use, lightweight, and for the most part you can just leave the app alone to look after your PC. The program has minimal effect on your system performance, and if you do need to intervene then you can generally solve any issues in a couple of clicks.
In 2018, F-Secure Anti-Virus SAFE remains an appealing package: fast, lightweight, and able to run alongside many other security tools without conflict.