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Top 10 Antivirus Software

avast! Antivirus Pro

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Avast Pro AntivirusPROS: Boot-time scan runs before malware can launch. Good independent lab results, very good score in PCMag's malware removal test. Automatic sandboxing keeps suspicious programs from doing harm. Web reputation rates sites. Built in remote assistance.

CONS: Boot-time scan may not finish without user interaction. Average scores in PCMag's malware blocking test. Web reputation can be gamed by a determined group.

BOTTOM LINE: If avast!'s very good malware cleanup doesn't recognize a suspicious file, its built-in automatic sandboxing can keep that file from doing harm. It's one of several good choices for free antivirus protection, with unusual bonus features like Web reputation reporting and built-in remote assistance.


McAfee Antivirus Plus

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McAfee Antivirus PlusPROS: Touch-friendly interface is ready for Windows 8. No-hassle firewall. SiteAdvisor earned best-ever antiphishing score. SiteAdvisor now marks dangerous links on social networking sites. QuickClean clears out useless files. Secure deletion. Vulnerability scan. Links to many useful security resources.

CONS: Installation on malware-infested systems required hours and hours of interaction with tech support. Firewall doesn't fully protect the product's essential services. So-so score in malware removal tests, both PCMag's and independent. Average score in malware blocking test.

BOTTOM LINE: McAfee's developers are serious about the "Plus" in McAfee AntiVirus Plus. In addition to basic antivirus functionality, it offers firewall protection, vulnerability scanning, system cleanup, and more. Its SiteAdvisor toolbar beat out all others in phishing protection. However, the core antivirus technology doesn't score as well as many in independent tests and PCMag's own tests.


Bitdefender Antivirus Plus

BitDefender Antivirus PlusPROS: Scores well in tests by independent security software labs; Monitors privacy settings on Facebook and Twitter; Detects and scans CDs DVDs and USB drives; Secure gamer mode; 24-7 support; Free credit monitoring service included

CONS: Bitdefender brand is not as well known as it should be.

BOTTOM LINE: This antivirus software provides the best malware protection available.


ESET nod32 Antivirus

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ESET nod32 AntivirusPROS: Good usability test scores; Integrates email protection; Scans external media for threats.

CONS: No live chat support; Performance test results not the very best.

BOTTOM LINE: ESET NOD32 has a great feature set and an intuitive interface.


Kaspersky Antivirus

Kaspersky AntivirusPROS: Achieves superb results in security software tests; Product includes three licenses; Creates a bootable recovery disk

CONS: Customers sometimes don't realize that the price includes a three-user license

BOTTOM LINE: Kaspersky Antivirus provides complete protection, running light and continually updating to combat emergent threats.


Norton Antivirus / Norton Security Standard

Norton SecurityPROS: Norton earned perfect protection scores for the latest Windows operating systems from AV-Test.

CONS: This program causes your computer to slow slightly while it is running.

VERDICT: Norton Security consistently ranks high for detection and blocking of malware threats, and its additional tools and features ensure all-around strong internet security.


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