Cybercrime is rampant and doesn’t differentiate between online users or the platforms they use. We all hear stories regularly where fraudsters illegally access someone’s bank account and steal funds or compromise someone’s personal information and hold them ransom for it, in exchange for money.
Windows device users are no different. Because of this, installing effective anti-virus software to run on your Windows and provide you with the requisite protection against phishing scams, ransomware, and all other types of malware and viruses is a necessity.
The last thing you want is for hackers to access your system and compromise your personal and confidential information. Viruses and malware are being introduced into the web with more and more sophistication with each passing day. Like all other platforms, Windows 10 users are also at high risk of being infected by these threats.
The basic rule for protecting our data and staying secure whilst accessing the internet is to practice good surfing habits. This includes not opening anonymous or suspicious email messages, not tapping on questionable or unknown links, not download applications from dodgy websites, using secure passwords, not sharing personal or corporate information on a non-secure platform, and ensuring that Windows stays updated at all times. Some add-on security measures include using a Virtual Protocol Network (VPN) to safeguard your internet traffic, using a password manager to securely maintain your login credentials, and encrypting all the online communication (end-to-end) to avoid strangers from spying on your data and online discussions.
Whether you opt for a paid product or a free tool, an individual, or a company owner, it is established that you cannot overlook the importance and role of anti-virus software, in protecting your system from external threats. Whatever product you eventually choose, it needs to be robust and customized to your needs and requirements, irrespective of the device you choose to access the internet from.
Microsoft Windows Defender should be your first starting point when using Windows 10. It has done reasonably well in the past few years in protecting your information online from malicious and suspicious external threats and software. Once you have done that, you will realize that this is sufficient security for the purposes or may not be so.
To buy or install (a free) anti-virus software for your Windows device, you need to first understand your usage and requirements. Not every product is customized or designed to run with Windows 10. Always ensure the compatibility upfront before you start researching or spending money on a software tool.
Best 10 Antivirus for Win10
If you are looking for anti-virus protection (free or paid) and intend to get a comprehensive or close to comprehensive protection for your Windows 10 device(s) against phishing, ransomware, and malware, then this is the right guide for you.
Because of the above, we have constructed a list of 10 best anti-virus software, specifically for Windows 10 users. These include free as well as paid products and subscription options. These recommendations are based on the best software tools available in the market for Windows 10. They are the best as they have undergone extensive hands-on testing from third-party independent labs with AV-Test and AV-Comparatives.
This guide aims to educate you on the best Windows 10 antivirus software available in the market as well as to introduce you to its salient features and functions. This will hopefully lead you to make an informed decision, once you have assessed the pros and cons of all these products. Let us get down to business!
1. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2020
Bitdefender prides itself as the best antivirus protection system for Windows PCs, by providing a lightweight solution.
It provides its Windows PC users with the much needed real-time protection against all major kinds of viruses and ransomware. For those shopping online or just simply browsing the internet, it offers them protection from phishing and online fraudulent attacks. You can now bank or shop online with the help of this software’s unique and dedicated browser that ensures that your transactions are secured from fraudsters.
The secure VPN feature provides you with complete online privacy, with up to 200MB/day traffic allowance that helps you protect your passwords, banking information, and download items from cyber attackers, particularly when you are accessing public Wi-Fi networks.
Its three improved features include Advanced Threat Defence, Safe Online Banking, and Wi-Fi Security Advisor.
Its interface is often described as user-friendly and intuitive, making it super easy for first-time users to navigate through. It can be easily installed, configured, and customized as per your needs and requirements.
It is available for $21.21 per annum and can protect 3 devices at the same time.
2. Norton 360 with LifeLock
Norton 360 LifeLock is available in 3 packages: (a) Select; (b) Advantage; and (c) Ultimate Plus. It is available for $99.99, $199.99, and $299.99 per annum respectively, and can protect 5, 10, or unlimited devices at the same time respectively.
The three packages also provide three different cloud storage options namely, 100GB, 250GB, and 500GB.
This is as comprehensive as it gets. You get what you pay for basically. It includes multi-faceted functionalities such as PC SafeCam, Stolen Wallet Protection, Identity Alert System, Fictitious Identity Monitoring, Bank and Credit Card Activity Alerts, Dark Web Monitoring, Secure VPN, Parental Control, Data Breach Notifications, Password Manager, Smart Firewall, Credit Monitoring, Online Threat Protection, and Virus Protection, and lastly Anti-Spyware, Antivirus, Malware & Ransomware Protection.
Also, there is an amazing ‘Million Dollar Protection Package’ offered by them as well. This is essentially loss insurance that will reimburse you for stolen funds and provides you with coverage for personal expenses with limits ranging from $25K to $1M (for lawyers and experts if they require to restore their identity).
3. VIPRE Advanced Security
VIPRE Advanced Security protects your confidential information and data with its award-winning antivirus protection software. This software is meant to safeguard your PCs against the most prevalent threats present in the online world today.
It has the highest-rated protection of Advanced+ as obtained from the most trusted independent antivirus testing body.
It protects against ransomware and other growing threats, Trojans, viruses, rootkits, spyware et al. The protection against incoming and outgoing internet traffic is quick and customizable, depending on the level of the user.
You can always be assured of protection when accessing links that are malicious or infected attachments that can attach to your system through email messaging.
The product is easy to use and super user-friendly for first-time users too. It lets you easily select and schedule scans, provide current definition updates, and customize the patches/updates depending on your usage and requirements.
It is available at a subscription price of $45.99 per annum and protects only 1 system.
4. Avast Premium Security
Avast Premium Security is not just an antivirus, it is a comprehensive online protection system for all types of devices such as tablets, phones, or PCs.
It protects you against all online threats including but not limited to spoofed websites and ransomware. The software works by scanning websites for security risks on all your devices, to give you the peace of mind that you need whilst shopping or banking online.
It has single and multi-device options that can help you customize the protection that works best for you.
The product can protect up to 10 devices at a time. This makes it a great product that allows you to share your security tool with your near and dear ones.
Only the premium versions give you optimum security that includes advanced ransomware protection, advanced firewall, safe webcam feature, and avoid fake websites.
You can try it for 30 days without any cost. It is available at a subscription price of $56.30 per annum and protects only 1 system.
5. AVG Free AntiVirus
AVG Antivirus is a free software that has improved a lot over time. It now has real-time security updates, scanning capabilities against malware and performance issues, and even traps malicious viruses that may infect your system. The latest design is refreshingly simple and easy to use – a feature that has always been appreciated by its users from inception. Most importantly, with all these security features working concurrently, it doesn’t slow your PC down and you get a seamless workstation that is efficiently protected.
It gives you the best all-round protection for all the devices in your home or office. It effectively and efficiently stops viruses, spyware, ransomware, and other forms of malware from infecting your PCs. It is also effective in blocking anonymous links, downloaded files, and email attachments with phishing scams. If your PC has performance-related issues then those can be fixed with the help of a scanning system built-in into this software.
6. Windows Defender
Microsoft Defender (also known as Windows Defender) is an anti-malware software piece of Microsoft Windows that is part and parcel of the Windows 10 when you purchase it. This can make it a free antivirus software, although you technically paid for it when you purchased Windows 10.
It has grown into a full-blown antivirus program that effectively substituted Microsoft Security Essentials, as part of Windows 8 and subsequent versions.
Windows Defender keeps your PC safe with the help of its trusted antivirus protection, by relying on its complete and real-time security features against various threats such as viruses, malware, and spyware. These threats can impact or infect your PC by attacking your email messaging, applications, cloud storage, and the web in general.
7. McAfee Total Security
McAfee Total Security provides premium antivirus protection, safer web browsing, and password management capabilities. It also has VPN and identity theft detection features.
If you are looking to protect yourself and your family’s privacy and identity against the latest malware, spyware, ransomware, and viruses, then this is undoubtedly one of the best choices for you available in the market.
It includes comprehensive internet security, on-the-go secure Wi-Fi (when accessing public wireless networks), and multi-faceted privacy protection features (by safeguarding or shredding important data, deleting cookies where required).
And now, with every auto-renewal enrolment, you also get to access the secure VPN feature that provides you bank-grade encryption to keep your data and online activities safeguarded.
It is available for $34.99 for individuals and couples not exceeding 5 persons.
8. Kaspersky Anti-Virus
Kaspersky antivirus software delivers real-time protection against viruses and helps bloc the latest viruses, ransomware, spyware, crypto lockers et al. It is one of the rare software in the market at the moment that can effectively stop cryptocurrency mining malware that can harm your PC and resultantly, its performance. These protective features work in the background whilst you quietly enjoy and focus on your work seamlessly.
It is easy to use the tool and can be set up with minimum effort – making it a great choice for new or experienced users alike.
There are, however, certain additional features that are not available in the anti-virus package of Kaspersky. These include privacy-related features such as webcam hijacks, blocking phishing, and hiding browsing for discreet online presence. It doesn’t have the encryption option that protects the browser for online transactions with the banks or shopping for example. It also doesn’t have a password manager or parental control features to block inappropriate content for kids. If you are after any of these features then this may not be the right product for you.
It is available for $27.34 per annum and can provide security to up to 3 PC users.
9. Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security
Trend Micro Antivirus helps you eliminate malware infestations and protect against new virus attacks too. The +Security feature refers to additional features of this software that include but are not limited to a firewall booster, multi-layered ransomware protection, and a hardened browser (Pay Guard) for accessing safe and secure online banking. In addition to these, this security tool provides an effective core antivirus system that ticks all the boxes of standard protection in antivirus software. It is worth mentioning that this software received amazing scoring on anti-phishing malicious URL blocking tests.
For a price tag of $39.95 per annum, you can only protect one PC.
Malwarebytes prides itself in successfully eliminating the latest threats in record time, i.e. before other software even recognizes the threat online. This is pretty impressive and a strong selling point of this tool.
This software uses multi-layered technology including anomaly detection (artificial intelligence-based), behavior matching, and application hardening to tackle malware that is not even on the radar for the routine software out in the market.
It rectifies any infected system more efficiently than traditional antivirus tools in the market. It is for this reason that Malwarebytes has been given the clean-up score of “flawless” from AV-TEST.org. They also have the approval of other tech giants such as Opswat, Checkmark Certified, and CNET.
It is effective in shutting down attacks whenever you are exposed by visiting suspicious websites or clicking on malicious hyperlinks.
They have tailor-made products for personal users as well as businesses and enterprises of all sizes and across the globe.
For a price tag of $36.45 per annum, you can only protect one PC or for a price of $54.68, you can secure 5 PCs.
Is Windows Defender Good Enough?
Please see our specific review under the section of ‘Best 10 Anti-Virus for Win 10’ for the key features and functionalities of Windows Defender.
It cannot be ignored that Microsoft has made big strides towards the overall improvement of their anti-virus software in the past few years. Some of the advancements include sandboxing and cloud-based malware detection that will boost the overall protection and improve the speed of threat detection.
Some of the major improvements to Windows Defender include:
- Real-time threat detection
- Firewall protection
- Parental controls
- Library of cloud-based virus protection to boost overall performance
After these massive upgrades, there is a consensus that Windows Defender may not be the panacea for all your virus complaints. If that is so in your particular cases, you need to consider whether you need an additional anti-virus or, is it safe and secure for you to rely solely on Windows Defender to protect your system. Let us look at some of its negative aspects before you make up your mind.
- Parental controls only work with Microsoft browsers and hence have limited use.
- Internet security features do not work automatically on non-Microsoft browsers such as Chrome or Firefox and would need to be installed as an add-on.
- As part of its testing, real-time anti-virus protection wasn’t successful in blocking certain malicious files.
- It is not user-friendly for first-time users.
- There is no VPN for private browsing or an integrated password manager (these two features are fairly standard these days with all renowned anti-virus software).
- Microsoft’s database is not updated frequently and hence is not current at any given point in time.
We have listed the good and not so good points of this software. It is really up to you to decide if this works for you. Importantly, Windows Defender can work in parallel with another anti-virus. This can ensure that you have comprehensive malware protection that gives you optimum security.
There are many free anti-virus products out there that may be better or may have more viruses and malware protection features than Windows Defender. As mentioned, it also doesn’t include some of the standard add-on functionalities such as password manager, VPN, or real-time protection. It is these areas that the additional software can provide to complement Windows Defender or overcome its shortcomings, whichever way you want to look at it. This, however, doesn’t guarantee you 100% protection.
It is safe to say that if you have a lot of passwords, financial information, data of sentimental value such as photos and pictures for example, then you are better off purchasing comprehensive package anti-virus software that will afford you optimum protection to give you that peace of mind.
Any Windows 10 system is eye candy for hackers. The simple reason for this is the popularity of Windows as a PC operating system. Windows has drastically improved its security measures over the past few years. Having said that, the rising and existing number of its users still means that the external threats to the system remain high, at all times. That is where a Windows 10 anti-virus has so much utility to its users by providing them with the peace of mind that their data and information is safe and secure.
The fact of the matter remains that all the users would need a constantly updated anti-virus software tool to protect themselves, whenever they get online. Cybercriminals and hackers are notoriously smart individuals who are finding newer ways and means to infiltrate our systems and hijack it. From ransomware to blended malware and even file-less attacks, the variety of threats is diverse and Windows 10 system is always exposed to these threats, no matter how cautious you are treading those online waters.
A good antivirus should be robust with a strong security mechanism and options. These qualities work best when that software is easy to use (as not all Windows system users are IT experts or specialists) and reasonably priced so that everyone can benefit from it.
Information can be accessed, used, stored, or even manipulated anywhere – banks, offices, homes, or even at your local grocery store’s database. It is imperative that all those responsible for receiving this information, deal with it prudently. This includes ensuring that the system used for accessing or storing this information or data is appropriately protected by an antivirus tool. It is not be taken lightly or some sort of a ‘tick the box’ item. Internet security has gained prominence with the notoriety of cyber attacks and we all need to appreciate and acknowledge its role in safeguarding the users.
To state the obvious, paid software products will be more sophisticated and featured loaded as compared to free software, such as Windows Defender. The real-time protection and updates from various threats (viruses, spyware, and malware) as well as encryption and identity protection will be much better captured by a paid product than a free one.
You are the best judge of your system and requirements. If you feel that the Windows Defender is not sufficient to safeguard your critical data, then you cannot just simply ignore it. It only makes sense then to ‘beef-up’ your protection system by adding additional anti-virus software that will work in conjunction with Windows Defender to provide you with the best protection that you need. This additional software can be a paid product or free software. It all depends on what the specific requirements are and whether it covers the shortcomings of Windows Defender.
With all said and done, good surfing habits go hand in hand with the use of anti-virus software that is ‘fit for purpose’. Having said that, one needs to be cognizant of the fact that there is no single foolproof mechanism, formula, or software that can secure 100% of your data from cyber threats, all the time. Be safe online and practice good judgment that includes choosing the best antivirus software tool(s) for your Windows 10 device. One thing is for certain, you certainly need an antivirus protection for your PC, whether paid or free or a combination of both.