Top 7 Antivirus Software Packages
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Top 7 Antivirus Software Packages

In this report

If you search for the top ten antivirus software packages and look at the lists, you will have ten different answers, (and this review is no different).

However, there are a number of products that appear on all the lists, although in a different position. This review talks about these and looks at what they offer, the cost and value for money.

Remember that new viruses are sprouting every day and this means an antivirus that does not keep up will be useless tomorrow, even if it was number one today.

Perhaps that explains why each list places the antiviruses in a different order, so maybe it is personal taste.

If you are looking for an antivirus, before you search for products, you need to think about your own use of the computer. Some of the best antivirus slow the PC down so much playing games becomes nearly impossible.

Which one suits you will depend if you mainly use the internet for emails and some browsing, or if you download music, films etc. Do you only use trusted sources, or not?

Do you need something to protect browsing, emails, portable media, basically just about everything, or are your needs precise?

You alone know what you need, and therefore which suits you, but here are some facts to help you decide.

There are also other valid products, (three are McAfee, Bitdefender and Kaspersky), but as  these seem not to be as popular with the general public they are not mentioned here. The reason this list is not a top 10 is simply bacause few others were worth adding.

#1 - Webroot Antivirus   http://www.webrootantivirus.com

WebRoot offers three products; for anti-virus, hacker etc and spyware in one package, anti-virus and spyware or just spyware, with differing price tags accordingly. The Spyware at $19.95 is not good value. Ad-aware offers the same service, and it is a good spyware product – free.

This said, the complete package does it all and at $79.95 for up to 3 PCs and 10 GB storage space, is good value.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Real time with automatic updates
  • 3 PCs for the same price
  • Antivirus, spyware and anti-hacker in one
  • Does not noticeably slow computers down
  • Email protection

Cons

  • This is not the cheapest if you only have one PC to protect

$79.95 for up to 3 PCs and 10 GB storage space

WAV

#2 - Norton Antivirus   http://www.norton.com

Norton has been slightly left behind as new and flashier products appear on the market, but it is still a solid piece of software.

Pros

  • Quick and simple to use
  • Real-time protection against viruses, spyware and malware
  • Automatic updates
  • Recovery tool in case your computer is infected
  • Instant messaging and file sharing protection
  • Supports Chrome, Opera, and Safari, as well as the more popular browsers
  • Scans sites to let you know how secure they are
  • 30 day free trial

Cons

  • The malware is a bit slow
  • Their customer support is not great
  • Slightly slows down PC

1 year protection for 1 PC $ 39.99

Norton™ AntiVirus 2011

#3 - ESET   http://www.eset.com

When ESET does so much, but leaves out others, like IM protection and phishing it makes you wonder if they just didn’t bother, or if they forgot. Neither of these choices inspires confidence.

This software protects Removable Media, USB etc. which is becoming more important, and they are the only company to do so. The false positives given by Heuristics  are less than Avira.

ESET offers cover for 1, 2, 3, 4 etc PCs

Pros

  • Removable Media Security:
  • Fast
  • Doesn’t interfere with your use of PC
  • All major emails covered
  • Heuristics appear to have few false positives

Cons

  • Hackers and Identity Theft Protection are not part of this deal, nor is Spam, Browser Exploits or Instant Messaging Protection

At $72, this is expensive and much more than it cost a few months ago.

ESET NOD32 Antivirus

#4 - TrendMicro Titanium   http://www.trendmicrotitanium.com

 Trend Micro Titanium Antivirus, is a cloud based antivirus program and as such is hosted online, saving you space on your computer – but Trend Micro Titanium Antivirus, even with its new cloud based technologies, performed only moderately compared to other superior antivirus programs.

Pros

  • Threat detection before it enters your computer
  • Hosted online
  • scans sites to let you know how secure they are
  • Data Theft Prevention

Cons

  • Not as complete as others
  • Expensive, and although one of the dearer ones, it offers less than many competitors
  • Lack of tools, for example no bootable rescue disk

Titanium Internet Security - 1 year $69.95 for 1 PC

Trend Micro Titanium Internet Security

#5 - Avira AntiVir Premium   http://www.avira.com

Avira go to the trouble of adding all sorts of features like “install Avira in just 5 clicks”, which may be handy, but is hardly essential, and leave out hackers, which should be essential on all protection. 

Pros

  • Your Avira software regularly updates itself with the latest Virus Definition File (VDF).
  • Scans can be either manual or automatic
  • Updated several times a day
  • Heuristics
  • Protected against large range of things
  • Extremely high detection rates

Cons

  • Hackers and Identity Theft Protection are not part of this deal, nor is Instant Messaging Protection
  • Their help & support  is not good
  • Heuristics, while useful, also pick up non dangerous items “false positives”.

1 PC for 1 year costs around $29.

You can add more PCs for not much more, but only 2 more at a time. ESET and Vipre also have this option but you can add one at a time.

The low price has influenced the higher position of this product, as it is good value for average protection.

Avira AntiVir Premium

#6 - AVG Antivirus   http://www.avg.com

AVG got its name known by offering freeware and now it is known, it is charging, and how. They say the program “Automatically checks links exchanged on Facebook and MySpace in real time so that you and your friends stay safe”, but surely if it was doing its job this would be part of that process?

Many of the features they list are a basic part of other software – like saying we sell you a car and the doors will be put on. These functions are normal for a fully functioning software package, like safe file download.

Pros

  • Scans sites to let you know how secure they are
  • Free trial

Cons

  • Does not do much
  • Expensive

At $54.99 for 1 PC for a year, this is dearer than Norton with less to offer.

AVG Internet Security

#7 - Vipre Antivirus   http://www.vipreantivirus.com/

Vipre is a new company, compared to the other two who have had a change to have their products used and receive feedback. They are the only ones to offer a money back guarantee, but the product does not appear to detect as many viruses as the other two.

 There are two products, but quite why you have to choose between antivirus + spyware and antivirus + firewall when other companies offer all these products in beyond logic.

Pros

  • 100% Money Back Guarantee

Cons

  • While many customers are completely satisfied, the one who aren’t all have the same complaint – it lets in too many viruses and they had to change their computers or re-format everything. This is too serious a complaint to take lightly, and there are too many of them to be dismissed.
  • It slows down internet searches a lot and also boot times.
  • Phishing and Identity Theft Protection are not part of this deal
  • This is a new company, so no one knows how it will proceed from here, whether it will keep up with the market or not
  • The number of people using this is rather low and if it dos not rise, there is no guarantee the company will continue to exist
  • It is not as easy to install as you might believe
  • Annoying messages constantly pop up on the screen, just  so it can tell you what it is doing.
  • It supports some emails, but not all

This costs around $30 a year for one computer.

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The Bottom Line

Conclusion

As mentioned in the introduction, it really depends what you are looking for which will suit best. Many of these programs are a bit like buying a good lock for your door to deter thieves and then leaving the window wide open.

Anti-virus is important, but so are firewalls, anti-hacker and identity protection, so really it is worth spending more to have all areas covered. If you lose your computer, you will loose the work and money to but a new one, but if you have your identity stolen, you could loose all that and a lot more – your house, even your freedom. This is not an area to save money, it needs to be well covered in the best possible way.

It is only a matter of choosing what way and hopefully this review will help towards that end.

While all of these have something to recommend them, none of them are complete. This makes it a difficult choice, as you have to evaluate using different criteria.

A few months ago ESET may have come out on top, but it cost about 50% less then, and the price has risen without any additional or useful features being added.

The removable media security is a great feature that few, if any others seem to offer as yet, and this combined with the low price would have made it difficult to choose between ESET and WebRoot for “best value”.

Now there is no comparison, WebRoot wins hands down as the most complete and best value - probably. Norton is certainly nipping at the heels of WebRoot for value if you have only one computer, but if you have two or three even the price for WebRoot can not be beaten.

There is nothing wrong with Norton, it just does not excite and inspire, and while this is not part of the reason you buy it, when faced with a choice of seemingly equal products, Norton will loose out due to this.

Although WebRoot has three products, only the complete package is value for money.

(It needs mentioning, although not popular, McAfee offer an online anti – everything for about $90 for 3PCs.)         

Any opinion expressed in this article is just that, an opinion, and it in no way reflects the views of the site that published the article.

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Comments (3)

I am using Avira. Impressive! I admit that I cannot excellent review like this one.

What about e-scan?

Ranked #22 in Software

Iram, sorry for the delay in replying. I have never heard of it, and do not know anyone who uses it who can give me an opinion.

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